A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Smart Bike Light
Alert those behind you when you slow down with the Lucnt Bike Light. Dubbed a “smart bike light,” the tiny 120-lumen beacon uses sensors to know when you hit the brakes. The strobing tail light becomes a solid, brighter-red light when you stop quickly, acting as a brake light. It’s available on Kickstarter now.
Warmer, Lighter Sleeping Bag
New to market this week, the Therm-a-Rest Questar 0-degree sleeping bag combines 650-fill down with ThermaCapture seams that trap radiant body heat without adding bulk or weight. The winter and shoulder-season bag weighs in at 3 pounds and retails for $330.
Barefoot Feeling Slip-Ons
Stroll to the next surf break or unwind after a day of hiking in the Chiba Quest from Sanuk. Made with knit fabric and an antimicrobial footbed, the slip-on Chiba Quest is designed to feel light and airy. Available on Sanuk’s site now for $85.
Cast your fly rod confidently with the enhanced contrast from Kaenon’s SR-91 Ultra lens technology. From Kaenon, SR-91 Ultra filters out yellow light to help people see color more vividly. The result is greater definition and better depth perception in a lens that also filters 90 percent of HEV blue light. Not just for fishers, SR-91 Ultra is available in a number of tints and frames this spring on Kaenon’s site.
John John Florence Surfboard Bag
One of the best surfers in the world launched his signature travel surfboard bag with Dakine this week. The JJF Daylight Surfboard Bag line fits boards from 5’4″ to 6’10” and costs $70 to $90 depending on length. Built from 420-denier nylon ripstop with TPU venting, heat reflective silver tarpulin interior to regulate heat, and protective 8-mm closed-cell foam padding, the slim bag has a corrosion-proof molded YKK #10 main zipper, water-resistant stash pocket, grab handle, and padded shoulder strap.
Packable Trail Runners
Flex, bend, pack, and run. The Xero TerraFlex is the minimal footwear brand Xero’s foray into trail-running shoes. Each shoe weighs only 9.6 ounces and has an aggressive lug pattern, zero heel-to-toe drop, and cushioned insole. And like other Xero Shoes, they fold up really small. Available for $80 on Xero Shoes’ site now.
Deuter 'Futura' Backpacks
Deuter introduces its Aircomfort Sensic back system for a full line of backpacks, called the Futura line, for spring 2018. The line uses a familiar-looking suspension mesh on the shoulders, back, and hip belt. But it claims the new models, such as the Futura Pro 34, suspend pack weights without collapsing on high-weight points like hips and shoulders better than current iterations.
Dagger Phantom Kayak
Dagger’s newest whitewater boat, the Phantom is a fast downriver design optimized for both performance and fit, with sizing that can accommodate various paddlers. Designers aimed for an optimized rocker profile, crisp rails, and centralized volume. These combine to create a balance between tracking and maneuverability. It hit the market this week at limited retailers for $1,250.
Versatile Gravel Bike
Power across pretty much anything on the latest build from All City Bikes. The Gorilla Monsoon combines a 612 Select Tubing frame, steel fork, and a mammoth 27.5″ x 2.4″ tire clearance. All City touts this beast can ride nearly everything – from off-road single track to mixed pavement to fire-road touring – and is great for camping or even riding across the country. Available at All City dealers this spring for $2,000.
Lightweight, Colorful Gore-Tex
Gore-Tex introduced Shakedry a couple years ago in one color: black. Now, the waterproof-breathable fabric with permanent beading face (no DWR required) comes in blue and grey. While not a huge change, it’s a cutting-edge material to begin with and an optimum choice for cyclists and runners who want to stay dry while exercising in rain or snow. Available in select running and biking products now.
Hit the summit with the ultralight Sawbill 20 from Granite Gear. Weighing in at a scant 6 ounces, the Sawbill fits 20 liters’ worth of gear in its main cinch pocket and stretch mesh front pocket. It packs down tiny when not in use and provides a day hiking pack option if you’re traveling or looking to leave your heavy backpack behind. Available this fall for $40.
OliLight Light Belt
See and be seen while hiking or running with the OliLight. Different from directional headlamps, the light-emitting belt shines 1,200 lumens all around you for spatial awareness. With a compatible app, you can adjust the brightness or mode (strobe or steady) of the belt. It can also send out messages to contacts in emergency situations via its Bluetooth connection. Available on Kickstarter now with early-bird pricing at $140.
Waterproof Cycling Gloves
Dry hands grip better. Ride 100% releases the Hydromatic glove with a waterproof-breathable lining for spring. They look good for chilly MTB rides or morning commutes and have reflective accents, a silicone printed palm graphic, and touch-screen–compatible fingertips. They’re available on Ride 100%’s site for $40 now.
NEMO Equipment Jazz Duo
Cuddle up in the Jazz Duo, a two-person, 20-degree–rated sleeping bag that combines NEMO’s latest tech into a synthetic option. With an insulated blanket fold, removable bed sheet for easy cleaning, zippered top quilt, and insulated mattress topper, this appears to be one comfy camp sleeping option. It weighs 7 pounds 9 ounces, fits people up to 6’4″, and measures 31.1″ x 14.2″ packed up. Available on NEMO‘s site now for $300.