- Buyer's Guide
Best New Gear: April 2018
From camera bags to collaborations, and carrying urban essentials to outdoor adventure supplies, April has welcomed a wealth of great carry. Discover the best new gear below…
Need to roll with just the essentials? Mission Workshop helps you shed the load and keep your valuables close with The Axis, a modular waist pack that is compatible with the brand’s Arkiv® system. Lightweight, hard-wearing and weatherproof, the bag is handmade in the USA and backed by a lifetime guarantee. The Axis includes a floating internal liner and coated YKK zipper with kissing flap construction for enhanced protection from the elements. The thin laser cut waist belt is designed to be unobtrusive on the body when worn and stowable when the bag is attached to any MW Arkiv® bag. For added functionality, the Axis also has an interior zippered pocket that keeps smaller items such as keys, a phone or wallet in check on the move.
Slim yet sturdy, rugged yet stylish, and full of practical features without weighing you down. All in one compact, pocket-friendly wallet design? Meet the Dango D007 Wallet, which delivers all of the above in a sleek and eye-catching design made by hand in the USA. The wallet is machined out of 6061 aerospace aluminum, with a chem-etched gold anodized aluminum chassis, a hand polished nickel plated back plate, and top grain leather. Made in a limited edition of 2000 pieces, the RFID-blocking wallet holds up to 12 cards, with an inbuilt bottle opener to boot. The lightweight design weighs just over 2 ounces, and includes Dango’s MT02 Multi-tool. The tool is removable and provides over 14 functions. The wallet is TSA compliant when the multi-tool is removed, and packs a punch with practical pizzazz for EDC use.
What happens when carry meets the contemporary lifestyle sports scene? If you’re master-piece and MIZUNO, a slick capsule collection that combines excellent Japanese craftsmanship with killer street style. The collection features three backpacks, a shoulder bag and a crossbody/hip bag, based on master-piece’s POTENTIAL series. Two of the packs offer a host of storage options for organizing daily or travel gear, while the third pack offers a nifty base opening for storing shoes and includes antimicrobial fabric for part of the interior. Not only are the hip bag and shoulder bag convenient compact options for keeping essentials close during the day, but they also include a removable drink holder for hassle-free hydration on the go.
Porter-Yoshida & Co. joins forces with adidas Originals to deliver a solid dose of sporty functionality with their latest collaboration. The collection includes the adidas Campus Porter Shoes, the Porter 3Way Brief Case and the Porter 2Way Boston Bag. The shoes feature a leather and textile upper, with a toe box and tongue in Porter’s TANKER textile, and Porter and adidas branding. The 3Way Brief Case includes a choice of pockets and fits A4 documents. As the name suggests, the bag offers three carry options including briefcase, shoulder bag and backpack mode. The 2Way Boston Bag features a removable shoulder strap, along with multiple interior and exterior pockets. Both bags include a blue lining and distinctive orange three-stripe branding. The collaboration will be available from 3 May at select retailers.
Looking for suave style and a touch of luxe in your minimalist carry? Consider KILLSPENCER’s Belt Bag 2.0. A clean, classy piece for smaller loads, the Belt Bag 2.0 is made in the USA and available in a choice of black nylon, water-repellent army duck canvas, and waterproof Dyneema® Composite Fabric. The bag includes Swiss-made Riri zippers and a durable AustriAlpin Cobra buckle waist strap for quick release. In addition to the main compartment, the bag features front and back zippered pockets for easy access to frequently used items. Lightweight but durable, the Belt Bag 2.0 is equally adept at keeping daily or travel essentials within easy reach and can be worn across the chest or back to suit your needs.
Topo Designs and FRONTEER both have a passion for simple, functional designs that can move between city streets and wilder domains. And their collaboration is designed to foster urban and outdoor exploration alike, with two adaptable and durable designs. The collaboration features the Topo Designs x FRONTEER Quick Pack, which can be worn across the back, as a waist bag, or as a shoulder bag. The bag includes an interior pocket, exterior zipped pocket and bottom compression straps and is handmade in Colorado. Also included in the collab is the Topo Designs x FRONTEER Super Gratton. Named in honor of the first designed rock climbing shoe, it’s made with water-resistant suede and canvas and features a Vibram® outsole with raw sticky rubber touch points.
Having communication readily available is important for adventure travel. But you can’t always rely on your phone receiving a signal. However, you can rely on the Somewear Global Hotspot. This innovative device turns your smartphone into a satellite communications device, and works wherever you are in the world, providing global coverage as long as you have a clear view of the sky. The device provides a variety of benefits, from letting loved ones know you are safe, to finding friends on the trail if separated from your group, or receiving weather and area alerts in advance. The hotspot partners with the Somewear mobile app to provide text messaging, weather reports, local alerts (such as flood warnings or road closures) and location sharing. Additionally, you can also use it to send out an SOS, and the app lets you communicate with emergency response to provide additional context and information. The hotspot is compact and lightweight for easy portability, shockproof, and has an IPX7 waterproof rating (waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes).
Looking to stay agile on adventures? Look to Osprey’s updated Exos and Eja series. Designed for male and female users respectively, the updated series combines ultralight and ventilated construction with improved user comfort and durability in areas of high wear. The packs feature Osprey’s Airspeed™ Suspension that transfers the load away from the back through a tensioned back panel, keeping sweat to a minimum and increasing comfort over longer distances. User comfort is also boosted with the Exoform™ harness, adjustable slide sternum strap and an ErgoPull™ closure on the hipbelt that follows the contour of the hips for increased stability. The packs come in 38L, 48L and 58L options to suit a range of adventures, with useful features such as a removable floating lid and multiple pockets and attachment points for securing extra gear.
Travel bags are great for getting your gear to a destination. But they don’t always work well as day bags when you’re there. Luckily Mystery Ranch have a handy solution with their In and Out backpack. This lightweight and packable backpack can be stuffed inside its own inbuilt stuff sack, creating a compact and easily stowable bag that can be stored inside a larger bag until needed. The 19L pack is made with abrasion-resistant and tear-resistant 100D CORDURA® Mini Rip fabric, and works equally well as an urban day bag or outdoor option for summits and day hikes. It may be packable, but that doesn’t mean it’s not packed with features. The bag offers two exterior zipped pockets, one side stretch pocket ideal for a water bottle, two tool carry loops, side compression straps, and a 2L hydration reservoir pocket with drinking tube ports above the shoulders.
Staying hydrated while cycling shouldn’t slow you down. And Thule’s Vital 8L Hydration Backpack doesn’t, featuring a hands-free ReTrakt hose return system along with quick-access pockets for snacks and tools. The pack’s low center of gravity allows for optimal weight distribution, which enables improved bike control and reduced muscle strain. The bag comes with a 2.5L Hydrapak reservoir, and can handle a variety of loads with an expandable panel and up to 8L of storage space. Convenient additional features include a soft-lined quick-access pocket for valuables, interior pockets for organization, and a sternum strap for stability and comfort on the move.
Travel / Everyday
Could it be time to rethink Merino? Maybe… meet Bensly and their performance Tencel® apparel. Available in a choice of styles, the underwear is both moisture wicking and antimicrobial. Soft and super comfortable, the underwear fabric is sustainably made with 94% Tencel® (a fiber that comes from the eucalyptus tree) and 6% Spandex and offers 4-way stretch, with soft Flatlock stitching. Other handy features include No Ride Up Legs, as well as a No Roll Stayput and unbranded waistband. Bensly’s t-shirts are made of 90% Lyocell Tencel® and 10% Spandex, offering a breathable construction with 4-way stretch and have a superb look and hand-feel. Easily dressed up or down, these are versatile staples for a travel or everyday wardrobe. And it’s worth noting, our editor has a wardrobe full of Bensly, and loves it!
Sometimes you just need more packing flexibility. And that’s what Outlier’s Ultrahigh Bigroll Backpack provides. Designed as a larger alternative to the Ultrahigh Rolltop, this pack offers a lightweight yet durable carry option for a range of loads. The bag is made with Ultrahigh Dyneema Composite fabric that’s soft on clothing, and features an extra-long rolltop closure and two compression straps to accommodate diverse loads. The bag’s redesigned Fidlock/Biothane roll closure can be secured in rolled or flap-down mode, and has double Fidlocks on either side. The pack includes a stiff yet lightweight and removable Armordon back plate that optimizes weight distribution and prevents bag contents digging into the user’s back. The back plate sheath also serves as a flat interior pocket, while interior webbing can be used to secure additional pockets or dividers. And for quick-access items two exterior side stretch pockets and an exterior zip pocket keep essentials within easy reach.
Adventure photography isn’t easy on your precious camera kit. But MindShift Gear have you (and your gear) covered with their Exposure series. Consisting of two storm-resistant bags, the series includes the Exposure 15 and Exposure 13. The bags feature a dedicated laptop compartment that fits a 15″ laptop and 13″ laptop respectively, with a zippered pocket able to store up to a 10″ tablet in both bags. The series is built to handle the elements, with a sturdy combination of waterproof sailcloth panels, storm flaps, water-repellent DWR fabric, and a tough Tarpaulin base. Additionally, both bags include a waterproof raincover for added protection. A luggage pass-through handle makes it easy to secure the bags to rolling luggage, while customizable dividers and multiple pockets provide plenty of options for organizing your gear. And since adventure photography often involves getting active, the bags come with a cross-body stabilizer strap that can be removed when not needed.