- Buyer's Guide
Best New Gear: September 2018
Luxurious leather luggage. Travel-ready apparel to keep packing in check. Slick compact slings for urban roaming. And camera carry rocking everything from handmade artisan textiles to tactical vibes. Discover all of this and more as we delve into September’s best new gear…
Street culture fuses with considered practicality in the Nixon x C.R. Stecyk III Limited Edition Collaboration. California-based accessories brand Nixon joins forces with artist C.R. Stecyk III, a pioneer of the Dogtown skate ethos and street art progenitor, to deliver this two-piece capsule. The C.R. Stecyk III Limited Edition Logic Ops Camera Bag merges tactical style with useful organization for diverse loads. Multiple pockets, compartments, pouches, MOLLE webbing and tripod straps let you tailor setups to stay on top of changing needs. They’ve made just 100 bags, so you better be quick off the mark if you’re keen to snag one. Also forming part of the capsule is the C.R. Stecyk III Limited Edition Descender Watch, a stainless steel watch that is water-resistant to 30ATM and comes with a Cerakote graffiti splattered case and custom caseback. Like the bag, only 100 watches were made.
Think Tank Photo brings modern updates to classic styling with their Retrospective V2.0 series of shoulder bags. Lighter than the originals, the series offers five sizes of bag to suit a variety of camera setups. The bags now feature a zippered opening under the main flap for added security. And if you don’t need it, you can store it out of the way until required. You’ll also find storage for a tablet or laptop, a luggage handle pass-through sleeve, plus a compressible water bottle pocket. Additionally, Think Tank Photo improved their “Sound Silencer” technology, so you can work quietly and not draw unnecessary attention. Speaking of avoiding unwanted attention, the low-key aesthetics mean they don’t look like they’re carrying expensive gear either.
Ethnotek bags feature eye-catching handmade textiles sourced from artisan villages around the world. Now they’re bringing their colorful style of carry to the camera world with their ETK OPTIKS Camera Bag Collection. The collection features the Raja Photo Pack, the Desa Sling Pouch and the Kota Camera Strap. The 30L Raja Photo Pack is an adaptable pack for commuting, camera gear and weekend adventures. It accommodates a variety of interchangeable front panels called Threads, allowing you to easily alter the bag’s aesthetics while supporting a variety of textile artisans. The pack provides front and side access to camera gear, a range of dividers and organization pockets, as well as a laptop pocket. The pack also has separate storage in the main compartment for personal gear and includes a removable waist belt.
Looking for a little calm in your everyday carry chaos? Mystery Ranch has a versatile solution on hand with their Street Zen. An adaptable everyday pack built with the urban, active commuter in mind. The front EDC compartment features a dual zipper and Velcro closure and lets you reach frequently used items without taking the bag off. The main compartment features a Speedzip™ zipper and buckled handle closure for added portability and security. The floating, padded laptop compartment keeps tech safe on the go, while additional pockets are on hand for smaller items. And with its lifetime guarantee you can feel confident venturing forth with this pack in tow.
Code of Bell caught the carry world’s attention with their X-PAK series. Now their new TOURER collection provides a minimalist take on the originals. The TOURER X-PAK-PRO blends form and function, incorporating weatherproof cotton duck fabric in its stylish and multifunctional design. Two separate compartments let you organize gear for a variety of work, travel, and day-to-day needs. The 11L volume can increase to 23L through the expandable front compartment, handy for larger items or last-minute souvenirs. The bag fits a 13″ laptop, with multiple pockets for organization.
Just because a load is small doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a considered carry approach. And a considered approach is what The Brown Buffalo provides with the Concealsling. Function meets slick urban style with a sleek and durable design to carry minimalist loads. The sling offers quick-access pockets, along with a zipped main compartment with additional organization. The sling can be worn across the chest or back and works well across a range of day-to-day and travel environments. It features a mix of abrasion-resistant and water-resistant 420D Nylon and 210D Nylon Ripstop, in a choice of versatile colorways.
Japanese carry experts master-piece have honed decades of experience to deliver dialed-in form and function. Their Rim Series demonstrates this expertise across a range of everyday bags including a backpack, sling bag, tote bag and two shoulder bags. master-piece crafts the series with high-density nylon twill and vegetable-tanned leather detailing. The bags feature a water-repellent finish and a two-tone colorway with a subtle glossy aesthetic. Complementing the fashion-forward aesthetics is convenient access, with four zipper pulls to open the bags at different places to easily reach specific items while keeping the rest of your gear secured.
If striking aesthetics in practical pieces capture your attention, then the master-piece Lightning Dye Series is not one to miss. The series features a unique dyeing process that dyes the surface of the fabric as well as the back, using a hands-on approach and bleeding technique to distort the dye patterns. The result? The kind of bags you can’t help but take a second (and likely third and fourth) look at. The series includes two backpacks and a sling bag for versatile everyday or travel carry use.
Porter make some of the slickest urban carry around. Team them up with wings+horns, a designer and manufacturer with a refined blend of Japanese and Canadian design experience, and you’re in for a treat. This collaborative daypack is based on Porter’s Tanker series and is crafted by Porter in Japan using ripstop taffeta and nylon satin side panels. Functional storage complements the pared-back style including external zip pockets, side pockets with snap closures, and a padded sleeve with a Velcro closure.
Bedouin Foundry are well known for their handsome waxed canvas bags. But they take a different tack with this special edition of the Delireis. The bag is handmade in England using 170gsm Dyneema composite fabric and features AustriAlpin Cobra buckles. The rolltop pack includes a laptop sleeve and two exterior sleeve pockets, with sealed cell padding on the back panel and base. Tough yet lightweight, it comes in at 540 grams. Bedouin Foundry have already sold out the first batch but you can pre-order for the new batch now.
The Vertx EDC Gamut offers a well-thought-out mix of functional design, durability and organization. And they’ve introduced a new colorway so you can add a little color pop to your carry setup. A good option if you want to step away from more subdued color options but still keep things relatively low-key, the Midnight Navy/Stone looks suitably at home in both urban and outdoor settings.
Aer’s distinctive urban style and functionality gets a Japanese twist with the release of the Aer x Oshman’s City Sling. The sling is available in gray water-resistant 900D eco-dyed polyester and black water-resistant 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon. Simple, sleek and designed for your small essentials, the bag features a front pocket, interior pockets and concealed rear pocket for valuables. The adjustable strap provides multiple carry options including across the back, chest, on the shoulder or around the waist. It’s available now exclusively at Oshman’s in Japan.
Fancy a generous dose of avant-garde style in your carry collection? Then the Y-3 Utility Backpack should be on your radar. The brand is a collaboration between Yohji Yamamoto and adidas, offering fashion-forward yet practical designs. The over-sized pack features a drawstring main compartment with a fold-over top. Side pockets, an interior zip pocket and a padded laptop compartment help keep your gear tidy, while compression straps let you adjust the bag to suit different loads.
Forming part of Ally Capellino’s Travel/Cycle collection, the Pendleton carries essentials in clean and durable style. Wearable as a cross-body or waist bag, it’s made with highly water-resistant Cordura Nylon. Lightweight but hard-wearing, the bag includes a reflective strip, taped zips and a choice of pockets to keep gear organized.
Casual-chic in style and thoughtfully designed for versatile use, Ally Capellino’s Frank Rucksack lends itself to work, travel and everyday use. The bag combines water-resistant British waxed cotton and a leather base. The distinct boxy silhouette brings style and function to the table, with a wide opening for easy packing and access. Inside you’ll find an interior laptop sleeve and zipped pocket, along with two exterior front pockets and top carry handles.
Whether you’re looking for elevated style in your gym bag, understated elegance for the commute, or an adaptable overnight bag, the Hoy Travel/Cycle Rucksack has you covered. Built to withstand regular use and inclement weather, the bag features water-resistant Cordura nylon, weatherproof zips, and Italian bridle leather handles. It offers a 13″ tech sleeve, a reflective strip and a D-ring for securing a bike light.
In travel, getting lost sometimes leads to the greatest adventures. And being prepared to get lost and explore the unknown is the guiding design principle behind UK moto brand, Malle London’s new Lost Collection. Honed in style and utility, each piece is made by hand using premium British waxed canvas, organic cotton, bridle leather and brass hardware. Features such as impact protection and 100% waterproof membranes further enhance the collection’s functionality. Guaranteed for life and designed to age gracefully, the pieces in the collection cater to a range of travel and day-to-day needs. Chic, durable and practical, the collection includes the Adrian Adventurer Duffel, John Hybrid Backpack, Dash-Pack, John Hybrid Leather Backpack, Edward Backpack, Garment Duffel, Bonnie Backpack, Moto Wallet and Tom Leather Digital Folio.
There are lots of great bags to carry day-to-day items. But bags specifically designed for gamer carry needs? A much more elusive prospect. Villager Supplies are looking to change that with the 3Up. The bag is specifically designed to provide protection for your Nintendo Switch and gaming accessories, along with storage for small daily essentials too. Impact-resistant padding provides peace of mind on the move, while a variety of pockets offer convenient organization so you can get to gear in a jiffy. And with its urban-friendly aesthetics and multiple carry options, you can carry gaming gear and EDC in style.
Smart travel wardrobe choices are key to keeping your packing to a minimum. And the DUER Men’s 24 Hour T-Shirt is a solid pick. It features a unique blend of cotton, Tencel, and Spandex for a great mix of breathability, odor control, and stretch. The 360 Stretch allows freedom of movement in any direction, enhanced by the invisible DUER gusset which enables a greater range of motion and avoids premature wear and tear. The Tencel provides natural moisture absorption and odor control benefits. An adaptable t-shirt that moves from the gym to work to the weekend, it’s a versatile choice for one-bag travel and minimalist packing.
Another smart wardrobe choice for everyday and travel needs is the DUER Men’s 9 to 9 Button Down Shirt. It features a blend of cotton, COOLMAX, and Spandex, providing office-friendly style with the functionality, comfort and stretch of active apparel. The Spandex and invisible DUER gusset enable comfortable movement. And for added practicality the COOLMAX wicks moisture while keeping you cool on the go.
You’ve got the shirts covered but what about the footwear? Bulky shoes take up a lot of carry space, so it’s important to pick a pair that adapts easily to diverse settings. A pair like the Vessi Footwear Waterproof Knit. Not only are these shoes lightweight and comfortable, they’re also 100% waterproof. The specialized knit textile upper is waterproof, breathable, moisture-wicking, and odor resistant, a perfect mix for tackling a range of environments and weather conditions. And with their four-way stretch, the knit uppers will conform to your feet for improved fit.
Many packable jackets don’t go beyond a simple shell to reach for in a shower or light breeze. But Mission Workshop created the Sans to be different. A packable jacket that goes above and beyond. A great ultralight option for minimalist packing, but without sacrificing technical details and functionality. The jacket weighs just 5.6 ounces, but is packed with useful features including stretch, multiple hood adjustments and a zipped chest pocket. It’s crafted with 50 gsm 3-layer fabric made especially for Mission Workshop by Japan-based Toray. The fabric features Toray’s high-performance, waterproof and breathable Entrant® microporous membrane with a water column rating of 30,000 and MVTR of 30,000+. Waterproof, windproof, and breathable, the jacket also includes underarm ventilation holes and a weatherproof YKK zipper.
Stuart & Lau expand on their suave carry range with a dapper collection of accessories designed to meet the modern man’s transient lifestyle. Considered in function and style, the collection introduces five new pieces. The Slim Wallet is crafted with full-grain Italian leather, a suede pocket for notes, and an RFID-blocking lining. It offers storage for multiple cards while maintaining its slim form, and includes a back pocket for quick access to a travel card. For a more minimalist option consider the Card Holder. Made with full-grain leather, it features a central divider and a bottom cutout to push up and easily access cards. Taking care of your tech is the Laptop Sleeve, crafted with weatherproof DuraLiteᵀᴹ Fabric, full-grain leather detailing, and magnetic flap closures. The expanding concertina design accommodates work essentials, while the back sleeve pocket stores quick-access items.
The Stuart & Lau Toiletry Kit is also made with DuraLiteᵀᴹ Fabric and full-grain leather trim, with a handy rubberized wipe-clean lining. The clamshell opening maximizes storage and easy access, with a toothbrush sleeve and included transparent TSA-friendly wet bag adding to the functionality. For keeping travel essentials tidy look to the Travel Wallet. It’s made with DuraLiteᵀᴹ Fabric and full-grain leather trim and offers multiple interior dividers and pockets to keep travel essentials tidy and accessible on the go.
There’s a huge appreciation for heritage outdoor gear in Japan, especially gear with a story and distinct aesthetic behind it. And the Rivendell Mountain Works Jensen Pack is definitely that kind of gear. A revolutionary piece that’s inspired designers and outdoor brands for decades, the Jensen Pack has no internal frame but instead uses the contents to maintain its structure. And now it’s getting a style-savvy update from Natal Design. The Japanese brand is a big proponent of learning from the past while creating products with a sense of fun for modern-day users. And that’s what this collaboration provides. Made by hand with 1000D nylon, the updated Jensen comes in a bold striped print and camo print for a striking blend of heritage form and urban-friendly fashion.