The Best In Design & Tech
Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
LuminAid TPU Pillow Lantern
LuminAid’s solar-powered TPU pillow lantern packs down to the size of a cell phone. When you get to camp, a few breaths of air turn it into a hangable lantern. Fully charged, it providesup to 16 hours of diffuse light for reading or cooking.
What’s Next: Ultrahigh-intensity lights
The most powerful headlamp on the market, Petzl’s 760-lumen Ultra Rush, can illuminate an object 550 feet away but weighs nearly a pound.
Bulb technology continues to improve, but as with electric cars, batteries need to get smaller, lighter, and more efficient.
When Will It Happen?
Not for 20 years at least, but we’ll see huge efficiency gains in the meantime. In five years, headlamps may run for 400 hours without a recharge.
Indochino Ultimate Tech Collection
A nanocoating covers the merino-wool suits in Indochino’s Ultimate Tech Collection, so they’re water and stain-resistant. That scarf-like, duck-down collar? It’s a storm flap that buttons into the jacket or added warmth and flare.
Spy Tec Inventio-HD Sunglasses
Action-cam-equipped shades still aren’t James Bond suave, but they’re getting more discreet and affordable. The hi-def camera in Spy Tec’s Inventio-HD sunglasses is less than three millimeters in diameter—barely a speck.
New Balance Minimus Hi-Rez Running Shoes
Instead of a traditional midsole, New Balance bonded 42 independent rubber pods directly to the bottom of its Minimus Hi-Rez running shoes. The result: a remarkably light (3.7 ounces) speedster so flexible you can scrunch it into a ball.
Petzl Sirocco Helmet
By using the same foam found in car bumpers, Petzl was able to forgo the plastic shell on its Sirocco helmet. The result is a lid that disperses impact like a traditional climbing helmet but weighs almost half as much.
Rossignol Super 7 Skis
Hold the translucent, honeycomb-patternedtips or tails of Rossignol’s Super 7 Skis up to the light and they glow. Even cooler is the design, which reduces swing weight, lightens the ski, and makes these fat boys practically levitate in soft snow.
Zootility Tools PocketMonkey
The next best thing to having a slim multitool on your key ring is having an even less conspicuous one in your wallet. Zootility Tools’ credit-card-size, machined-aluminum PocketMonkey includes a bottle opener, three screwdrivers, five hex wrenches, and an iPhone kickstand.
Daily Carry Line
Further proof that good things come in small packages: Gerber’s Daily Carry line is keychain-ready, and the multitools and flashlight (not shown) are TSA-friendly.
Kaufmann Mercantile Japanese Rubber Boots
Heading someplace mucky? Kaufmann Mercantile’s foldable Japanese rubber boots are just as slimeproof as your typical rubber boots but pliable enough that they roll down to the size of a sneaker for easy portability.
Blink Steady Rear Light
Blink Steady’s rear light uses a photosensor and tiny accelerometer to automatically switch on when the bike is rolling in low light. In other words, no buttons. Just simplicity and sophistication.
Ultralite Cirrus TI Pedals
The advent of stiff carbon-fiber road-biking shoes have made bulky platforms and big pedal-cleat interfaces a thing of the past. Case in point: Ultralite’s 36-gram, spindle-shaped titanium Cirrus TI pedals are the lightest in the world.
TheGoodLife! GoodWood Dominoes
Thank you, hipsters,for the coolest-looking set of bones ever. TheGoodLife! GoodWood dominoes are handmade and hand-painted in Brooklyn, naturally.
Hugh and Crye Button Down Shirts
Instead of neck and sleeve measurements, Hugh and Crye uses the shape of the torso to size its shirts. There are 12 fits, ranging from short and skinny to tall and broad.
Misfit Wearables Shine
Finally, a fitnesstracker that doesn’t look like a Livestrong bracelet. The sleek, quarter-size, waterproof Misfit Wearables Shine syncs with your iPhone and logs distance and speed for -every run, ride, swim, and walk to the copier.
What’s Next: Personal trainers as accessories
A new bracelet and shoe clip from fitness-tech company Amiigo can track more than 100 exercises.
Software that can analyze and translate hard data into prescriptive advice.
When Will It Happen?
Within three years, apps and fitness devices should offer customized tips on form, training schedule, and diet.
Lomography Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter
By borrowing light-metering tech from DSLRs, Lomography’s Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter is the first medium-format camera capable of auto-exposing panoramic images. It also shoots 6×6, 6×9, and 6×12 film photos just as beautifully.
What’s Next: A camera you don’t have to focus
California’s Pelican Imaging recently developed a smartphone -prototype of an array camera—a grid of offset lenses. In this case, 16 of them in a four-by-four grid allow users to focus eight-megapixel pictures after the photo is taken.
The Hurdle: Building an array with the same high-quality optics and precision engineering used to make traditional lenses without inflating the size and weight.
When Will It Happen? We’ll see them in five years on smartphones and point-and-shoots, but it will be at least a decade before the technology is good enough to replace the lenses on DSLRs and cinematic cameras.
Netatmo Urban Weather Station
The sleek aluminum cylinders of the Netatmo Urban Weather Station measure temperature, humidity, noise pollution, and CO2 inside and outside your house. The data, and regional weather warnings, update on your tablet or smartphone.
Patagonia Belay Parka
Patagonia’s quest to make the best down jacket on earth started five years ago. Here it is, the limited-edition Belay parka. The element-proof puffy is overstuffed with 1,000-fill water-resistant down, ingeniously baffled, athletically cut, and damn near perfect.
Retrofitz Clipless Bike Shoes
Send your favorite sneakers to Retrofitz and it’ll turn them into clipless bike shoes. It’s a brilliant, if imperfect, idea: the pedal interface works well, but the protruding cleats still make for awkward walking.
Boreas Gear Bootlegger Modular Pack System
The best transformable pack we’ve seen yet, Boreas Gear’s Bootlegger Modular Pack System quickly and elegantly morphs from a frameless, minimalist bag, to a 28-liter daypack with beefy suspension, to a 30-liter, completely submersible dry sack.
Sierra Designs Mojo UFO Tent
Sierra Designs’ two-person Mojo UFO tent is undoubtedly the toughest three-season around. The fly and body are made with cuben fiber, a highly breathable material that’s so light and flexible, it’s also used for sailcloth on America’s Cup race boats.
Rapha and Raeburn Wind Jacket
Arbiter of ciclismo style Rapha teamed up with London fashion designer Chris Raeburn to make the avant-garde Rapha and Raeburn wind jacket. It’s sewn with retired military parachutes and highlighted with polka dots.
What’s Next: Electrically heated clothing
Last winter, Columbia released a rechargeable battery-powered jacket with three temperature settings but was forced to issue a recall after the wrists overheated.
The Hurdle: Integrating the wiring and creating an efficient power source to boost warmth without adding noticeable weight or making the garment feel stiff or robotic.
When Will It Happen? In ten years, everybody from Everest climbers to surfers could be wearing electric clothes.
Revono Bedash 29er
Renovo’s wooden Badash 29er is a misnomer—it’s actually meticulously hollowed hickory tubing. But given that the artwork rides well, we will allow the creative license. Best of all, if (God forbid) you ding the frame, it sands out—seriously.