A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Fast, Safe Road Cycling Helmet
Don’t let the wind slow you down as you blaze down the road in the Ventral. The latest helmet from POC maintains top-of-the-line safety standards and offers better aerodynamics and ventilation than previous POC helmets. It protects against head-on and rotational impact, weighing in at 248 grams. The Ventral is available now for $290.
Full-View Snorkel Mask
Notice the turtle beneath you and the school of fish above while wearing the 180-degree SV2 Seaview snorkel mask. Seaview’s Flowtech technology lets you breathe through both your mouth and nose for a natural feeling. The second iteration from Seaview, the SV2 improves upon the fit from the SV1. It’s on Kickstarter now, with a super early bird discount for $59.
Intelligent Heated Jacket
The Mercury jacket’s intelligent heating system seemingly solves the cold morning/warm afternoon apparel conflict. The jacket senses your body heat and changes how much heat the pads put out based on your preference. The brand claims its battery lasts one week on a single charge. The Mercury is on Kickstarter and costs $495 MSRP, with various discounts available now.
Smallest Bottle Opener
Crack open a brew with the “world’s tiniest multitool.” This infinitesimal tool functions as a screwdriver, box opener, and bottle opener. The Claw comes in stainless steel, Damascus steel, and titanium. It’s on Kickstarter now and costs $15. And don’t worry, the Claw isn’t just for tiny beers.
Carry your bike, backpack, or big game on the Caribou packraft from Alpacka Raft. Dubbed the “lightest full-size packraft,” the Caribou uses a bow design that keeps the boat balanced with heavier loads. It weighs 4 pounds 12 ounces and costs $795.
Minimal Water Shoes
Walk around barefoot and hop into the river at the campsite without slipping in Vibram FiveFinger’s latest release, the V-Aqua. For the minimal shoe lover, the V-Aqua uses Megagrip soles for grip and quick-drying synthetic uppers. It’s on sale now for $90.
Streamlined Messenger Bag
Stay organized in a svelte package with the Nomatic Messenger. Designed for maximum utility, the Nomatic has a number of internal pockets for storage as well as magnetic buckles on the side for different carry styles. Judging from the Kickstarter video, the bag appears free from any pockets one wouldn’t use.
When the winds pick up, keep your core warm while wearing the Teca Vest from Cotopaxi. The Teca Vest is a half-zip with durable ripstop nylon fabric and a DWR finish. You can store your valuables inside the large kangaroo pocket and pack the vest down small when not in use. The Teca Vest is new this spring in addition to new colors in Cotopaxi’s activewear line.
Spice up your trail-food game by eating Kelp Jerky from AKUA. The nutrient-rich jerky comes in sea salt and sesame, turmeric thai and coconut, and rosemary maple and BBQ. Farmers harvest latissima kelp from the ocean for the product, which is rich in protein and fiber. You can get a three-pack of jerky when you pledge $25 on Kickstarter.
Most Versatile Shorts
What we called a front-runner for most versatile outdoor pant now comes in shorts. The Trailhead Adventure Shorts from Coalatree surpassed its Kickstarter goal and has the same tech found in the pants. The shorts are flexible, antimicrobial, and resistant to water, stains, and tears. The Trailhead Adventure Shorts are estimated to come to market in July 2018 and cost $55.
Water-Ready Hiking Boot
Kayak, hike, and tromp through streams in one pair of boots without worrying about soaking your feet. The Astral TR1 Merge is the brand’s first mid-length, water-ready hiking boot. It has superior ankle support, G Rubber outsoles for excellent traction, and vents in the sides for water to pour out. The whole shoe is quick to dry and treated with Polygiene to keep the funk away. The $140 boot is available now.
National Geographic Travel Pack
Eagle Creek and National Geographic team up to make travel packs. The Guide Travel Pack 65L, $299, comes with weatherproof zippers, back panel access, and an adjustable suspension for a comfortable fit. The bag uses durable tarpaulin for the main fabric. At a glance, the Guide 65L appears to be a premium travel pack, ready for wrong turns and horrible weather. Available June 2018.
DIY Energy Bars
Make delicious trail snacks the way you want with GORP’s Energy Bar Mix. GORP, the good old raisins and peanuts maker, introduces a ready-to-mix bag for the home cook. One GORP Ready Mix bag makes twenty-five 70-gram bars. Because it’s a bag of dry ingredients, you can modify the recipe. Want more protein? Add more nuts. Want it sweeter? Add more honey. The bags are for sale now on GORP’s site for $22 (that comes down to $1 per bar).
Comfy Hiking Sandals
Go the distance and let your feet breathe in the Cairn 3D sandal from Bedrock. Maker of minimal sandals for serious hiking, the Cairn 3D is the brand’s latest shoe and upgrades with a contoured footbed, subtle mid-foot arch, and a design that minimizes sweat with better foot-to-shoe grip.The Cairn 3Ds are for sale now and cost $110.
Less Bulky e-Bike
You won’t find a bulky battery mounted on the frame of the Supercharger e-bike from Riese & Müller. While it’s still a little large, the Supercharger cuts down on bulk with a battery concealed in the downtube of the bike. The result is an e-bike that looks more bike-like, yet still rides up to 20 mph with less pedal effort. The Supercharger costs $6,289 and is for sale now.