- Buyer's Guide
Best New Gear: March 2020
There’s no denying we’re living in challenging times currently. But arguably more than ever it’s good to have a little distraction now and then. And perusing the industry’s new offerings provides just that. With many of us having extra time on our hands, tweaking that gear wishlist is a fun way to stay occupied while we’re cooped up indoors. And along with anticipating putting that gear to good use when the time comes, it’s a chance to help brands weather the financial storm if something catches your fancy.
So without further ado, let’s get into March’s best new gear…
Everlane’s Court Sneaker is designed to give you more with less. More versatility, with less production waste and energy usage. And it does so with a sustainable construction approach. The shoe has a full-grain leather upper, a sole featuring a blend of natural and recycled rubber which is 94.2% free of virgin plastic, as well as a 100% recycled polyester lining. And they’ve 100% offset their carbon footprint, creating a sneaker you can feel good about in more ways than one.
For frequent travelers, having a bag you can take anywhere that keeps all your essentials well organized is a useful tool. And that’s where Tortuga’s Outbreaker Laptop Backpack comes in. The 27L carry-on pack fits under the seat and is sleek and durable enough for work and downtime trips alike. Made with weatherproof VX21 sailcloth and weather-resistant YKK zippers, the bag protects gear from the elements while keeping it tidy too. Multiple quick-access and interior pockets, a lay-flat laptop compartment, front-loading clothes compartment, and zip-flat water bottle pocket ensure gear stays put on the go but within easy reach when you need it. And flexible carry is well taken care of courtesy of stowable cushioned straps, a removable sternum strap, a luggage passthrough, as well as top and side grab handles.
Balancing versatility and weight is a key factor when assembling a travel packing list. And for those who want a good balance of both, the Arc’teryx Delta LT Jacket delivers. The lightweight design is made from Polartec® Classic 100 micro velour, offering a blend of softness, warmth and breathability without weighing you down. Offering greater packability than a lot of other fleeces out there, it features inbuilt stretch for freedom of movement, with elastic cuffs and hem to keep heat in. A choice of zippered pockets store essentials, while the flexible design works equally well in urban and outdoor settings as a midlayer or standalone piece depending on your needs.
Grayers takes its name from the birth of the casual menswear movement in Britain. And their Paragon Quilted Featherweight Jacket keeps their founding values in focus: quality and style, without breaking the bank. The jacket’s lightweight nylon shell has a sustainably-produced polyester filling made with recycled plastic bottles. Box quilted for a timeless, classic aesthetic, the jacket provides elevated style with a stand-up collar and piped cuffs and hem. Three exterior pockets keep your hands warm and stash frequently used essentials on the go, while an interior pocket securely stores valuables.
When designing a travel bag, it makes sense to ask travelers what they want and need in a carry companion. And that’s what Pakt have done with their Travel Backpack, seeking design input from the Pakt community and Youtuber Chase Reeves to create a bag that performs well across a multitude of travel environments and loads. The clean exterior design adapts to both work and leisure trips, with quick-access storage and considered organization keeping gear at the ready. The 30L carry-on pack has a variety of travel-friendly features including a removable hip belt and sternum strap, luggage pass-through, side handles, quick-access interior laptop sleeve, a clamshell main compartment, and lockable exterior zippers. As a handy bonus, the removable hip belt transforms into a standalone sling or waist bag.
A shoe you can take from active to casual use, up outdoor trails and down city streets, is just the kind of shoe you want to be adding to your packing list. And the OluKai Mio Li steps up as that kind of shoe. The upper is made with a breathable mesh and premium leather. All-day comfort comes courtesy of the dual-density PU footbed featuring a gel insert. And the outsole offers solid traction on wet and dry surfaces alike so you can get out there and explore more.
Getting sufficient good-quality sleep is vital to stay fresh and focused during your travels – wherever they take you. So Banale designed the Omni Pillow as an adaptable, use-anywhere pillow that works equally well on planes, during camping trips, or to add extra comfort in hotel rooms. The pillow can be used as a neck pillow, a doubled-up camping pillow, or an extra lay-flat pillow for stacking on less-than-ideal existing accommodation pillows. The memory foam pillow has a removable, washable Lycra cover. Plus it comes with a water-resistant pouch for space-saving storage and easy portability.
Warm-weather adventures can still require long-sleeved protection. Enter Flint and Tinder’s Desert Field Jacket. A smart, versatile piece made with a breathable and durable half-Panama fabric. The style nods to vintage military field jackets, with a useful range of pockets to store small essentials close at hand. And with its understated style, it slips just as easily into everyday urban settings too.
Packing light and only want to take one t-shirt? Proof’s 72-Hour Merino Tencel Tee is a solid addition to your travel bag. An updated take on their 72-Hour Merino Tee, the t-shirt features a blend of sustainable Tencel fabric and 16.5 micron merino wool. Resulting in a breathable, lightweight, odor-resistant, moisture-wicking and temperature-regulating tee; pretty much everything you could ask for in a travel wardrobe staple.
When Mystery Ranch and Huckberry team up on a travel bag, you know good things are going to happen. And the Mystery Ranch Mission Hybrid doesn’t disappoint. The collaborative bag can be carried as a backpack, shoulder bag or briefcase-style, with multiple pockets and compartments (including dedicated storage for shoes and tech) keeping your travel gear tidy on the go and easily accessible throughout your journey.
A journal is an invaluable daily carry tool that helps you keep on top of to-do lists, take notes, get creative with sketches, and much more. The Rustico Leather Bullet Journaling Notebook lets you do all of this, while adding a stylish touch to your EDC setup. Made from top-grain leather, the durable cover will develop a unique patina over time while protecting the two 96-page notebooks included inside. There’s also a pocket inside the cover to store additional items, along with two elastic closure straps for secure on-the-go carry.
Smartphones are useful everyday tools. But they can also be incredibly distracting. So the Light Phone II was designed as a distraction-free alternative to help you reduce screen time and embrace a digital disconnect. The phone offers just the essentials including calling, texting, alarms, contacts, and hotspot capabilities. It comes with a universal SIM card that can be activated with various USA cell service providers including T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, and Mobile PCS.
Like your timepieces with a trusty blend of straightforward usability, durability, and understated aesthetics? Look to Momentum’s Smokejumper, designed as a reliable watch for urban and outdoor adventures alike. The low-key design suits a range of day-to-day environments, while the rugged build stands up to active use. The watch combines a titanium case with a leather strap, sapphire crystal and quartz movement. It’s also waterproof up to 100 meters and easily transitions from work to the weekend.
Customizing bags is no easy task for any brand. But seeing the variations that come out of the process is a pretty fun experience. And BRIEFING have embarked on their first customization process with four very different takes on their Fleet Messenger for four very different users and needs. Check out the details here.
The Apex Backpack is Bellroy’s version of a concept car, uniting 10 years of design insights into a truly advanced pack that blends the cutting-edge in pack construction with proven and timeless luxe. The ultra-sleek, minimal design makes this pack a chameleon, transitioning smoothly from work, travel and play. The ‘tool-belt’ pockets located high up keep items out of the crush zone and leave space in the main compartment for larger items, with the side internals snapping flat when not in use. And dual access zips allow for sweet universal access to the main compartment.
The pack itself is made with only the very best materials: custom-designed hardware, specialist 100-percent recycled Baida nylon, developed from the ground up in Korea, and luscious environmentally certified leather from the Netherlands.
And capping off the collection (and not be overlooked) are the Apex Slim Sleeve Wallet and the Apex Passport Cover. Both crafted with pre-molded, precision-cut leather, assembled with stitchless lamination, and feature a nifty magnetic closure for ease of use. These are some of the most advanced and technical wallets on the planet.
The humble tote is often a quiet grafter in the carry world. But when done well, it can be one of the most useful additions to your carry collection. And Sand Pack Co.’s Utility Tote is a fine example. Handcrafted in Portland, Oregon, its adaptable design and handy range of organization makes it a go-to piece for carrying work supplies, grocery essentials, day trip gear, and more. If you’re keen to score one, they’ll be available in April on the brand’s website.
Like your carry gear with a generous dose of technical performance, head-turning looks, and long-lasting durability? Well, Bedouin Foundry have just the bag for you with their revamped Pequod Backpack. Luxurious in look and feel but built to perform (and much akin to our Balian collab in vibe), the pack is made in England with a combination of Dyneema 170gsm composite fabric and rumbled Italian vegetable-tanned leather on the back panel for comfort and grip. The multipurpose compression straps can double as carry handles to transport the bag as a duffel or be utilized to secure extra gear externally. Suitable for day-to-day and travel use, but let’s be honest, this one’s for the collectors and people who dig really nice things.
Technical meets tailored with Suit’s Four Jacket, a timeless and versatile piece that moves smoothly from work to the weekend and everywhere in between. Made with a lightweight and soft cotton blend fabric and a touch of stretch, it’s a practical piece for work and play in warmer weather.
Polo shirts are an easy way to inject smart style into your wardrobe. But they’re not known for their technical performance. The Olivers District Polo is different, featuring a pique cotton and polyester blend that’s quick-drying, antimicrobial, moisture wicking, and odor resistant. So you can enjoy a comfortable, stylish wardrobe staple that moves smoothly between active and casual wear.
Innovation, durability and city-ready functionality are the focus of Chrome Industries’ BLCKCHRM 22X Collection. Crafted from their new 22X Nylon, the collection takes inspiration from technical sailcloth and its 22-degree bias for strength and tear resistance. The fabric is backed by Cordura TPX Durable Laminate Technology for trusty weatherproof protection. The material is Chrome’s most durable and lightweight fabric to date, and put to good use across a variety of bags including backpacks, a messenger, sling, shoulder bags and more. All designed to help you conquer a diverse range of urban carry needs when the going gets tough.
Aer are experts at nailing that careful balance of minimalist form and practical functionality. But they won’t let good things lie if they can make them even better. Case in point, their revamped Work Collection. The line integrates user feedback to make the bags even better carry companions for a variety of loads and environments. You’ll find updates such as redesigned silhouettes, more premium materials, and improved weather resistance across the collection, making these fine choices for office commuters, digital nomads and more.
Jonesing for something a little fresh from Patagonia? Meet their Stand Up Pack. The bag is made with a DWR-coated organic cotton and polyester canvas and a ripstop-reinforced waterproof film laminate, and brings a welcomed ‘cool’ to their carry range. The bag can be carried as a backpack, briefcase and shoulder bag, with quick-access and interior pockets on hand to store tech, frequently used items and smaller essentials at the ready.