A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Security Snowboard Pack
Because nasty falls aren’t the only hazard in adventure sports, Quiksilver and Pacsafe teamed up to make a surf/snowboard pack with extra security. The 40L anti-theft carry-on pack has Dyneema and slash-guard fabric to prevent breeching, lockable zippers, and a removable drybag to keep wets and drys separate. Available at Pacsafe.com for $190.
Why use two skis when you can use three? Hillstrike adds to the growing mountain-bike-on-skis movement and improves its original design with the $2,300 Snowstrike REV 17. More than 2 lbs. lighter than its predecessor, the REV 17 is a 35-lb. aluminum machine with three 35-in. skis, BMX-style bars, and parallelogram design that lets you lean into – and carve – pow.
Dial in the perfect tint with the Spy Ace EC with ONE technology. Unlike LCD auto tint goggles, Spy introduces a new mechanism it claims is cheaper and free from the “waves” LCD-equipped goggles can create. The Ace EC ONE has three tint settings, controlled with, as the name suggests, one button. We have them in office and, in brief testing, work as promised. The rechargeable goggles launch winter 2018 for $275.
Take only as much boot as you need. Vasque refreshes its classic design with the Clarion ’88. Suede and mesh make up the upper, while EVA cushions the foot and and Vibram rubber bites into the trail. Available this spring for $150.
Less focus on stuff you don’t need, and more focus on the things you do. That’s what Använda set out to do with what it calls “A Great F*cking Bag.” Carry it as a backpack, briefcase, shoulder bag, or tote. It’s got exactly two pockets for your stuff, comes in six colors, and is available as 17- or 27-liter. It also sports a removable rain cover, and is made from Italian leather with silver-infused fabric to repel bacteria and odors. Live on Kickstarter.
Mountainsmith Scream 55
Super light, comfortable, and affordable at $160. Mountainsmith checks some big boxes with the Scream 55 backpack, which hits the market today. The minimalist pack weighs just 2 pounds 13 ounces thanks to Robic fabric with a tough PU coating and Aramid yarn woven throughout. It has a simple roll-top closure, two large front pockets, and basic back panel. But it carries modest loads beautifully. We’ve put it to the paces and loved the simple comfort. Budget oriented ultralight backpackers should give it a look.
Slacker head angle, longer reach, and increased wheel base combine to improve the latest Intense Carbine‘s look and feel. The carbon 29er has enduro riding in its sights with 160mm travel in the front, 155 in the rear, and a Sram Eagle groupset. The Carbine Factory Build (pictured) is $7,999.
Lighten your pack with the “world’s first flameless silicone cooker.” Place a water-activated heating pack inside the Yabul Cooker next to your preferred camp dinner. After 10–15 minutes, your meal should be ready. The Yabul reaches over 206 degrees Fahrenheit, has a pressure cap, and rolls up tight to fit in a pack. Live on Kickstarter.
Bikers, get ready for the next generation of locks. Tapplock showed off its latest, fully waterproof keyless padlock at CES this month. The Tapplock can hold up to 500 different fingerprint IDs, pairs with smartphones, and lasts up to a year (about 3,500 lock cycles) on a single charge.
Lightest Coffee Press
Don’t sacrifice good java on your camping trip. Bring the 16-oz. Espro coffee press. At 9.6 oz. (everything included), it weighs less than it holds, and its double-wall, vacuum-insulated construction means it will keep your joe hot. Live on Kickstarter.
Help your barking dogs recover from a hard-days’ trek with the first line of compression socks by FITS. Launched this month, the Compression Sock Series offers three styles: cushioned nylon, cushioned merino, and non-cushioned nylon. Each features over-the-calf design and a variety of colors, $25–$30.
Super Ultralight Fork
Trim every last, minuscule nano-ounce from your pack with Snow Peak’s Titanium Mini-Fork. Weighing less than half-an-ounce, the 4.5-inch utensil stacks inside the brand’s Ti-Mini Solo cooking set. Available starting today at noon PST for $10.
Better Basic Dog Bed
Governor Baxter improves on its “all-natural” Mackworth dog bed by making it less chewable. Absent are snaps, tabs, and toy holders, and the zipper is reduced to be less bitable and more finger-friendly. Like the previous Mackworth, there’s no petroleum-based fill, just naturally water-resistant Kapok. And the outer is food-grade paraffin-coated duck canvas. Available now for $475.
Kid Boot For Extreme Cold
Tall uppers and an injected-molded EVA shell make the Snow Quest Lite boots unique. Merrell notes it’s the “lightest, most flexible boot” in its youth line. The company touts warmth to negative 40-degrees Fahrenheit. While we did not hit those lows, our tester kids were happy in the boots on below-zero days while sledding and building forts. $70 at Merrell.com.
Affordable Down Jacket
Upstart Canadian brand Live Out There compares its Chamonix Down Jacket with similar baffled tops from Patagonia and Marmot, noting $100 or more in savings. (See our coverage of the company’s model at “This Brand Wants to Show You How Much Apparel REALLY Costs.”) We tested the Chamonix this winter and are so far happy with the $119.99 puffy. Its 800-fill down kept one reviewer warm on a recent below-zero day when he put studded tires on a bike and rode for 25 miles upstream on a frozen creek. See details on the Chamonix Down Jacket at Liveoutthere.com, and stay tuned for our full review of the line.