A peek at emerging products on the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
‘No Sag’ Saddle Bag Support
A simple one-piece saddle-mounted rack keeps saddle bags from drooping. Ocean Air Cycles aims to stop your loaded saddle pack from drooping and rubbing your rear tire with a limited first run of the Erlen support rack for $130.
Crash-Safe Cycling Glasses
Removable and customizable rubber bumpers are designed to protect your eyes and face in a fall or accident. Rudy Project’s Fotonyk sunglasses are designed with the worst-case scenario in mind but exhibit everyday features like breathable channels around the lenses and an adjustable nose-piece.
American-made outdoor apparel company Stormy Kromer jumps on the leading edge of four states’ (Wisc., N.Y., Colo., and La.) approval of blaze pink for hunting. The company’s trademark Elmer Fudd-style caps and various apparel accents receive upgrades in various shades of pink and orange.
‘BeasTi’ Multi Tool
The BeasTi adds form to the function-driven multi-tool market. Its military-grade titanium construction makes it stronger and lighter than stainless steel tools. A credit card-size wolf design is the standout of BeasTi’s more than 20 features.
Shape Shifting Bike Rack
Bike and board brand Oakmulgee recognized that one size doesn’t always fit all apartments or houses when it comes to bike racks. The Bike Station Rack adjusts to fit your bike AND your space.
Atlanta startup Rheos Gear specializes in polarized sunglasses that won’t sink when you inevitably lose them in a massive swell. Now the brand’s fourth frame (its first two sold out in 60 days), the Eddies are a sports-specific design with anti-fog vents and wraparound protection. All frames are $50.
Barefoot Runner For Winter
The VIVOBAREFOOT “Off-Road” line receives a unique addition. The spike-toothed, soft-ground sole is designed for wet, slippery, and muddy conditions – probably not for snow. The UK-based brand’s Primus Trail runner is vegan and made in part from recycled tires. It’s available in both men’s and women’s for $165.
‘Most Comfortable’ Active Cap
The aptly named MultiSport cap by Headsweats is made with knit and woven fabrics that dry much faster than cotton. A built-in sweatband keeps your eyes clear, and the sun-blocking hat and brim fold down to fit in your pocket without deforming the shape over time. It comes to market next year for around $30.
LEGO Hair Bike Helmet
What do you get when ad agencies and developers from Sweden and Denmark join forces to get kids on bikes? A prototype bike helmet fashioned like a LEGO person’s hair, of course. The project is explained in this video – so far it’s a one-off.
High-Power Portable Speaker
The futuristic Street Blaster X by Pyle USA kicks out 1,000 watts of sound and looks like a jet engine. The bluetooth speaker is designed for “maximum bass response and performance.” For the big sound you pay: It costs a hefty $284.
‘World’s Most Unique Fire Pit’
The Solo Stove Bonfire utilizes primary and secondary combustion to keep your backyard or campsite mostly smoke- and burnt log-free. The design burns clean (we reviewed a similar Solo Stove here) and results in a quick-burning blaze. The stainless steel design is sleek and a fit for a campsite or the lawn but costs a lot at $280.
‘Most Ultimate Air Mattress Ever’
Futo promises its queen-size air mattress inflates in less than 20 seconds – that’s impressive. This super-thick sleeper is at the height of cushy camping, but it’s uninsulated, basically an air mattress, and it makes a very extravagant claim as the “most ultimate air mattress ever.”
Extreme Mountaineering Sunglasses
Julbo makes sunglasses to head where most people don’t. The newest iteration of its Explorer line blends the brand’s trademark full UV coverage and anti-fog technology with a slimmer design that passes for an everyday pair of shades fit for the world’s tallest mountains.
Affordable GPS Running Watch
Polar releases its beginner-friendly M200 running watch this week. Designed for the “occasional runner,” the M200 has GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity tracking, coaching, and more for $149.
Limited Edition Designer Ski Boots
Full Tilt unveils its seventh generation of The Tom Wallisch Pro Model Boot. The sharp kicks, Tom Wallisch Ltd. and B & E Ltd., have all the bells and whistles – aluminum widetrack buckles, a cinch powerstrap and INTUITION’s pro liner – with the design aesthetics from pro skiers Tom Wallisch, Phil Casabon (aka B-Dog), and Henrik Harlaut (aka E-Dollo). The good looks come with a big price: $750.