A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design. Explore the grid below or click through for a slideshow.
Titanium Damascus Leatherman
The exotic look of Damascus with the performance of titanium and the utility of a Leatherman — behold the Charge Plus TTi. It has all 19 functions of the original Charge Plus — including mini scissors, needlenose pliers, multibit driver, cutting hook, and more — now with Damascus steel blades and titanium anodized handles. This online exclusive will only last for a limited run. Check it out now for $300.
Run, don’t walk, with this sub-2-pound, 40L thru-hiking pack. To launch what it calls the “ideal combination of weight, durability, comfort, and accessibility,” Mountainsmith co-designed the Zerk 40L Fastpack with renowned (and eccentric) long-distance hiker The Real Hiking Viking. The Zerk sports a removable waist belt, 1,000-denier nylon construction, oversized side bottle and stash pockets, extra-wide shoulder straps, compression straps, bungee cord, and more. Find the Mountainsmith Zerk 40L on Indigogo for $125.
The Warmest Jacket in the World
A witty twist of marketing lingo, upstart Dark Peak claims its lightweight mid-layer puffy is the only jacket that actually keeps two people warm. That’s because for every one of its NESSH jackets, the brand will donate another just like it to someone who is homeless — every time. The jacket itself comes in two styles: 850-fill goose down or 3M synthetic. Weighing in at 12 ounces, the NESSH sports 10-denier ripstop shell fabric, helmet-compatible hood, handwarmer pockets, and more. Now on Indiegogo, you can grab a NESSH jacket for yourself and have donated, too.
Liner + Runner Socks
Four socks per pair? The Injinji Liner + Runner sock system combines the blister-fighting five-toe design of classic Injinjis (the Liner) with the performance and cushion of a midweight crew sock (the Runner). Look for the Injinji Liner + Runner to hit shelves in May 2019 for $24 per pair (quartet?).
WhiSki Poles 2.0
Four shots in each hand — er, pole. The brand that put a new twist on aprés is at it again. Like its predecessor, WhiSki Poles 2.0 will hold a total of 8 ounces of your favorite beverage in your poles. But now, the WhiSki poles are collapsible (36-54 inches), come with a collapsible funnel for easy filling, and sport “stash handles” — waterproof sleeves that can hold small essentials inside the poles. Version 2.0 will retail for $149 but is on Kickstarter now starting at $65.
Ugly Christmas Sweater/Jersey
Stay festive, even in the saddle. Hill Killer Apparel introduces one of the jollier cycling jerseys we’ve seen in a while, the “Not So Ugly” Christmas Sweater. Made with HK’s moisture-wicking Airflow Performance Fabric, this $75 jersey sports a full-zip front and three rear stash pockets. Just fill your water bottles with eggnog to really get into the holiday spirit!
Ultralight Dyneema Shelters
For those on the move who don’t require any frills in their pack, Six Moon Designs updates its one- and two-person shelters to be even lighter and stronger. Both the one-person Deschutes and two-person Haven now boast Dyneema Composite Fabric construction, adding durability and bringing the shelters’ weights down to 8 and 12 ounces, respectively. The Deschutes ($400) boasts a peak height of 49 inches with 39 square feet of interior space. And the Haven ($500) provides a 45-inch peak height, 51 square feet of space, and two doors. Both can be paired with an inner bug net.
Strap-On Arctic Grip Soles
Extra traction on wet, slippery ice exactly — and only — when you need it. Vibram now offers its impressive Arctic Grip rubber compound in an on-the-go, strap-on package. The Portable Performance Sole represents Vibram’s first portable sole option and uses bungee cord loops to secure onto the wearer’s shoes. Currently, these soles are only available in Europe — but we’ll keep an eye out for a U.S. launch.
Say goodbye to packing — and unpacking — anxiety with the Solgaard Design Carry-On Closet 2.0. This wheeled suitcase, available in 36L or 46L, contains a removable, retractable, and collapsible shelving unit to help keep your stuff organized. The Carry-On Closet has an “unbreakable” polycarbonate shell, recycled-plastic lining, combination lock, and an internal power bank with USB port. Find it on Kickstarter now for early-bird discounts.
1620 DWR NYCO Shirt Jacket
The 1620 DWR NYCO Shirt Jacket is the toughest shirt you will ever buy. Manufactured in Massachusetts, this shirt starts as burly Cordura NYCO fabric. It’s insanely tough. We’ve tested it plowing through brush while pheasant hunting. Not a scratch. Its deep front stealth pockets fit multiple tools, shotgun shells, or up to three 12-ounce beers on each side for Friday nights. This updated edition adds a PFC-free heavy DWR coating to repel water, oil, dirt, and mud. The brand recommends not even washing it for the first month. Just hose it off!