Since the dawn of the pandemic, more and more people have been getting outdoors. And that's awesome, but also leaves the industry wondering: will they stay outdoors once we get this damn thing under control?
Walking the floor at Outdoor Retailer this past week, we got a real sense that brands are doing what they can to make it easier to have epic adventures under open skies. And honestly, that's awesome too, because a concurrent sea change is simply making the outdoors more accessible for all.
With features that make forays into the backcountry smoother, safer, more comfortable and more fun, the following five products nicely represent the trend.
Hustle Bike Labs REMtech Pedals
Crested Butte, Colorado-based mountain biker Craig Payne was driven to design a quicker-releasing clipless pedal after a brush with death in 2015. His solution? Neodymium magnets, which allow your feet to find their natural position while staying connected with the pedal — and detach as soon as your foot angles out of the magnetic plane (intentionally or unintentionally). The system works with standard two-bolt SPD shoes and will be available for $219 next spring.
Sea to Summit Telos TR3 Plus
We were stoked to see one of the most wide-ranging outdoor brands expand into tents this past spring. Testing the Telos, we loved the Tension Ridge that increases head and shoulder space and Hangout Mode, which converts the rainfly into a semi-open shelter. Now Sea to Summit has introduced an upgraded, three-plus season version with a fabric inner tent to keep out the cold and a higher-spec waterproof floor for wet conditions.
Keen NXIS EVO Mid
Keen's hiking footwear has always been super safe and comfortable. Now it's fast and light too. The streamlined NXIS EVO Mid still features the brand's classic toe bumper, plus speed-lace webbing, a cushy midsole and a proprietary horseshoe tread for superb grip on muddy or rocky trails. The shoe will be available for both men and women next spring at a price of $180.
Trango Mountain Vault
Made with intention, this super smart bag has you covered in the backcountry. Standout features include a lockable zipper, a waterproof body, compression straps and multiple tiedown points to secure just about anywhere. It's available in three sizes, from 42 liters (airline carry-on) to 122 liters (massive), all of which can be lugged as a duffle or as a backpack.
Space Innovation Labs Tail Table
This clever new product enables you to add a sturdy floating table to the back of your SUV, van or car, creating an instant food prep and dining surface that's a snap to transport and deploy. The table expands up to four feet long and 30 inches wide, supporting 200-plus pounds at the base and 25 pounds out on the edge. Complete with a chopping board, six wine glass holders and changeable table mats, it begins shipping in October for $219.95.