Innovative Gear & Apparel: New tech for the New Year

January 04, 2017

  • by
  • Peter Reese

Missions to Mars aren’t the only dreams engineers are carrying around in their pulsing grey matter. These Active Junky selections turn yesterday’s imaginings into relevant products ready to wear and carry now.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L: Destiny with straps

Active Junky’s toted Peak Design’s Everyday Messenger with profound success. Even before employing the brilliant photography features built into the system. Enter the Everyday Backpack, one we prefer in the larger 30L version. Immediate access to the main compartment – from either side – puts E.B. ahead of the competition by miles (kilometers, if your Peak Design-equipped travels take you around the world). Then muster the flexible (but durable) hook-and-loop panels inside for DSLR or action camera access with room to spare for a jacket, snacks and accessories. Outside, the panelized design with magically-appearing accessory straps allows tripods, small folding reflectors and LED lights to hitch a ride. And we haven’t even talked about the well-guarded laptop sleeve, search-and-rescue grade top haul strap and magnetic flap closure. No matter what’s next, this one’s ideal right now.

Best For: Amateur and aspiring digital mavens, commuters and international adventure travelers

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Thunderbolt Sportswear Original Jeans – Mark II, Alloy: Science takes to the streets

Walk it. Ride it. Get on the next jet to nowhere and you’re ready with this Portland designed-and-sewn pant. Active Junky plowed in to life, powered by Schoeller Dryskin soft-shell fabric with integrated NanoSphere treatment. Even without a Nobel Prize, you’ll turn the mysteries of the sub-molecular cosmos into a great fitting, nearly-armored pair that tips the scales at only about a pound. Testers loved the unhemmed approach to getting started with a waistband that’s more for via ferrata than franks and tatter tots. Fit trim with straight legs and a stealth right rear pocket, Thunderbolt Original Jeans still allow four-way stretch to escape with your anatomy feeling good and your style more than intact. Other than a pair of boardshorts, this product caps off your quick-escape packing list even if nasty weather is anticipated. Call it on the money. And on the mark.

Best For: Casual to commute to travel as a quiver-of-one pant vetted by demanding reviewers at Active Junky

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DMOS Stealth Shovel: Bite back bigger

Dmos shovels stealth shovel black main DMOS Stealth Shovel

The biggest snow dumps leave huge backcountry (and park) potential. But escaping the driveway comes first. A bent 2.5mm thick bruiser formed from T-6 6061 aluminum, DMOS Stealth Shovel is about pure leverage in town, on the trail and in the trees. While testers at first questioned the tool’s capacity for output, it didn’t take long to realize there’s generous usable volume in the blade itself. Once the adjustable power shaft is deployed, any size user gets to work fast. Break it down, take it to the hill and be ready along the way to provide aid to less-capable winter drivers who were doomed to serious ditch sessions. Our favorite color, Grizz Brown, stands out when building features but never looks overdone even as you sculpt a fantasy take-off. Add capability with the optional, in-handle snow saw to make hut trips or snow machine-enabled pursuits even richer. 

Best For: Mountain-bound, kicker-building, snow-loving outdoor athletes

Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller: Own the zone Coming Early 2017

An area 15’ x 15’ is the effective zone this mighty titan claims on behalf of mosquito-adverse outdoor lovers. At a fraction of the size of their Active Junky-proven companions in the Thermacell line, Backpacker carries the day as a totable tool at only 4oz. Use butane canisters and there’s up to 90 hours of protection from the smallest size. Active Junky is drawn to the repellent’s low heat system that activates the top-mounted mat. The built-in Piezo igniter simplifies activation while the threaded coupler aligns quickly and securely. Unlike other systems, this one doesn’t damage gear (as in, melt synthetics) and the included bag keeps Backpacker from getting dirty between uses. Bravo, Thermacell for opening the great outdoors to more hard-core and recreational users with products such as this one.

Best For: Backpacking and international travel use

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Primus Winter Gas 230g: Better when it’s bad

How many times does the temperature drop and butane gas fails to deliver reliable BTU output? Lots, and Primus wasn’t about to let Active Junky testers (or anyone else, for that matter) head out without some assurance of cooking and lighting reliability. The trick is the Winter Gas mix that stirs propane with isobutane to get consistent output even in colder conditions. While we didn’t saw a sample in half, we’re trusting the Vapor Mesh sitting inside the canister multiplies the surface area for greater evaporation of the chemical cocktail underneath. Performance improves down to about -7 degrees Fahrenheit, a generous extension of conditions previously only addressed by liquid fuel stoves. Always making certain you recycle (using a sanctioned puncturing tool), you’ve got some insurance that the trip’s well-chosen rations won’t grow cold on the trail.

Best For: Moderate to colder conditions

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