- Buyer's Guide
Best New Gear | August 2021
Ultralight packable outdoor bags. Suave urban pieces ready for the office. Compact carries for smaller loads. And so much more. August was jam-packed with great releases. Discover the month’s best new gear…
A functional, quality multitool is a valuable asset in your EDC. And for functional quality, Leatherman is hard to beat. Their Curl multitool takes inspiration from the Wave Plus and is great for EDC use. A range of 15 tools including scissors, a knife blade with one-handed access, and a customizable bit driver keep you prepared to tackle a range of DIY and day-to-day needs. And with its removable pocket clip and nylon sheath, it’s easily portable too.
Ever wondered how aerospace engineers would design a pen? Well, wonder no more. The Aerocrafted Vector Titanium Pen has been designed and crafted in the USA by aerospace engineers to offer a compact carry form with the functional and comfortable ergonomics of a full-size pen. It features a titanium tip and cap, with a self-lubricating bronze mid-section. Plus, you get pocket clip or lanyard cap options to suit your carry preferences. Simple, stylish, portable, and comfortable to use, it’s a fine balance of form and function.
Some prefer a minimalist approach to wallets. But if you’re looking to embrace bold, rugged design that offers a lot of carry capacity for cash and cards, Dango’s MC01 Titanium Money Clip might be just right for you. It features a titanium clip bolted to a CNC machined, 6061 aerospace aluminum chassis. And with a silicone band included too, you’ve got additional space for carrying extra cards and cash or keeping larger and smaller bills separate. The clip also features an inbuilt bottle opener, while two attachment points allow you to secure items such as keys or tethers.
The cozy comfort of slippers is hard to beat, though they’re not designed for outdoor ventures. But Greys decided, why couldn’t they be? So they created the Outdoor Slipper Boot. Made with a wool blend and grippy rubber sole, the Outdoor Slipper Boot resists odors, wicks moisture, regulates temperature, and also includes a stub-proof toe box. It comes in a choice of regular or recycled options. Either of which will keep your feet in happy cozy bliss whether you’re relaxing at home or venturing out for a meander around town.
The tougher the bag, the heavier it usually is. But the Chrome Industries Tensile Collection gives you toughness without feeling like you’re hauling the kitchen sink. The collection features the Tensile Ruckpack and Tensile Hip Pack. Both designed for demanding daily use, they feature a recycled, lightweight, laminated ripstop nylon which is reinforced with Chrome’s burly Truss 5 Bar Construction. A choice of pockets keeps your gear organized whether you need to carry a lot or a little, while the burly build lets you carry on in confidence without being weighed down.
Sometimes you need to start out with a lot of gear. Other times you’re roaming light. And occasionally you need the flexibility to adjust from minimalist to larger loads on the fly. Enter Bellroy’s Venture Sling 9L. The sling accommodates a range of everyday or travel items, with thoughtful organization and a two-way zipper to keep gear neat and accessible. The expandable design easily adapts to larger loads when required or self-compresses for compact carry with smaller setups. The bag is made with 100% recycled, water-resistant woven fabric and also offers padded protection for tech and valuables.
Bellroy have taken good design and made it even better with the second edition of their Classic Backpack Plus. The design features an improved harness, lumbar support, and molded back panels, so you can enjoy even better comfort and breathability. Dual compartments and a range of pockets allow you to organize tech, work, or day-to-day items with ease, while the understated design moves easily between work, the gym, and weekend adventures.
Alchemy Equipment bring their technical knowledge and clean styling to the jean scene with their AEM272 Tech Stretch Jean. A five-pocket design that blends performance and style in one. Designed to embrace active use, it features stretch fabric, water and stain repellence, understated reflective detailing, reinforced rear pockets, and a zippered coin/phone pocket. So you can hop from your bike to the office without missing a beat. And for the ladies? A dedicated women’s design courtesy of the AEW270 Tech Stretch Jean, offering the performance of the men’s design in a flattering feminine silhouette.
Are you a Mystery Ranch fan who lives in Taiwan? Well, feast your eyes on this Taiwan-exclusive “Urban Grid” series from the folks at Mystery Ranch. Designed to combine a modern, urban feel with top-notch quality and everyday practicality, the collection uses a water-resistant, abrasion-resistant 210D Nylon x 200D UHMWPE fabric. The series includes the Urban Grid 2 Day Assault, Urban Grid Gallagator, the Urban Grid BOP shoulder bag that can also secure to other bags, and the Urban Grid Tech Holster. Created with modular adaptability and urban style in mind, the series allows users to adapt their setup to suit a variety of carry needs.
The silhouette of the Fjällräven Kånken is one of the most instantly recognisable in the world, with over 300 sold globally every hour, it’s easy to see why. However, Fjällräven aren’t just content with good business practices, they have always focused heavily on strong environmental initiatives too. With the Tree Kånken, they have taken a huge leap forward in this realm. Made from logging waste product, their proprietary fabric PineWeave® is created when wood chips are boiled down and made into a pulp which is then washed, dried and spun into a yarn. Once mixed with PU and wax – PineWeave becomes even more durable than other synthetic fabrics on the market today. From each tree logged – from certified sustainable forests in Sweden – for other industries such as construction and agriculture, Fjällräven can make 175 Tree Kånken’s from the waste wood. Based on their original 1970’s design, the Tree Kånken is a sleek, subtle EDC. Is this a seminal moment for the outdoor and textile industries? We hope so! Expect to see more of this fabric inFjällräven’s offerings in the future!
For many years, fans of Tom Bihn had been asking for a small backpack PLO (Purse-Like Object). And Tom Bihn has now answered the call with the Zeitgeist and Paradigm backpacks. Both bags feature a slight teardrop silhouette with a padded back panel, an interior padded tablet sleeve, and lightly padded straps. However, the Zeitgeist is a compact pack coming in at around 6.7L, while the Paradigm offers slightly more storage at 9.4L. The Paradigm’s front pocket has its own volume and interior organization, while the Zeitgeit’s exterior zipper pocket is flat and ideal for less bulky objects.
Code of Bell teamed up with highly regarded Japanese brand Harvest Label on a capsule collection. A collection delivering stylish twists on the Code of Bell X-POD and Annex Liner and introducing the multifunctional Ute Strap. The collection features Cordura® nylon twill fabric with a DWR coating and is made in Harvest Label’s Japanese factory. The catch? It was available in Japan only…until this month. So global fans of Code of Bell and Harvest Label can now make this sleek and functional collection their own.
Japanese brand (and sister to MSPC), nunc steps into leather with the release of their 9th collection. New additions include the STORM series, featuring new shapes and silhouettes from slings to clutches to streetwear-inspired vests. Demonstrating that fashion and function don’t need to be mutually exclusive.
Made for city explorations, Aer’s new City Collection offers an excellent blend of urban-friendly aesthetics, quality durable construction for the daily grind, and well-considered organization to ensure all your gear is easily accessible whenever you need it. The collection features the stylish 14L City Pack, compact enough for easy daily carry but still offering great access and organization for gear. For smaller loads, the City Sling 2 is ready to roam and features a stowable strap if you want to convert it to a storage pouch. Speaking of pouches, the Split Kit is ideal for smaller essentials such as cables, stationery, and more, with a clever expandable design when you need to carry a little extra.
Gaming on the go can be a carry challenge. But Timbuk2 and ASTRO Gaming have swooped to the rescue with a dedicated collaborative collection designed to help gamers and content creators effectively carry all their gear while they’re on the move. The collection includes the BP35 Gaming Backpack for larger loads and travel use, as well as the CS03 Crossbody Sling for staying agile with smaller loads. Both bags offer protection from the elements and a wide range of organization options for gaming gear and day-to-day/travel gear. So you’ll be ready wherever the gaming adventure leads.
Mismo have a knack for delivering minimalist, classy design with timeless aesthetics and practical functionality. The new M/S Frame offers all of this in a chic handbag-style design that serves a multitude of uses. Use it to carry tech devices, loose papers, essentials for an evening out on the town, or have the most stylish lunch bag in the office. It comes in a choice of five fabrics, with a slim and expandable gusset and a zippered top for wide-opening access.
CamelBak are no strangers to the outdoor scene. But urban commutes? New territory for the brand, which they’ve boldly embraced with their Cycling Commute Collection. The H.A.W.G. Commute 30L and M.U.L.E. Commute 22L backpacks have been carefully designed to offer CamelBak’s rugged durability with urban-ready functionality. Commuters benefit from lightweight yet tough and weather-resistant designs that will protect their gear while still allowing them to move comfortably on a bike. Designed to provide the breathable comfort that cycle commuters need, with clever visibility for added safety, these packs will conquer city streets with ease while ensuring your gear arrives safe and sound, whatever the weather has in store.
Fresh for their 2021-22AW collection, master-piece serves up their signature blend of Japanese style, expert craftsmanship, and thoughtful design across their “PRIME CASUAL” and “NEO WORK” collections. Both collections blend fashion and function, with the NEO WORK pieces offering understated silhouettes that move easily between formal work and play environments, while the PRIME CASUAL pieces work well across a variety of informal environments. You’ll also find a newly developed load-reducing system “m-strap” introduced to several backpacks. Items are set for release in September.
You can’t always avoid the elements when you travel. But with Matador’s Freerain28 Waterproof Packable Backpack and Freerain Waterproof Packable Hip Pack, you don’t need to. Both bags feature a 100% waterproof main compartment with a roll-top closure and sealed seams. They’re made with Ultralight UHMWPE-reinforced Robic® nylon and a UTS coating, offering lightweight durability. And for even more adaptability? They’re both packable, so they’re easy to store in luggage, a car, or even a jacket pocket until needed.
Matador Freefly Packable Duffle and Freefly16 Packable Backpack
Don’t need 100% waterproof storage but still desire protection from the elements and travel-friendly packability? Matador’s Freefly Packable Duffle and Freefly16 Packable Backpack could be just the kind of travel buddies you’re after. Both are made with ultralight UHMWPE-reinforced Robic® nylon with a UTS coating, sealed seams, and weatherproof YKK® zippers. So although not 100% waterproof, you can still breathe easy knowing that gear will be protected when the clouds roll in. Both pack down into an included mesh compression sack too, so they’re convenient to tag along in a larger bag when travel or outdoor adventures beckon.
No one likes getting unexpectedly wet when adventuring outdoors. So having a rain jacket at the ready just in case is a good idea. But rain jackets can take up a lot of space in your pack. The TAD Astral VR Shell offers a packable and ultralight alternative. Designed as an emergency shell for everyday use, travel, hiking, and more, it provides protection from short-term moisture such as light to moderate rain and snow. The water-resistant shell features a 100% nylon mini ripstop face, 100% polyurethane waterproof breathable membrane, and a C6 DWR finish. It’s also fully seam-taped and has YKK AquaGuard zippers. Weighing just 6.5 oz, it’s easy to stash in a pack until needed, so unexpected showers are just water off a duck’s back.
Fall may be on the horizon but that shouldn’t stop you from getting out there and exploring. And with the Voltage Quilted Pullover in an exclusive Huckberry colorway, you’ll stay warm and comfy while you do so. The quilted, water-resistant design can be used as a standalone outer layer or a mid-layer when colder weather sets in. The pullover uses 60-gram PrimaLoft® Gold insulation and a drop tail hem to help keep the cold at bay. And with a front kangaroo pocket with a top zipper, you can stash essentials close at hand too.
When colder weather starts to kick in, camping can start to lose its appeal. But Sea to Summit’s Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping Mat might just make you reconsider ditching that chilly camping trip. The four-season lightweight sleeping mat has an R-value of 6.3 and is well suited to cold-weather backpacking, camping, and more. The 4″ mat includes Thermolite insulation to reduce heat loss from convection and internal air movement. It’s also available in a unisex and a women’s-specific option. The women’s-specific mat has a shorter length for reduced bulk and carry weight, extra insulation for increased warmth, and additional room through the hips and knees for side sleeping.
If packable protection from the elements is your priority, consider adding this ultralight waterproof jacket to your next adventure packing list. It weighs in at 7.76 oz and offers a 20,000mm/30,000g waterproof/breathable rating. It features a three-layer Pertex® Shield construction that’s windproof and waterproof, yet breathable and allows freedom of movement too. Built for adventure, the 7D ripstop face is ready to embrace active, rugged use. It offers a choice of pockets, a drop tail hem, partial elastic cuffs to block wind, and an adjustable hood. And courtesy of its self-stowing pouch, it packs down compactly, ready at a moment’s notice to shield you from downpours.
We’re not fans of unitaskers around here and with summer in full swing, the latest drinkware from High Camp caught our eyes. Available in three finishes – stainless, gunmetal and copper, the Highball Shaker serves as a cocktail shaker, insulated tumbler, leak-proof bar glass, and is perfectly shaped to fit a 12 or 16 oz beer can. The Shaker’s design is inspired by the original Mason Jar, the perfect highball cocktail glass. The strainer makes it easy to prepare cocktails in the great outdoors and once you’re done, you can remove it and place the lid on to transport, knowing that when you get there, the insulated walls have kept that drink chilled.
Looking for a simple, straightforward, and multifunctional slipjoint flipper? Terrain 365 may have just what you’re after with their Otter Slip Flip-AT. It features 100% rustproof “AllTerrain” construction with a Terravantium™ blade alloy. Designed to hold an edge well and versatile for diverse uses, it can be used on both land and water. Available with carbon fiber and titanium handles, it’s an elegant, multifunctional, lightweight, and durable knife for a variety of outdoor and day-to-day needs.
Subtech are back with version three of their indestructible, submersible and functional dry-bag. There is a reason that these dry-bags are trusted by extreme sportsmen and women around the world – they’re thoughtfully designed and well built bags! Submersible to 50m, the V3 drybag has some new features and accessories that truly elevate the versatility of your standard waterproof bag. Weighing in at a comparatively featherweight 1685g (55L) and robust enough to float with an adult on top, the V3 is now made from Hypalon, with RF welded seams – ready to take on any adventure without weighing you down. Not only is it waterproof, there are now two available inserts which take this from a dry bag to a mobile studio. One is an inflatable shockproof protective sleeve (inflatable/deflatable to your liking via a valve), and the other is a camera/technology insert which is fully customisable and ready to take whatever gear you might need to protect. Where Subtech impresses in V3 is that the improvements are a result of direct feedback – from customers and ambassadors alike – that look set to float subtech to the top of the dry-bag game (just like their floating truck!).
Hyperlite are known for their lightweight mountaineering bags and simplified, functional engineering. Now we see that same ingenuity come into accessories! The camera pod is available in two sizes, regular and large, that can house small APS-C/MFT cameras and full size mirrorless DSLR’s respectively. Made from DCF – the camera pod is exceptionally lightweight (we thought the box was empty when it was delivered!) and robust. With 8 daisy chain loops, you can attach this to your rig any which way – internally or externally. There are also two Nite Ize Slidelock® carabiners to make attachment/detachment super fast! It even works as a standalone carry option thanks to its minimal grab handle. Your precious camera is protected thanks to ¼” foam and the water resistant zipper closure means the elements will be kept at bay. This is a really useful addition to any photographer or explorers kit – without the usual bulk of camera gear!