A $500,000 road bike, $5,500 tent, and $4,000 swiss army knife. Here, GearJunkie surveys the most expensive outdoors gear ever made.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2011, and is updated for 2017 as new gear emerges and fluctuates in price.
During 2011, GearJunkie covered Oakley’s Elite C Six sunglasses, which are carbon-fiber shades that cost an astonishing $4,000 a pair. The article sparked contention with GearJunkie readers as promoting a product that stands at the height of ostentatiousness and consumerist glut.
Other readers, in contrast, cheered. “Very extravagant, but totally cool,” one person wrote. Another comment: “I like hearing about companies. . . pushing their technology, which trickles down to us eventually.” Either way, something like a pair of sunglasses carved out of a block of solid carbon fiber — which happen to cost $4,000! — is worth some investigation.
Now one can easily google most expensive sunglasses and find more costly shades. This article is not for that. All of these products contain some outdoors application, for the select individuals that are wealthy enough to try them out.
Here are a few additional “if-price-were-no-object” items that reflect either the outdoors industry’s cutting edge or else its mingling in the depths of a consumerist culture gone totally mad. You decide.
$4,000 Swiss Army Knife
At almost 10 inches wide and with a 2-pound heft, the collector’s edition Giant Knife from Wenger Swiss Army has 87 fold-out tools, including locking blades, files, a corkscrew, pliers, screwdrivers, and just about every other Swiss Army implement you can imagine. It’s sure to come in handy on a number of occasions… if you can ever manage to get it out of your pocket.
The Butterfly Trek Madone became the world’s most expensive bicycle when purchased at auction for $500,000. Lance Armstrong rode the bike in the 2009 Tour de France before British Artist Damien Hirst turned it into legend. The artist placed real butterfly wings along the bike and the auction raised money towards the Livestrong Charity.
$1,300 Performance Trench Coat
Outerwear leader Arc’teryx launched a line, the Veilance collection, that is sure to withstand Wallstreet’s harshest weather. The brand wanted to “bring the application of technical performance into urban apparel.” The Arc’teryx Field Jacket, $1,300, has a GORE–TEX face but with a style more applicable for the urban life. We covered it here.
$22 Million RV
The Kiravan is an over-the-top expedition vehicle outfitted to take it to the ends of the Earth. It’s also a rolling scientific laboratory. But in many senses, this giant overland vehicle is just a really tricked out RV. It was designed for and named after, inventor Bran Ferren’s daughter Kira. Built on a truck chassis and pulled by a modified Mercedes-Benz Unimog U500NA tractor with a Mercedes-Benz 6-cylinder in-line 260HP high-efficiency intercooled turbo-diesel with 700ft-lbs of torque, it also has a range of scientific instrumentation, communications devices, and imaging equipment.
$1,700 Smart Watch
Record your run, review the weather, and communicate in style with the Tag Heuer Connected smart watch. It has over 4 GB of storage memory, is Bluetooth, Android, and iOS compatible, and lasts 25 hours on a single charge. It has a gyroscope, accelerometer, tilt detecting sensor, microphone, and vibrations/haptics engine. I can’t imagine how people exercised before this!
$600 Glacier Sunglasses
Shield the sun on the most reflective terrains with the Glacier 1957. Vuarnet specializes in making high-end, albeit luxurious, eye glass wear. Made from leather, stainless steel, and hypoallergenic nylon these would undoubtedly look stellar going from glacier to the nearest bar, if that ever is to happen.
$5,500 Space Station Tent
Outfit your basecamp with Mountain Hardwear’s Space Station Tent. The burly pod measures 19 feet in diameter, 8 feet, 5 inches in height, and fits 20 or more people. The poles and fabric are industry leading materials and made to endure the harshest alpine conditions. And if the moon had inclement weather, I’m sure the tent would hold up there too.
The company that touts its catalog as containing the “best extreme cold weather outerwear in the world” also contains the most expensive. The Snow Mantra Parka is the brand’s ultimate cold weather defense jacket. It’s field tested to 25-degrees below, and boasts a litany of technical additions perfect for your next arctic, or antarctic expedition. We reviewed an older iteration here.
$1,500 Diving Light
Light up the ocean floor with this 18,000-lumen diving light. What does 18,000-lumens look like? Stare into the sun for a day or two, then write about your experience in the comments. The TL18000PC from BigBlue is for those wanting to photograph or record their underwater diving adventures. Please don’t stare into the sun.
$1,400 Sleeping Bag
Sleep soundly on 8000-meter peak expeditions with the Hispar 1200 Down Sleeping Bag: K Series. From UK brand, PHD, comes the K-Series, an ultra lightweight down sleeping bag made for freezing alpine conditions. The bag features 1000 fill down, is rated to -72 degrees Fahrenheit, and only weighs three and a half pounds. However, testing in Minnesotan winters has yet to occur, so we’re unsure about this one.
$850 Ski Onesie
A modernized onesie, the Ullr Powder Suit from Helly Hansen will seal away snow and moisture. Made from waterproof-breathable fabric, the brand addresses internal condensation with its “H2Flow” mechanical venting concept that helps move air within the garment. The onesie will also work wonders for newbies that spend more time face down in a snow bank than shredding the gnar.
$1,500 Bike Pedals
Bicycle pedal maker Look and fitness watch company Polar combine forces again with the Kéo Power Bluetooth Smart pedal system. It uses Bluetooth Smart technology and measures cadence and power output while consuming very little battery.
Was there something we missed? Leave us a comment of what you think the most expensive gear is.