A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Epson Fitness Watch
Track key exercise metrics like heart rate, VO2 max, and stride for up to 50 hours with Epson’s fitness watch. Launching today, the Prosense series includes five watches that use noise-cancelling technology to provide precision data. Watches start at $99 and run up to $399.
Beginner Climbing Shoe
Flat last, a knit upper, and a $79 price tag make the Butora Advance an attractive shoe for introductory climbers. The weave provides breathability, while the less-aggressive shape makes it an easier fit for newbs. The sub-$80 shoe launches in December.
Action Sport Camera Pack
Shred the slopes and shoot the views using a pack built for photographers that play hard. The Fjord 36 has removable inserts for delicate camera gear plus features adventurers need like water-resistant construction, a helmet net, expandable pockets, and more. Live on Kickstarter.
Dynamic Venting: The North Face ‘Ventrix’ Jacket
A first of its kind, laser-cut perforations in this jacket’s insulation expand and contract to help regulate body heat as you move. The Women’s Summit L3 Ventrix Hoodie is designed for climbing, backcountry skiing, and all stop-and-go activities in the cold. (See GearJunkie breakdown on Ventrix here.) Available now from The North Face for $280.
Smith Code Snow Helmet
Smith packs a lot of tech into the streamlined Code snow sports helmet. Start with Koroyd, a wild impact insulator that looks like a stack of straws to provide airflow to the head. Add MIPS rotational impact protection liners, a magnetic closure, and the Boa 360 Fit System, and you get a lot working to keep your brain safe for $180.
Seven layers of “pre-camouflaged” mountain dirt make Vollebak’s Mountain Camo Jacket stand out (figuratively speaking). Three-layer waterproof-breathable membrane, stretch material with ripstop face fabric, and an “ocean-racing style marine hood” all pack into its $680 retail price.
POC collaborated with Carl Zeiss for what it claims brings “a new level of clarity” to snow goggles. The Orb Clarity tweaks tints and mirror coatings for three distinct weather conditions: sunny, partly sunny, and overcast for an all-mountain, all-the-time goggle.
NYC Marathon Shoe
Saucony introduces the Guide ISO for the NYC Marathon. It builds on a popular platform but adds a new ingredient, the brand’s ISOFIT dynamic upper. This breathable upper is stronger and more flexible than standard mesh, the brand claims.
NEMO calls this the “first ever swinging and reclining camp chair.” It certainly looks pretty comfy. The Stargaze Recliner might be the La-Z-Boy of the campground. It’s big, heavy (almost six pounds) and pricey ($180), but for those who take their lounging seriously, it holds up to 300 pounds, swings, and reclines for a relaxing view of the stars.
S'well Hydration Accessories
S’well is the only reusable bottle that looks great and does good. S’well bottles are beautifully crafted and composed of non-leaching and BPA-free, 18/8 stainless steel, keeping drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12. On a mission to rid the world of plastic bottles and help communities in need, S’well gives back with each bottle sold. It is a partner of organizations such as Drink Up, American Forests, and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
Add a little extra function to your VanLife with a dual-compartment Dometic Fridge/Freezer. The brand launches a suite of different-size units at this month’s SEMA auto show. The 80-quart CFX-75DZW can hold a total of 113 cans, and you can dial in a different temp in each compartment from the unit controls or a smartphone app.
Fleece Rain Jacket
It looks and feels like a fleece layer, but this is a waterproof rain jacket. Launching on Kickstarter, Method uses waterproof/breathable membrane in the fleece to ensure you stay dry inside. Get one for less than $100.
Bison Insulated Jacket
United By Blue partners with ranchers to salvage hair left over from meat production. It turns the bison hair into B100 Fill, a proprietary blend of bison fiber and recycled polyester that insulates this waterproof, made-in-America winter jacket. Reserve one for $400.
Reflective Urban Bike Shoes
Transition from bike to sidewalk and back with the DZR Reflective, a very shiny shoe that improves visibility at night. The slip-on also has mapped stiffness for power transfer, but enough flexibility for walking off the bike.
Fischer Hannibal 2018
Browsing backcountry touring skis? The Fischer Hannibal is a tasty redesign for 2018. It’s a light ski at 1,300g at 176cm. But with a 100mm waist, it’s also a competent downhill ripper. We’ll be putting these through the paces in the next couple weeks uphill and down.
Colorful Print Hammocks
Grand Trunk introduces its Baja line of hammocks in Feb. 2018. The 10’6″ x 6’6″ double hammocks bring vibrant color pattern options to the line for $75. Each includes carabiners and rope to get hanging.
Princeton Tec Axis Headlamp
Turn a dial to dim and brighten. The Axis headlamp from Princeton Tec promises good adjustable brightness in both red and white modes. The brand claims a 120-hour burn time on the AAA model ($40). Also available as a rechargeable ($60). Made in the USA.
Better Camp Towl
This Camp Towel from Bramble uses quick drying microfiber fabric and is slightly larger than an average travel towel. Use it on the beach, as a sarong, to change under, and as a sun shield on a raft. The patterns are inspired by the distinctive colors and shapes found in the American West. Plus, with each purchase they donate to conservation groups and activists working to protect that area. After a few months of testing we can attest that it works great and looks awesome.
WWII Jerry Can Liquor Cabinet
Repurposed Danish jerry cans from World War II make a unique liquor cabinet. The upcycled cans have a mirror back, locking front access, and interior shelves for a conversation provoking storage system to hang on your wall.
The Leverpresso is small, portable, and makes espresso with just ground coffee and hot water. The lever system can create up to nine bars of pressure, forcing water through the beans to make backcountry espresso. Get one for $70 on Kickstarter now.
Slip on this hoodie to keep cool? That’s the concept from Coolcore, sort of. The Coolcore fabric claims to wick and spread out moisture, helping to keep a heavily sweating user cooler. And in the case of the hoodie, the brand says it makes you more comfortable under moderate conditions.