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Emerging Gear: Accordion Backpack, Modular Cast Iron, Ibex Return, and More

Take a peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design. Explore the grid or click through for a slideshow.

Kngaroo ROO backpackPhoto courtesy: Kngaroo
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Take a peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design. Explore the grid or click through for a slideshow.

Allbirds Dasher Relay Slip-On Runner

allbirds Dasher Relay shoe

On the heels (ha!) of its first purpose-built running shoe, Allbirds updates the knit Dasher by stripping the laces. That’s right, according to the brand, “from running errands to running a 5k, the style is easy to slip on and keeps you comfortable all day long.” The Dasher Relay ($125) carries the same knit, tree-fiber upper, neutral running ethos, and 7mm drop — now with a sock-like fit. They’re available now for women and men in black, white, and sesame.

Bandits x Vuori Bandanas for a Cause

Bandits Bandana x Vuori

Come for the art, stay for the story. The designs on all Bandits Bandanas are unlike anything you’ve seen on this classic cowboy accessory. But Bandits also bakes in a unique giveback: Each style, made by a separate artist, raises money for its own unique cause. This month, the California brand teams up with Vuori to launch the sunny “We Rise” collab bandana. And being two Golden State businesses, 10% from each $30 bandana will benefit the world’s largest ocean conservancy organization, Oceana. Plus, each bandana is Fair Trade certified and handmade with sustainable, 100% organic cotton. Look for it in mid-May.

Manoli Cast Iron Skillet

Manoli cast iron pan with removable handle

There’s nothing not to love about a good cast iron pan — well, except the third-degree palm burns. Manoli hopes to solve that with this handy (ha!) pan with a removable wood handle. Twist to lock and unlock that handle, and never worry where you left the oven mitt. The Manoli uses single-piece cast iron with a “natural non-stick coating,” oak handle, and a choice of 8.7-, 9.5-, 10.2-, and 11-inch diameters. It’s available now on Kickstarter.




Ibex 24-Hour All-Wool Tee

Ibex 24-hour merino tee

Ibex is back, baby! The Vermont merino apparel pioneer that resurrected in 2019 after 2 years out of business comes out of hibernation swinging. Ibex has a number of new spring ’21 stylings, but they’re already selling out — however, you can still get your hands on the 24-Hour Tee. These colorful tees will stand out from the rest in your closet thanks to 100% merino wool construction. And if you think wool is only for winter, think again. Ibex notes that the wünder material works to keep you cool just as well as warm, plus its anti-odor properties mean you can wait longer between washings. Welcome back, Ibex!

Bit Bar Inline

Bit Bar Inline multitool

Tired of carrying three different screwdrivers in your pocket?  Chadwick Parker and Joe Huang, inventors of Bit Bar, are back with their 33rd Kickstarter (!) to launch the Bit Bar Inline. A more compact, titanium version of the original, the Bit Bar Inline carries three hex bits — #2 Phillips, T8 Torx, and ¼” Flathead — discreetly within the body. But when it’s time for action, the bits secure via magnets, and the handle works in three configurations: inline when space is limited, T-handle for maximum grip, and offset T-handle for maximum torque. The Bit Bar Inline is available now on Kickstarter.

CRUXCARE Climbing Hand Salve

ONCRUX hand salve for climbers

Climbers: soothe those flappers, ripped tips, scrapes, and cuts with ONCRUX Cruxcare Salve. Launched this month, ONCRUX promises its $20 salve will moisturize and promote healing without softening your precious calluses. And it does so with a potpourri of shea butter, jojoba oil, lavender essential oil, rosemary essential oil, geranium essential oil, and candelilla wax. ONCRUX made its name in the climbing world with hand-sanitizing liquid chalk it said would stay on hands longer than its competitors’ products.

mountainFLOW Plant-Based Bike Lube

mountainFLOW plant-based bike lube

From skis to cycles, mountainFLOW brings its trademark eco-friendly recipes to the world of bike lube. Launched in April, the mountainFLOW Bike collection includes plant-based, biodegradable, non-toxic washer/degreaser, grease, and four types of lube. This follows the brand’s “breakthrough” ski wax, which used no petroleum — instead innovating a durable, plant-based wax. We tried some of the lube and degreaser early this spring and can attest that so far, it works as advertised.

GORUCK GR2 Tactical Travel Pack

GORUCK GR2 26L tactical commuter pack

If you like to push it with your daily packing, check out GORUCK’s new GR2 tactical backpack. Launching this month, the GR2 is a daisy-chainer’s dream come true! Durable webbing loops grace the face, sides, and straps, so you can MOLLE and carabiner loads of extra gear to the exterior and interior. Plus, the GR2 borrows from special forces medical packs, which provides a lay-flay opening, making it easy to pack, find, and grab whatever gear you need. We tried an early sample of the burly utility backpack ($395) for use and abuse around town, and the 500-denier CORDURA and padded laptop sleeve withstood light rain, scuffs, drops, and snags.

Teva x Polaroid Retro Sandals


Rainbow straps and throwback flair lend an ’80s vibe to these sandals. Teva and Polaroid combined to offer not only two co-branded styles of sandals, but a Polaroid camera, too! Opt for the red Midform Universal Polaroid ($80) or white Original Universal Polaroid ($70) sandals — each with Polaroid’s iconic rainbow stripe on the heel strap. And then if you’re feeling frisky, pick up a refurbished vintage Polaroid 600 camera ($160). Read more here.

2021 Salsa Cutthroat

2021 Salsa Cutthroat Carbon GRX 600 bikepacking bike

Salsa unveils the latest iteration of its celebrated all-terrain bikepacking monster, Cutthroat. While there are no geometry changes, the brand introduced a new Carbon AXS Eagle ($7,200) spec to lead the Cutty line. And it rolled out some fresh paint schemes across the builds, including the GRX 600 in robin’s egg blue with red accents (pictured).

Kngaroo Accordion Backpack

Kngaroo ROO backpack

Carry more. That simple premise gives way to the Kngaroo ROO backpack, live now on Kickstarter. The basic ROO pack is a 20L bag that with a clever design can divide into an internal 15L and 5L bag. But the real innovation here is the convertible construction, designed to be paired with other ROO inserts of various sizes. These effectively expand the base ROO’s capacity to 35L, 40L, and 45L. There’s even a Dog Carrier option. The design literally hinges on a primary pack compartment that can deploy away from the straps and back panel, creating a large clamshell opening. Learn more about this wild pack on Kickstarter.

Hillsound PackStack Backpacking Cubes

Hillsound PackStack

Packing cubes are great for travel luggage. But what about backpacking? Hillsound set out to solve the backpacker’s organization conundrum with the weatherproof PackStack ($17-20) and waterproof PackStack Pro ($29-32) systems. These concave, stackable compartments are designed to fit in a backpack and add some order to the chaos. Made from ripstop CORDURA, these compartments are available in four sizes: short and tall for 40-60L packs, and short and tall for 60 L and above. Get 30% off if you preorder before May 23 from Hillsound.

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