A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Surly (finally) updates the original fatty to go farther. The revamped Pugsley receives longer chainstays for a wider, touring-friendly footprint. Plus, offset mounts match the trademark offset hub to center racks and storage over the rear wheel – another plus for “maximalist off-road tourists,” according to the brand. The new 1×11 Pugsley will clear up to 4.8-in. tires (albeit with some “drivetrain limitations”) and best of all, comes in under two grand at $1,899.
Ditch the straps and add storage to your shell with The North Face’s (unusual) collaboration with Japanese designer Junya Watanabe and fashion label Comme des Garçons. Depending how you look at it, the Terra 65 Jacket is either a jacket with a built-in backpack, or a backpack with a trench-style jacket coming out of it. The fashion-forward piece uses three-layer water-resistant Gore-Tex Windstopper and is available for a limited U.S. run this spring. But beware, this hybrid jacket costs north of $2,000.
50-Day Training Watch
Run, sweat splash, and train up to 50 days without recharging – your watch, that is. The IronCloud smart watch takes on giants like Suunto and Garmin with features like GPS, touchscreen, 100m water-resistance, and built-in A.I. training partner. But with its Indiegogo campaign, this training smartwatch is available at an early-bird $369, in line with the big brand’s pricing. Its retail price of $700 puts it right up there with premium models.
Convertible Compression Backpack
Add extra pack to your pack with Mountainsmith’s convertible Scream 20 backpack and compression sack. The $50 Scream 20 helps peak baggers cram the essentials, using the pack’s compression straps, into a larger hiking pack. Then when camp is set, pull out the Scream, loosen the straps, and wear it like a day pack.
Lighter and more versatile, G3 launches the ZED as an upgrade to the popular Ion tech binding. Early testing reveals a good full-featured tech binding with dual rear releasability (vertical and horizontal) at a very light weight. G3 trimmed material from the Ion, bringing the ZED down to 345 grams. The brake is optional, so consumers have a choice to add the weight, and cost, of a brake to the binding. In early testing, we found that it was easy to locate pins and clip in. The rear binding provides horizontal releases, and thus can pivot quite a bit in regular use. We did not have any prerelease issues, and have enjoyed it thus far. Full review coming soon.
Blown Synthetic Puffy
A true puffy without the traditional puff, Primaloft and Montane expand on blowable synthetic insulation. ThermoPlume allows brands to utilize existing down jacket technology to offer synthetic fill. Montane’s $180 Icarus for men (left) and Phoenix for women (right) debuted the insulation last year, and this year adds vented side and underarm panels to regulate temperature in cold-weather active pursuits. Available fall 2018.
Crimp, pinch, and hang your way to superior grip strength with V-Rings. The portable rock climbing training rig has straps to hang on any load-bearing point. It packs seven grips in a small package. Plus, the added Progressor tool measures force applied when paired with an app. Available on Kickstarter now.
Bicycle Alarm Lock
Double up on bike security with a lock that emits an alarm when it detects theft. The $170 ABUS Bordo 6000 Alarm is a folding lock, rated level 10 by the brand. And it’s equipped with a 100dB beeping alarm. Best of all, the “smart alarm” won’t go off with normal jostling or contact and emits softer warnings for incidental contact. But continued tampering results in a 15-second alarm at full volume. The device is powered by a replaceable battery.
Luxury Messenger Bags
Travel unencumbered and in-style with the Messenger bag from Agency Aspect. Lead designers from The North Face team up to create a messenger bag that combines high-quality materials with luxurious touches. High-strength 500D Cordura fabric, leather pockets, and aircraft-grade aluminum buckles make this bag durable. Available on Kickstarter now.
72-Hour Cook Kit
Meet the survivalist emergency kit with the camp chef in mind. The 72-Hour Emergency Camp Cook Kit comprises a dry bag loaded with utensils, soap, a stove, matches, fuel discs, a pot, cup, water jug, and meals enough to last three days off grid. It retails for $199, but is live now on Kickstarter with discounts.
Better Hammock Straps
Kammok improves your hammock hang with its latest Python straps, which the brand claims offer a 30 percent weight reduction compared to other tree straps. The ounce savings – 11.8 oz. for a 15-ft. set – result from updated “Nano Weave” material. Plus, the straps taper from 1.5-in. wide around the tree to ¾-in. along the rest of the length, further saving weight and relieving stress on the tree. The Python straps are available in 10-ft. ($29) and 15-ft. ($39) options.
Extra 'Breathable' Sunglasses
See more and breathe better using 100%‘s Speedcraft Air cycling glasses, available in March. The Air update to the Speedcraft line sports AC Systems’ technology – magnets on the nosepiece that match stick-on magnets on the riders’ nostrils. The brand claims the system will improve air intake by pulling the nasal passage open. Plus, the Air sports the trademark “expansive” single lens that promotes vertical visibility for cyclists while in the riding position.
Camp Barista Kit
Bring your barista skills to the backcountry with Snow Peak’s Field Barista Set. The nesting coffee kit comprises a $148(!) kettle, $100 hand-cranked burr grinder, and $70 foldable pour-over coffee drip. Each component is made of stainless steel and sold independently. Nested together, the set weighs 2 lbs.
Pack your boots and gear for a weekend getaway on pow. Ski-bum brand RMU dives into the luggage game with the $199 BRFCS. It has 35L capacity expandable to 50L – big enough for a pair of ski boots. Compression straps, backpack and shoulder-carry options, and a false floor to store valuables round out the pack, available June 1st.