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Emerging Gear: Party Cooler, Pavement Snowboard, and More

A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design. Explore the grid or click through for a slideshow. 

man grabbing beer can out of Igloo party cooler
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A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design. Explore the grid or click through for a slideshow.

Tortoise Gear Fire Ant Firestarter

Tortoise Gear fire ant starters stored in pocket knives

This little accessory may look cute, but it’s actually a serious survival tool. Tortoise Gear’s Fire Ant Fire Starter ($12 per three-pack) is a small ferrocerium firestarter that comes with a helix of tinder. And it fits seamlessly into the corkscrew on a Swiss Army knife so it doesn’t add any bulk to your gear. The sparking steel has an anti-corrosive coating, and the tinder is extruded waxed cotton that is waterproof and won’t melt in your pocket.

Vollebak Fireproof 100 Year Hoodie

man wearing Vollebak 100-year hoodie

“For a world that’s hard to predict” is some pretty relevant marketing as of late. Vollebak’s modern 100 Year Hoodie ($495) is said to be waterproof, windproof, and even fireproof. The hoodie is constructed from a fire-resistant Polartec fabric. The brand originally developed the abrasion-resistant, three-layer fabric for the military. It can repel water, snow, wind, and almost anything else you throw at it. But it’ll definitely break the bank at $495.

Bear Archery TrueTimber Strata Camo

Bear Archery new divergent bow

Bear Archery has announced an expanded lineup of bows available in its popular TrueTimber Camo for 2020.  Included in this expansion is the versatile, 28-inch axle-to-axle Bear Divergent compound bow ($700). Engineered with a hybrid cam system for a smooth draw and available in two draw weight ranges, the Divergent can now be purchased in True Timber Strata along with 8 other Bear Archery bows.

Looptworks Upcycled Duffel

looptworks upcycled duffel in yellow and black

Looptworks‘ unique duffels are made out of upcycled kiteboarding sails. Now, Looptworks has partnered with REI to make an exclusive weekender version. The Looptworks duffel ($80) is 100% upcycled on the exterior with an added nylon interior lining. It also has carry handles, an interior divider, interior and exterior zip pockets, and is carry-on size for easy traveling.

Hiplok Bike ANKR

ANKR bike lock attached to brick wall and bike

Hiplok’s bike “anchor” is looking to eliminate the need for bike lock structures across cities everywhere. The ANKR (from $100) is a secure wall and ground anchor made of hardened steel, four screw fixings, and an Allen key adjuster slot. The ANKR can be mounted to multiple surfaces in its lifetime. If you’re skeptical, the ANKR has been awarded Gold Level Security for both motorbikes and bicycles by Sold Secure. (The ANKR is designed for Hiplok’s chain and D-lock products, but it will work with other bike locks as well.)

Igloo Party Bar Liddup

igloo LiddUp large cooler with 3 compartments

Igloo’s clever play on “lid” and (we’re guessing) “lit up” gives coolers a whole new reputation. The Party Bar Liddup Cooler ($250) is a hefty, 125-quart cooler with a 360-degree lighted interior that illuminates the cooler’s contents, even in the darkest of rooms or campsites. The fully insulated Liddup has a drain, built-in bottle opener, tie-down handles, and a removable lid that transforms the cooler into an open-air beverage tub. Did someone say party?

Maniack Performance Wear ROCKIT CORE Top

Maniack logo and slogan inside workout tee

Rocking a slogan like “Proud of My Sweat” means that the product must be pretty comfortable — sweat or not — for high-exertion activities. That’s right, the Maniack Performance Top ($103) was designed to be a catch-all layer that can function across many different sports disciplines. The tee layers are made with an eco-friendly nylon fabric, have breathable panel placements, 360 degrees of reflective tapes, flatlock stitching, laser-cut hems, and even a stash pocket.

Freebord 5-X Skateboard

freebord 5X skateboard with binding for shoe

This campaign-funded pavement skateboard from Freebord mimics the motions of a snowboard on land. You even ride like you would on a snowboard, and the board’s six strategically placed wheels let riders lean away and into turns like they would in snow. The Freebord 5-X (now $276) has a seven-ply deck, four edge wheels for gliding, two central castor wheels for turning, and independent suspension attachments to increase the turning radius capabilities of the board. We haven’t tried it, but there’s a lot of potential there.

SOG Kiku XR Blade

SOG Kiku XR knife

If you’re looking for a new hard-use folder, check out SOG’s new offerings. The SOG Kiku XR ($190) is a Japanese-style, high-utility modified tanto blade. This blade is made to be able to cut under virtually every condition, has an ambidextrous design, and a blade lock that can withstand 1,500 pounds of force. The 3-inch blade is CTS XHP steel with a satin finish, and the knife has Micarta scales on the handle for grip.

REI Co-op Everyday Collection Beyonder Pants

REI beyonder pants on woman from waist down

REI Co-op just launched its extensive Everyday Collection. The clothing series features versatile clothing styles, among them the Beyonder Pants. The pants ($80) are a casual style with a simple drawstring waistband and cuffed ankles. With sustainability in mind, REI made these out of Bluesign-certified, sweat-wicking, stretchy fabric. They’re available in women’s and men’s styles.

Danner Women's Rivercomber

Danner rivercomber water shoe

New for spring and summer 2020, Danner Boots is moving into new territory with a trail-water shoe hybrid. The Rivercomber shoes ($120) are durable and quick-drying, with a mesh upper and built-in drainage holes and quick cord fasteners. The Rivercomber was built with stream crossings, river floats, and canyoneering in mind. But we guess they’ll work for any summer outdoor adventure.

Beyond Clothing x Bradford Knives G4.5 Fixed Blade

Beyond x Bradford knife with sheath resting in snow

This knife is a new collaboration between an unlikely pair: Bradford Knives and Beyond Clothing. The Bradford G4.5 Fixed Blade ($235) is a limited-edition Bradford Guardian 4.5-inch fixed blade with a sabre profile, G-Wood composite scales, and a wood-veneered handle. The blade itself is N690 steel with cobalt to increase hardness and provide a finer edge. Beyond Clothing made a custom Maker’s Mark leather sheath for the collection.

YETI Trailhead Chair

YETI Trailhead camp chair

The Trailhead Camp Chair is YETI’s latest venture, and our frequent car campers on staff are definitely interested. The Trailhead Camp Chair (a pricey $300) has a super-packable folding frame, flex fabric cover, and creature comforts like armrests and a cupholder. It’s a steep price for comfort, but if you haven’t found the camp chair that’s right for you, this could be it.

Bedrock Cairn 3D Pro II Sandals

bedrock 3d pro II sandal tread and top view

Launched on Tuesday, Bedrock’s Cairn 3D Pro II are the latest versatile sandals on the market. The Cairn 3D Pro II ($104 on sale) were tested for two straight seasons — by both a CDT thru-hiker and full-time river guide. The sandals have a hook strap, heel hook strap, unique Bedrock buckle, Y strap made of poly webbing, and a Vibram sole. And for a limited time, the new Bedrocks are on sale for $104.

Smartwool Pro Endurance Socks

Smartwool pro endurance socks with geometric pattern

Last year, Smartwool worked with ultrarunner Rob Krar to design its most technical running sock. This season, Smartwool updated the style for women. The Smartwool Pro Endurance Sock ($26) is made with a blend of 49% merino wool, 44% nylon, 4% elastane, and 3% polyester. This gives the sock a little bit of everything you need: stretch, targeted ankle and sole cushion, durability, and, of course, the venting properties of wool.

BUBBA Blade Set

BUBBA blade set and storage case

BUBBA just released its first-ever interchangeable blade set. The Multi-Flex Interchangeable Blade System ($126) comes with a nonslip grip and titanium nitride-coated carbon stainless steel blades. Included in the set are four BUBBA blades: a 7-inch tapered flex, 8-inch ultra flex, 9-inch stiff, and 9-inch serrated. BUBBA hopes the kit will give anglers the ability of a traditional, full-tang fillet knife while also providing blade options to tackle smaller or larger fish as needed.

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