With Black Friday and associated sales in the rearview mirror, it’s time to focus on other things — like all the latest in winter gear drops! This week’s Emerging Gear column includes the best in fancy new apparel, packs, tech, and other items to get you outside in style and comfort. Would you expect anything less? No, you would not. That’s why you’re a GearJunkie.
So read on and gear up, traveler. Adventure awaits.
I’m all about artist collaborations, especially when it comes to pairing emerging artists with up-and-coming gear brands. Free Range Equipment started like a lot of outdoor brands — with an outdoor lover interested in making gear for himself.
Twelve years on and Free Range has a suite of interesting packs and bags, but its Canvas Series — a line of totes, packs, and fanny packs — is what caught my eye. The Canvas Pack (one of which is shown above) is a 25L nylon and polyester pack perfect for day hikes or bumming around mountain towns.
Artist Sheila Dunn originally rendered this view of Mt. Hood in oils. And if you snag one, a portion of your purchase goes towards supporting her. Even better, Free Range has 20 artists to choose from, so if Mt. Hood isn’t your cup of tea, you have plenty of other options.
Functional throwing star slash holiday decoration. Need I say more?
OK, just a little more. This festive shurikan hails from the minimalist maniacs over at The James Brand (TBJ). If the idea of a snowflake-shaped ninja tool and tree ornament from one of GearJunkie’s favorite EDC brands doesn’t tickle your fancy, I don’t know what to do for you.
TJB says the Throwflake sports all-steel construction — and those points aren’t just for decoration. They are sharp, so perhaps this isn’t the decoration for houses containing children, cats, or rambunctious dogs.
But for everyone else, cowabunga.
If you think there’s no room left for innovation in the water bottle world, you haven’t met SMMT. The brand’s fresh take on a stainless steel tumbler sports several nifty features, including a lid that doubles as a magnetic coaster, a spill-resistant lid designed for sipping while in motion, and that oh-so-fashionable powder coat finish.
And vacuum insulation means the Serpa Tumbler is ready to accommodate hot cocoa just as well as icy cold brew.
Level up your car camping game with the festive glow provided by Snow Peak’s Festival: Mini Flame. There’s just something about the warm glow of a real flame that far outpaces an LED when it comes to camp vibes — especially when said glow is flickering through the pleasing tree design in the lantern’s hood.
The Festival: Mini Flame works nearly the same as a backpacking stove — attach to an isobutane canister, dial in the amount of flame, and light! The woodsy designs are printed on real glass and the lantern (no canister) weighs in at 3.5 ounces.
You’ll want to act fast on this one. LINE’s Bacon 122 is a playful twin-tip freestyle powder ski hitting the market in 2024. But in the meantime, LINE partnered with pro freeskier Tom Wallisch for a limited-edition version emblazoned with a splashy, colorful paint motif.
And the best part? These bad boys are available right now — while they last.
I’m sure other uses exist for the Nocs Provisions Photo Rig II Smartphone Adaptor outside of birding. But man, oh man, how useful would this thing be for birding! It connects to your Nocs Provisions binoculars and allows you to capture everything you can peep.
Improvements over the previous iteration include a self-centering frame that helps you line up your phone and rig super-quick so you don’t miss a shot.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the one to finally catch proof that the ivory-billed woodpecker is still zooming around out there somewhere. Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?
Mountaineering legend Conrad Anker keeps meticulous notes of his groundbreaking expeditions — notes The North Face graphic team made good use of in the brand’s relaunch of the Baltoro Jacket. This is the first time the Baltoro has been available since the mid-2000s, and its reappearance is marked by the strategic use of hand-drawn topo maps pulled from the journals of the great man himself.
The Baltoro may give high-fashion vibes in this print, but The North Face’s jacket is legit. The relaxed fit design looks just as handy for expedition layering as for city styling, while details like 600-fill down, a DWR finish, and a hook-and-loop storm flap over the two-way zipper offer warmth and protection in rough conditions.
Is there such a thing as a quiver-killer trail runner? There might be now. NNormal, a footwear brand founded in part by ultrarunning phenom Killian Jornet, recently announced the Kboix — a shoe designed to be a one-stop shop for adventuring. Our friends over at iRunFar covered the launch in detail, but to summarize, the Kboix is a “modular” shoe.
That means it comes with three different midsoles of varying stiffness, allowing users to choose based on preference or trail type. Each of the shoe’s three primary components — upper, midsole, and outsole — will be replaceable after wearing out. Wear and tear is a major environmental concern as trail runners get lighter (read: more fragile). So, being able to replace components is very exciting to this trail runner.
Ask for the Nnormal Kboix in 2024 — assuming you can pronounce its tongue-twister of a name.
I opened this column with an artist collab, and I shall finish it that way. Rumpl’s outdoor blankets are increasingly ubiquitous thanks to water-resistant, fully synthetic materials perfect for use and abuse while car camping, beachgoing, stargazing, and more. And they are machine washable to boot.
If you don’t already have one, you may as well stand out from the crowd with one of the brand’s unique artist collaboration prints. I particularly enjoy muralist Gretchen Leggitt’s bold, angular take on a canyon paddling scene. But, depending on availability, there are more than 30 artists from which to choose (including Bob Ross!).
And if you act soon, you’ll be able to take advantage of Rumpl’s lingering November sales. Nice.