It’s Emerging Gear time — that special moment when you and I take a stroll through all the best-limited edition drops, new releases, and innovations the outdoor gear world has to offer. This week’s selection is a doozy, if I do say so myself. Be on the lookout for rocking tech that will keep you warm, keep you safe, keep your stuff safe, and more.
And style? Oh yeah. Not to worry.
The Milo Action Communicator might just be what the adventure sport world has been waiting for. A hands-free, wireless communication solution that doesn’t depend on Wi-Fi or a cell signal, the Milo has a range of up to one mile (or more with more than two units in the network) and clips securely to a jacket, pack, or anything else you might want to attach it to.
The list of useful features is prodigious: It has a speaker or the ability to connect to a headset, and when in speaker mode, it automatically lowers the volume when you’re within speaking distance of someone else on your network. Milo’s makers claim it sports advanced noise-reduction technology so wind or other background noise isn’t a problem. And it’s submersible in water up to 3 feet deep for 30 minutes with no ill effects.
Milo just launched this week, but be on the lookout for a forthcoming GearJunkie review. We’re excited about this one.
One Way Sport was born in Finland and now exists under the Fischer umbrella of brands. But the Scandinavian DNA still shows strongly in the brand’s clean-looking, customizable ski poles. The poles come in both alpine and nordic styles and allow you to choose from a suite of options, including shaft, basket, and grip colors.
In an era where throwback, retro styling is increasingly common on the slopes, you could do worse than avail yourself of some colorful poles. Plus, I imagine it makes them easier to find on powder days after a big spill. Not that you would ever take a tumble. Just saying.
The Smart Travel Luggage Tag by Knog takes a concept popularized by Tile and Apple’s Air Tag and dials it in exclusively for travel. The Tag allows travelers to locate lost luggage via an app, and it also comes with a motion-sensitive 85-decibel anti-theft alarm. If you’re in Bluetooth range, the alarm also sends a notification to your phone — in addition to you probably hearing the alarm.
There’s also a QR code that’s connected to your unique contact information and gives the scanner an option to send an email directly to you. And the features don’t stop there. As with Tile and Air Tag, there’s a chime feature to help you find your bag in a pile of other luggage and a sturdy steel cable to deter casual thieves hoping to snip the Smart Travel Luggage Tag off easily. Finally, the handy little device is USB-C rechargeable and lasts 2-4 months on a single charge. That’s a heck of a lot of utility for just under $60.
Meld a technical shell jacket with dress pants and you get the Align MX. These slim-fit pants by Veilance cost as much as a GORE-TEX shell ($350) and tout similar attributes, including a DWR-coated face fabric that repels water and wind.
We tested an updated version for climbing and everyday use this fall. Overall, the design was successful in cloaking a slew of technical touches — multiple pockets, articulated panels, and taped seams — in a versatile pant that cuts a silhouette pairable with a down puffy or dressed up for a night out.
If you live, eat, breathe, and ski Jackson Hole, these goggles are for you. The band includes the resort’s iconic mountain silhouette and a cable car, while Sweet Protection says the frames are “retro-inspired.” You get two lenses for $200 — a RIG Quartz lens for low light and snowy conditions and a RIG Aquamarine number for bluebird days. The 1.3mm-thick cylindrical lenses give these goggles a sleek look and are easily interchangeable.
Other little touches abound, like an outside-the-frame strap mount design for maximum over-the-helmet comfort. The Sweet Protection Durden RIG Reflect Limited-Edition Jackson Hole Goggles are available at Sweet Protection or Jackson Hole. See ya there.
Chocolate and mint. You either love it (in which case, you are correct), or you hate it (in which case, you are very, very wrong). Either way, it’s a classic combo, which is why the supplement experts over at Tailwind Nutrition chose it as a limited-edition flavor in support of a good cause.
Said cause is the Friends of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). The CAIC provides avalanche safety information and education and it promotes research to reduce the risk of avalanches for those who play in the backcountry. The Friends fundraise for the Avalance Center and contribute to its avalanche safety education efforts throughout the Centennial State.
The recovery mix comes in a four-pack and delivers protein, carbs, and electrolytes to your system in an easily digestible, easily dissolvable package. Bonus: It’s dairy-free.
Instead of a pocket knife, ultralight hikers sometimes carry a razorblade sandwiched between two slices of cardboard. The logic is that thru-hiking rarely requires much in the way of cutting, other than to open packages and trim the occasional piece of cordage or strap. Now, gram weenies can achieve the same ends in a much more durable and stylish fashion with the SHARKZ, a micro knife with a case made of titanium and a blade made of sturdy tungsten carbide.
The makers of the SHARKZ claim the blade can poke holes in a tin can. After you’ve tested that theory, the blade is replaceable (similar to a utility knife). The little knife is designed with keychains in mind, but you can also wear it around your neck or attach it to a pack with ease. And it comes in four groovy patterns. The whole package is just 4 inches long. You can snag a SHARKZ over on Kickstarter right now for around $50 if you act fast. Units start shipping in March 2024.
Ruffwear’s durable Tubelock webbing (which the brand uses in its leashes and collars) finds a second life here with a line of baskets and totes woven from leftovers created in the manufacturing process. The flexible items fold flat when not in use and are durable enough to stand up to some good-natured chewing (though, as this harried owner of a juvenile lab-poodle-retriever vortex of destruction can tell you, nothing is truly “dog-proof”).
The webbing toy basket is particularly cute — especially when paired with a pup — and at 12 x 12 x 9 inches, it’s big enough to hold all the mangled stuffies, shredded ropes, and split-open tennis balls your best friend could possibly want. Ruffwear says there might be some variation from product to product because of the upcycled nature of the construction, which is all part of the charm.
Denim stalwart Wrangler has been exhibiting at the Outdoor Retailer trade show, initiating a move toward the outdoorsy consumer. This fall, the company collaborated with Buffalo Trace Bourbon on a lineup of lifestyle clothing, including jackets, work shirts, and aprons.
The collection offers a Western aesthetic with snaps, stitch patterns, worn-in fabrics, and denim tones that, per the bourbon collaboration, emulate the muted look of aged oak. Prices start at $29 for T-shirts and aprons and range to $140 for a corduroy-collar jean jacket insulated with synthetic fleece.
If you want gear that really stands up to cold, look to the Canadians and Scandinavians. That’s been my motto throughout my career as an adventurer and outdoor journalist, and it hasn’t failed me yet. Case in point, Baffin’s recently launched Glacier Boot collection. The cherry of the collection is the Mountain, a cold-weather workhorse so loaded with good ideas it almost defies logic.
Laces designed for easy tightening with mittens? Check. Full-grain leather uppers combined with a nylon snow collar to prevent snow entry? Check. Shell and outsole optimized for flexibility and traction when conditions dip far below zero? Check, check, check. At $225, you’ll pay a premium, but toes are useful, you know? Be kind to them.
It’s not paint you’re looking at when you peep at the Völkl V.WERKS 100s. It’s the two-part poplar and beech wood-core construction visible through the transparent outer shell. That’s right, these skis are see-through. Pretty nifty, right?
Völkl also included carbon fiber in the design. All that high-tech construction plus cutting-edge engineering results in a ski that delivers “exceptional edge grip and lightning-fast reaction behavior, providing an unrestricted experience for highly sporty and varied skiing,” according to the brand.
There are 1,923 pairs available online and through select retailers, so act fast if you want a set. Get ready to set your wallet on fire, though. These run $2,500.
The James Brand consistently makes this column because of its clean, minimalist, well-executed design. (And occasionally, killer snowflakes.) Now, all that stark functionality gets a rosy sheen with the Rose Gold Collection — a greatest-hits roundup of TJB EDC items rendered in stylish — you guessed it — rose gold.