A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Topo Designs x Fronteer
Topo Designs’ latest collaboration is with outdoors design brand Fronteer. The series includes a mid shoe and the Quick Pack, pictured. The pack has a large main compartment, an external zippered pocket, and compression straps on the bottom. The Quick Pack, $89, and the rest of the collaboration is handmade in Colorado.
Grill pork chops, bake pizza, and even operate a rotisserie with the Aquaforno II. This modular outdoor cooking stove can operate with multiple fuel types. And it works as a grill, oven, rotisserie, smoker, water boiler, clothes dryer, and outdoor heater. The design is telescopic, allowing it to collapse easily for transport. The Aquaforno II is on Indiegogo now for $339.
Mechanic's Pocket Knife
Cut hose, strip wiring, and complete everyday tasks with the Snap-on Rave XL knife from CRKT. Designed by Ken Onion, this locking pocket knife is built from stainless steel and has a black corrosion-resistant coating. Textured inserts on the handle give superior grip, and the blade measures 2.75 inches long. The knife is available now for $72.50.
Bike Cargo System
Haul your groceries home without a car using the T-RAK. A high-capacity bike cargo system, the T-RAK incorporates a rear rack with retractable side skirting to fit whatever it is you need to carry. With a frame that fits onto the seat post and rear wheel, the T-RAK is ready to fit your gym bag, groceries, and picnic supplies. Available on Kickstarter now, the T-RAK costs $199.
Better Backpack Straps
Improve your posture and make your pack feel lighter – two big claims from SuperStraps, a “backpack booster.” SuperStraps work as an add-on to shoulder straps that bring the load closer to your back, reducing strain on your neck. Because of the tension relief, SuperStraps claims it feels like it lifts 27 pounds of force off your neck. SuperStraps, a strap system that fits on any pack, is nearly done with its Kickstarter campaign. Available for $75.
Compact Tire Inflator
Don’t fear flat tires: Ride with the Stompump. This tiny, lightweight foot pump fits on the frame of your bike and purportedly inflates a tire three times faster than a hand pump. And it comes with a built-in filter that ensures debris stays out of your tires. The Stomppump is on Kickstarter now for $90.
Portable Pooch Pack
Go to and fro with your dog in the aptly named Muttmover Light. Just place Fido inside the Muttmover’s large and waterproof internal space, and put the pack on your back. It comes with a foldable water dish, an internal attachment hook for securing your dog, and waist straps for heavier hounds. The Muttmover Light is for sale now and costs $179.
Conquer climbs and turn heads in the Maloja Pushbikers SQlab 1/2 Pants. Part of Maloja’s spring kit, the SQlab Pants are worn by a professional road cycling team, the Pushbikers. The pants have a four-way stretch seamless chamois, Polygiene-treated fabric to limit odors, and laser-cut fabrics with silicon grips on the legs to keep them in place. The pants come in three different colors and cost $199.
Flint, Michigan, Glasses
Made in Flint, Michigan, from recycled plastic water bottles, Genusee eyewear wants to inspire change. Genusee is creating manufacturing jobs in light of the surplus of plastic waste created by the water crisis in Flint. For every pair of sunglasses purchased, the brand upcycles 15 plastic water bottles. The Genusee glasses are available in tinted, readers, or prescription and will retail at $129, available on Kickstarter now.
Tire Pressure Sensor
Dial in ideal pressure for your riding style with the Quarq TyreWiz. From SRAM’s data and digital technology brand comes the Quarq, a tire-pressure sensor for both road and mountain bikes. The sensor gives real-time monitoring to your cycling computer or smartphone. It helps detect tire wear and pressure. In turn, the device should aid in speed and efficiency. The TyreWiz is waterproof, weighs 10 grams, and costs $199.
Wheel the PK TX out of your garage easily, and fold it to start cooking. It’s a portable folding grill with four-point venting and quarter-inch rustproof casting. The scissor design allows for a sturdy base to grill on. Plus, the thick casting allows the grill to work much like an oven as well as a grill. The PK TX grill launches later this week.
High-Tech Board Shorts
Kitesurf, SUP, hike, and travel in “the most high-performance shorts,” the Ocean Shorts, from Vollebak. They might also be the “most expensive” at $245. But with laser-cut fabric, bonded seams, and a soft, mesh liner, the Ocean Shorts are up for adventure. The fabric is abrasion resistant for encounters with reefs, and the shorts are stretchy. Plus, they repel UV rays and water.
Affordable Power Meter
Track wattage throughout your ride and have enough money left over for beer with the IQ². Marketed as extremely affordable, the IQ² attaches to your pedals, runs on a button-cell battery, and costs hundreds less than the competition. The IQ² is on Kickstarter now and is expected to retail at $246.
With the Xpand Quick Release System, slip on your shoes, pull a strap, and hit the road, all without fussing with laces. The Xpand laces replace traditional laces, stretch for easily putting on shoes, and lock to stay tight. For those who have trouble attaching laces, or those looking for quick transitions during races, Xpand laces provide an alternative, costing $12 per setup.