A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Struggle organizing gear for a trip? The 5 x 7-foot Trip Tarp has a space for every item you need. Don’t forget that toothbrush, water bottle, or hat thanks to the clever design. The $55 tarp can be packed, too, for use as a shelter, ground cloth, or more.
Load up your suds, or sodas, hitch ’em to your bike, and go. The BikR BundlR is an 80-quart cooler with an add-on tow bar (and included cutting board and cup holders). The brand, Rovr, is new, and aims at the high-end camping crowd. The base Campr cooler costs $545. Adding the Bikr tow rig brings the price to $600.
“Softwair” insoles make these Dr. Martens less bulky and suited for, as the brand touts, “a new generation.” A moisture-wicking insole and a lighter, slip-resistant” rubber sole bring the DM Lite collection a bit more functionality.
Polish Down Puffy
Made from what’s touted as “the best down in the world,” Polish manufacturer Cumulus packs 900-fill hydrophobic down into Pertex waterproof fabric for its Incredilite Endurance Jacket. Compared to a Patagonia Nano Puff hoodie, the Incredilite weighs less (305g vs. 362g) and costs the sameÂ ($229). One drawback: It’s only for sale online.
Performance Hiker For Women
Teva takes a stab at waterproof-breathability with its Anhu boot line. The Montara and Sugarpine (pictured) are made of waterproofed mesh, leather, and suede. A Vibram sole and a fun, retro look round out the offering.
No-Pedal Balance Bike
Training wheels prevent falling but offer no balance improvement. The category of “balance bikes” show kids how to stay upright on two wheels. Miir updated its Bambini model this month.
Good quality at less cost, Moosejaw launched its new outerwear line this year. We tested the Men’s Harper Softshell Jacket (left) and Woodbridge Stretch Fleece Hoody (right) this winter and have been impressed with their performance. Bonus: Each jacket comes with a custom moose-antler bottle opener.
Modern Bike, Charity Cause
Stripped-down, minimalist… and charitable. Two Minnesota brands from very different sectors team up to make a no-frills, modern-looking bike for a cause. For every Blu Dot x Handsome bike (furniture designer and bicycle manufacturer, respectively) sold, Blu Dot will donate a bike through World Bicycle Relief. The $800 Blu Dot x Handsome has a Brooks leather saddle and bar grips, and a single-speed drivetrain geared for urban commutes.
Versatile Fixed-Blade Knife
Start a fire, fashion a spear, and mount the sheath anywhere. Morakniv calls its recently-released Kansbol the most versatile blade in its stable. A 2.5mm Swedish stainless-steel blade with 90-degree spine for use with ferro rods (sold separately), and a multi-mount sheath for more stowing options combine for a nice fixed blade. At $40, it’s also reasonably priced and early reviews look promising.
Inflatable Balance Board
Practice your balance and strengthen your core, anywhere. The Kumo Board is designed to be both portable and skill-level adjustable thanks to its high-pressure inflation technology. You can use a bike pump to inflate the board and roller. No price yet; a Kickstarter launches in January.
‘Magnetic’ Waterproof Pack
The waterproof, roll-top construction and magnetic sternum strap may not outshine the futuristic aesthetic of Timbuk2’s Void backpack. The $229 Void also sports ventilated back panels and a laptop sleeve. It hits stores in February.
Knife-maker CRKT collaborated with Ruger and designer Ken Onion for the Hollowpoint Knife. It has a ball-bearing pivot system for smooth flip opening (we’ve not tested it) and a 3.17″ blade of 8Cr13MoV steel. It hits the market in January at $70.
Hang And Roll Backpack Organizer
This segmented roll pack is meant to keep your pack or luggage organized. Load it with shirts, underwear, socks, maybe tools or toiletries. Pull it out, hang it in a hotel (or from a tree branch), and find your items easily. $27 on Kickstarter now.