A peek at emerging products on the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Paramotor Enables Instant Flight
Put it on your back and then launch to 10,000 feet. You’re flying with a “paramotor,” a fan-propelled paraglider unit that can go 45mph. Parajet’s Maverick fits on like a backpack with a seat and has titanium components to save weight. It can be yours with 25 hours of class time and $5,300.
VanLife Camping Pod
Camp in comfort without sacrificing your VanLife credentials for Glamping status. The $265 sheltaPod is a camper van accessory that extends to the side of your rig, providing multi-mode shelter. It works as a sunshade, windbreak, and/or full half-dome tent.
Bike Lock-Light Combo
Lights with a built-in lock, or a lock with built-in lights? The Lemurlock combines two cycling necessities into one simple design. It’s a cable lock with a headlight at one end and tail light at the other that fit into mounts at the front and rear. Look for it on Kickstarter Nov. 15.
American-Made Mountain Jacket
Topo Designs this year launches several new pieces of women’s apparel, all made in the USA. The Women’s Mountain Jacket is sewn from waterproof breathable fabrics and designed as a rugged shell. It high-end end components like YKK zippers and can be stuffed into its own pocket to be used as a pillow.
Power Station Spotlight-Lanterns
Hang it, mount it, angle it, and use it to charge your electronics. GEAR AID releases rechargeable LED lights and power stations with diffuser bags to convert any to soft-light hanging lanterns. The 640-lumen Flux, 320-lumen Arc (pictured), and 160-lumen Spark are built with water-resistant casings; $50-$150.
Ultralight Hammock Chair
Set up a hanging chair in 60 seconds from “almost any tree or crossbeam” between 5 and 30 feet. The sub-two-pound Stella Swing aims to be one of the lightest and simplest hammock chair systems on the market. Starting at $135 on Kickstarter, the Stella Swing promises it can hang from less-than-ideal overhangs and branches.
Lifestyle ‘Commuter’ Skateboard
An entirely new mode of urban commuting that’s fun for hardcore skaters and easy enough for “newbies,” that’s the idea behind the Elos. A deck that’s wider, inspired by race car designs, gives more stability, while also shorter for more responsive turning. The Elos retails for $160, but is live on Kickstarter now for $100.
Diamond Anniversary Buck Knife
The Buck 119 Special is a classic knife that’s stood the test of time. During World War II, the 119 was designed for U.S. soldiers and crafted using surplus files and recycled airplane canopies. For the brand’s 75th anniversary, it introduces a Cabela’s-exclusive, specially marked version of the 119 that comes in a limited edition tin.
TSA-Safe Multi Tool
An “aerospace and military composite” multi-tool that passes TSA regulations and won’t scratch your electronics, the $40 Talon is real everyday carry. The Talon has 17 functions and swappable hex drivers to fit a number of projects.
Swiveling Snowsports Backpack
Flip your backpack around and hop in the chairlift, without ever taking it off. The $180 Wolffepack was designed with the slopes in mind: glove-sized handles, microfiber goggle pocket, emergency whistle, and more.
‘Mini Mountaineer’ Boots
Premium materials combined with shoe design leaning on “the biometric science often reserved for elite athletes” are touted with a new kid-size boot from PLAE. The Kaiden style ($74.95) has a leather upper, treaded sole, and waterproof/breathable construction to keep little feet comfortable on the trail.
‘Most Breathable’ Waterproof Jacket
Polartec created two fabrics for this jacket, an exclusive winter shell from the Japan-based brand Teton Bros. The company’s NeoShell membrane adds breathability, and the new fabrics on the jacket are touted to be the “softest and most comfortable” waterproof materials Polartec has yet released.
Roof Rack Awning
Turn your truck’s roof rack into an awning with the Foxwing Eco from Rhino-Rack. The newly released awning, which fits Rhino-Rack and other roof rack systems with adapters, provides 107 sq ft of cover from the elements and can be deployed by one person.
Reversible Snow Shovel
Switch almost instantly from pushing fresh snow to scraping up hard-packed, snowy tire tracks. The Snowshark is a reversible shovel that has a swiveling handle, letting you toggle between a straight-blade shovel, to a toothed scraper. Early bird buy-ins on Kickstarter begin at $25.
Pocket Knife With ‘Scales’
A blade that’s almost too pretty to use, the Swell is the collaborative product of design/machining firm Discommon Goods and knife-maker The James Brand. The limited-edition, $380 “keystone” knife has tactile titanium scales for grip, a high end D2 steel blade, and curving handle modeled after an ocean swell (hence, the name).
Brighten the night with 2,200 lumens, and capture sharp photo or video in low-visibility conditions without depleting your drone’s battery. The $380 Seca 2200d by Light and Motion has its own two-cell battery, GoPro mount with extendable arm, and three settings brightness settings (up to 40 minutes of light at highest output).
Shoot-From-The-Hip Camera Holster
No tugging or dangling strap hanging from your neck when you’re hiking and trekking with an SLR. The SpiderLight Holster, available on Kickstarter for $75, gives you quickdraw access to your camera. The metal Holster clips to any belt and weighs 3 ounces.
Natural Blister Preventer
A tuft of pure New Zealand lambswool that you can shape, tuck, and wrap around hot spots on your foot. eNZees Foot Soothers tackles one of the biggest setbacks hikers, runners, and adventurers face: blisters. The all-natural, biodegradable, and reusable eNZees Foot Soothers have naturally occurring lanolin that protects and lubricates skin.
‘Better Posture’ Slip-On
A canvas slip-on that improves posture and walking form, and weighs less than a pound per pair, the Tokala could keep your feet happier for more activity. Altra, known for its line of running shoes, outfits this comfort shoe with the same outsole and misole technology in its One runner. We’ve been testing them, and they’re wonderfully comfortable casual dress shoes. Available Nov. 8 for $90.