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Hot New Skis, Backpack Exoskeleton, Lift Gate Bike Rack, and More Emerging Gear

Deep breath, folks. 2023 is behind us, and 2024 is nothing but potential. Maximize your adventure with the best in up-and-coming gear.

a man uses a waterproof phone case in the ocean(Photo/JOBY)
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Ah, a fresh year. Like unsullied powder on your favorite slope, the opening days of 2024 are full of promise and untrammeled fun. And yes, at some point, things will get slushy, choppy, and icy (metaphorically speaking).

But when that happens, at least you’ll have all this sweet new gear to help you get through it — freshly dropped skis, cool organizational carabiners, and everything in between.

Check it out!

Blizzard Updated Black Pearl Collection

three pairs of skis

Blizzard’s Black Pearl is one of the most popular women’s skis around. The iconic all-mountain sticks are stable and powerful, two things Blizzard Tecnica wanted to keep intact as the brand updated the lineup with improved maneuverability and smoother transitions.

To meet those goals, Blizzard introduced a metal layup. It also changed the rocker profile while tailoring the beech and poplar wood core for a strong underfoot feel that softens toward the tips. It’s got the power and stability the Black Pearl built its name on, and now, it’s more nimble than it’s ever been.

If you are hoping to get your boots locked into a pair this season, I’ve got some bad news. The updated Black Pearls (available in the classic 88 waist, with the addition of 94 and 84 sizes) won’t be available until fall 2024. But that just gives you plenty of time to upgrade your skill set before then!

Vaucluse Ultralight Ventilation Frame (2nd Gen)

a man wearing the Vaucluse Ultralight Ventilation Frame (2nd Gen)

Sweaty backs plague a lot of backpackers — particularly users of ultralight packs. That’s because cottage-brand ultralight packs tend to sport a panel of solid (read: not breathable) fabric over the foam or mesh back panels found on larger, heavier packs. Vaucluse’s solution is novel and could be a game changer if it works as advertised. The brand sells what amounts to a flexible, durable spacer frame that sits between your back and your pack, allowing for maximum airflow and escaping moisture.

Weight weenies will gloat over its weight (3.3 ounces), while budget-conscious adventurers can’t argue with the $40 price tag. The Vaucluse Ultralight Ventilation Frame is compatible with packs from 15L to 55L and can haul up to 220 pounds without buckling. And if you’ve got that much weight in a pack, well, who even are you?

Suweeka Bike Lifter Rack

Suweeka Bike lifter rack

Boy, e-bikes sure are heavy, aren’t they? Enter the Suweeka Bike Lifter Rack, a rack designed to spare your back. (Suweeka, if you want to use that marginally clever rhyme, feel free to hit me up.)

When it’s time to load up for a ride, the rack lowers to the ground and can accommodate up to 120 pounds per tray. Simply roll your bike onto the tray, lift, and away you go. A 2-inch hitch connection makes the installation a snap, while an anti-rattle cam ensures that the only noise you’ll hear while driving is the sound of yourself squealing excitedly about all the shredding you’re about to do.

The Bike Lifter Rack is available in one-tray ($2,099) or two-tray ($2,599) models. Preorders are available now!

JOBY SeaPal Waterproof Phone Case

JOBY SeaPal Waterproof Phone Case

Most high-end smartphones are waterproof these days. But that doesn’t make them easy to use as action sports cameras. That’s where JOBY’s new SeaPal Waterproof Case comes in. Yes, it’s waterproof up to 33 feet, but where it really shines is as a rig for mounting a sports leash, a Bluetooth-enabled shutter grip, and two spots for JOBY’s Beemo lights. Meanwhile, the dome port means you can snag your phone out of the housing quickly if you need to get a shot above water.

The case supports the iPhone 15, 14, 13, and 12, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S23 and 22. JOBY teamed up with AquaTech — a maker of waterproof housings for underwater photographers — to create the gadget, so there’s a lot of experience going into the design here.

inov-8 Mudtalon Speed

Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed

Inov-8 was born in England’s windy, gorgeous, rainy, and, above all, squishy Lake District. So, it’s no surprise the brand would have a range of toothy shoes designed expressly for tackling the muddy, wet trails found there.

I’ve got extensive experience with inov-8’s Mudclaw line, but as a lover of wide shoes, they always felt too narrow for me to recommend wholeheartedly. Inov-8 recently returned to the drawing board with the concept, arriving at the (theoretically) less pinchy Mudtalon Speed.

Its 8mm lugs will make short work of the soggiest of trails, while the design adheres more fully to natural foot shape than the brand’s previous mud-specific offerings. They even come in a wide size with extra room in the toebox.

The shoes aren’t available in the U.S. until mid-February, but you can preorder a pair of them now for $150.

Arc’teryx Relaxed Sentinel Snow Kit

Arc'teryx Relaxed Sentinel Snow Kit
Arc’teryx Relaxed Sentinel Snow Kit

After 3 years of research and design, Arc’teryx is releasing its first women’s relaxed fit snow kit. The new Relaxed Sentinel Kit ($600 and up) takes “a new approach to women’s fit.” The design of the Relaxed Sentinel Kit is a straighter and more modern fit in the torso, and it removes traditional hourglass shaping.

Historically, our Managing Editor Mary Murphy (and other women) have cited issues with Arc’teryx’s super-narrow fit in the hips. This is an awesome update from Arc’teryx to an already otherwise stellar pants and kit. Plenty of articulation and three-layer seam-sealed GORE-TEX remain the same.

IdentiKey SlideLock Dual Carabiner

Have you ever looked at your keychain in dismay, wondering which of the many bits of metal goes to your bike lock, your ski rack, your luggage, and so on? The IdentiKey SlideLock Dual Carabiner solves that stress elegantly by adding a little space for a label. Boom. Problem solved.

I’ve used carabiners on my keychain in the past, and it’s an excellent way to lose keys. That’s why the dual locking function here is also important. Add and remove keys to your adventure keychain with both ease and peace of mind for only $10 for a pair.

Rossignol Sender 90 Pro Share Winter XP Skis

The Share Our Winter Foundation aims to “enrich the lives of youth through winter sports.” It’s a great cause, one which a purchase of these limited-edition Rossignol Sender 90 Pro skis supports. The unique, eye-catching pattern designed by artist Ya La’ford is both fluid and geometric, a motif that mirrors the Sender 90’s versatility and responsive feel on the snow.

Round tips, fiberglass construction wrapped around a poplar core, and a rocker profile aimed squarely at versatility mean there’s almost nothing these colorful skis can’t do. Priced at an affordable $450, sizes are already selling out, so zip over to Rossignol and grab a pair (multiple lengths available) while you still can.

a man looks at his watch while running in the cold

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