- Buyer's Guide
Best New Gear: September 2020
September was a BIG month. We saw killer collabs from the likes of Topo Designs joining creative forces with Japanese brands, Nanga and Natal Designs, a flawless all-rounder jacket from the masters at Western Rise, and pocket-worthy EDC in the form of dapper Ti pens and handsome folding knives.
Let’s dig in!
This micro flashlight feels like something out of Q brand from the 007 films. It’s small enough to fit onto a keychain (54mm x 25mm), it’s made from a chunk of aluminum, it’s rechargeable (via micro USB port), and well… it’s bright! How bright? It pushes out a whopping 280 lumens via a reliable Nichia LED which offers 95 CRI for that daylight colored light. Bond would certainly give this his nod of approval and so do we.
2020 and COVID sucks. But one of the very few GOOD things that is coming from this year, is actual innovative designs which can be used for EDC to combat the spread of the virus. JL Lawson & Co saw an interesting hole in the market and decided to fill it. Rather than carrying around a bulky and ugly plastic spray bottle, you can pop their EDC Mist onto your keychain. Then, you’ll have 2.5 ml of sanitizing spray with you wherever you go, all inside the beautifully machine tube (made from either brass or copper). Clever.
The smallest and strongest pen on the market. A pretty bold claim, indeed! This 82.25mm-long pocket rocket still writes like a larger pen, thanks to the caps ability to be added to the barrel, bringing the overall length up to 108.95mm. While tiny pens are great to write with in a pinch, that extra length will allow you to comfortably write naturally. It comes included with Fisher’s #SU4F Fine Point Universal Type refill, meaning you can write with this pen in outer space and a variety of other extremely harsh conditions. Available in both aluminum and titanium.
Handmade in Gothenburg, Sweden, these handsome folders have been designed to be the perfect slim (only .22″ thick) everyday knife for your EDC. The Sandvik steel blade sharpens easily and keeps its sharp edge while the copper handles will develop a beautifully rich patina the more you use it. Frankly, they had us at “handmade in Gothenburg, Sweden”.
We talked to the team over at Bellroy and asked if they have any plans to dial back all of the amazing carry products they’re coming out with… and then they replied with this amazing product. The answer is clearly “not anytime soon”. The number one issue with carry is size versus usability. We all wish we could pack 3 weeks worth of fully-featured travel goods into a 5L sling… but that just won’t happen. In this case, Bellroy dialed in the perfect balance between size and usability… the Tech Kit, but more compact. It fits all the tech stuff we’re all reliant upon carrying and yet… it fits into your bag. With a full clamshell zipper that allows the pouch to fully open and lay flat as well as patterning to allow it to sit upright on your desk, we think the TKC is an instant win.
After the successful launch of their 210W USB-C battery banks powered by graphene batteries, the team from Chargeasap is back with a Kickstarter campaign for their GaN (Gallium Nitride) fast chargers. As a semiconductor, GaN is posed to take over silicon because it allows for far greater efficiency as transferring power, which in turns allows chargers to be made smaller. Omega takes advantage of this wonder material and is producing 200W, 100W and 65W chargers that are much smaller and lighter than comparable ones. For example, the 16-inch Macbook Pro requires a 96W USB-C adapter and the one from Apple measures 4.88 inches square and weighs half a pound. The 100W Omega is smaller and lighter at 120g (0.26lb) at 81% less volume. You can check out the campaign, which has already raised over $1M, and see if there’s a charger for you.
Directly inspired from their worldly travels, the team at Roark has released a small (3L) but very might sling bag they’re calling the “compadre”. Made from a strong and lightweight 210D ripstop nylon, the compadre has your back, literally.
There’s lots of hoodies out there, but when Patagonia drops one… we usually make sure to pay attention. Offering all the classic features you could ask for (hand warmer pockets, accessory chest pocket, full-zip, and elastic cuffs to seal out bad weather), it’s also quite nice looking in its diamond quilt pattern. Of course, Patagonia is focused on keeping the earth green, so its insulated with their Thermogreen® polyester.
Could this be… the Atom AR killer? We’ll be on of the first to find out when we get our hands on one to review. That being said, everything the Western Rise team creates seems to become an instant favorite for us at Carryology. And this one is no different. WR claims this jacket to be “temperature regulating, breathable, stain-proof, water resistant, durable, packable, and versatile”. For us, the three most exciting aspects of this jacket are its breathability (so you can stay warm, without feeling like you’re wearing a plastic garbage bag), its water resistance (always a bonus because rain does happen), and the fact that well… it actually LOOKS GREAT. Sure, there are a handful of jackets out there that check all the boxes above, but they make you look like you’re ready to scale a mountain versus explore a new worldly city. But hey, you can also scale a mountain in this jacket too.
Topo Designs always delivers with a iconic and classic silhouettes and their brand new Mid Puffer Jacket keeps that vibe cruising. This mid-layer is perfect for cool autumn or early winter days, keeping you warm via their eco-friendly Primaloft® Black Eco Rise insulation that’s made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. The Black and Vintage Blue colorways are both finished with a DWR finish on the exterior to keep you confident despite those looming rain clouds.
Filson is stepping into the boot game on their own and we’re excited about that. Made from a durable and attractive full-grain roughout leather and Goodyear welted, these will take a beating whether your traveling down the trail or traveling around the world. The grippy and comfortable Vibram sole is that final cherry… on the bottom. Definitely keeping an eye on this new development and let’s hope they keep expanding in this new frontier.
The sneakerboot is here to stay. Danner, once only known for their super heavy leather loggers boots, has really been crushing this new category; offering lightweight and stylish options for folks who don’t want to feel like they’re wearing cinder blocks. Taking notes from their successes, they’ve created the Logger 917, easy to spot their inspiration there. What we really like, is although this might be lightweight, it doesn’t skip on function, being GORE-TEX lined and with its Vibram SPE/Vibram 917 sole combo.
Edasi’s campaign has already raised over 5-times its goal on Kickstarter. It took all the best features of our favorite travel and EDC pants and combined them into a pair that company calls “The Evolution of Denim”. It’s made from recycled bottles so the amount of water needed for the production is a fraction of that compared to traditional denim. It has a total of 9 pockets including an RFID blocking front pocket for your credit cards and ID as well as a dedicated pen pocket. It’s anti-stink and thermo-regulated to keep it comfortable and smelling great year round and the elasticated waist and articulated knees mean it’s comfortable even after a heavy meal and is ready for activities ranging form working from home to light rock scrambling at a local park.
Woodies set out to make pants that were compromise free and it looks like they’ve completed their quest. Made from durable 2-way stretch “smart fabric”, these will allow you to move freely on your adventures. But our favorite parts? 6 pockets (on has RFID shielding) and they’re custom tailored to you. They even offer a perfect fit guarantee!
Sandqvist has been favorites of ours for years now. And we were really surprised (in a great way) when we saw this coming from our friends over in Sweden. It’s their first foray into a full-featured packable daypack that offers features suited for a proper EDC backpack. Laptop sleeve (up to 13″), real padded shoulder straps, and some exterior and interior organization. Plus, it’s made with 100% recycled polyester, a nice touch.
Tote, meet messenger. Messenger, meet tote. Such a simple concept, but rarely executed well. Chrome, experts on messengers and carry in general, seem to have really dialed this crossover and created something functional for everyday urbanites. Simply deploy the cross-body messenger strap and convert the classic looking tote into a hands-free messenger/tote hybrid. Dig it.
Our friends over in Hamburg continue to push out classic, iconic, and beautiful carry goods. And the Commuter Pack is one that almost everyone could incorporate into their lives, whether they commute to work or not. At 18L, it’s just the right size for an office bag (as the name suggests), a small grocery bag, your everyday carry, or whatever else you can dream up. Versatility is the focus for this one. Their legendary DYECOshell fabric will also make sure the contents of your goods stay nice and dry while you’re out doing your thing, whatever that may be.
This is the first collaboration project between Aer and Japan’s BEAUTY & YOUTH, and it features two new classy bags. First up is the 3-Way Brief, a versatile convertible carry that can be used as a backpack, shoulder bag or brief bag. Second, the 2-Way Brief, a slimmer more agile little number. Classic Aer here. Clean. Minimal. 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon. Solid new release!
Who else saw this coming? Not just a collab, but a THREE WAY collab with Topo Designs, Nanga, and Natal Design. It’s absolutely the first time we’ve seen a goose down t-shirt! The Shoulder Pack (made from 1000D and 400D) incorporates a punchy camouflage exterior and screams with a blaze orange fabric once you life up the front flap. Fits a 15″ laptop and finished with YKK zippers and a custom leather patch.
Aer has teamed up with Japanese retailer Oshman’s, once again to introduce their take on the messenger. The last time we saw this duo was in 2018 when they released the City Sling. Available in black and gray colorways, the City Messenger is made of 1680D Cordura with YKK zippers and Duraflex hardware. It supports up to a 15” laptop in the padded pocket and has a high-vis orange interior for quickly locating your accessories. A luggage handle pass through makes it a perfect partner on flights. It weighs 1.5 lbs and holds a little over 11 liters.
BioLite continues to innovate on their headlamp line, this time with their most pro-level iteration yet. This new model offers 750 lumens, a rear red visibility light and the ability tether a USB battery bank to extend the run time. While most lights regulate their output which means unpredictable outputs, the HeadLamp 750 features Constant Mode which maintains full illumination before dropping to a reserve level. In addition to these new features, the HeadLamp maintains the popular 3D Slimfit construction for no-bounce and weight-balanced fit.
A team of Bay Area university students got together and created a dual bladder hydration system that lets you carry both water and hydrolytes on your adventure. An innovative valve allows you to drink from either source or mix the two. Knowing the frustrations of bladder maintenance, the team focused on making the bladders are hoses especially easy to clean. While the bladders are made to pair with their pack, they can slot into any pack that supports hydration.
Going camping or a hike doesn’t mean you need to leave your drinks behind. Made of 18/8 surgical steel, the High Camp flasks come in two sizes – 375 mL and 750 mL, which is enough to hold a full bottle of whiskey. Both come with a magnetic locking system which allows you to attach tumblers to your flask and they keep your drink hot or cold for 24 hours.
Sometimes, but not often, brands will think outside of the box. When they really push boundaries and don’t hang on to the tried and true traditions, the results can lead to real innovation. In this case, Xcube Design out of Los Angeles began thinking outside… the shell. The Modular Hardshell Backpack (available in two sizes) offers a modular system to tailor the pack to your specific needs.