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Hot Gear Trends for the Coming Year

From masks that keep you safe to pizza ovens you can pack in your van to virtual reality goggles, 2021 is packed with new innovations when it comes to outdoor gear. Here’s the stuff that piqued our interest and will make your time out there (or in your backyard) even better in the coming year.

Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS

Trend: Safety
The bike craze during the pandemic has more people out on singletrack and dirt paths, which is a very good thing. And a reliable helmet is mandatory gear. Built with a four-piece shell that makes it stronger and MIPS technology which lessens the chance of a concussion by better distributing impact, this is a brain bucket you can count on. Plus, the adjustable visor and plenty of ventilation make it comfortable on the ride. $180;

Six Moons Daybreaker

Trend: Minimalism
Weighing in at just 20 ounces and able to hold all the gear you need for a big adventure in the hills or a day out hauling everything you need to keep the family happy, this simple pack has been appreciated in recent days when we’ve been reevaluating how much we really need and what matters most to us. Want to trim it down even more? You can remove the hip belt and hydration sleeve. $120;

Eureka SPRK Camp Grill

Trend: Car Camping
Car camping and van life exploration have become the easiest ways to escape the bounds of your home during COVID-19 without having to risk crowds. This easy-to-pack grill top runs on an 8-ounce butane canister and gives you all the backyard-deck comfort of gourmet grilling no matter where you pull up to camp. $130;

Goldwin xSpiber The Sweater

Trend: New Fabrics/Sustainability
Upscale Japanese snowsports apparel brand Goldwin collaborated with biomaterial producer Spiber to craft the most interesting sustainable fabric to hit the market during the pandemic. Eschewing animal products and synthetic fabrics spun from plastics, the threads in this surprisingly cozy sweater come from—wait… take a sip of your favorite IPA before you read further—a brewed protein fabric created by a plant-based microfermentaion process. The Sweater sold out when it was offered via lottery in November, but look for more apparel using the same process coming out in the future. $800;

Blue Forest Farms #6 Dream with CBN

Trend: Cannabinoids 
Cannabinoids are the active compounds in cannabis that give the plant its kick when smoked or ingested. We know you know what THC is (okay, kids, it’s the psychoactive substance) and CBD, a cannabinoid that aids in easing anxiety and soothing inflammation (and which is legal in 48 states when derived from hemp and containing 0.3% or less THC) is in everything from lip balm to chocolate these days. CBN is the up and coming legal cannabinoid and Blue Forest mixed it with CBD in this oil that can help you get rest the night before a big outdoor activity or a stressful day sheltered at home. $65;

Ooni Fyra

Trend: Backyard Camping
Cooking homemade pizza is high on the list of skills we have developed during quarantine but the home oven just doesn’t give crust that authentic cripsness. Not only will this simple portable oven fire up to 950 degrees and produce the perfect pie in about a minute in your backyard, you can also take it to camp. $299;

Adidas Five Ten Kirigami

Trend: Accessibility
Climbing is a sport that everyone should be able to enjoy at the gym or out on the crags, but the discomfort and price of shoes can be a barrier to entry—so Five Ten crafted the simple and user-friendly Kirigami for kids and adults. The grown-up version features the brand’s famed Stealth C4 rubber for grip and the kids’ models sports an Adfit insole, which can be removed to accommodate those fast-growing feet. $50-$90;

Sage Foundation Outfit

Trend: Social Distancing/Simplicity
Fly fishing is the ultimate social-distancing sport—you want to keep other anglers away from your hotspot. Newcomers to the sport and vets will both appreciate this package that will get you out on the water pronto. The Foundation rod is a smooth caster that can handle a wide variety of flies and techniques, from tossing streamers to gently presented small dries. The Spectrum C reel offers a smooth retrieve. And the Rio Gold fly line matches up perfectly with the set. $575;

Vallon X Wayne Wong

Trend: Retro Style
The iconic ripper Wayne Wong made skiing fun back in the 1980s heyday, and he always did it wearing his iconic white Aviators. We could also use a jolt of fun right now and Vallon teamed up with Wong for these always fashionable shades that will be available in the fall (pick up Vallon’s standard Aviators in the meantime). $107;

The North Face Dryzzle Futurelight

Trend: New Fabrics
The North Face has put its full weight behind the launch of its Furturelight fabric, which features a waterproof and breathable membrane that the brand claims outperforms Gore-Tex. It certainly does the trick in this women-specific shell that keeps the worst mountain weather at bay. $229;

Salomon Index.01

Trend: Sustainability
True sustainability requires a shoe to not just be built from recycled and easy-on-the environment materials, but also circular, creating no waste when you are done with that faithful kick. Available this spring, Salomon’s hottest new road running shoe can be torn apart and completely recycled after it has pounded out its final miles.

Blue Ridge Trail Works The Blue Ridge Chair

Trend: Camp Comfort
Clever and packable so that you can haul it to a serene spot on the side of a creek but classy enough to prop up on your home deck, this sturdy chair redefines camp style. Better yet, it’s a solid seat with plenty of back support unlike the standard camp chair that feels like an undersized hammock. $174;

Salewa Dropline Mid

Trend: Close-to-Home Adventure
Hiking close to home or deep in the hills is one activity that the pandemic has not slowed down. Our pick for our favorite trail shoes for those adventures, the Dropline Mid, serves up plenty of ankle support to scramble up loose, rocky stuff thanks to thermoformed high-rebound material that keeps your foot in line without being overly stiff. But don’t think it’s just for the tough terrain—light and springy, the shoe doesn’t cramp your style on more casual outings. $180;

GoSun Flatware Travel Cutlery Set

Trend: Simplicity and Sustainability
Single-use plastic is an ongoing waste. In this time of rethinking how we approach the world, this sturdy, easy-to-carry, 1.4-ounce cutlery set eliminates the need for plastic, whether you are backpacking, picnicking with someone special, or just ordering to-go from your favorite restaurant. $24; 

Bolle Nevada NEO Goggle and RYFT MIPS Helmet

Trend: Augmented Reality
Bolle’s Nevada Neo is one of the best goggles on the hill, utilizing a magnetic system that makes it easy to swap in lenses like the photochromic Phantom that adapts to changing light conditions. But the real wow factor here is that you don’t have to be skiing to get a feel for how it performs on Instagram. Bolle’s new augmented reality program lets you use your smartphone camera and the social media app to see what you look like in the goggles and its RYFT MIPS helmet and check out the different lens effects from the comfort of home. $280 goggles, $300 helmet;


Trend: Pandemic Protection
Staying safe during the pandemic requires gloves to help avoid direct contact with infected surfaces—which is tough to do at the store, at the gas station, or even when you are playing outside. A special EcoZinc treatment repels microbes on these simple, reusable, washable gloves that you can keep in your glove compartment. $20;


Trend: Pandemic Protection
Yes, the mask has become both required protective gear and a fashion statement for those of us recreating responsibly in the outdoors, and Swiss brand Maloha impressed us with these breathable, good-looking, three-layer masks that feature Polygiene‘s ViralOff finish that can kill most viruses on contact. The masks are washable (but the treatment can begin to wear off after 20 washes). $12-$15;

Dogfish Head Hazy-O!

Trend: Craft Beer
Enjoying a good IPA is one thing the the pandemic has not taken from us (in fact, some of us may be tippling too many). Famed Delaware-based craft brewery Dogfish Head knocked our socks off with its big, silky new 7.1% ABV hazy IPA. Here’s the secret: It’s brewed with malted oats, rolled oats, naked oats, and—wait for it—oat milk. $18 four pack;

Liv Intrigue Advanced Pro 29 1

Trend: Women Specific
Women-specific bike brand Liv launched this nimble machine in the midst of the pandemic and it proved a winner with our female testers who could not wait to put it to use on local singletrack. With big, 29-inch tubeless tires, the bike offers geometry and suspension dialed in to the way a woman fits on and actually rides a mountain bike. It’s just as competent on the ups as the downs, where the 140mm fork and 125mm rear shock suck up all the nasty stuff. $5,500;

MSR Guardian Gravity Purifier

Trend: Clean Water
Available in the spring, MSR’s newest gravity filter ups the performance of the simple system. It not only meets the military’s NSF protocol P248 testing standard, it also delivers water at a rate of 1 liter in two minutes, far faster than the usual slow drip of a hanging filter, without requiring the arduous task of pumping. It’s perfect for backpacking—and essential if your water at home is ever compromised. $250;

Eddie Bauer Microtherm Freefuse Stretch Hooded Jacket

Trend: New Fabrics
Incredibly easy to pack down into its own pocket, light, and surprisingly cozy for its weight, this down jacket will be your go-to piece to be prepared for variable conditions on any adventure. The discontinuous channel construction means the 800-fill down won’t bunch up and there’s just enough stretch to move fast on peak bagging missions or snowshoeing trips. $279;

Rocky Mounts Splitrail LS 2”

Trend: Bike Boom
So you bought multiple bikes during the pandemic. Now, you need a secure, reliable way to transport them. This sharp-looking hitch rack folds out when you need it, eliminating the need for awkward roof rack systems, and keeps those bikes safe behind your vehicle without messing with your gas mileage. The basic rack holds two but an add on ($200) can get the whole family out to the trails. $500; 

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