Emerging Gear

Ahead of the curve, cutting-edge, and to-be-released gear.

Emerging Gear: Outdoor Products This Week

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.

World’s Lightest Wool?

Colorado wool-maker Voormi introduced this week what it calls the “lightest weight performance merino fabric on the market by a wide margin,” and at just 100 g/m2, we’d be hard pressed to disagree. It’s available in a short-sleeve tee, long-sleeve tee, and the Solarium Hoodie (pictured). Prices range from $70 to $129.

Slap-On Bike Bag

Sometimes you need quick access to stuff you bring on a bike trip, namely your phone, a GPS, and snacks. We tried out the 7.5 x 6.75-inch pouch in advance of its Kickstarter launch. Slap Bag uses four Velcro straps and a near-90-degree bend at its top to secure and fit between the bike’s stem and handlebar. It snaps open and shut easily by hand and not by accident. It’s made of water-resistant pack material, and though the opening is not water-tight, we rode it in the rain with no troubles. It’s $30.

Ultralight, Heavy-Duty Pack

Kuiu’s latest frame-packs are touted to be able to carry a whopping 100 pounds but weigh less than four pounds when empty. The Icon and Ultra lines have carbon-fiber frames and are lighter and more durable than previous models, the company states. The frame-based pack systems take interchangeable bags made for everything from peak bagging to elk hunting.

Nut Butter Clif Bars

You had us at “nut butter.” A new line of Clif Bars have a creamy center of nut butter, and the flavors have us salivating for some trail-hunger satiation – Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coconut Almond Butter, and Peanut Butter. Nom nom nom.

Women-Specific Mountain Bikes

The Liv Hail is the “first-ever 160mm women’s-specific enduro mountain bike” designed, tested and brought to market by women, the company states. It enters the market alongside the Pique trail bike (pictured here) and Embolden cross-country bike, all designed with the female rider in mind. More info at Liv Cycling.

Tiny Astronomy Camera

The aptly-named Tiny1 is literally a small astronomy camera. The little guy’s social sharing capabilities, time-lapse features, and small size have captured the hearts (and dollars) of a thousand backers on Indiegogo, where it’s raised a hefty $200,000 so far. It looks neat, but we’re skeptical of the small lens’s ability to collect enough light for stunning images, and at $1,000 or more, it’s a hefty, unproven investment.

Rooftop Tent Can Carry Rack

A new hard-top tent from rooftop maker Tepui has built-in rails that make it compatible with popular car racks. You can carry your tent and bikes at the same time. The tent extends with gear on top, so you don’t have to take the gear off to set up camp. The White Lightning is available on Kickstarter for a premium price of $2,800.

Shimano Dura-Ace

The DURA-ACE R9100 is a high-end group for road bike configurations. Available with either Di2 electronic or mechanical shifting, for the first time, riders now have the option for DURA-ACE hydraulic disc brakes. Shimano technologies integrate the DURA-ACE as a system, including a new power meter, while riders integrate with their bike through new E-Tube wireless connectivity.

Stand-Alone Bike Stand

The Swagger Bike Stand is a simple, clever, inexpensive bike stand that will hold your steed for quick repairs in the parking lot. It costs only around $40 and will keep your pricy ride off the dirt.

Dice-Shape Multi-Tool

There are about a bajillion multi-tools on Kickstarter these days, but this little one is a unique take on the bit driver. The Dice Tool is just what you’d imagine, a dice-shape bit driver milled from a titanium block. It’s made in Boston, drives a bunch of nut sizes, and it has a magnetic 1/4″ bit driver, all for $29.

Silver Balloon Solar Cooker

Well, this thing’s kind of funky! The Silver Ballon is a light, inflatable solar cooker. It concentrates the sun’s rays, apparently cooking or boiling water while weighing just six ounces. We don’t have many details, and for $129 it’s a pricy gamble, but looks like an interesting concept.

The MAX PUMP claims to be a powerful little pump that costs $20. It’ll inflate your air mattress and save you some breaths. It’s raising money on Indiegogo right now where the brand has sold almost 1,800 units.

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