Emerging Gear

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

Emerging Gear: Outdoor Products This Week

A peek at emerging products, culled from crowd-source sites like Kickstarter, PR campaigns, and industry scoops on the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.

Future Shades

As seen this month on Olympic athletes in Rio, the Nike Wing sunglasses ($1,200) are rare optics with “unbroken lines” for a unique shield to cut wind drag for runners to almost nothing. They are hinge-less and weigh only 4 grams. The future shades also include a silicone eyebrow pad and rubber nose pad.

Wearable Bike GPS

The Lezyne GPS watch line offers a bike computer on your wrist (with functions for hiking and running, too). The Micro C GPS Watch has a color display and connectivity to your smartphone, power meter, heart rate monitor, speed/cadence sensor, and more.

Off-Road Speedster

BRP plans to introduce a new side-by-side vehicle every six months through 2020. The latest addition is the 2017 Can-Am Maverick X3, announced this week. The off-road speedster has an “ergonomic” cockpit and 24-inch suspension to suck up the bumps.

Lightest Gore-Tex Jacket

The brand 7mesh announced “the first sub-100gm GORE-TEX jacket” for spring 2017. The Oro Jacket uses Gore’s Active fabric with a permanent beading surface to eliminate traditional DWR treatment. Final weight in size large? 97 grams.

Sleeping Bag Baffle Upgrade

The North Face will launch the Hyper Kazoo down-insulated sleeping bag in 2017 with a new kind of baffle design. Instead of stitching, the company weaves the baffle connections together, adding strength and decreasing overall bag weight by a measurable margin.

New Take On Bamboo Bicycle

Bikes made of bamboo have been around. Craft Bicycle has a new take with their to-be-launched frame. This one is handmade from bamboo with sustainable materials. The brand is looking for funding to launch on Indiegogo this month.

No-Battery Lantern

Solar power gives the Luci Outdoor 2.0 its needed electricity to shine at the campsite. The upgraded version of the inexpensive off-grid lantern collapses down to just 1 inch and can last up to 18 hours between charges. It comes to market next month for $19.95 from Mpowerd.

ECCO BIOM Venture

Breathability and dry feet are the promises from ECCO with its 2017 shoe, the Venture. It uses a synthetic upper with GORE-TEX SURROUND waterproof construction and breathability from “all angles” with a vent-equipped sole.

‘UNEEK’ Robot

KEEN unveiled a first of its kind process for manufacturing the popular UNEEK sandals. The UNEEK Robot consists of two automated arms that execute the complex back-and-forth lacing intrinsic to the sandal in half the time of a person. Many shoe companies employ machines within the production process, but the intricate, fully-automated processes of the UNEEK Robot is an industry first.

GoPro Backpack

GoPro gets into packs with its Seeker 16L backpack, new this month. The weather resistant, hydration-compatible pack has storage for five cameras and different mounts to capture any activity from a variety of angles. Among other features, an integrated chest mount connects to a camera for hands-free footage as you hike, run, bike, or ski. We tested it and approve of the user-friendly design, good fit, and quality materials employed throughout.

Disc Brake Scrubber

Dutch inventor Jack van der Steeg launched the Brake Protec Kickstarter campaign to ramp up production of his disc brake-cleaning device. The device consists of a 3D-printed plastic mount with sets of bristles that “sweep” a brake rotor as it passes through. Ideally, this machine will keep dirt and debris away (and extending the life of your brakes).

‘Jet Propulsion’ For Watercrafts

A removable electric motor that fits on inflatable canoes, stand up paddle boards, boats, and SCUBA packs is the idea behind the SCUBAJET. Various mounts attach the 10-inch, 5-pound “engine” to a variety of watercrafts. The SCUBAJET is self-contained and safe to handle (no exposed propellers), has an auto shut-off if you fall off the board or boat, and includes a remote control that can mount on a paddle.

Anti-Hypothermia Vest

The XeroVest is a 2-oz. vest that you blow up in an emergency. It has nylon cells that conform to the body as they inflate. Like a space blanket, the inner material is thermally reflective, while the exterior is a “radar-reflective polymer” to aid search and rescue attempts if you’re lost. It’s not a substitute for layering or a good coat, but for $10 it could be part of your worst-case-scenario kit.

Groove Wedding Band

is a new alternative to traditional metal wedding bands. Like other soft rings on the market, it’s made of silicone. But unlike other soft rings, it has infinity loops, air-ports, and an inner arch to lessen the contact of your skin with the ring. This allows it to “breathe,” the brand touts. $30.

Acrobatic Drone

A new line of three drones by Xtreeme can “flip” 360 degrees, all while filming with a built-in HD camera. The top-end Sky Ranger costs $180, and comes with a 720p HD detachable camera, remote control, 4GB microSD card and reader, wall charger and power adapter, spare rotor blades, and a smartphone-to-remote control bracket.

Creative Movie Lens

Lensbaby makes photo lenses that support creativity with elements like tilt/shift, selective focus, and more. The brand launches a new model this month with the Movie Makers Kit II. Called a “full-service, in-camera creative solution for filmmakers,” the kit includes four DSLR lenses and a carry case for $2,500.

Knife Made To Pry

We know you’re not supposed to pry with your knife. But we know you sometimes do it anyway. Kershaw introduces the Barge, which has an integrated pry bar on the back end of the knife. We tested a sample and it seems useful for those who need a rugged, pry-worthy tool and a short, 2.6″ 8Cr13MoV general utility blade. It’s available now for $35.

Stretchy Down Jacket

Welded channel construction and stretchy fabrics for added mobility make a new line of jackets from Mountain Hardwear unique. The StretchDown Insulation collection comes to market this fall in multiple styles for women and men. Mountain Hardwear touts the design “traps more warmth than in standard stitched-construction jackets” and works like no insulated jacket it has ever made.

Fitness Tracking Headphones

This week Jabra launched the Sport Pulse Special Edition and Sport Coach Special Edition wireless headphones. Both models monitor fitness during a workout. The Sport Pulse is made for running and is the “world’s first sports headphone with automatic (and continuous) VO2 Max fitness testing” and in-ear biometric heart rate monitoring, among a bunch of cool features.

‘Venting’ Ski Goggles

Last year we reviewed the Julbo Aerospace. It’s an awesome goggle that opens to vent for use while climbing uphill, and it really works but costs a whopping $240. The Airflux, new for this fall, has the same venting mechanism but with a standard polycarbonate lens (in exchange for the expensive photochromatic lens). It will cost a much more reasonable $150.

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