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.
Known for its leggings — but soon to be known for its footwear — Lululemon entered the footwear space earlier this year with the release of its Blissfeel running shoe. Now, the brand continues to expand its footwear line with the Chargefeel ($138). Designed for running, training, and on the go, the Chargefeel is built like a running shoe with the side-to-side stability of a trainer. It’s available in both a low and mid version.
Thermacell Rechargable E55 'Mosquito Shield'
It’s the peak of summertime. The sun is high, campgrounds are packed, and mosquitos are at their irritating worst. Thermacell has been around for 20 years, but it still feels like a game-changing innovation in the world of mosquito evasion. According to the brand, the new Rechargeable E55 ($40) can create a 20-foot zone of protection from buzzing bloodsuckers and features an improved 5.5-hour battery. Like most Thermacell products, the E55 comes with a 12-hour disposable cartridge and emits a DEET-free spray.
Lacaida 'Fern' Metered Climbing Rope
As most climbers have experienced, locating your rope’s halfway point at a rappel anchor can be a time-consuming headache. Meet Lacaida (Spanish for ‘the fall’) — makers of safety-minded climbing ropes with clear markings every 5 m. The Fern ($269 for a 60m), named for a local crag near the Lacaida factory in Arkansas, is the new brand’s flagship product. This dynamic 9.6mm single rope is marked every meter near the midpoint and ends at every 5 m in between. With the Fern in your crag kit, you’ll never again have to wonder if you’ve got enough rope left. Plus, you’ll always know the exact length of every pitch that you climb. Route developers rejoice!
Alternative Current 'Wide Aperture' Angel Cam
Since climber and aerospace engineer Ray Jardine invented the first climbing friend (or, cam) in 1970, improvements to the concept have been subtle. The new Angel Cam ($245) from Alternative Current may be the biggest active protection innovation in decades. Unlike most cams on the market, the Angel can fit a broad range of crack sizes. In some ways, the design is similar to Omega Pacific’s discontinued Link Cam, except that the Angel only comes in one size. Thanks to a wild X-shaped design, the brand claims the Angel can fit into cracks between 1 and 3.9 inches in width — the same range covered by five Black Diamond Camalots.
Appalachian Gear Alpaca Wool T-Shirt
Much like the wheel, there is no need to reinvent the T-shirt. However, Appalachian Gear’s new AG-Tee ($92) is a high-tech take on an old classic. According to the brand, it invested 2 years into field research and fabric development. The result is “a lightweight, high-performance, American-made, 100% natural fiber Tee.” Made from 80% Alpaca wool and 20% TENCEL, the AG-Tee is free of synthetic materials and is “completely launderable.” It’s available in men’s and women’s sizes.
Exped Widget Electric Sleeping Pad Pump
We’ve all been there: lightheaded and sore-lipped while we repeatedly exhale into a stubborn sleeping pad. Exped — maker of some of our favorite pads and mattresses — announces the Widget ($50), a compact electric pump that doubles as a portable power station and camp lantern. No longer will you need to Wim Hof your way to a comfortable night’s sleep. The Widget fits in one hand and weighs 6.7 ounces. Exped specifically designed it to fit easily into a backpack. A single USB port on the side of the Widget can be used to charge headlamps, phones, and other small devices.
NORCO Fluid FS Mountain Bike
For many beginner-level mountain bikers, finding a full-suspension bike with an approachable price point is difficult. The tagline of the Norco Fluid FS ($2,699-4,499) is “Every Rider, Every Trail,” a reference to its relative affordability. There are technically four different bikes in the Fluid FS range, with a handful of key components being the difference between each. The cheapest model is the Fluid FS A4, which comes with a RockShox fork and a Shimano Deore groupset. All four models have 29-inch wheels with Stan’s tubeless-compatible rims and four-piston hydraulic disc brakes.
Machines for Freedom Everyday Bib Short
Part of Machines for Freedom’s latest collection, the Everyday Bib Short ($168) is a “quick dry, moisture wicking” everyday chamois. According to the brand, the seamless silicon leg gripper “eliminates band and thigh bulge.” Two rear pockets are large enough to store a phone or wallet. As a bonus, the four-way stretch material has the highest possible UPF sun protection rating. It’s available in a wide range of sizes.