A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Add a little style to your folding kayak with the Oru’s latest origami watercraft. The Beach LT represents a collaboration between Oru and Topo Designs, a manufacturer of US-made outdoor-ready packs and apparel. Topo lent the aesthetic accents to this $1,300 foldable kayak, on pre-sale now.
Drone Footage Backup
Keep a digital copy of everything your drone captures. Hard drive and software storage brand Seagate partnered with DJI, maker of drones and drone cameras. The result is the Fly Drive, a drone with up to 2 TB of storage in a durable package. Toss the $120 Fly Drive in your pack and lay it on the ground without worrying while you fly. It has a protective casing to endure jostles, bumps, and drops. Available summer.
Easy Rooftop Loading
Forget hoisting, load your watercrafts onto rooftop racks without the height hassle. Yakima introduces the ShowDown, a lift-and-tilt sideloading rack. Designed for SUPs and kayaks, the $450, 21-pound ShowDown has hinged arms that allows you to strap in your gear, lift it, slide it, and lock it without grabbing the step stool.
Volleback tackles high-visibility with the $195 Nano Meter 555 midlayer. It employs “the most visible color on earth,” a shade of green that reflects light at 555 nanometers (hence the name). For nighttime, the brand added reflective dots patterned after motion-capture technology, to maximize visibility.
Show your colors with the latest helmet tech. This year, Bell celebrates past cycling champions with a short-film series and the limited-edition, red-white-and-blue All-Star Zephyr helmet. The $230 special colorway uses MIPS technology to protect the brain against rotational force. Available in August.
‘Sexy’ Sleeping Bag
Sleep in it, wear it, or zip some together, Alite’s $169 Sexy Hotness Sleeping Bag is unlike any bags we’ve seen. The foot of the bag unzips into individual legs, so sleepwalkers can do their thing, but the real selling point is its compatibility with group-slumber. It’s been around, but the latest Sexy Hotness has an improved hood and a kangaroo pocket.
Waterproof Sneaker Boot
Part gollash, part dress shoe, Ridgemont Outfitters’ The Heritage is “the ultimate sneaker boot.” It’s waterproof, sports an EVA midsole for comfort, and lugged outsole for the trail. The Heritage will retail for $338, but is available for discount on Kickstarter.
These French-made sunglasses were born from mountaineering expeditions, but built to wear around town… in a Lamborghini. Vuarnet’s Glacier sunglasses have removable side shields, leather cord, and 100-percent UV protection. And they cost $600.
99.9999% Clean Water
New this year, the RapidPure Pioneer elbows its way into the water filtration and purification markets. The $55 Pioneer traps and kills bacteria and viruses, and weighs only 1.9 ounces. It can be used directly in a stream or in a bottle, frozen and re-thawed without affecting performance.
Folding e-Bike For Comfort
French startup Weebot dives into the folding bike market with the Aero, a comfort- minded folding bike. Front and rear suspension on 12″ wheels, a digital display, and 3-second packability are some of its key features. The Aero is about $1,500 and can go up to 22 mph for 45 miles.
Cotopaxi Travel Bag
Padded laptop sleeve, a host of inner pockets, and a stash compartment for a daypack, Cotopaxi brings its social- and outdoor-minded designs into carry-on luggage. The Allpa holds 35 liters and will retail for $230, but just launched on Indiegogo for $165.
Leave the raincoat behind without worry. Parker Dusseau’s Seadrift Overshirt has a stretch-cotton and nylon blend with a water-repellent treatment to combat unpredictable weather. The result is a semi-casual overshirt. It’s not cheap, though, at $188.
Lighter, Tougher Lock
A steel and Kevlar bike lock that fits in your pocket, the OTTOLOCK aims to make bike security less clunky. This combination cinch lock has lengths of 18″, 30″, and 60″ and starts at $55.
Easier Kids’ Bike
More stability, more confidence, and more fit, Prevelo takes a more kid-friendly approach to bikes. Unlike balance bikes, which have no cranks, Prevelo’s pedal bikes help children learn to ride by lowering the cranks toward the ground and altering the bike’s geometry to make it easier for kids to handle.
Charge your phone with the wind or the river, the Waterlily Personal Turbine brings clean energy to the campsite. According to the brand, the turbine can charge a smartphone in as little as 2.5 hours (with 22-mph winds or 3.3 fps flow rate). The $99 Waterlily has a USB port and a hand crank for manual charging.