Emerging Gear: Smart Eyewear, Cycling Airbag, Down Scarf, and More

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.
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The North Face Retro Denali Jacket
The North Face Retro Denali Jacket

The North Face 1995 Retro Denali jacket is making a comeback this month with recycled fleece and new colors (including red, green, black, purple, and blue). Although this is definitely a heavy layer, it’s worth its weight in warmth — and retro style. The full-zip jacket is available now for $190 in men’s and women’s sizing.

Cnoc Telescopic Trekking Poles
Cnoc Telescopic Trekking Poles

Cnoc is back on the market with the latest and greatest product: completely repairable trekking poles. The poles are made from carbon fiber whose durability has been tested on Mars. They’re topped with cork or EVA foam grips and weigh under 8 ounces. The Easy Tip component on these poles can fit the housing of any carbide tip on the market. The sets start at $125; visit the Kickstarter to claim your pair.

MVB Backpack
MVB Backpack

This Hong Kong brand is taking durability to a whole new level. The MVB Backpack is layered with Kevlar material, is waterproof with quick-dry straps, and also doubles as a flotation device, courtesy of an airtight valve system. The bag’s patent-pending shockproof exterior means it will provide cushion and block impact force (like during an earthquake). The backpack starts at $99 on Kickstarter.

onX Maps 'Offroad' App
onX Maps 'Offroad' App

I’m usually a fan of leaving technology behind when venturing outside. However, the onX Maps Offroad App looks super helpful. With over 985 million acres of public lands at your fingertips, use Offroad to discover 4×4, overland, or dirt-bike trails completely offline. The GPS map app even has saving and tracking features, and a subscription costs $3.99/month or $29.99/year.

Smartwool SmartLoft-X 60 Hoodie
Smartwool SmartLoft-X 60 Hoodie

Smartwool’s new SmartLoft-X 60 Hoodie ($250) would be a welcome addition to any winter wardrobe. Made with 50-percent recycled wool content, this midlayer’s insulation is sure to keep your warmth packed in, even in wet conditions. The windproof, water-repellent exterior is a knit nylon shell.

ORBI Marine Eyewear
ORBI Marine Eyewear

Lots of people have preferences when it comes to sunglasses. However, we think ORBI’s new waterproof eyewear might make it onto everyone’s list. The waterproof sunglasses also double as a hands-free 360-degree recording device for video and images, so you never miss a moment of adventure. The smartphone- and smartwatch-compatible eyewear starts at $249 MSRP.

Victorinox Swiss Army Outdoor Master Blade
Victorinox Swiss Army Outdoor Master Blade

Swiss Army now has its first fixed blade on the market: the Outdoor Master. The full-tang knife comes in two blade sizes: a small 70mm and a large 100mm. Both knives ($119-199) have Micarta scales and Scandi grind edge for easy sharpening. They also come with a Kydex sheath, and the larger blade has an attached paracord firestarter for the more serious camper.

Vasque Breeze LT Low
Vasque Breeze LT Low

Vasque’s latest shoe style uses 25 percent less weight in outsole material than the last model (Breeze III), making it extremely lightweight. The Breeze LT Low is made with a Vibram MegaGrip and a synthetic microfiber upper for breathability. This spiffy, lighter-fit Vasque retails at $140.

Braven BRV Speakers
Braven BRV Speakers

Braven’s new outdoor speakers are super tempting given the array of features. The floatable, waterproof, shockproof units deliver 360 degrees of HD sound and come in four sizes, from mini to heavy-duty. The BRV Mini, X/2, XL, and XXL/2 speakers have silicon bottoms, built-in USB ports, bottle openers, and 16-18 hours of battery life. The rugged speakers range from $40 to $400.

Gocycle GXi E-Bike
Gocycle GXi E-Bike

Yes, electric bikes are everywhere now. Yes, you should embrace it. Not one for clunky batteries or bikes that take up space? Gocycle‘s GXi is a perfect lightweight, minimalist option for the urban commuter. The new GXi model has internal cable routing and an internal battery (holds charge for up to 4 hours) inside the aluminum and magnesium frame. The fast-fold method is new, as is the integrated smart display. The price is $4,799, and it will release in January 2020.

MPOWERD Luci Core Light
MPOWERD Luci Core Light

MPOWERD Luci lights are great for camping, but this one also has applications outside the tent. Instead of a hanging strap, the Luci Core ($15) has a bendable arm to strap, wrap, or hang the light in any direction. The actual display is three 40-lumen white lights that last up to 12 hours on a single charge.

Stio Hometown Down Scarf
Stio Hometown Down Scarf

I wouldn’t take it into the backcountry, but I’d take it just about anywhere else. The Stio Hometown Down Scarf ($59) comes in two subtle color patterns and is made of 800-fill, water-repellent down. The scarf’s exterior is a comfortable, 20-denier nylon that has a zip stash pocket and snap closure for easy wearability.

FORM Swim Goggles
FORM Swim Goggles

FORM’s new swim goggles are a huge step above what you’re probably used to. Built into the lens is a smart display, which can be configured to either the right or left eye. The tech involves a see-through screen with antifog coating that can show metrics like stroke rate, distance, and calories burned. The high-tech eyewear ($199) connects via Bluetooth and has a 16-hour runtime.

Hovding Gen 3 Helmet
Hovding Gen 3 Helmet

The third iteration of Hovding’s bike helmets isn’t even worn on your head — it’s a collar of sorts with complete airbag features. Made for either daily daredevils or anxious commuters, the contraption reads a rider’s movements 200 times per second, and in just one-tenth of a second the airbag can deploy to cushion your skull upon an impact or fall. The latest version, the brand claims, is easier to use, adjustable, and Bluetooth-ready. Plus, in the Hovding’s tests, the inflating helmet proved eight times safer than a normal helmet. But what airbag wouldn’t be? The airbag “helmet” is available for $330 from Hovding.

Aurora Powertrains Electric Snowmobile
Aurora Powertrains Electric Snowmobile

Introducing the world’s first electric, rechargeable snowmobile from Aurora Powertrains. Its electric motor tops out between 98 and 104 mph. The brand offers two-seater touring or utility styles and a tow hitch. The onboard charger supports charging modes from household outlets up to DC fast-charging stations all around the world. Thanks to the standard vehicle inlet, the electric snowmobile is fully charged in less than an hour when plugged in to DC fast charger.

  • The North Face Retro Denali Jacket

    The North Face 1995 Retro Denali jacket is making a comeback this month with recycled fleece and new colors (including red, green, black, purple, and blue). Although this is definitely a heavy layer, it’s worth its weight in warmth — and retro style. The full-zip jacket is available now for $190 in men’s and women’s sizing.

  • Cnoc Telescopic Trekking Poles

    Cnoc is back on the market with the latest and greatest product: completely repairable trekking poles. The poles are made from carbon fiber whose durability has been tested on Mars. They’re topped with cork or EVA foam grips and weigh under 8 ounces. The Easy Tip component on these poles can fit the housing of any carbide tip on the market. The sets start at $125; visit the Kickstarter to claim your pair.

  • MVB Backpack

    This Hong Kong brand is taking durability to a whole new level. The MVB Backpack is layered with Kevlar material, is waterproof with quick-dry straps, and also doubles as a flotation device, courtesy of an airtight valve system. The bag’s patent-pending shockproof exterior means it will provide cushion and block impact force (like during an earthquake). The backpack starts at $99 on Kickstarter.

  • onX Maps 'Offroad' App

    I’m usually a fan of leaving technology behind when venturing outside. However, the onX Maps Offroad App looks super helpful. With over 985 million acres of public lands at your fingertips, use Offroad to discover 4×4, overland, or dirt-bike trails completely offline. The GPS map app even has saving and tracking features, and a subscription costs $3.99/month or $29.99/year.

  • Smartwool SmartLoft-X 60 Hoodie

    Smartwool’s new SmartLoft-X 60 Hoodie ($250) would be a welcome addition to any winter wardrobe. Made with 50-percent recycled wool content, this midlayer’s insulation is sure to keep your warmth packed in, even in wet conditions. The windproof, water-repellent exterior is a knit nylon shell.

  • ORBI Marine Eyewear

    Lots of people have preferences when it comes to sunglasses. However, we think ORBI’s new waterproof eyewear might make it onto everyone’s list. The waterproof sunglasses also double as a hands-free 360-degree recording device for video and images, so you never miss a moment of adventure. The smartphone- and smartwatch-compatible eyewear starts at $249 MSRP.

  • Victorinox Swiss Army Outdoor Master Blade

    Swiss Army now has its first fixed blade on the market: the Outdoor Master. The full-tang knife comes in two blade sizes: a small 70mm and a large 100mm. Both knives ($119-199) have Micarta scales and Scandi grind edge for easy sharpening. They also come with a Kydex sheath, and the larger blade has an attached paracord firestarter for the more serious camper.

  • Vasque Breeze LT Low

    Vasque’s latest shoe style uses 25 percent less weight in outsole material than the last model (Breeze III), making it extremely lightweight. The Breeze LT Low is made with a Vibram MegaGrip and a synthetic microfiber upper for breathability. This spiffy, lighter-fit Vasque retails at $140.

  • Braven BRV Speakers

    Braven’s new outdoor speakers are super tempting given the array of features. The floatable, waterproof, shockproof units deliver 360 degrees of HD sound and come in four sizes, from mini to heavy-duty. The BRV Mini, X/2, XL, and XXL/2 speakers have silicon bottoms, built-in USB ports, bottle openers, and 16-18 hours of battery life. The rugged speakers range from $40 to $400.

  • Gocycle GXi E-Bike

    Yes, electric bikes are everywhere now. Yes, you should embrace it. Not one for clunky batteries or bikes that take up space? Gocycle‘s GXi is a perfect lightweight, minimalist option for the urban commuter. The new GXi model has internal cable routing and an internal battery (holds charge for up to 4 hours) inside the aluminum and magnesium frame. The fast-fold method is new, as is the integrated smart display. The price is $4,799, and it will release in January 2020.

  • MPOWERD Luci Core Light

    MPOWERD Luci lights are great for camping, but this one also has applications outside the tent. Instead of a hanging strap, the Luci Core ($15) has a bendable arm to strap, wrap, or hang the light in any direction. The actual display is three 40-lumen white lights that last up to 12 hours on a single charge.

  • Stio Hometown Down Scarf

    I wouldn’t take it into the backcountry, but I’d take it just about anywhere else. The Stio Hometown Down Scarf ($59) comes in two subtle color patterns and is made of 800-fill, water-repellent down. The scarf’s exterior is a comfortable, 20-denier nylon that has a zip stash pocket and snap closure for easy wearability.

  • FORM Swim Goggles

    FORM’s new swim goggles are a huge step above what you’re probably used to. Built into the lens is a smart display, which can be configured to either the right or left eye. The tech involves a see-through screen with antifog coating that can show metrics like stroke rate, distance, and calories burned. The high-tech eyewear ($199) connects via Bluetooth and has a 16-hour runtime.

  • Hovding Gen 3 Helmet

    The third iteration of Hovding’s bike helmets isn’t even worn on your head — it’s a collar of sorts with complete airbag features. Made for either daily daredevils or anxious commuters, the contraption reads a rider’s movements 200 times per second, and in just one-tenth of a second the airbag can deploy to cushion your skull upon an impact or fall. The latest version, the brand claims, is easier to use, adjustable, and Bluetooth-ready. Plus, in the Hovding’s tests, the inflating helmet proved eight times safer than a normal helmet. But what airbag wouldn’t be? The airbag “helmet” is available for $330 from Hovding.

  • Aurora Powertrains Electric Snowmobile

    Introducing the world’s first electric, rechargeable snowmobile from Aurora Powertrains. Its electric motor tops out between 98 and 104 mph. The brand offers two-seater touring or utility styles and a tow hitch. The onboard charger supports charging modes from household outlets up to DC fast-charging stations all around the world. Thanks to the standard vehicle inlet, the electric snowmobile is fully charged in less than an hour when plugged in to DC fast charger.

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Mary Murphy
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Mary is based in Denver, Colorado, but frequently travels abroad. Her outdoor interests span from climbing to landscape photography to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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