- Buyer's Guide
Best New Gear: February 2020
From packs inspired by capsule hotels, to weatherproof EDC haulers for the daily grind, February has dished up an abundance of carry delights. So let’s tuck in and discover the month’s best new gear…
Hitting the urban streets on your bike? Chrome Industries’ Urban Ex Pannier is a cycle-ready gear hauler that transitions smoothly to off-bike carry too. The bag’s rack hardware is compatible with most racks on the market, while the handle and shoulder strap make it easy to venture on foot with the bag. The Knurled Welded construction is tough enough for demanding use, while also keeping the elements at bay. Add in reflective detailing and exterior attachment loops and you’ve got a versatile, functional companion for the commute, weekend adventures and more.
Chrome are celebrating their 25th anniversary in style with a selection of new colorways for their iconic Citizen messenger bag. Ranging from glittery hits with Medal, to the eye-catching Checkered Flag and more understated Neon, these limited edition colorways bring added pizzazz to the Citizen’s rugged, weatherproof functionality.
Mission Workshop has spruced up their original Khyte with a slick VX-21 diamond ripstop fabric for even better performance. The fabric offers excellent abrasion, tear, and weather resistance while keeping weight down. The messenger fits a 15″ laptop, with additional pockets on hand for smaller items. Built in the USA and backed by a lifetime guarantee, the bag also features magnetic Fidlock V-Buckles for easy access.
Looking for a little extra pop in your luggage? Away have teamed up with Serena Williams to deliver just that. The collaborative collection features an enticing Rouge colorway across hardside and softside luggage, with a vibrant camo print lining. The luggage can also be paired with Rouge packing cubes, as well as Shoe Cubes which are exclusive to this collection.
Low-budget retail giant, Target has entered the travel space. The collection features a variety of pieces, from hardside carry-on and checked suitcases, to backpacks, packing cubes and more. There’s a lot of familiar silhouettes here, in very safe and on-trend colorways, but these will certainly please folks keen on saving a buck.
Just when you thought Western Rise’s pants couldn’t get any better, they release the Diversion. A blend of the ruggedness of the AT Slim and the lightweight comfort of the Carry Award winning Evolution pant. Excellent fit, perfect pocketing, and super versatile, these are the pants to beat for 2020!
The Weekender is one of North St. Bags’ most popular packs. But that doesn’t mean they’ve rested on their laurels. Instead they’ve integrated customer feedback for a swish new update. The Weekender 2.0 features water-resistant zippers, extra attachment points, a detachable waist belt, side carry handle, and luggage passthrough. Black and Midnight colorways are available through North St. Bags’ website, while an exclusive Olive Green edition is available through Huckberry.
Travel bags need to be tough and functional. So ILE didn’t mess around building their Travel Pack. The 40L pack is made by hand in California with durable yet lightweight X-Pac sailcloth. The panel loader design is complemented by a variety of interior and exterior pockets, including a padded interior laptop sleeve. So you can pack and organize as required, with convenient access on the go. Rounding things off are side compression straps as well as a removable waist strap.
It’s challenging to travel sustainably. But PROJECTKIN want to encourage more mindful travel, and they’re doing so by tackling a key feature of travel – your luggage. The KIN Carry-on is a sustainably made suitcase that integrates biodegradable and recycled materials in its construction. The shell features a unique combination of flax and bioplastics that not only give the luggage a distinct aesthetic but also minimize the environmental impact of manufacturing. Plus the case still offers the same performance and durability as traditional plastic luggage, giving you peace of mind to explore with a much more eco-conscious companion by your side.
Choosing more sustainable clothing helps the planet in a big way. But DULO have taken things to the next level with a performance dress shirt made from 100% biodegradable fabric. This allows any shedded fibers to be broken down quickly and allows discarded fabric to decompose naturally in three to five years. The fabric is strong and breathable for long-lasting durability and comfort. Add in the machine-washable easy care, wrinkle resistance and quick drying times, and you’ve got smart, sustainable wardrobe additions for work or play.
One bag to handle all your travel carry needs? Probably never going to happen. But a modular carry system can cater to changing needs. And that’s just what Boundary Supply have created with the Arris Travel System. The foundation of the system is the Arris Travel Pack, a burly, weatherproof pack with clamshell access. Modular components including the Stasis Sling and Rift Pack can be secured to the Arris Pack to increase carrying capacity. Alternatively these components can be used as standalone pieces for smaller loads, letting you easily adapt to a variety of carry environments and requirements throughout your travels.
What do a San Francisco-based carry brand and a Japanese capsule hotel have in common? The understanding that city travel requires a reliable, compact foundation done well. And that’s what Aer and nine hours have created with the Capsule Collection. Inspired by nine hours’ dedication to doing the simple basics right, the collection features the 40L Capsule Pack Max and the 35L Capsule Pack. Two carry-on packs designed to embrace city travel, with a streamlined silhouette and thoughtful functionality. The packs have a duffel-style main compartment for ease of packing and access. A top compartment stores your on-the-go essentials, while a quick-access laptop pocket takes care of up to 15.6″ tech. Flexible carry is also covered, with a removable shoulder strap and a luggage handle passthrough.
Want the smart style of a polo with the performance of technical activewear? Meet the Limitless Merino Polo Shirt. The shirt is odor-resistant, wrinkle-resistant and temperature regulating. It’s made from a blend of Australian Merino wool and polyester and provides four-way stretch for freedom of movement, whether you’re wearing it to work or on weekend explorations.
Keen to pack less and do more? You need multipurpose clothing in your travel setup. Clothing like the Olivers Compass Pant. Designed as a stylish adventure pant, the Compass is made from a water-resistant ripstop nylon blend that’s durable and comfy enough for active use. Yet the clean style looks sharp enough for the city and can be dressed up or down as needed. Front and back zip pockets store valuables too, keeping essentials secure while you get out there.
Understated style, durability and organization; all useful elements in your luggage to make your travels smoother. And master-piece have packed all of them into their Trolley 2020 Spring & Summer Collection. The collection features two cases around 75L and 34L, both with clamshell main compartments and interior organization to keep you on top of your carry game. Additionally, the smaller suitcase also provides a front-loading compartment that’s handy for tech and documents. Featuring a polycarbonate resin shell, TSA lock, and trusty Hinomoto wheels, these pieces are designed for reliable performance on work and leisure trips alike.
Grovemade’s Matte Desk Pads not only help protect your desk, but provide organizational areas to keep your workspace tidy. The pads are made from natural linoleum, very different from synthetic linoleum. The natural linoleum is made from linseed oil, pine rosin, wood flour and calcium carbonate, providing durability, resistance to fingerprints, and a smooth, premium feel. Available in black and navy blue colorways, the pads come in four sizes to suit different areas and work with digital and analog tools alike.
Balancing the work/play/travel divide can be a carry challenge. But the modular ODA Hop offers a nifty solution to take care of diverse carry needs. The Hop features a backpack and shoulder bag, each of which can be carried separately. However, they secure quickly and easily together through a magnetic attachment system when it’s time to travel. And once you reach your destination, it’s easy to detach them so you have a daypack at the ready without having to unpack essentials, while the shoulder bag can be left at your accommodation with the majority of your personal items.
Like the functionality of Bellroy’s Sling but want something a little smaller? You’re in luck, as the Bellroy Sling Mini has swung onto the carry scene with plenty of practicality in a smaller package. The 4L Sling Mini offers a choice of organizational pockets, along with a gusseted design that can expand for larger loads or compress for smaller ones. The bag features a water-resistant fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. A magnetic strap clasp makes the bag easy to attach or remove, while the versatile design can be worn across the back, chest or over the shoulder.
Topo Designs offers a luxurious take on a classic with their Rover Pack Premium. The bag features a 1000D nylon cinch top upper and a TPE-coated ripstop base. An exterior padded laptop sleeve provides easy-access protection for tech, with additional quick-access pockets providing convenient stash points for your smaller essentials.
ORBITGear and Idle/idō have joined forces to enhance the daily commute through functionality and versatility. And they’re doing so with the collaborative ONIGIRI 2Way Pack. Taking inspiration from the shape of onigiri and resembling a noragi in form, the pack offers a 13″ laptop sleeve and seven pockets to organize your daily essentials. And with the flexibility to wear it as a cross-body sling or as a backpack, you can switch up your carry style to suit different needs.
While the GR1 is praised for its durability, many people would prefer a pared-back version with less tactical vibes. And while GORUCK did introduce a Slick version of the pack a couple of years back, they’re not available anymore. Well, until now. And in a very limited batch. Huckberry teamed up with GORUCK to release a limited edition run of GR1 Slick backpacks. Stripped back in style but still packing the functionality and ruggedness you’d expect from a GORUCK bag. They’re available only at Huckberry, so if you’re keen to bag one you better be quick.
QWSTION’s Minimal Collection focuses on sustainable, minimalist carry, with three pieces crafted from biodegradable Bananatex® fabric. But now it’s getting a style update with two new colorways, Classic Navy and Limestone. Available across the Roll Pack, Hip Pouch and Zip Pack, these colorways complement a variety of outfits and settings, making it easy to transition from work to downtime with just one bag.
The fan favorite and Carry Awards winning Conceal has been given a lightweight makeover, dropping in black and olive dimension polyant (AKA Xpac) in limited numbers. And folks are loving the vibes, so get in fast!
Luxe / Urban
Carry meets art in this collaboration between KILLSPENCER and artist Velia De Iuliis. The limited-edition KILLSPENCER x Velia De Iuliis V-1 Bag features full-grain leather painted by hand to create a unique and stylish piece that celebrates art, nature and design. Made by hand in Los Angeles, the bag has two pockets and an adjustable shoulder strap for easy carry.
HEAD PORTER has been a staple in the Japanese streetwear carry scene for two decades. However, HEAD Porter rebranded to RAMIDUS last year and now has a striking selection of streetstyle-inspired carry available through their Osaka, Tokyo and online stores. The stores are inspired by museum storage facilities, providing a distinct visual contrast to their vibrant offerings. The brand isn’t afraid to experiment with their bags either, providing a range of collections that play with various materials, colorways and designs.
For tactical vibes of a more overt nature, look to the Porter Platoon 2Way Helmet Bag. Available in three camo colorways, the bag salutes streetwear styling with a nod to its military inspiration. Large exterior pockets and a selection of internal pockets keep your gear tidy during a variety of carry missions, from conquering the commute to setting up base in your local cafe. And it even stores inside its own interior pocket for compact travel carry too.
Gerber Armbar Drive and Armbar Cork
Need more functionality than a pocketknife can provide, without sacrificing pocket-friendly carry? Gerber’s got your back with their Armbar Drive and Armbar Cork. These multi-tools pack a variety of features into a compact form you can slip into a pocket. The Armbar Drive offers a variety of functions including a double-sided ¼” bit and driver, awl, scissors, pry bar, and 2.5″ blade. The Armbar Cork comes in handy for outdoor dining, with a corkscrew, foil cutter, pry bar, bottle opener, can opener, scissors and 2.5″ blade amongst its features.
A watch isn’t just a functional part of your daily gear setup. It’s a style statement too. And Luminox deliver on form and function with this ruggedly dapper piece. The watch is entirely Swiss-made, with a 316L stainless steel construction and a lume that lasts up to 25 years. Additionally, the watch is water resistant up to 200 meters for your aquatic adventures.
Love EDC items that combine art and functionality? The WESN Henry Titanium Slip-Joint Pocket Knife should be on your radar. Designed for daily carry, this non-locking slip-joint pocket knife features a 2.35″ Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel blade and comes in eye-catching options including titanium scales with or without dark Cherry wood inlays. Inspired by a Swedish traditional slip-joint design from the late 1800s, this is a stylish and versatile tool that lends itself to a range of urban and outdoor uses.
More often than not, getting the most out of your gear comes down to a willingness to carry it with you. And with the BioLite HeadLamp 200, there’s no reason not to take it anywhere you go. Exceptionally lightweight, the headlight comes in at just 1.7oz (50g) and is compact enough to carry in your pocket, let alone a day bag. It provides up to 200 lumens of light, with a choice of modes to suit changing illumination needs. It’s rechargeable via micro USB and offers a sleek, comfy design for a secure, bounce-free fit.