A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Van Life Light Kit
Whether in a VW Bus or a tent, light up the night with BioLite’s off-grid solar lighting system. The $150 SolarHome 620 includes a 6-watt panel, three daisy-chaining lights, USB charger, and a radio/mp3 player. A limited number will be available for the holidays in advance of its February release.
Run-Coaching Smart Shoes
Improve form, prevent injury, and track stats with Runtopia’s smart running shoes. Live on Indiegogo, the Runtopia Reach Smart shoes provide realtime audio coaching on cadence, foot-strike, and more through an app. But the shoes also work independently with a smart chip, so you can leave the phone at home and upload stats when you’re done.
Bomber Commuter Pack
Built to hold everything for the daily grind and keep it all safe from the jostles and elements of commuting, the Mission Workshop Rhake has year-round city cyclists in mind. Unique gull-wing flaps and compression straps help shrink and expand the 22-liter main compartment. And dozens of gear pockets and padded sleeves keep things organized and protected inside the weatherproof, roll-top Cordura body. Made in the USA, $365.
Psychedelic Ninja Onesie
Proof that baselayers don’t have to be basic, the men’s and women’s Ninja Suit onesies provide warmth and coverage for the whole body. Designed in collaboration with Airblaster, Gnu launched the $120 Ninja Suits as part of a line of ’90s-retro shell jackets, insulated ski suits, and pants.
Lighter Heated Jacket
With heated jackets becoming more popular, 8K Flexwarm aims to make a lighter option. In place of wires and heating elements, the brand uses heating tech that is thin enough to be printed directly into fabric. According to 8K Flexwarm, this results in a lighter, more durable heated coat you can control with a smartphone.
All the function of the tried-and-true Leatherman Signal, but with special-ops black finish that sets it apart. The $110 Black Signal has 19 functions and comes with Leatherman’s 25-year guarantee.
Marmot Men's Avant Featherless Insulated Hoody
Light as a feather no longer applies. Marmot’s Featherless Hoody helps redefine the phrase with its new loose-fill 3M Thinsulate Featherless synthetic insulation. Matching the warmth of your traditional 700-fill-power down jacket, but more water resistant, this featherless phenom has a functional, mobile design, elastic cuffs for comfort, and in-pocket stash-ability for convenience on the move.
Convertible Air Pad/Chair
Go from sitting around the campfire to lying in the tent with the PacBack Trio convertible camp chair and mattress pad. The 2-pound, 2-ounce PacBack inflates to an R3 mattress pad, can fold into a camp chair, and has components that can be used as a pillow. Live on Kickstarter.
TNF Molten Footwear
The North Face partners with Publish to heat up two of its popular footwear products: the Litewave Ampere II HC shoe and ThermoBall Traction Mule II slipper. The hot-orange aesthetic was designed to “embody the violent chaos that churns beneath us.”
Smart Garage Gear Lift
Hoist your gear—bikes, watercrafts, even truck toppers—up and out of the way with an app on your phone. Garage Smart’s MyLifter 2.0 has four lift attachments: the multi-bike and universal gear lifts each have a 100-pound capacity, while the 3-foot x 3-foot platform and hard-top lifters each hold up to 200 pounds. The ceiling-mounted hoist connects to your phone so you can activate it with an app.
Aerial Camera Rig
Capture cinematic shots on your next outdoor adventure with the Wiral Lite cable cam system. The universal camera mount holds phones, GoPros, and other cameras while the remote-controlled 3.3-pound Wiral tracks along a cable. According to the brand, this allows users to get camera shots “where even drones can’t go.”
Luminoodle was a hit when it introduced campers to bendable, travel-friendly, rechargeable lighting. This month, Power Practical improves on the original design with the magnetic Luminoodle Task. The 3,600-lumen light strip wraps around and sticks to metal surfaces so you can set it and forget it.
Better Air Lounger
Campers and beach-goers reinvigorated the inflatable furniture market last year with the success of “wind-pouches.” Nola Air aims to improve on that design by adding stash pockets and a curved backrest. Live on Indiegogo, the Fast’n’Flatable floats on water too.
Victorinox Maverick Chronograph Black Edition
Reliable functionality plus purposeful design equals performance. With PVD bezel cases, the finishing of the Maverick Chronograph Black Edition results in a careful balance of stated and understated. A combination of brushed and polished surfaces with chrome hands and markers, which stand out confidently against the background of a glossy black dial and 43 mm beveled case, give it a cool, contemporary distinction.
Urban Glacier Glasses
Beat back harmful UV rays, whether you’re at the summit, on the slopes, or in your car. Vuarnet’s Ice collection ($270–$330) has removable side shields and mineral glass lenses to keep your eyes safe.
Heated Phone-Charging Coat
Juice up your phone and dial in the warmth with Ravean’s Rugged heated jacket. The Rugged improves on previous heated coats with a battery pack that can power the coat and charge phones. Plus, Ravean claims it offers “the world’s first patented heated thumb-hole cuffs.” And for jobsite workers, the Rugged coat can be charged using common power-tool battery packs.
Celebrate the slopes with pow turns and a bunch of booze packed into your ski poles. Each aluminum WhiSki Pole sports a screw cap that conceals up to 8 ounces of your favorite libation.