A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Auto-On Bike Lights
Never leave your bike lights on… or off. Light & Motion launches the Vibe head- and tail-lights that sense ambient light and speed. The result: Hands-free lights that illuminate the path ahead and alert traffic around you. Vibe series lights cost $40-$60, depending on brightness.
ULLR Powder Suit
Helly Hansen built this one-piece for powder junkies. It’s essentially a high-end jacket and shell pants, just connected (like what you had as a kid!). But top-shelf waterproof/breathable materials and features like a phone-battery-preserving insulated pocket (see our review here) make the $850 suit future-proof. Available this fall.
Do-All Battery Box
Charge your computer, jumpstart your car. The Crank Juice Box is a lightweight battery bank that is agnostic toward what it powers up. In short, this is a big battery with a litany of hook-ups, ports, and connections, from USB and old-school pin connectors, to the included clamp-ons for an auto battery that goes dead. It comes in a case, ready to use in an emergency or everyday.
Lighter, Faster Fixie
Hit the velodrome (or blaze past urban traffic) with a high-performing fixed-gear bike. State Bicycle Co. took on the challenge of making its Undefeated model more nimble without raising the price. At 15 lbs. 6 oz., the Undefeated II weighs 2.5 lbs. less than its predecessor, but costs the same at $945.
Day Pack With Dividers
The Gobi Free Spirit is a 30-liter pack you can stuff into its own palm-size pocket. The $79 pack boasts numerous internal storage dividers and external pockets to separate and haul your gear.
Blaster Of Light
LED Lenser ships its mega MT18 flashlight this month. It is ultra-bright, including a blinding 3,000-lumen setting that will cut hundreds of feet into the night. Bonus: A lock-off switch guarantees the MT18 won’t flip on accidentally inside your backpack. $199 at Ledlenserusa.com
'James Bond' Luggage
CRESTS offers a carbon fiber travel case that combines high-tech looks with real tech features. The case has a built-in scale, GPS, remote locking, and an impact sensor that lets you know if it’s been damaged in transit. And while it has a James Bond-worthy price (over $1,450), it’s available at discount on Kickstarter.
K2 Heated Ski Boots
No more cold toes if you can afford the $900 K2 Spyne 120 Heat ski boots. They are new for this winter and have heated liners with three settings for hours of on-slope warmth. K2 touts comfort, but also notes temp-regulated feet boost performance “by allowing the foot muscles to be relaxed and therefore more responsive.”
Basic 'Scholar' Bag
Pack what you need without a mess of extra features. Luggage brand Db dives into everyday backpacks with The Scholar. Built with college and school-kids in mind, the 15-liter pack carries a computer, some goods, and it has external buckles to strap on a skateboard.
Stash your cash and cards without extra pocket bulge. Chums’ $25 cowhide Agent Wallet measures 4″ x 3″, just enough to take along what you need.
Leather and 'Weatherproof'
OluKai launches its first waterproof collection, including the Makoa, a $150 low-cut shoe. Its grippy rubber sole makes it capable on-trail, but it also fits semi-formal occasions.
Foldable, Portable LED
Inventor Ravi Varma noticed while camping that portable lanterns “were getting in the way.” He made the MESA as a new form factor that shines an LED glow straight down on a table or in a tent. Its legs fold up when not in use.
File this under You Know Summer’s Over When… New Belgium launches this year’s special fall release: Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin. Cinnamon and habañero peppers combine to give this seasonal some extra kick.
Solo 'Lean-To' Tent
This pseudo-bivy, available in early 2018, packs in more versatility, space, and weight savings than expected, our editor noted in his review. The Sierra Designs High Side Tent is a new take on the solo tent, weighing about 2 pounds and featuring a large awning to cook and prep gear.