- Buyer's Guide
Best New Gear | May 2021
Biodegradable bags ready for summer carry. Sleek and multifunctional cutting tools. Thoughtful camera carry, and so much more. Discover the great new pieces gracing the carry stage this month as we explore May’s best new gear…
Almost 40 years after the first order for the Pocket Survival Tool (PST) was placed, and some 60 years after the fateful Eurotrip with his wife that inspired it, Tim Leatherman and crew are back with The Bond. Inspired by the original PST, the Bond has the same simple and minimal design, packing 14 tools in just a 5.8 oz package. The stainless steel tool has all the essentials including a 420HC knife blade, standard set of screwdrivers and of course the trademark pliers. The perfect first tool for a young tinkerer or a compact sidekick that fits easily in your pocket, the Bond fills a niche for all.
This month, knifemaking legends Jens Ansø and Jesper Voxnaes, collectively known as GiantMouse, released the second iteration of the customer favorite Sonoma. Dubbed V2, this can be thought of as a new version rather than the successor to the original Sonoma. Whereas the OG was a frame-lock designed as an urban folder, with titanium scales, V2 is a larger outdoor liner-lock with rounded Micarta scales. With a 3.4-inch (87.3mm) blade that’s only 3.5mm thick, it’s an ideal slicer for food prep or tasks around camp. Available in both Green Canvas and Natural Canvas Micarta and featuring brass and titanium backspacers respectively, the Sonoma V2 is the perfect accompaniment on your next outing.
The ACE Clyde first graced the knife world in 2019, featuring green canvas Micarta and black G10. But since then, it’s welcomed a variety of different versions, including the most recent Clyde Aluminum. You’ll see nods to Scandinavian, Japanese and Persian design influences in this trusty EDC blade. You’ve got two stylish options to choose from, the Red Aluminum Clyde with a black aluminum backspacer and thumbstud, as well as the Black Aluminum Clyde with a red aluminum backspacer and thumbstud. Both options are liner locks, with an N690 satin finished blade. And weighing just 2.8oz (79.4g), it’s a tough and versatile addition to your EDC setup that won’t weigh you down.
Seiko and master-piece have teamed up on a limited-edition watch collaboration that celebrates form and function in harmony. Inspired by master-piece’s NEO WORK collection of business carry, the collaborative watch features design details such as a dial pattern inspired by the bags’ woven fabric. The second hand has a subtle “m” shape and splash of yellow as a nod to master-piece’s branding. The water-resistant watch also incorporates solar charging and radio wave reception, doing away with the need to replace the battery or set the time.
Spanish artisans Castillo Knives, purveyors of heritage pocket knives, has teamed up with BANDITS, an artist-driven, socially-conscious bandana brand, to debut “Foreshore”, a limited edition EDC collaboration with original artwork by Ty Williams. We’ve been trying out BANDITS bandanas and found them to be great EDC items that are useful in many situations. Ty’s whimsical artwork can be found on these two timeless everyday carry essentials, the Navaja knife and the bandana, with 10% of sales benefitting California Wilderness Coalition to protect coastal tributaries in Northern California from harmful runoff that affects wildlife and beach goers alike.
The “Foreshore” pattern came from Ty’s experience of surfing in Maine and a desire to give back to the waters that have inspired much of his work. This is the perfect summer EDC for days exploring the beach. The Castillo knife is beautifully made, well balanced, and even comes with a leather sheath and sharpening block! The Bandana gives you style and protection in equal measure and can be worn in a whole multitude of ways.
Redux & Co.’s new collection of watches takes inspiration from mission critical pilot instruments, while also integrating diver tools. The watches are crafted with aerospace-grade titanium and tough anti-reflective, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, built to handle everyday wear across a multitude of environments for many years to come. The pilot-diver hybrids feature a triple-function mechanical bezel that provides stopwatch, countdown timer, and second timezone functions. Designed with attention to detail and understated character, these watches may be inspired by vintage pieces but are made to be worn for decades of everyday, travel and adventure use to come.
Designed by legendary knifemaker Jesper Voxnæs and meticulously crafted in Italy, the FOX Knives Yaru isn’t just a functional everyday folding knife. It’s a conversation starter and a beautiful piece of art too. Available in a choice of handle options and blade finishes, this is a lightweight, practical and versatile tool for everyday use that can lend itself to outdoor needs too.
The James Brand know how to make premium knives. But the Barnes might just be their most showstopping piece yet. The titanium framelock design is CNC-machined from a solid billet of 6AL4V titanium. This results in fewer parts, reduced maintenance, and added versatility in use. The knife uses a 3.5-inch Bohler M390 stainless steel blade and comes with a lanyard and The James Brand’s very first coin design too.
First it was the Year of the Sling and lately it feels like the Year of the Tote. Whatever the current flavor is, you can’t deny a tote is as versatile as it is simple. Available in two sizes, 21L and 31L, the G.O.A.T. Tote is made of 100% waterproof 150D Dyneema. It features an internal zippered pocket (DCH150) and comes in two sizes weighing 6.8 oz and 9.2 oz respectively. Keep this in the trunk of your car or your gear closet for the most lightweight, bombproof, do-it-all carrying solution.
Inspired by the PLSS (Primary Life Support System) of a NASA space suit. Designed to efficiently carry gear across far-flung destinations and daily commutes alike. And with that all-important comfort that you’ll turn to year after year. The Aer x Ministry of Supply Lunar Pack had an intriguing brief to say the least. And this limited-edition collaboration brings it to life in a stellar way. The pack features an attractively understated 1200D CORDURA® nylon exterior, three interior pockets, four quick-access pockets, and a 16″ laptop compartment. And with its clamshell access your essentials will always be close at hand, whether you’re catching the next space shuttle out or simply heading round the block.
In celebration of 10 years of Todd Snyder, they are launching a new series of exclusive 10th Anniversary Editions in partnership with some of Todd’s favorite brands. First up: an exclusive re-imagining of Moscot’s iconic Zilch sunglass (Todd’s go-to style).
Called the Nomad, these shades take their name from both the location of Todd’s flagship and a longing to travel again. Crafted from a premium Italian acetate, the Nomad has a modern line and a sporty vibe. In developing it, Todd worked directly with Zach Moscot, the fifth generation to run the legendary Moscot family business.This drop is the first of many that will be launching this year, including partnerships with Birdwell Beach Britches, Timex, Alden, Rocky Mountain Feather Bed and New Balance. The Nomad will come in four colors and retails for $325.
Trakke are well-known for their top-notch bags that blend premium materials, hard-wearing construction, and heritage-inspired aesthetics in multifunctional designs. So how do you go about making such a solid lineup even better? The addition of the best buckles in the world. The limited-production COBRA Collection features six bags in four colors, specifically the Arkaig, Bairn, Banana, Bannoch, Kelso, and Wee Lug. And as you’ve probably guessed, each piece features iconic AustriAlpin COBRA buckles, allowing you to enjoy that oh-so-satisfying click and unmistakable aesthetic wherever you roam.
Whether you’re looking for a smart-casual short for weekend relaxation or a versatile piece for your travel wardrobe, Alex Mill has a solid contender in their Pull on Italian Tech Shorts. Made from Italian ripstop fabric that’s water repellent and quick-drying, they feature an elastic waist with an adjustable drawstring for a tailored fit. And with two front pockets and a zippered rear pocket, you’ve got storage space for small EDC items too.
When the warm weather is calling, this Seersucker Camp Shirt from Alex Mill is a wardrobe go-to that will keep you cool and stylish. Designed to be worn untucked, it features a straight hem with a split side seam. Able to be dressed up or down depending on your needs, it’s versatile for everyday, weekend, and travel use.
Sometimes you need to get experimental. And for Bellroy, their Small Batch program is the space to do so. The program offers limited-run experiments, providing intriguing twists on existing products. And first up is Edition 01: Brushed Indigo, featuring the Sling Mini, Sling, and City Pouch. Each piece features a subtle camouflage pattern with an expressive textured finish through a precision texturing technique.
Sunglasses controlled by an app? The future is here with Dusk, Wayfarer-style sunglasses that pack a ton of eye-opening tech into what at first glance appears to be regular sunglasses. Through an app or via the frame you can control the level of tint provided by the electrochromic lenses. But Dusk takes things even further, also allowing you to listen to music or take calls thanks to the inbuilt speakers and microphone. And with their IP65 waterproof construction and light weight (26g), you can take these sunglasses pretty much anywhere.
Carrying a water bottle with a small bag can be tricky. But Topologie’s Brick Pouch has been created with discreet water bottle carry in mind. Not to mention keeping additional small items organized and close at hand too. A dedicated middle compartment holds a bottle or small umbrella, while additional pockets and compartments keep small EDC and travel items in check.
Tech tends to be fragile and pricey. Not a great combination. But Matador’s Laptop Base Layer offers some welcome peace of mind when you’re on the move with your precious tech. It offers padded, waterproof protection, with an inner drybag liner for IPX6 waterproofing. The adjustable closure lets you customize it to your tech and accommodates 13-16″ devices. And with an exterior accessory pocket you’ve got convenient storage for a mouse and charger too.
You may or may not know this, but approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by oceans. These oceans produce over half of the oxygen on our planet and are home to millions of species of plants and animals. Tragically, estimates suggest that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Scandinavian powerhouse Fjällräven are ecologically minded in all of their products and through their Arctic Fox Initiative, they aim to combat issues of environmental importance.
With this year’s edition of the Kånken Art, they have taken their flagship backpack, the Kånken (made from their G1000 Eco – recycled polyester and cotton) , and produced two unique designs with Swedish Illustrator Linn Fritz. In honour of World Ocean Day (8th June) all Kånken Art products contribute 1% of each sale directly into removing plastic from the ocean and are paired with the Plastic Impact Alliance. The Arctic Fox initiative will also be supporting The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and The 2 Minute Foundation with the aim of educating about plastic reduction, how to handle plastic waste, and how to help remove what is already in circulation. With each purchase of a Kånken Art Bag, customers will also receive a reusable waste picking bag, so that you can always do your part! You can be featured in this initiative by tagging @kankenofficial with #IRespectNature. At Carryology, we are excited to see brands like Fjällräven helping to encourage a healthier environment.
Apidura are well-known for their world-class bikepacking gear. But their new City Backpack brings years of expertise in crafting hard-wearing outdoor carry to urban environments. Fully waterproof, lightweight, tough, and understated in design, the City Backpack incorporates proven outdoor design into a pack that looks right at home on urban commutes or zipping about town on your days off. Pockets and laptop storage keep your tech and daily essentials well organized. And the comfy build is right on point for a pack designed to conquer the daily grind.
With summer on the horizon, QWSTION are dishing up flexible carry to accommodate spontaneous adventures from dawn ’til dusk. All with an eco-friendly twist. The Bananatex® Tote Bag Collection combines QWSTION’s biodegradable organic Bananatex® and GOTS-certified BioLight® fabrics, creating bags that will provide trusty service for many years to come, with minimal environmental impact. Functional features include expandable volume with protection from the elements, a quick and simple drawstring closure, and multiple carry options including hand, shoulder, and backpack modes.
Just in time for the warm weather, Vasque has unveiled their lightest shoe ever released. The Santoru Trail is built for movement, whether that’s on a thru-hike or at the local nature preserve. Weighing just 1 lb 4 oz, the upper is made of TPU Yarn Mesh and is paired with a Vasque Exclusive Vibram outsole for maximum grip. The Satoru is available in three colorways each for men and women.
Trauma shears are a vital piece of equipment for emergency situations. But they’re often not designed for long-lasting use. HÉROS Trauma Shears are different. Built to provide a lifetime of dependable use in demanding situations, these shears have been tested by paramedics, Navy SEALS, and more to ensure they’re up to the task, whatever that may be, every time. This emergency tool is designed to cut through Kevlar, carbon fiber, steel, fiberglass, boots and much more. The HÉROS Trauma Shears also feature eight tools in one, including trauma shears, a ripper, window punch, ring cutter, oxygen tank key, hex key, ruler, and bottle opener. The serration pattern is designed to mimic the bite of a Great White Shark. And the overall design has been created to provide maximum force with minimal effort.
After a long day exploring outdoors, kicking back and enjoying a film might seem like a great but impractical idea. But the FILMATIC projector makes that idea a reality. Built to withstand outdoor use, this water-resistant, drop-resistant, wireless projector is compact and lightweight (200g), making it easy to carry wherever adventure leads. But you’ll find a few extra tricks up its sleeve too. The projector also serves as a wireless speaker and a lantern offering up to 300 lumens, making it a multifunctional accessory for your outdoor escapades.
For adventure lovers, the next best thing to actually traveling and embracing adventure is reading about it and getting inspiration for your next trip. And this set of adventure books will certainly inspire those filled with wanderlust and searching for their next epic adventure. The exclusive set features custom dust jackets inspired by a topographic map, adding to their display appeal. The set offers five books covering everything from skiing and surfing to cycling and mountaineering.
Walking and hiking shoes tend to have a certain outdoor aesthetic. But the ROA Lhamu slip-ons are different. They blend outdoor-ready performance with streetwear-inspired styling. Resulting in a shoe that’s equally eye-catching and adaptable for urban and outdoor roaming. The design offers a durable leather upper with quilt stitching, with rubber overlays for extra support and stability. Additionally, you benefit from a shock-absorbing foam midsole and a grippy Vibram® rubber outsole.
Fleece jackets tend to be associated with warmth rather than water resistance or breathability. But Proof figured, why couldn’t a fleece jacket offer all of this? So they made one that does. The Performance Fleece Warm-Up features moisture-wicking, water-resistant fleece in a breathable and lightweight build. The style offers stretch with a sleek silhouette, keeping you moving agilely and comfortably while looking good doing so.
The outdoors is a place to have fun. And if you’re after equally fun gear to enjoy the great outdoors with, look no further than the Topo Designs x KEEN Capsule Collection. The vibrant splashes of color keep boredom well at bay and help your gear stand out from the sea of same-same gear that floods the market. Inspired by rivers and river culture, each piece is constructed with recycled materials and can navigate a variety of different settings, from remote outdoor realms to meandering city paths.
The always innovative WANDRD team are back with their latest venture – the ROAM Sling. Available in three sizes, plus two new laptop cases (that integrate into the slings; more on that later), the camera/everyday bags are small but packed full of features. The slings are focused on comfort (featuring a reversible 5-point adjustment system), access (large open access to the main compartment), and quality (weatherproof and a lifetime warranty). The smallest of the trio, the 3L shares most of the feature set of its larger siblings. But the 6L and 9L have a special trick – they can support WANDRD’s new laptop sleeves (13- and 16-inch). This is done by unzipping a back top and bottom zipper and expanding a liner that acts as a pocket to hold the laptop case. Genius! The campaign ends June 25, 2021 so get your pledges in if you’re keen.
You never know when a great shot might present itself. And you’ll never know what that photo might have looked like if your camera bag prevents you accessing your photography gear fast enough. But the Top Shelf Camera Bag aims to enable rapid access to gear on the go. The sling design rests horizontally on your hip, allowing you to view all your gear as well as providing a flat, clean surface for gear setups. Gear is accessed by swinging the bag round to the front of your body and pressing a button to open the main compartment. A simple press closes the latch again, keeping gear secure on the go. And for flexible portability, the bag also converts to backpack mode too.
A camera bag that’s tough enough for outdoor photography but light enough to keep you moving comfortably is a carry challenge to create. But that challenge has been well met by the Strohl Mountain Light. A collaboration designed by Alex Strohl and Moment, the pack claims to be the lightest 45L camera pack in the world, coming in at just 2lbs, 6oz (1.08kg). Yet it’s burly and comfortable enough for the mountains, featuring waterproof CORDURA® ripstop fabric, ergonomic shoulder straps and waist belt, a ventilated and molded back panel, and a removable interior frame. Adjustable in size, this thoughtfully considered pack gives you the outdoor-ready functionality you need in a mountain pack, while also offering back panel camera access and adjustable volume to tailor it to changing loads.
Sometimes all you need is a camera without the unnecessary weight of a bulky bag. And this is where Matador’s Camera Base Layer comes in. Lightweight and waterproof, it protects compact DSLR and mirrorless cameras from the elements while keeping them readily accessible through a magnetic closure. There’s also a small accessory pocket to store camera essentials. And with flexible carry options you can carry it on your person or secured to a larger bag.