A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
‘Layered’ Hammock Shelter
Shield yourself from the rain or sun, stargaze in a bug-proof panorama, and store up to 100 lbs. of gear. Sierra Madre Research designed the Nube Stratos modular tent in two pieces: the StratoShield base, a hanging tent with integrated bug net and gear-retention sack; and the StratosFly, which covers the hanging base. At $120, this is an affordable hanging tent option.
72-Hour Survival Kit
“Survive the first 72 hours” — that’s a mantra of Christian Schauf, founder of Uncharted Supply Co., and it is the purpose behind the Seventy2 survival kit. According to Schauf, 95 percent of survival situations are resolved in three days’ time, so his company equipped this kit with the essentials necessary to last that long. First aid, food rations, water filter, tools, and a host of essentials are packed inside a waterproof backpack.
Nordic Chain Saw
This isn’t the first hand-powered pocked chain saw, but the Nordic Pocket Saw is new to the US market this year. Unlike some models, it has a cutting edge on every link for fast chopping in a small, 6.3-ounce package including case.
Organize that jangling mess of keys and keep a basic multi-tool at the ready. The KeyBiner has a dozen tools (screwdrivers, Imperial and metric wrenches, bottle opener, and more), and holds up to 14 standard-sized keys. Available in aluminum, copper, or titanium ($35-$70).
StarVox is a smart watch with a built-in walkie-talkie. Yep, talk into your wrist. The brand claims a walkie-talkie range of more than a mile, GPS, altimeter, barometer, compass, bluetooth connectivity, and more for just $70 on Kickstarter. If it proves to function as claimed, this will be one heck of a deal.
Half-Bag For Climbers
New this fall, the Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag ($299) packs tiny and weighs just over 1 pound but provides climbers with a warm down sleeping bag rated to keep warm in sub-freezing conditions. Caveat: Patagonia requires a climber to wear a puffy jacket on top as a part of the so-called “elephant’s foot” system.
Convertible Snow Pants
Waterproof work pants when you want ’em, breathable snow bibs when you need ’em. Part of DC and Snow Park Technologies’ collaborative “Cold War” collection, the $220 Platoon Bib Snow Pants have a removable bib and jacket-to-pant attachments, providing full wet snow protection when you need it.
A patented “Ball Park Pouch” and moisture-wicking waistband combine to make SAXX noticeably different than what you’re probably used to in a pair of underwear. We’ve tried these out and can attest the made-for-men undies feel more roomy and performance-oriented than other unmentionables. SAXX will donate $2 from every $33 pair of its Movember collection to the Movember Foundation.
Simple, straightforward, yet odd. The MPG Sport Utility Hooded Backpack looks like an ordinary lifestyle pack, until you pull out the stow-away hood. The $130, two-pocket backpack is water resistant for everyday use around town.
Headsweats’s unique brand of performance, moisture-wicking trucker caps are noteworthy in and of themselves. But its new line of “Destination” truckers add an extra element of style for lovers of America’s most beautiful places. The $25 Destination line includes Yellowstone (pictured), Monument Valley, The Rockies, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Make a pour-over coffee with these fold-open packs. The Pourtables promise “craft coffee” anywhere with their organic grounds and a just-pour-hot-water filter design to brew straight into your camp mug. $1.99 each at Libracoffee.com.
A new concept in outdoor cooking, FireDisc Grills plug into a propane tank to heat a massive steel “disc” where you fry, grill, saute, and otherwise prepare about any kind of food. We tested the just-released FireDisc Shallow 36″ last week. The $300 unit was solid, stable, easy to use, and it cooked chicken, veggies, bacon, and eggs like a champ.
Dinghy In A Backpack
Keep an inflatable dinghy in the trunk of your car. That’s the idea behind the 15-hp FRIB 275, a foldable fiberglass tender. The $3,000 FRIB weighs 86 lbs. and packs down to 35″ x 33″ x 16″. It’s now available in the U.S. for the first time through California-based Four Seas.
Useful Augmented Reality
Instantly and automatically see annotated points of interest all around you, up to 20 miles away. Skyline, the free update to the ViewRanger app, uses your camera’s phone to highlight peaks, places, passes, and lakes, and help you navigate a pre-planned route.
Commuter With Class
Brooks England’s 150th birthday celebration rolls on, this time with a copper-plated ride. The handmade-in-Finland Anniversary Limited Edition Pelago Stavanger is an all-about-town bike. It’s fully equipped with fenders, Shimano 105 components, disc brakes, and (of course) a Brooks Swift saddle. With just 15 built, the copper Stavanger runs 2,495 Euros ($2,770).
Biometric Coaching App
A personal evaluation is the first step in this running app from Saucony. Once metrics like stance, mobility, stability, and stride are calculated, the free Stride Lab app gives custom coaching information to help improve personal performance. Running drills and exercise evolve as you get stronger.
Crease-Free Backpack Compartment For Clothes
Run, bike, or (if you can) climb to work without getting your clothes wrinkled or sweaty. IAMRUNBOX is a water-resistant carrier, designed with the active commuter in mind, that fits in just about any standard backpack. It promises to fit one business outfit and keep shirt and pants wrinkle-free thanks to a special “Folding Assistant Card.”