While outdoor lovers may savor the primitive appeal of “getting back to nature,” the products we’re taking with us are more high-tech than ever. Just witness some of the category’s coolest recent launches, including custom snow goggles, carbon-plated trail runners and an insulated jacket made from ocean plastic. Now relax, cave people: our list still has room for a butt pad, a camp shoe and a machete. But true to the thrust of the industry, this machete folds.
Game Changer: Smith I/O MAG Imprint 3D
Lens Tint Options: 4
Inner Lens: 5X anti-fog
Compatible with I/O MAG Replacement Lenses? You bet
When it comes to accommodating different face types, the snow goggle industry has made huge strides of late. Several brands offer not only different sizes, but also Asian Fit or Low Bridge varieties. With Smith’s Imprint 3D tech, however, an unprecedented, made-just-for-you option is finger taps away. Using a proprietary app and your iPhone’s selfie lens, you scan your face, documenting every curve and contour. Smith then converts that data into a 3D-printed customized frame, hand-assembles it into a Smith I/O MAG goggle and delivers it to your doorstep within two weeks.
Part of what makes the googles so innovative is how seamless the whole buying process is. It takes mere moments to download the app and scan your face. Then you just sit back and wait for your hyper-personalized frames — complete with two ChromaPop lenses, a protective hardcase and a microfiber bag — to arrive.
Granted, the I/O MAG Imprint 3D goggles come at a premium price: A regular I/O MAG setup costs $270 to $300 — the I/O MAG Imprint 3Ds go for about 50 percent more. But if finding properly fitting, gap-free goggles has been a lifelong hassle, they just might be priceless.
Nemo Equipment Chipper
Weight: 5.6 ounces
Insulation: Closed-cell foam
Fabric: Recycled PE foam
When there’s no room in your pack for a camp chair, consider the butt pad. Nemo did, responsibly producing a handy item that’s lightweight, packable and one-of-a-kind. Taking cues from the circular economy trend, the brand forms this delightfully colored cushion using reclaimed and remolded PE foam scraps from its sleeping pad production, keeping tons of waste out of landfills. The hexagonal nesting pattern helps the Chipper pack down to the size of a rolled-up newspaper, making it a breeze to stash — and perfect for backpackers, tailgaters or anyone who needs a little extra cushioning.
The North Face Flight Vectiv
Weight: 10.05 ounces
Outsole: 3.5mm lugs; Surface Control Rubber
Talk about reversing course: Pre 2021, The North Face’s trail running game was so weak, its sponsored athletes didn’t even have to wear its shoes in races. Now, the brand leads the pack, with TNF-shod runners clocking FKTs (fastest known times) on trails all over the globe. What prompted the change? The Flight Vectiv, of course.
We’ve seen carbon-fiber plates power up road racing super shoes for years now. But with this product, TNF became the first brand to incorporate a plate into trail running shoes. Its designers didn’t stop there: they customized the plate for the task at hand and paired it with a high-performance midsole. This one is an all-new Flight Vectiv compound featuring dual-density foam: softer on the bottom, firmer on the top. The goal is maximizing energy return, creating an insane level of springiness and responsiveness underfoot.
The Vectiv also features rocker geometry, which results in smooth transitions and enhances the efficiency of the shoe, while the midsole works with the carbon fiber plate to create torsional rigidity, allowing runners to quickly pick up the pace where and when needed. This off-road racer also sports an ultra-durable, grippy outsole — which is no surprise for a trail runner — while Kevlar is woven into the middle section of the upper, which, along with the reinforced toe cap, give the Vectiv the ruggedness it needs to truly shine in variable terrain. And to turn around the trail running rep of a mega brand.
Length: 15.1 inches open; 6.75 inches closed
Weight: 18 ounces
Blade: 420HC stainless steel
If two of your favorite things in life are bushcrafting and packability, you are going to love this butterfly machete. And even if they’re not, you have to appreciate a design that’s equal parts cheeky and handy. Folded to under 7 inches, with a quad-lock system to maximize safety, the Doubledown can be conveniently stowed in a pack or on a belt thanks to the included MOLLE-compatible sheath. Deployed, it’s a 15-inch mega-blade — complete with baton jimping — that you can use for everything from whittling to clearing brush to splitting wood. And again: butterfly machete.
Gregory Katmai 65 Plus Size
Outer Material: 100% nylon
External Pockets: 7
Max Carry Weight: 45 pounds
“So inclusive! I have been backpacking for years and this is the first pack that fits me perfectly. Thank you Gregory for acknowledging me and including a product that fits!” That snippet from the very first review of the flagship Katmai 65 Plus Size sums up the instant love for the brand’s new Plus Size collection, 14 different pack styles for the apparel equivalent of 2x through 6x sizing.
To get it right, Gregory partnered with Jenny Bruso and her Unlikely Hikers, a body liberation and anti-racism outdoors group boasting 138,000 Instagram followers. Their input led to three key differences in the packs’ design: a much larger hip belt (plus belt extenders) for up to a 60-inch waist, with pockets shifted forward for an easier reach; extended shoulder harness lengths that don’t irritate the pits and have quicker adjustment access; and wider shoulder harness angles to accommodate broader backs.
As modified versions of some of Gregory’s top packs, these products not only possess the same awesome technical and sustainability elements, but also truly bring plus-size outdoors lovers under the proverbial tent. “For years, I just had to ‘make it work’ with gear that was uncomfortable, didn’t fit and wasn’t safe,” recalls Bruso. “It’s more than inconvenient; when gear isn’t made for you, you start to internalize that message after time and it feels like you are not welcome…People are so excited to finally have a pack that fits well and is comfortable.” ‘Nuff said.
Chaco Ramble Puff
Materials: Rip-stop nylon, fleece, EVR midsole/outsole
True to Size? Nope, runs small
A sleeping bag…for your feet? That’s the cozy result achieved when Chaco pairs the comfort of a camp slipper with the utility of an outdoor shoe. Details like the podiatrist-approved Luvseat footbed mixed with water-resistant, rip-stop nylon and a grippy lugged sole beef up the durability and usefulness. Meanwhile, a soft fleece lining keeps your feet toasty when you step out of your tent in the morning — or out of your house to walk the dog. As the past two years have accelerated the fusion of home and outdoor life, the versatility here is worth celebrating.
Adidas Terrex Myshelter Primaloft Hooded Jacket
Insulation Material: PrimaLoft x Parley Ocean Plastic
Shell Material: 100% recycled polyester plain weave
Waterproofing: PFC-free durable, water repellent finish
Continuing a multi-year collaboration, Adidas Terrex and Parley for the Oceans recently released the Myshelter Primaloft Hooded Jacket. What makes this new outerwear so special? An emphasis on sustainability and future thinking, but not at the expense of comfort and performance.
This jacket is packed with PrimaLoft Parley insulation, which is made using 100 percent recycled ocean plastic. It’s soft, lightweight and, unlike traditional down, breathable even when wet. The shell features a 100-percent recycled polyester plain weave, while the yarn contains 50 percent Parley Ocean Plastic. All these elements contribute to an item that’s at least 40 percent recycled material. To maximize resources and further reduce the environmental impact, Adidas also brought its No Dye technology to the table. By forgoing traditional dyes and keeping the jacket snowy white, the brand cut out the pre-treatment phase of conventional dye process, achieving a 60 percent savings on water and energy.
Again, none of these production considerations jeopardizes the quality of the product itself. This jacket features a hood that can be flipped up for extra protection from the cold, plus a PFC-free, durable, water repellent finish and side zip pockets for keeping valuables close at hand. Last but not least, not unlike the Terrex Free Hikers (a 2019 GP100 selection), it’s equally at home on urban streets and unbeaten paths far out in the wilderness we all hope to preserve.
Camelbak Eddy + Filtered by LifeStraw
Insulation: Double-walled 18/8 stainless steel
Construction: BPA, BPS and BPF-free
Capacity: 26 ounces with filter, 32 ounces without
When two notable outdoor brands enter a marriage of convenience, we take notice. Such is the case with Camelbak and Lifestraw: The pioneers of on-the-go hydration teamed up with one of the finest filtration companies in the business to create a line of water bottles, bladders and standalone filters that make purifying water in the wild easier and more reliable than ever. The Camelbak Eddy + Filtered by Lifestraw 32-ounce water bottle is not only vacuum insulated, spill-proof and leak-proof; it also contains a replaceable two-step filter that removes unwanted substances from your water. We’ve seen other water bottles with filters before, but none present such a winning combination of affordable price point and ease of use.
Whether you’re sourcing from a stream, river, lake or other natural body of water, once you fill your bottle, the filter takes care of the rest: Water passes through the first stage, the Hollow Filter, which removes bacteria, parasites and microplastics. Then, the water travels through the Ion Exchange filter, which reduces the taste and odor of lead, chlorine and other chemicals.
Camelbak didn’t just integrate Lifestraw’s capable filters into their vacuum-insulated Eddy bottle — it’s also included in a recycled plastic bottle as well as a two-liter reservoir, so there’s an option for every kind of drinker. The short of the long? Buy this bottle and enjoy clean, safe water on demand, wherever your adventures take you.
Db Equipment Hytta 50L
Main Material: 100% recycled nylon 840D
Organizational Pockets: 6
Other Sizes: 70L, 90L
When its semi-rigid structure, clamshell opening and easy compress-ability, the Hytta reimagines what a backpack duffel can be. The cushioned shoulder straps and back panel (plus an adjustable sternum strap) keep large loads comfortable and balanced, no hip belt needed. Burly loops on top and a clever handle on the inside (between the compartments) provide additional carry options, while two long daisy chains make it easy to attach extra gear. The fact that this bag has proven perfect for a totally unintended purpose — delivering hot food by bike for a Meals-on-Wheels-type organization — is just a bonus.
Sea to Summit Telos TR2
Floor Area: 28 square feet
Peak Height: 43.5 inches
Packed Weight: 3 pounds, 10.7 ounces
Sea to Summit is one of those brands that doesn’t enter a category without careful consideration — and its own innovative ideas. Such values are clearly on display in the brand’s first tents, and specifically this lightweight option. How so? The most notable breakthrough is the Tension Ridge, the angled rod you see at the top, which raises the tent’s entire shape upwards to maximize usable head-and-shoulder space, lifts the doors for easier entry and increases vestibule storage..
A second feature we love is the rainfly, which boasts condensation-reducing vents and the ability to roll back for stargazing or deploy at a moment’s notice, without your having to get out of the tent. You can also convert to what’s called Hangout Mode (yes, Sea to Summit is equally good at naming its tech). Using a pair of trekking poles, you can tilt one side of the rainfly up, creating a sweet little shelter for laid-back gatherings.
And we’d be remiss not to mention the stuff sack design: Dubbed Fair Share, it has three sections that can be carried together or apart, so you can share the load with a tentmate. Two of them transform into gear storage pockets, while the pole stuff sack features a translucent defuser. Toss a headlamp or two inside and suspend it from the ceiling to disperse soft lighting throughout the living and sleeping quarters, which will be the envy of all your camp comrades. Not bad for a brand’s entry into a category, eh?