Halloween is barely over, and already the grocery stores are filled with Christmas stuff. So it goes. The American economic machine may be leaving fall behind, but that doesn’t mean you have to. There’s still plenty of autumn shredding to be done, and this week’s Emerging Gear offerings will help you do just that. Read on for the coolest new drops from up-and-comers and old hands alike.
If you love zero-drop, minimalist shoes, you’ve likely been disappointed with your options when the mercury drops and the precipitation starts getting frosty. Vivobarefoot is hoping to change that with its Tracker Winter SG, an insulated, aggressively lugged version of the brand’s popular Tracker II SG boot.
Vivobarefoot says the Tracker Winter SG has all the minimalist DNA you’d expect — flexibility, a wide toebox, and zero-drop construction. But with fully sealed seams, a thermal insole, a wool insulative lining, and an unusually beefy (for Vivobarefoot) outsole, the brand claims the Winter SG can stand up to snowy, slushy, nasty trail conditions. Put a pair on your holiday wish list and find out.
Ibex is shooting for the moon with its recently launched Woolies Pro Tech Base Layers. The garments pair an 85% merino/15% nylon composition with an innovative spinning technique utilized by fabric-maker Nuyarn. Ibex has some lofty claims for the base layers, saying the fabric blend/spinning technique makes for warmer, more durable, more elastic, and stronger seams than traditional ring-spun merino garments.
Can that possibly be true? The jury is still out here at GearJunkie (I’m sure we’ll be testing these bad boys this winter), but in the meantime, you have the chance to be one of the first folks to put those claims to the test. Pro Tech Base Layers come in men’s and women’s versions and a range of typical base layer styles, including undies.
There’s a good reason Opinal knives keep popping up here at GearJunkie — the things are iconic, affordable, and they look great. That’s never been more true than with the limited-edition No.08 Sampo Curly Birch edition. The birch in question is a subspecies sourced from Finland. The pressures of that hostile environment create the dense, swirly patterns seen on the knife handle above.
Opinal is only going to sell 300 of these handsome blades, so make sure and zip over to the Opinal website and sign up for a notification for when they go on sale. At only $70, I’d expect the No.08 Sampo Curly Birch to sell out fast, so keep checking those inboxes! Opinal expects them to become available any day now.
Küat’s IBEX is a sturdy truck bed rack with a ton of handy uses. With the recent announcement of the Panel Kit, Küat just added to that list of uses significantly. The IBEX Panel Kit effectively turns the IBEX frame into a camper shell — one you can open wide to the breeze whenever you feel like it.
The all-metal panels mount directly to the IBEX, come with a brake light, and include gas-spring operated side and rear doors. There’s a locking system on board, and IBEX engineered the kit to still allow access to the top crossbars for those moments when you need to lash things to the rack. Could be a game changer (if you own a 2005-2023 Toyota Tacoma mid-size, short-bed model).
But don’t worry; IBEX plans on releasing variations that match a range of trucks. The Panel Kit sports an estimated MSRP of $1,489 and should be available come spring 2024.
Marathoner Tommy “Rivs” Puzey and Craft Sports go all the way back to 2019 when the runner and the brand collaborated on a long-distance racing shoe. Skip forward to the present, and the duo is at it again, this time with a special edition of the Nordlite Speed Shoe.
The Nordlite Speed is purpose-built for road and light-trail running, and as you can see, it’s got plenty of cushion for your piggies. The one-piece upper looks cozy as well. But the real selling point is the exposed carbon plate on the outsole, which Craft claims “delivers a huge mechanical advantage in efficiency and propulsion.”
Look — the best way for non-professionals like you and me to get faster and more efficient at running is to run. But if you want a pair of sweet kicks like this to do it in, more power to you. And who knows? Maybe that carbon plate will propel you to a PR at your next marathon — if you’ve put in the work elsewhere.
You can compress your packing cubes and stuff sacks all you want, but what about the empty space inside your pack? That’s what the makers of the Airback Vacuum Compressible Backpack asked themselves, and then set out to solve via Kickstarter. They had an initial goal of raising $10K and ended up with over $300K instead, which is impressive! If you tend to overpack, you may have just found your new best friend.
But the pack is more than just the vacuum compression gimmick. $200 gets you a TSA-approved lock, a bottle pocket, a grab handle, padded and odor-proof internal compartments, and more. And with unobtrusive black styling, it should match any rolling luggage you’re already rocking.
Without testing, it’s hard to tell if these sticks from HEAD and Porsche are as fast as a sports car. But with graphics that evoke Porsche’s instantly recognizable racing stripes, you’ll certainly look fast, even if you’re pizza-pie-ing your way down a bunny slope.
If you’ve got a little cash to spare, treat yourself with some of the other items in the collection, like the Radar Helmet or Dakar Ski Trousers. The whole collection is both elegant and eye-catching — just like Porsche’s decades-long contributions to the automotive world.
PNW-based Danner and Colorado-based Topo Designs are another pairing with some history. The two brands just launched a fresh collaboration that includes boots, a pack, and a fleece, all with a splash of retro flair.
The limited-edition Free Spirit boots anchor the collection with a Vibram outsole, sharp-looking suede and textile upper, and a GORE-TEX liner. Then there’s the Mountain Pack, a rugged-looking 16L number with oversized side pockets (you can cram a 32-ounce bottle in there), a laptop sleeve, built-in hydration access, and rugged 200-denier nylon ripstop fabric.
That’s a feature set that plays just as well on the streets as it does in the mountains. And I dig those orange stripes for commuting visibility!
The RiG’D MegaTable mounts to your trailer hitch and then swings out and opens to provide a flat, secure surface for cooking, food prep, or anything else you need it for. A larger version of RiG’d’s UltraTable, the MegaTable is designed to accommodate bulkier cooking systems like Blackstone griddles.
There’s a lot to be said for not packing space-eating plastic tables on your car camping expeditions — or relying on a crusty old wooden table that may or not be where it’s supposed to be.
$400 delivers the MegaTable into your hands. Use it well.
PNW Components has made a name for itself by offering quality bike gear at a (relatively) affordable price point — always a victory when it comes to cycling. The brand’s latest drop is the Loam Carbon Handlebar. The bar sports 10 degrees of back sweep and 800 mm of width, and is available in 25mm or 38mm rise options.
PNW went stiff with this one — claiming the Loam is burly enough to tackle the stresses of e-bikes and downhill riding. And the best part, as usual with PNW, is the cost — just $154.