A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Ride like you belong in Springfield. State Bicycle Co. launches a line of Simpsons-themed bikes and apparel. This $500 single-speed city bike comes with bullhorn bars and a Simpsons-colored block paint job. Can you see the family in the frame?
Arc’teryx Bora AR 50
The Arc’teryx flagship pack gets an upgrade for 2017. Just hitting the market now, the new Bora AR 50 has a wildly mobile hip belt (the brand calls it “RotoGlide”) that pivots and slides unlike any other we’ve tested. The 50-liter pack is streamlined, with few straps or zippers, and weatherproof. Look for a full review of this sweet but pricey ($500) pack coming soon.
Slice through rope, tear through fabric, or cut into a steak, Leatherman introduces a simple folding blade. The $25 Skeletool KBx is a 2.6″, 1.5-oz. locking knife with a partially serrated blade. The simple, light EDC knife is available June 1.
Play ‘Stump’ Anywhere
Of course you can just use a log to play Stump, but they tend to be heavy and large. Take the pub-game favorite anywhere with this modernized take on the nail-pounding game. MobileSchlagen comes with folding legs, hammers, nails, and wood slab, all in a carrying case. Replacement slabs are available for the 35-lb., $199 setup.
Sterilize soiled garments with UV light, inside a duffle bag. Push a button and the $279 Paqsule fires internal UV light and activated oxygen (ozone) to deodorize and kill bacteria. The rechargeable bag also has a USB charging port for mobile devices.
Ultra Packable Chair
Pitch a seat with trekking poles and pack it small when it’s time to go. Mountainsmith’s $25 Slingback Chair weighs less than 5 oz. and, according to the brand, “packs down to the size of a fist.” Set it up with two crossed trekking poles in back.
Hike and scramble with a boot that won’t burden feet. The 720-gram Garmont Rambler GTX aims to blend durability and support with a lightweight package. Available in men’s and women’s, the $279 Rambler GTX has a heel lock to prevent blisters, a Vibram outsole, and a Gore-Tex lining to help keep feet dry.
Fly Line Organizer
Keep track of fly lines with Tenkara Rod Co.’s wooden line holders. The spools come in five distinct-looking woods: walnut, zebrawood, redwood, ebony, and maple. The $10 line holders come notched to secure flies.
Keep your legs covered and cool, even in summer. Dish & DUER’s Live Lite collection boasts antimicrobial fabric, moisture-wicking pocket bags to keep thighs dry, and hidden vents along the pant legs. Men’s and Women’s Live Lite pants run $109-$128.
Memory Foam Camping Pad
Bad back? Go camping with an extra plush sleeping pad. The LaidBack Pad sports water-resistant 1600-denier nylon on three sides and a polar fleece top. Inside is a 2 3/8-inch thick memory foam pad. The $180 pad is not for ultralight trips, though; it weighs 8.5 lbs. Available on Amazon.
Lift, pour, lock: Miir’s updated Growler aims to make enjoying tap brews at the campsite simpler and more secure. A lid lock holds the top open when pouring and a securing buckle helps prevent spills. The $59 Growler is vacuum-insulated to keep beverages hot or cold.
Ultralight Running Cap
Keep sweat and sun out of your eyes without adding (almost) any weight. The 1-oz., $32 Buff Pack Run Cap packs small to fit into a running vest or pocket, and has a built-in sweatband, moisture-wicking side panels, and UPF-50 protection.
Soft Protective Bike Bag
Stow high-end bikes safely and without the bulk of a hard case. The Tour by DB Equipment is a soft-sided, compressible bike case that has hard panels and inner EVA foam panels to prevent damage. The $999 travel case has handles and wheels for easier transport, and can be connected with other cases to pull multiple bikes.
No More ‘Swamp Chafe’
Minimize sweat and keep sand from going where it doesn’t belong. The affectionately named SwamButt brand of boxers are made with lycra and spandex to fit snugly and wick away moisture. The brand claims its $19 form-fitting undies prevent “Swamp Chafe,” the miserable sand-in-your-drawers beach phenomenon.
Boil your headphones and shape them to your ear. Decibullz‘s $119 Custom Fit Bluetooth Headphones work like a mouthguard. Just place them in hot water for five minutes, let cool for 30 seconds, then careful shape them to fit snugly in your ears.
Toast marshmallows in ghoulish fashion. It may not be practical, but Myard‘s skull-shaped fire logs are too fun to pass up. The $65 ceramic-and-steel skulls work in natural gas and liquid propane fireplaces, weigh 10 lbs. each, and are made in the U.S.A.
Keep hot beverages at the perfect temperature via bluetooth. The $70 Jul insulated mug pairs wirelessly with a “smart coaster” that monitors the temperature of beverages in the mug. Jul not only keeps beverages hot, but brings scalding beverages down to a drinkable temperature. Available with early-bird discounts on Kickstarter.