Airbag-equipped backpacks are (wisely) everyone’s favorite new avalanche safety tool, and nearly a dozen manufacturers now sell them in the U.S. But only the North Face thought to incorporate the technology into apparel. Designed with airbag-veteran ABS, the Powder Guide ABS avalanche vest fits over a standard ski jacket, making it ideal for short sidecountry missions. And, yes, there’s enough room in the vest for a small shovel and avalanche probe.
No more hefting bulky snowshoes into the backcountry just in case. When stored, Airlite’sinflatable snowshoes are each about the size of a Nalgene bottle and together weigh just 2.5 pounds. Should you need them (snow-mobile breaks down, lost in the woods), they inflate in seconds with a CO2 cartridge, yielding sturdy 36-inch-long shoes.
What if you didn’t have to stop and bust out your stove to boil water? That’s the idea behind Heatgear’sHeatstick. Simply activate the ignitor, screw the pressurized butane-and-propane-filled fuel rod into the 32-ounce thermal bottle, and in less than 15 minutes you’ve got a hot drink or dinner. The only catch? The Heatstick was developed for NATO and has yet to obtain U.S. safety certification.
At just 5.8 ounces, Hyperlite Mountain Gear’sMetro pack weighs only a bit more than a heavy-duty garbage bag, and it’s so small you can slip it into your back pocket. Most impressive: it’s cut from the same material used in sails and blimps, so it’s waterproof, and it’s 10 times stronger than steel.
How minimalist can a running shoe get? New Balance ditched the entire outsole on the 3.2-ounce RC 5000: where you typically have a slab of rubber, there are only rows of rubberized dots and spikes. The result is one of the lightest running shoes you’ll find. The shoemaker says it’s perfect for 10Ks, though its estimated lifespan is just 124 miles.