Emerging Gear

Ahead of the curve, cutting-edge, and to-be-released gear.

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Emerging Gear: Outdoor Products This Week

A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.

‘Puffy Gargantuan’

A strange product, Uncharted Supply Co. made its Hideaway jacket with panels ready to stuff with “dry leaves… cotton and anything else light and dry.” (The pictured puffy here is stuffed with crumpled newspaper!) The $49.99 jacket is essentially a nylon windbreaker that in an emergency can be filled with found insulating materials ad hoc.

Safer Ski Helmet?

Small gel-like pods line the inside of these to-be-released helmets, protecting a wearer from “oblique and rotational impacts to the head,” as POC North America puts it. Like MIPS technology, the SPIN pads give a safety upgrade. They shear in any direction and allow a helmet to move relative to the head. SPIN technology will come in five POC helmets for the 2017-2018 season.

Lightest Fold-Up Kayak

Billed to be among the world’s lightest, most portable folding boats, the Justin Case Kayak weighs less than 6 pounds! It has a carbon-fiber frame and a rip-stop skin. The packable kayak can carry more than 250 pounds.

The Cook Parka

Jack Wolfskin claims The Cook Parka is made for the worst winter days. At $319 (sold on Zappos), the quilted, weatherproof puffer jacket is hundreds of dollars less than some of the competition. There is a detachable hood with faux-fur trim. The Parka features synthetic insulation and duck down, which kept us warm when belaying in single digit temps.

Winter Mitts, Made In USA

Brfur makes and stitches its durable winter mitts in Wisconsin. We tested the Trekker Mitts ($105) model this winter and have been happy with their warmth and quality materials. The brand uses a tough 500D nylon shell, high-loft insulation, a shearling fleece liner, and grip material on the palm.

‘Ultimate’ Merino Base Layer

Lightweight and anti-stink, Icebreaker’s Zone Long Sleeve Crewe and leggings are dubbed “the ultimate active base layers.” The brand’s BodyfitZONE construction combines lightweight, stretchy merino wool with merino mesh panels to help regulate your temperature while sweating and on the move.

Anti-Theft Pack Cover

A backpack cover and anti-theft case, the Option Pack is made of a cut-resistant material. It has a lockable strap that slips around a pole and accepts a padlock, letting a user ostensibly secure his or her goods in a public place.

Compacting ‘Popticals’ Sunglasses

With the POPAIR sunglasses, you get an aviator look that folds in half and packs into a tiny case. We are fans of Popticals (see our full review), and for 2017 with the POPAIR and other models the company has upped its style a notch. The optics are made in Milan, Italy, and come with a small protective case.

Pelican Coolers Get Upgrade

Launching a line of 20-quart “grizzly-proof” coolers, Pelican issues seven new colors and upgraded features on is injection-molded models. The new design is said to decrease cooler weight up to 30 percent from similar models.

‘Naked’ Running Band

Made mainly of mesh, the Naked Running Band is a wide belt of sorts. Its pockets hold hydration and energy food, among other small necessities for ultra-running and other on-the-move pursuits where you want to leave a backpack behind.

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