Emerging Gear: Outdoor Products This Week

A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.

Star Wars Phone Case

May the Force be with you, and may your phone be protected from all other forces. Otterbox launches its Star Wars Symmetry Series for iPhone 7/8 ($45) and 7+/8+ ($55) with five different artistic case designs.

Electric BMX

Ditch the spandex and take a joyride, that’s the idea behind Enki Cycles’ Billy e-bike. Equipped with a 500-watt motor, the Billy proclaims to be a blend between a BMX and motocross bike. Four-inch fat tires sit on 20-in. rims, a carbon belt drive transfers pedal power, and a motorcycle-inspired twist throttle adds juice to the ride. The Billy runs up to 41 miles on a single charge and can scoot up to 20 mph.

Old School Slackline

Show whippersnappers what real slacklining is like with Slackline Industries’ Primitive Kit. Out are the modern 2-in. straps of today, replaced instead with 1-in. webbing, a nod to slacklining’s roots. Included in the $48 kit is the old-school hardware: three carabiners, two 1.5-in. rings, two tree protectors, and two anchor slings. Add $37 to get the 60-ft. slackline.

Smart Baselayer

Keep your core at the perfect temperature using the “world’s first intelligent thermal layer.” K2 of South Korea and Clim8 partnered to create a base layer top laced with tiny sensors that monitor the wearer’s skin temperature. Pairing with an app, the top will add heat with a small battery pack and filaments in the material to areas where it’s most needed.

Utility Sarong

Wear it over your legs, drape it on your neck, or sling it over your shoulder: no matter how you wear it Hutan’s Utility Sarong serves as a durable garment. Made of ripstop nylon, the $129 Utility Sarong has two standard-size pockets and one large pocket. The result is a piece of apparel with hidden storage that converts to a basic shoulder bag.

Simple Ski Rack

Take the family to a ski weekend without a packing hassle. Yakima’s 4- and 6-ski FreshTracks roof-mounted rack installs on virtually any vehicle without tools. SKS locks keep everything secure (four skis/two snowboards, or six skis/four snowboards) and single-button operation allows access with gloves on. Best of all, the racks run just $159–$189.

Winter Multitool

From crampons, to ice screws, to edge sharpening, Trango’s Ice Multi-Tool specializes in ice climbers’ unique fix-it needs. Plus, the $32 tool fits in your pocket.

Indestructible Mesh Bag

Don’t let its simplicity fool you, High Above’s Lost Lake Duffel claims to be impervious to water, UV rays, and bacteria. In fact, the makers claim it will last forever. Made in America, the $69–$79 Lost Lake mesh duffel comes in two sizes, 22 and 46 liters, offers a main compartment and smaller front pocket, and comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Camp Light Power Bank

Charge the gear you need and find it when you need it using Lander’s Cairn Lantern. The $50 device does double duty, charging peripherals with 2.1 amp output and illuminating the campsite with 300 lumens. Plus, the rechargeable Cairn has variable light modes, including strobe and lasts up to 150 hours. Available exclusively at REI.

Bike Mechanics Beverage Tool

There are a thousand-and-one tools in a bike shop, but now there’s one specifically for cracking some cold ones (or a fine vintage). Park Tools’ $48 BO-4 Corkscrew Bottle Opener has just three functions: foil knife, corkscrew, and bottle opener. But what important functions those are!

Convertible Camp Blanket

More than a puffy, more than a blanket, the Puffy Kachula Adventure Blanket packs a number of functions into a simple design. On Kickstarter now, the water-repellent Puffy Kachula costs $109 and serves as a blanket, rain poncho, or pillow. It has a hideaway hood and snaps to connect to another Kachula, making a puffy blanket sandwich.

Heavy-Duty Essentials Pack

Keep the bare necessities safe—toothbrush, wallet, razor, phone—and other pocket products with travel kits built for adventurers. Launched by a former U.S. Army serviceman, Bond Travel Gear‘s Dash Dopp Kit ($44) and Escapade Gear Pouch ($39) are made of water-resistant ballistic nylon. Plus, both carriers come with a lifetime warranty.

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