- Buyer's Guide
Best New Gear | February 2023
From pocket knives and thru-hiking packs to recycled phone cases and stealthy totes, February has been popping with fresh new offerings for travelers, outdoor lovers, EDC enthusiasts, and more. Let’s dive in and discover the month’s best new gear, right here…
Nitecore EDC27 Flashlight
Flashlights have generally kept their cylindrical shape, no doubt due to the power source that has powered them since their inception – the alkaline battery. However, with advancements in rechargeable technology, companies are now able to make cells in different shapes. This opens up many opportunities in flashlight design and shape. Case in point, the Nitecore EDC27, a flat flashlight with smooth sides and a slim body, resulting in a light that is 44% thinner than compact flashlights. This makes gripping and holding the light a more ergonomic and comfortable affair.
Dual-stage operation accounts for tactical applications while the multifunctional OLED gives real-time display showing runtime and output on the particular mode. With a maximum output of 3000 lumens and a max runtime of 37 days on its lowest setting, the Nitecore EDC27 is the ideal EDC companion.
Mujjo Echelon AirPods Pro 2 Case
As fans of Mujjo’s leather iPhone case, it was no surprise when they decided to venture further into the Apple ecosphere. They just dropped the Echelon AirPods Pro 2 Case which is compatible with the Pros, both the first and second generation.
Available in three colorways (black, monaco blue, and tan), the cases are wrapped in vegetable-tanned Ecco leather which both protects the case and also ages beautifully. The Echelon cases retain the wireless charging capabilities of the AirPods and have cutouts for charging indication, an opening at the base for sound alerts, and a side opening for lanyard attachment.
WESN x Momotaro Samla
Building off the success of their Samla Kickstarter, the team at WESN reached out to the heritage denim brand Momotaro to see what the two camps could come up with. They landed on a limited edition release of the knife with 12oz denim micarta handles, a pink G10 liner, and your choice of Sandvik 12c27, M390, or Damasteel blade. Starting at $225 and limited to just 100 pieces, this release will go quickly.
GiantMouse Knives GMX & GMPX
When the team at GiantMouse was deciding what their next GM release would be, they took the unusual step of looking over at their more affordable consumer series, the ACE Line. Lucky for us, they set their sights on the Clyde which is one of our favorite releases, and added some premium features to make it worthy of the GM moniker.
The GMX and GMPX are a fusion of Scandinavian and Japanese design with a touch of Persian influence. They feature an integral handle with brass inlay, S90V blade steel, and a titanium backspacer. With a blade length of 3.27″ and a thickness of just 0.14″, the GMX and GMPX are ideal for EDC duties. You might be wondering about the two models. The GMX is limited to 400 pieces and retails for $445 while the GMPX (often referred to as the Pirate Edition) is $465 with just half the production at 200 units.
Prometheus Design Werx Ti-MNPara Strap
Time for an adventure? Whether your journey leads over land or across the sea, the Prometheus Design Werx Ti-MNPara Strap will keep your watch comfortably secure on the go. The strap takes inspiration from the original French Navy (Marine Nationale) combat diver’s versions, which were first worn in the 1960s to 1970s. However, it gets a PDW twist with all-titanium hardware and top-grade nylon-Spandex strapping. It comes in three sizes as well as two colorways, stealthy black or olive green and yellow.
Leatherman Garage EUROPE75
Leatherman’s latest release in their experimental Garage line is the EUROPE75, featuring 11 handy tools that lock into place for safe use. Features include screwdrivers, a corkscrew, scissors, a can opener, and more, keeping you prepared for a range of day-to-day and DIY needs. Built in Portland, Oregon, the multi-tool also features Leatherman’s FREE technology for one-handed access and use of the tools.
FREITAG are well known for putting truck tarps to good use as new bags. But now they’ve turned their repurposing expertise to protecting your phone with their CIRC-CASE. The case provides a circular approach to protection, as it is made from recycled thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU-R) from old ski boots and is recyclable itself. The case is currently available for the iPhone 11/12 now, for the iPhone 13 Pro in March 2023, and is expected to be available for the iPhone 13/14 in April/May onwards. Additionally, the case can be paired with the F380 JUSTIN Card Holder, made from used truck tarps, to create an all-in-one phone and card carry system.
Makr Midori Notebook and Cover
Makr’s Midori Notebook and Cover collection offers an elegant way to keep notes, sketches, to-do lists, and more protected while you’re on the go. Available in natural, navy, and green colorways, the covers are made in the USA with Italian vegetable-tanned leather. And they come in a range of sizes to complement the included notebooks, featuring A5, A6, and B6 Slim options. Smart enough for work and day-to-day use alike, these make a handy and stylish addition to your EDC setup.
The James Brand Cambro Tray Set
When it’s time to dump out your pockets at the end of the day, The James Brand Cambro Tray Set provides a welcome home for your smaller daily essentials. These catch-all trays are made by Cambro in the USA using fiberglass-reinforced polymer. The set includes a small tray and a large tray, each of which can be used independently or alternatively stacked together for tray-in-tray organization.
The Ancoats Bag Company Black Ops Tote
We last heard from John over at The Ancoats Bag Company when his tote was featured in the Carry Awards. He hasn’t stopped producing and has since introduced the Domestic Ops Tote and the MUStash. However, this month something really special dropped; introducing the Black Ops Tote.
This stealthy bag is an urban mil-spec version of the original tote we reviewed. It’s made of a more premium material – Dimension Polyant’s X-Pac X51, seatbelt weave webbing, and a black front strap. Additional details include PALS fixing points on the webbing, an inside grab handle, and a luggage pass-through for breezing through terminals. Two Velco fields (one in the front and one in the rear) allow personalization and easy identification.
The pack is lined with X-Pac VX07 in white for the ultimate contrast and visibility of the contents. The 4-way convertible tote also rocks Fidlock magnetic buckles, YKK AquaGuard zips, and is all handmade in Manchester, U.K. John set out to create the ultimate bomb-proof tote and it looks like he succeeded.
WaterField Designs Playdate Magnetic Case
When Panic Inc, the indie developer behind fan favorites like Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game announced they would be stepping into hardware with their own portable game system, the world paid attention. After years of preorders and some delays, customers got the units in hand but the first thing that crossed their minds was, “How can I protect this thing?”
Well, the geniuses at WaterField have taken on the project with their new Playdate Magnetic Case. It’s custom-fitted for the Playdate and its charging cord. Made of premium full-grain leather, ballistic nylon, or waxed canvas and paired with plush interior padding, the case offers excellent protection. They added lines of rare earth magnets to create a magnetic zipper that can be opened by just squeezing the sides together. Two nylon loops allow you to attach an optional wrist strap or carabiner for easy carry.
Western Rise X Cotton Short Sleeve Henley
With colder weather the Henley can serve as a go-to base layer, providing just the right amount of warmth and style. But to prepare for Spring and Summer, Western Rise just released their new X Cotton Short Sleeve Henley. Made from an ultra-soft, mid-weight fabric, the shirt offers both comfort and versatility. It features 4-way stretch, is moisture-wicking and odor resistant, and has an elongated shaped hem for untucked applications.
WaterField Designs Limited Edition Collection
While WaterField Designs has a core line of products, they also like to get playful and experimental. And this is where their Limited Editon collection comes in. It’s a space for the brand to experiment with current styles, try new things, or bring back beloved styles for limited production runs. The collection includes various categories such as Sandbox (rare limited-production pieces), Remix (new twists on current pieces), and Throwback (popular pieces back for a limited run). Since many of the pieces are only available for short periods of time, it’s a good idea to keep your eye on the sneak peeks of upcoming pieces in the Limited Edition portal, so you’re ready to score when new drops are launched.
KILLSPENCER Raw Gallery Tote
Ever wished your artwork could become a bag? Well, now it can courtesy of KILLSPENCER’s Raw Gallery Tote. When you purchase the tote, KILLSPENCER will send you a tube of uncoated natural canvas containing four pre-cut pattern pieces. Decorate the canvas however you like and then send it back to KILLSPENCER, who will assemble the bag for you, adding bullhide straps, leather edge binding, and a paracord lanyard.
Mack Weldon Radius 5-Pocket Pant
Combining classic denim styling you’re familiar with from your favorite pair of jeans, with modern technical features, the Radius 5-Pocket Pant is the latest offering from NYC-based Mack Weldon. The Radius is made from their proprietary Radius fabric, featuring four-way stretch, water, wind and stain-resistance and a performance blend that’s polished enough for the office but comfortable enough for off-duty wear. Available in four colors, the pants also have an ergonomic gusset for a greater range of motion, reflective cuffs for cycling, and a comfortable and stylish trim fit.
Shwood Hamilton & Eugene
Just in time for spring sunshine, Shwood welcomes new additions to their Wood Collection including the Hamilton and Eugene. The premium natural materials and understated designs pair well with any look, while all Schwood Wood Collection pieces are also now 33% stronger with upgraded carbon fiber laminate construction.
YETI LoadOut GoBox 30 Gear Case
The storage gurus from Austin, TX just dropped their new LoadOut GoBox Gear Case. Not a large departure from the looks of their famous coolers, the GoBox is designed, instead, to store and protect all your gear. The 30L case measures 20.5″W x 14.6″D x 11.1″H with an empty weight of just under 12 pounds. It is IP67 rated, waterproof, dustproof, and stackable. Lastly, it comes with a divider, caddy, and Pack Attic to help you keep the contents organized.
Osprey Exos Pro 55 and Eja Pro 55
When the grams count, Osprey’s new Exos Pro 55 and Eja Pro 55 will help you carry with maximum comfort and minimal bulk. The ultralight thru-hiking packs make use of a lighter frame, harness, and materials to cut almost a pound of weight from Osprey’s Exos/Eja series. Designed with different body types in mind, the Exos Pro 55 is aimed at men while the Eja Pro 55 has been designed for women and suits shorter, narrower, curved body types. Both packs feature a tensioned AirSpeed™ suspension back panel, a removable lid, and compression straps for flexible volume.
Gerber Spring 2023 Collection
Having the right tools on hand helps you stay prepared and explore further when you’re adventuring outdoors. And Gerber have welcomed a fresh lineup of new pieces just in time for your spring excursions. The Spring 2023 collection features a range of multi-tools and knives that lend themselves to diverse uses, from fishing trips to tackling tasks around camp. And with their compact functionality, it’s easy to add them to your pocket or outdoor bag, ready when duty calls and out of the way when not required.
Taylor Stitch x magicseaweed Party Wave Collection
The Party Wave Collection celebrates fun coastal vibes and the playful joy of being in the ocean. A collaboration between Taylor Stitch and magicseaweed, it features original art by surfer and artist Ty Williams. The collection features a range of practical and comfy pieces including tees, shirts, a hoodie, and pant, perfect for kicking back and watching the waves roll by in laid-back style.
TEREN Daily Driver Shirt
From the brand that specializes in performance clothing you can bring from the trails to the office, TEREN just launched their latest campaign, for the Daily Driver Shirt. The shirt is made from soft bamboo fabric and is wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying, and moisture-wicking. Additionally, it is stain and odor resistant, boasts UPF50 sun protection, and is treated with DWR to aid in water repellency. They tossed in polyester for durability and spandex for the 4-way stretch as well. If that wasn’t enough, the team hid two special features in the Daily Driver Shirt; fire starting collar stays and a hidden lens cleaner. Four patterns allow you to subtly represent your favorite activity and a full size run from sizes S-XXL means a style and fit for everyone.
Mountain Hardwear Camp 4 Backpack
Looking for an all-rounder that can take you from the climbing crag to the urban streets? The Mountain Hardwear Camp 4 Backpack is a versatile pack that offers climbing-friendly features such as a large and easy-access opening, a protective storm flap, a removable sternum strap with an emergency whistle, and exterior attachment points. However, a padded 15″ laptop sleeve and 11″ tablet sleeve make it suitable for carrying tech around town too.
Mountain Hardwear Field Day™ 22L Backpack
Like the Camp 4 pack, the Field Day™ 22L Backpack offers outdoor/urban flexibility, helping you get the most out of your gear. A stretch woven shove-it front pocket, dual exterior bottle pockets, and tool loops help you keep essentials close at hand on the trail, while features such as a padded fleece laptop sleeve and tablet sleeve keep your urban tools organized and safe on the go too.
LIVSN Ecotrek Trail Shorts
LIVSN produce some of our favorite pants; they are comfortable, fit well, and are great chore or workwear bottoms. And now they are back with their new Ecotrek Shorts, based on the same technical material found in their popular Ecotrek Trail Pants. The new shorts are water-resistant, sweat-wicking, and quick-drying. They were designed to be your partner on all your outdoor pursuits, whether that’s hiking, biking, camping, climbing or just hanging out with friends. The key here is in the material – Blue Ocean Nylon – a synthetic nylon thread made from 70% ocean waste. The shorts are available in both women’s and men’s specific cuts and sizes. For peace of mind, the Ecotrek Trail Shorts are covered by LIVSN’s Fair Deal Guarantee which says they’ll repair, refund, or replace a product at no charge in the event of a manufacturer defect. Bombproof shorts and a bombproof warranty sounds like a winning combination!
kora Yardang Jersey
Using a proprietary blend of merino and yak wool, the kora Yardang jersey makes for a perfect soft mid-layer. The top features longer sleeves for comfortable layering, internal graphics only care instructions to reduce bulk and scratchy neck regions, and is naturally anti-odor. Available in two colorways and a full size run between Small and XXL, the Yardang Jersey is the perfect layering piece for all seasons.
Ten Thousand Active Life Essentials
Ten Thousand, the activewear experts, have just released a new collection they dub Active Life Essentials. The small collection, consisting of five products (for now), focuses on functionality and comfort. Let’s go over what’s dropped.
The A—L Jogger is made from their no-pill, no-sag Proplyo Stretch fabric and features classic-inspired ribbing at the waist and cuffs, a secure zippered phone pocket, and a permanent Odorblock treatment.
The A—L Packs are the stars of the show here. It’s Ten Thousand’s first foray into carry and there are two sizes available; a 15L Pack and a larger 30L one. The former is designed for daily use, with separate compartments for shoes and clothes and a laptop sleeve. Designed to hold a few days’ worth of clothes, the 30L adds an adjustable sternum strap for better carry stability and a luggage pass-through. Both are made of 1680D ballistic nylon for dependable durability.
Lastly, the A—L Boxer and Sock round out the Essentials collection. The boxer is made from a super-soft modal fabric with the perfect amount of stretch, is also treated with Odorblock, and has a lay-flat waistband. Finally, the sock is made from a flexible nylon-spandex blend that’s more resilient and longer-lasting than traditional sock fabrics.
Hoka Clifton 9
When it’s time to pick up the pace, Hoka steps in with the Clifton 9. The ninth iteration of their popular Clifton adds 3mm in stack height while cutting down weight. The shoe also offers a plusher heel and improved outsole design, with a breathable engineered knit upper and reflective detailing on the heel. Available in a range of colorways, the Clifton 9 slots easily into your active wardrobe for everyday runs and walking.
Norda 001 Trail Running Sneaker
If your feet are taking you on paths further afield, team up with the Norda 001 Trail Running Sneaker for comfy performance every step of the way. The trail running shoe is sustainably made with a proprietary lightweight and abrasion-resistant bio-based Dyneema® and Cordura fabric. The custom impact-absorbing norda™ midsole pairs with a custom TPU insole that provides high energy absorption and return, creating an efficient and comfortable running experience. And reflective elements help keep you visible in low-light conditions, so you can step out in confidence.
Arcade A2 Belts
Arcade Belts have been the go-to for travelers in the know and now they are back with an entirely new build designed for durability, comfort, and improved functionality. The A2 is the ideal belt for activities such as hiking and climbing, to everyday adventures on the streets and in the office. A new tapered buckle design helps ease it through belt loops and it remains metal-free, making traveling through security easy. It also features a contoured fit that mimics your form to rest in a natural position, and last but not least, the belts come with a lifetime guarantee.
Quince Hard Shell Suitcases
Quince is a new SF-based affordable luxury brand coming in hot and fast with their releases. For this month, they have their eyes on the suitcase market. They just released a new collection of lightweight yet durable hardshell suitcases. For this collection, there are two sizes to choose from: the Carry-On and the larger Check-In. Both feature a lightweight yet durable polycarbonate exterior and a water-resistant lining. Japanese Hinomoto 360-degree spinner wheels and a removable laundry bag round out the features. With prices starting at $130, the brand is looking to disrupt the market and it seems like they are off to a great start.
Bellroy Classic Weekender 35L
Bellroy’s Classic Weekender 45L welcomes a smaller sibling with the new Classic Weekender 35L. Designed for easy packing and access, the weekender features a wide opening, snap-down ends, a quick-access exterior pocket, and interior pockets for organizing smaller items. Grab loops at either end make it easy to maneuver in tight spaces, while flexible carry options including hand carry, cross-body, shoulder carry, and a luggage pass-through keep you moving smoothly throughout your journey.
Eagle Creek Expanse Luggage Collection
Eagle Creek’s new Expanse collection has been created to help you explore near and far, with smaller and larger loads alike. A variety of options are available including two-wheeled and four-wheeled suitcases for both carry-on and check-in needs. Additionally, two of the pieces come with stowable backpack straps, allowing hands-free travel for navigating rougher terrain and steps. The collection features 100% recycled and bluesign® certified fabrics, lockable zippers, heavy-duty wheels, and reinforced corners.
Matador SEG28 and SEG45 Travel Backpacks
The SEG28 overhauls Matador’s award-winning SEG series by introducing an entirely new design. Ideal for weekend travel or an everyday or gym bag, the SEG28 has four external segmented pockets to allow users to organize by type or day. A clamshell undercarriage offers separation for large or dirty items. The back panel, shoulder straps with sternum strap, and removable hip belt have been upgraded, as well. Lastly, a top access laptop pocket, essentials pocket with organization pockets, concealed stash pocket, and water bottle pocket round out the features.
The SEG45 is the bigger brother pack and designed for one-bag travel. It adds a fifth external-access pocket. It too has an exterior-access laptop pocket and similar padded back panel and straps. The straps are also stowable for use as a checked bag.
Matador GlobeRider45 Travel Backpack
Matador are experts in and have commanded the travel market with their growling line of packable bags, upgraded dopp kit products, and accessories. Now they’ve recently launched their first-ever generalist traveler backpack. The GlobeRider45 is engineered to be the ultimate backpack for travelers, while staying carry-on compliant for most airlines.
With a large 45-liter clamshell configuration, there is an incredible balance between large cavities for packing flexibility and freedom with a number of admin and organizational features to keep things compartmentalized and tidy. A full internal aluminum framestay keeps the load stabilized on your back. Shoulder and hip belt straps are fully stowable in a unique storage system. Plus an external-access padded laptop packet, external-access storage pocket with admin panel, external water bottle pocket, and a hidden pocket behind the back pocket offer additional storage options.
Additional features include a padded and breathable back panel and shoulder straps, sealing YKK zippers, security loops on all external pockets, and grab handles on the top, bottom, front, back, and side.
Our Best New Gear guides are written by David Vo and Catherine Baecker-Khoury.