Collaboration. It gave us the first Apple computers, the song “Under Pressure,” and the album “Let it Be.” And if some of those partnerships were a bit … testy … well, sometimes good things come from strife.
But there’s no friction on display in this week’s Emerging Gear column. Just a sweet roster of freshly minted outdoor gear — the bulk of which involves partnerships between the outdoor brands you love and a bevy of worthwhile nonprofits and independent artists.
Blackcrows’ newest addition to its lineup is the Draco Freebird — a touring ski that’s “joyfully double rockered with a long turning radius and generous width [and] designed to be the solution for free riders looking to amp their touring game,” according to the brand. Blackcrows makes excellent skis, and if you match the description above, chances are you can’t go wrong with these.
I’m more of a groomer guy myself, but I can appreciate the simple and bold styling on display here. Sweet graphics are fun, but sometimes you just need something electric orange to put a little pop into your turns.
Ombraz armless sunglasses make pretty decent minimalist ski/ride eyewear — they’ve got no arms to bend or break when you take a tumble, and they rest comfortably below helmets and above insulation layers. Now the folks at Ombraz have leaned into this use case with a limited-edition color scheme called “Frost.”
Pearly white frames meet misty gray Zeiss lenses with this fresh release built around the classic Ombraz styling. I can’t promise these will give you moves on the slope. But I can promise you’ll look good doing whatever it is you’re doing, even if what you’re doing is sliding backward on your booty.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear recently made a small but significant change to its popular shoulder strap storage accessory! By swapping out regular stretch mesh for Dyneema Composite Fabric-enhanced stretch mesh, the brand probably extended the lifespan of this storage option by years.
That’s because typical stretch mesh is usually the first thing to go on any backpack. Abrasion, sharp objects stored within, and encounters with sticks and deadfalls all take their toll. But I can tell you from testing DCF-stretch mesh on packs (HMG’s included) that the stuff lasts way longer than its more pedestrian cousin. This is a small update, but an important one.
It’s rare to find a men’s watch that’s eye-grabbing without being ostentatious, but the Zodiac Watches Super Sea Wolf Pineapple Dream does the trick. Despite being saddled with a name that sounds like an action movie crashed into a Ben and Jerry’s flavor, the Super Sea Wolf Pineapple Dream sports a popping (yet still easily readable) forest green face with yellow highlights.
And with water resistance up to 200 m, the Pineapple Dream is ready for whatever tropical adventures you can throw at it. So, take a risk and opt for the nylon jungle-patterned strap over the stainless steel band. After all, the best way to feel like you’re on a vacation is to dress like it.
Nordica’s Cultura skis are a collaboration between the brand, retailer evo, and artist Alberto Lemus. The San Diego-based artist tapped into Latin-inspired color schemes and visual themes to bring the design to life, and I’m betting it looks pretty rad out on the slopes.
But more importantly, the project was a chance for Lemus to use his art to fuse cultures not necessarily associated with each other.
“For me, this was a big opportunity to bring my culture into this industry. In a way, it was like opening the doors to people who might not be either interested in or are not familiar with snow sports. The artwork is intended to catch their eye and catch their interest, in hopes that they will get out there and learn to ski or really do anything outdoors,” he explained in a press release.
From the sale of each of these limited-edition all-mountain skis, $150 will go toward organizations led by and supporting Latino and immigrant communities. Nordica only made 250 of them, so if you want a pair, hop to it!
You can’t throw a rock outside right now without hitting a piece of Protect Our Winters (POW) collab gear. Hey, I’m not complaining — our winters need protecting, and every piece of POW-themed gear you buy helps that organization battle climate change. And if you’re gonna fight for the future, you may as well do it in comfort and style, as demonstrated by this snazzy camp chair from Big Agnes and POW.
The Big Six armchair doesn’t skimp on comfort, designed as it is with wide dimensions, a long back, and cupholders for your camp beverage of choice. It packs down into a package about three times the size of a Nalgene bottle. And you can’t miss with this snowflake print, which works for everything from tailgating to roasting s’mores at an alpine lake.
Rumpl’s popular line of camp blankets is getting a little star power. The brand recently teamed with action star, budding climber, and “man, your aunt on Facebook posts about slightly too much,” Jason Momoa. This version of Rumpl’s 100% recycled blanket boasts a subtle chevron design associated with Momoa’s line of outdoor climbing-adjacent products.
The blanket would be a fine addition to any shoulder season crag kit. It would also look right at home on your back porch or across your knees at a beach party. It would look best draped across Momoa’s shoulders, but — and let’s just be honest here — what wouldn’t?
If you want a sports watch that you don’t have to charge every couple of days, pick a COROS. The Apex 2 can last 45 hours in full GPS mode, a stat that continues to impress this writer/mountain athlete.
The new dusty pink color scheme is just icing on that cake, but it’s good icing — feminine without being cutesy, colorful without being overwhelming. The Apex 2 retails for an MSRP of $349, so what’s good news for your wrist is even better news for your wallet.
Some ideas are so useful, so handy, so flipping obvious that you wonder why you didn’t think of them first. Such is the case with Thousand’s Crossbody Handlebar Bag. The thing is just what it sounds like: A handlebar bag that easily detaches and morphs into a crossbody bag. It’s a perfect solution for commuters, all-terrain riders, and casual beachside jaunts — basically any cycling situation that involves moving from bike to indoors and back to bike again.
At $49, it’s inexpensive enough to be a pleasant little holiday gift for the cyclist in your life (or, you know, treat yo’ self). I just wish it came in more than two colors.
If you live a somewhat aquatic lifestyle, perk up your ears: direct-action conservation organization Sea Shephard partnered with swiftly up-and-coming outdoor brand VEJA for this technical shoe aimed squarely at slippery surfaces and heavy decks.
Utility is the name of the game here, with the shoe’s only nod to style being a repeating wave motif. But with a tightly woven, water-resistant synthetic upper, a rock plate, and multidirectional lugs, the Sea Shepherd Fitz Roy should serve you well on missions, be that mission saving a whale or navigating a sloppy mid-March ski-town parking lot.