Just like a sports scout looking for the best new athletes, or a producer looking for the best new pop stars, we’re always on the lookout for the best new outdoor brands. The folks that you’ve never heard of that are making cool, inventive products. For this round-up, we’ve found six companies that produce high-quality everyday gear you can use at home, work, and out on the trail.
Myles Apparel Elements Crew Sweatshirt ($80)
Myles makes performance athletic gear that doesn’t look like performance athletic gear. Their pinnacle piece is the Elements Crew. Made with a DWR-coated French terry cotton, it shakes off rain on your bike commute or an afternoon run and continues to do so even after it’s been put through the wash. With an ultra-simple design, it looks good over a button-down, too.
Suavs Zilker Knit Shoes ($85)
We’re big fans of knit shoes at Outside; from Nike’s LunarEpic Flyknit runners to Black Diamond’s Momentum climbing shoes. Now we can add the Zilker Knit to that list. It’s the perfect travel shoe thanks to the foot-hugging fully-knit uppers that will keep your dogs comfy on a plane or while huffing it up a Mexican pyramid. Wear them with or without socks, and throw them in the washer when they get dirty.
Pioneer Ion Wallet ($60)
Wallets inevitably get beat up thanks to all the daily use. That’s why Pioneer made theirs out of something called UHMW polyethylene fibers, or one of the materials that go into military body armor. The stuff is so strong that Pioneer backs the Ion with a 10-year warranty. Bonus: thanks to a slim design, you’ll never overstuff.
Maloja Gillim Jacket ($220)
Maloja, based out of Germany, makes high-end technical gear. What sets them apart is that all that gear, even their priciest Gore-Tex shell, is stylish and doesn’t scream, “I climb mountains.” One of our favorite pieces is the Gillim hoodie, which has four-way stretch and windproof panels but looks like it’s made for an afternoon at the coffee shop.
Edgevale Cast Iron Pant ($130)
Under the hood, these are work pants. They’re made from a blend of Cordura 12-ounce duck canvas and nylon, and come with details like triple stitching and reinforced back pockets. But unlike other work pants, they don’t look the part. You won’t find any hammer loops or double knees so they can easily pass for a pair of khakis at work.
Slughaus Self-Healing Wolverine Pack ($35)
They put “self-healing” in the title because you can repair small tears in this bag by rubbing the outer nylon fabric with your fingers. The rubbing creates heat, and the heat blends the fabric back together (we tested that claim: it actually works). It’s a cool feature, but we mostly dig this bag because it’s so simple. You get one, large 20-liter compartment and a simple shoulder strap so there’s no place to lose your keys, and no extraneous straps to catch on trees or doors. When not in use, it packs down to the size of a cell phone.