Take 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.
Orvis PRO Wading Shoes
As someone who tests gear year-round, I’m constantly surprised at the technology that goes into shoes. These Orvis PRO wading shoes are no exception. The PRO Approach Shoe ($149) combines a wading shoe with a trail shoe to accommodate hiking, wet wading, and boating all in one. Orvis partnered with an unlikely brand — Michelin Tires — to create the Michelin Outdoor Extreme rubber outsole for the shoe. The wading shoe also has an incorporated Airaprene sock on the upper, a removable OrthoLite insole, and a shoe “hood” to tuck laces away.
Hydro Flask Down Shift Pack
Hydro Flask is moving into the pack market with this integrated hydration pack. The Down Shift ($145) has a 14L capacity and an insulated reservoir with a neoprene sleeve and reflective lining to block heat and reflect cold back in. Designed for biking, the pack also has helmet attachment loops as well as a padded back panel, sternum, and hip straps. It comes with a 2L reservoir. But it will put a small dent in your gear budget at $145.
U.K. brand Deciwatt designs renewable energy solutions. And its latest product has both indoor and outdoor applications. The NowLight ($109) is a self-powered light unit. Pulling the cord for just one minute generates 2 hours of light. It also has a USB port, which provides power to charge your electrical devices. The full kit includes a solar panel unit, USB charger, room light, and more. It could be a great addition to a tiny home, off-grid cabin, off-grid van, etc. You can preorder the NowLight here.
Charlotte's Web CBD Balm Stick
Charlotte’s Web’s new CBD balm stick is a topical formulated to help soothe skin. The Balm Stick ($40) is infused with hemp and CBD, as well as peppermint oil, turmeric oil, and ginger oil. Charlotte’s Web made the balm stick free of the eight major allergens and designed it to target areas that might need a little extra TLC. You can get the new balm in a stick or a non-roll-on version.
HercLeon Kribi Underwear
Underwear that cleans itself?! Whaaaat? The crowd-funded Kribi underwear ($39 per pair) claims just that. The brand claims its HercFiber fabric is “self-cleaning” and can be worn for weeks without changing. The fabric is made from beechwood, eucalyptus, and bamboo, then blended with metals such as silver and copper to create antimicrobial protection. The undergarments (women’s and men’s underwear and socks) should provide breathability, absorbency, and softness. It’s a big claim, but if true, the Kribis might be the perfect travel underwear.
Canyon Spectral:ON CF 7.0 E-Bike
Canyon Bikes introduced the next generation of its first eMTB, the Spectral:ON, now available in the United States. The 2020 Spectral:ON CF 7.0 (starting at $4,999) has a new design, carbon components to shed weight, and an integrated internal battery. The frame and wheel sizing on this bike is unique, with a 29-inch front wheel and 27.5-inch rear wheel to give the rider a lower center of gravity and a more precise feel on turns. Specs include a Shimano E8000 drive, on/off battery power button on the top tube, Shimano MT520 brakes, RockShox suspension forks, and a MTB-specific saddle.
Deckers X Lab X-Scape NBK Low
Deckers X Lab, created by the founder of HOKA, is a new brand focused on providing casual and versatile running shoes. The X- Scape NBK Low Shoe ($160) offers a performance-oriented sole with the lifestyle comfort of a sneaker in the uppers. The X-Scape has a thin rubber outsole, ultralight PU foam and TPU midsole, and a natural wool “looped” upper paneled with leather. These shoes are selling like hotcakes, so order now if you want to try out a pair.
Ekster Parliament Smart Wallet
There’s a gray area between wallet and “smart” wallet, but this one from crowd-funded company Ekster is worth a mention. The Ekster Parliament Wallet ($79) is a voice-activated, trackable wallet. Whether you think it sounds excessive or genius, the technology is there. The tracking feature uses Bluetooth and GPS to locate and ring your wallet if you misplace it, and an aluminum pop-up mechanism in the folds of the wallet provides button-activated, fold-out access to multiple cards (can hold up to 10 cards). The tracker chip is solar-powered, and the wallet is RFID-protected.
Astral Loyak AC Water Shoes
The Astral Loyak AC (“air condition”) is an even more breathable version of the brand’s original Loyak. Ideal for watersports that require good footing (think SUPing or sailing), the Loyak AC ($110) is like a sock on the upper and like a shoe below. The top is a ripstop fine mesh to ensure breathability and drainage, it’s reinforced with TPU on the toe and heel, and the sole is a sticky G15 rubber outsole. It comes in men’s and women’s models. We like that they look spiffy enough to wear off the boat as well.
J.W. Speaker LED SmartHeat Tail Lights
J.W. Speaker has launched some pretty cool tech this month. The new Model 234 LED SmartHeat Tail Lights ($60-75) can be used on construction vehicles, trucks, and overlanding and specialty vehicles alike. The taillights have new colors, programmable flash and strobe patterns, and SmartHeat technology, offering enhanced visibility. The lights are capable of withstanding 10 Gs worth of vibration, which is to say that they’ll probably perform as well as the rest of your vehicle on rough roads.
GearLab Outdoors Malik Paddles
The latest from GearLab is its first-ever polypropylene paddle combo. If you’ve never heard of or paddled a Greenland-style paddle, you’re in luck. The Malik is specifically designed for those who are new to exploring Greenland-style paddling. The new Malik Paddles (from $188) are adapted from indigenous Inuit designs, with narrow polypropylene blades and a specific lightweight design with a gravity of 0.9 (lighter than water, meaning it can float on the surface).
Simms Waterproof Gear Pouch
The Simms Dry Creek Gear Pouch ($60) may not be a totally new invention, but we still love to see brands update gear classics. The new 4L pouch has a top-of-the-line Nite Ize TRU Zip toothless waterproof zipper, a tough 300-denier shell, and webbing straps on the top and side to secure to any items on deck. The whole thing can be submersed and still keep your essentials dry.
Archer Components D1X Wireless Shifting System
The Archer D1X ($359) converts any rear derailleur with speeds from 2 to 20 into electronic shifting and can fit on any rear derailleur on any bike. The system is two parts: a “shifter” unit, which drives the cable to move the derailleur, and the remote, which replaces the standard trigger shifters on your ride. But that’s not all. The Archer app lets you set up each individual shift point and has a multi-shift feature, which lets you set how many gears you want to jump at the touch of a button.
Kokatat Limited-Edition Maximus Centurion PFD
Kokatat teamed up with Salt Lake City artist Marcus Cline to create this limited-edition PFD. The Maximus Centurion ($285) is a type 5 Rescue PFD with contoured shoulder straps, additional storage, and a redesigned top pocket, all wrapped up in a 500-denier CORDURA shell. The artist took design input from Kokatat’s pro paddlers, including Rafa Ortiz, Nouria Newman, and Dane Jackson, and incorporated elements like salmon and rainstorms, inspired by places like New Zealand, the French Alps, and California’s Tehipite valley.