10 Outdoor Gear Trends To Watch In 2017

From intelligent drones to “levitating” tents, the future of the outdoors industry is nothing if not unique. These trends and observations were culled from trade shows, industry events, and from R&D labs as a peek at what’s upcoming in outdoors gear.

rooftop tent

Tents will get off the ground

From vehicle-mounted rooftop tents to enclosed, hammock-like shelters, sleeping outdoors is more elevated than ever. Rack behemoth Yakima announced entry into the rooftop-tent realm for 2017, bringing the longtime-niche category into the mainstream.

ice-gripping-rubber-vibram

Boots will stick to ice

A new rubber compound, Vibram’s Arctic Grip Sole gives “up to three times better grip” on wet ice surfaces. We tested a prototype last winter, and the technology works. Wolverine debuts the new kind of sole this fall in its Crossbuck FX Ice+ boots. Look for Arctic Grip on multiple brands in 2017.

columbia-eco-shell

Outerwear to get more ‘eco’

From a PFC-free (and dye-free) jacket line by Columbia Sportswear (review here), to the first mass-market wetsuit (by Patagonia) not made of neoprene, brands big and small continue to invent and push for ecologically-friendly materials and manufacturing processes.

inflatable-hammock-photo

‘Inflatable’ hammocks will be everywhere

Dutch brand Lamzac popularized a new kind of outdoors seating, dubbed “inflatable hammocks.” The air-filled couches were omnipresent at recent industry events, with more than a dozen companies involved in manufacturing and perpetuating the odd, cushiony trend. (See our full review.)