Our new column offers a peek at emerging products, culled from crowd-source sites like Kickstarter, PR campaigns, and industry scoops on the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Serac Sequoia XL Hammock
At 9’10” x 5’7″ Serac’s latest hammock is longer and wider than most, making for a roomy and relaxing hang. It has six gear loops to guy out the hammock for a flat hang or attach a quilt. The plush Diamondweave Ripstop Nylon makes it breathable and cuts down on weight (19oz). And best of all, the hammock comes in a package including straps (6oz) and carabiners (1.4oz) for just $60 on Amazon.
Sandal maker Bedrock modeled these Vibram-soled sandals called the Cairn after the legendary huaraches of Mexican lore. These have a lot of refinement, and look like an awesome kick for summer. They’re available for pre-order for $88 now.
Hand-Free GoPro ‘Bite Switch’
To turn on your GoPro, just bite down. The bite switch shutter release concept isn’t new, but this is the first time its been made to work with a POV camera, at least on a commercial level. The GoHawk tongue and bite switches allow users to control their action camera with their mouths, a pretty useful ability when flying a wingsuit or climbing a rock wall. It also has uses for those unable to use their hands or arms. It’s fund-raising on Kickstarter now, where you can get them starting around $100.
Solar Powered Bluetooth Speakers
The Mojo Box ($160) is a portable Bluetooth speaker with a built-in solar panel. It has an 8000ma battery that can be charged by the sun (or a wall outlet). It also serves as a charging device for other electronics like phones. The name brings to mind the “mojo wire,” an early name for the fax machine used by journalists back in the pre-computer era. Groovy.
Affordable USA-Made Aluminum Bike
You can now get a semi-custom, made-in-the-USA, small-batch aluminum bike frame for a competitive price. LOW’s mki road is designed for racers who want to excel in descents and sprints. It’s $2,450 for the frame, $4,300 for a complete build. Yeah, it’s a chunk of cash, but custom race bikes don’t come cheap, and this one’s made by hand in San Francisco.
BlackedOut Soft Bottle
Vapur makes some slick soft water bottles. We’ve tested some for more than two years of abuse, and they’ve done well. Last week the brand introduced a BlackOut model. Is it OK to call a water bottle sexy? $14.
Sunglasses By, For Athletes
Entering the competitive market of sports sunglasses, Athleteinsight launched a Kickstarter with the goal of a quality sunglass for a reasonable price. It hits a sweet spot of about $50 retail for a pair of these, and while we haven’t tested them, the company claims great performance for sports. You can nab a pair now for about $25 and up.
Theft-Resistant Camera Bag
Camera gear is EXPENSIVE! Pacsafe helps protect it. The Venturesafe X40 Plus camera pack will deter theft with slash resistant straps, Dyneema webbing, locking hooks, locking sliders, and more. It comes to market July 1 for $250.
This helmet might look a little goofy, but Brooklyness claims it will make you safer on the road. Outfitted with lights in the visor, it alerts riders of cars approaching in their blind spots. It also records a front and back view for use in accident investigations, provides navigational directions, and flashes turn signals through gesture controls. It will retail for $250, but may be discounted during their Kickstarter campaign.
This is the weirdest bike we’ve seen in a while. The LFN is an e-bike, somehow powered by a combination of an electric motor and a stair-climber. A+ for creativity. We’re skeptical about functionality. Also no word on price, but if the campaign meets its $100,000 goal, it promises to ship January 2017.
At 22 inches long and 560 g (about 20 ounces), the 121C Boards Rover is an affront to longboard culture. Made of up-cycled carbon fiber scrap, this skateboard was inspired by the Martian Pathfinder and modeled after a stealth bomber. Not sure how it rides, but if it’s as cool as its marketing, we’d love to test it out. The Rover – yes, like NASA – sports a quarter-inch deck with cutouts so you can lock it up. This goofy, sleek rig starts at $100 for a deck, $215 built up.
Timbuk2 makes some solid messenger bags and backpacks with a cycling bent, and it launched this slick line of bags with a subtle message. We’ve tested and love the brand. Its products tend to hold up for years. This one’s unique, and other colors are also available if activism isn’t your thing. $99 to $145 depending on model, available June 20.