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Dispatches : Gear

Wild Things: Heritage Brand Adds Option to Customize Gear


Wild Things was founded 31 years ago to provide alpine climbing apparel and hardware for the world’s most extreme expeditions. The co-founder, Chamonix-born Marie Meunier, wore Wild Things on the first ascent of the South Face of Chacraraju, Peru, in 1977 with John Bouchard. Mugs Stump used Wild Things gear on his first ascents of the east face of the Mooses Tooth, Alaska, in 1981 and the Moonflower Buttress, Mount Hunter, Alaska, in 1981.

Back then, it was one of the only games in town. But even last year, when there were a number of competitors athletes could choose from, Wild Things was at the summit when Mark Richey, Steve Swenson, and Freddie Wilkinson topped Saser Kangri in India, and it accompanied Will Steger on Arctic and Antarctic crossings, including the first international trans-Antarctica dog-sled crossing and the first dog-sled journey to the North Pole without resupply.

The brand is known for being dependable in the most extreme conditions—conditions where if your gear fails you could die. It’s made by extreme athletes for extreme athletes.

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Get Shredly: Head-Turning Shorts for Biker Babes


Bold, fun, functional, hot. That’s what Shredly is all about: performance sports shorts—and tops—that women will reach for first when they're heading for their bike, skateboard, paddleboard or backpack.

Good looks and functionality are the anchors of the Shredly brand. Each Shredly fabric is painstaking created for athletic women. Designs are carefully constructed to hold up both on and off the trail. And none of Shredly's clothing takes itself too seriously. The prints are playful and the details are stylish, like the faceted faux onyx snap on the Basic Shorts cargo pocket—a small detail that shows that founder Ashley Rankin knows her audience.

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Best of Interbike: 2013 Bikes We're Excited About

We're back from the festival in the desert and still swimming through the flood of new bike gear. There's tons of interesting new products on the horizon, including a rash of 650B mountain bikes and more than a few disc-brake road bikes. Check here for our Gear of the Show picks, the five most compelling things we saw in Vegas. But because five slots isn't really enough space to capture all of the interesting bits and pieces, here's a sneak peek at some other bikes that have us fired up.

BMC GrandFondo 02 105

The "endurance" bike is one growth category this season, with manufacturers offering more comfort and stability than on their flat out race bikes by way of taller head tubes, long wheelbases, and slightly slacker geometries. The most interesting one to our eye is BMC's new Grandfondo, which uses strategically placed kinks in the stays, fork, and seatpost to create flex points and therefore bump-eating compliance. Given just how comfortable we found BMC's top-shelf race bike, the TeamMachine SLR01, we have to imagine that the GF is going to be a Cadillac-like ride. Yet BMC says not only is this bike their most comfy, it's also the most efficient. And while the GF series will come in what's sure to be awesome carbon, we're just as excited about the aluminum GF02, which is almost as light as the carbon version and, when built with Shimano 105, will come in at an incredibly affordable $1,800.

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A Stand-Up Paddleboard Made From Coconut Fibers

NSP cocomat SUP hi res

Artists often find inspiration in their environment. It turns out, sometimes, product managers do too.

Here’s the story: One of New Surf Project's (NSP's) product managers rides his bike by a coconut farm on his way to work at NSP’s factory every day. One day he notices that the discarded coconut husks in a pile on the farm’s perimeter look very similar to the fiberglass NSP specs in its surfboards. The product manager stops. Curious, he picks up a few discarded husks and squeezed them into his pannier, next to his computer and his lunch. When he reaches the factory, he put the husks through a battery of tests. What he finds: coconut husks have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than fiberglass. That means that coconut fibers could theoretically make a surfboard or paddleboard both lighter and stronger.

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American Giant: Sweatshirts That Aren't From a Sweatshop


Since the 1980s, most apparel has been made somewhere in Asia, and a lot of it, particularly casual basics like sweatshirts, t-shirts and polo shirts, feels cheap and poorly made—or at least way overpriced for the quality of the finished product.

American Giant aims to change that by making men’s basics in Brisbane, California. A facility in California lets the San Francisco-based company be efficient and nimble in its production, monitoring quality on the line and responding to customer demands with short lead times. It also makes it possible to ensure that factory employees are paid a fair wage and guaranteed a high standard of working conditions.

Founded by Bayard Winthrop, former president of Chrome and veteran of half a dozen other outdoor brands, American Giant launched last February with a line of men’s sweatshirts inspired by the classic American styles of the past that fit right, felt good when you first put them on, and lasted for years. Since then, the company has added a new men’s basic every four to six weeks, including t-shirts, v-necks, henleys and polo shirts. Each item is made with the highest level of attention to detail to ensure that the final product looks great and is top-quality.

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