In a normal year, our summer would be bisected by the outdoor industry's marquee event: Outdoor Retailer. The show draws hundreds of brands from around the world to Denver, where they show off the thousands of new products they plan to launch the following year. Like every other large gathering, this summer's OR was canceled, but we've been attending Zoom meetings and virtual product showcases to get as much intel on what the coming year has in store for the outdoor gear world. Here are some of the products we're most excited about for 2021.
Mystery Ranch In & Out 22L
The In & Out has been one of our favorite daypacks for one reason: it's highly packable, but doesn't skimp on features. The new 22-liter version offers more space for spur-of-the-moment hikes and summit pushes from camp, includes two exterior zippered pockets and is hydration reservoir-compatible. Even so, its 100-denier Cordura mini-rip fabric gives it a total weight of less than a pound.
Vasque Satoru Moc
Vasque has planted its feet firmly in the hiking space, but in February 2021 the brand will reveal its first lifestyle-first footwear with the Satoru collection. Among the lineup is the Satoru Moc, a simple, laceless slip-on that combines a knit sock-like upper with a cushioned zero-drop sole that includes enough tread for light outdoor use. That's just the kind of construction that'll make it a contender as a go-to campsite shoe.
Hydro Flask Outdoor Kitchen Collection
Best known for its water bottles, Hydro Flask is using its vessel-making prowess to craft a full line of goods for the campsite kitchen. The collection includes a tumbler, three different bowls, a plate, utensils and serving spoons. We're keen on the one-quart bowl, which is the ideal size for personal use and includes a lid which, thanks to Hydro Flask's insulation tech, means you can use it to save leftovers for a midday snack.
Price: $20 - $80
The North Face Flight Race Day Vest 8
Eagle-eyed spectators of the 2019 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc might've spotted trail runner Paddy O'Leary sporting an unidentified vest from The North Face. That particular piece of kit is the Flight Race Day Vest, which debuts as part of the company's full-steam effort to embrace trail running at the highest level. The vest includes plenty of pockets for stashing layers and fuel, but its highlight is a patent-pending water flask leash system that allows you to suck bottles back into their holsters after taking a drink.
Nemo Equipment Moonlander Table and Moonlite Chair
When Nemo Equipment set out to build a camp table, its starting point was a hard surface that could act as a reliable base for say, a glass of red. But in creating a rigid piece of portable furniture, it didn't give up the crucial characteristics for camping, like packability (the Moonlander can fit in the laptop sleeve of your backpack) or versatility (it has two heights). The accompanying Moonlite Chair has a few notable features of its own, the most important of which is a seamless mesh seat that's adjustable for sitting up and kicking back.
Price: $150 (Moonlander), $140 (Moonlite)
Keen Ridge Flex Hiking Boot
The key to Keen's Ridge Flex is the new Bellows Flex technology, which consists of flexible TPU panels at key compression points in the boot. The idea behind those panels is to reduce the effort required in every step, and when the company tested it against similar hiking boots, it found a difference of 60 percent. Those gains in efficiency add up over tens of thousands of steps on a trail, making the Ridge Flex one of the most anticipated hiking releases of 2021.
For the past three years, Tecnica has rounded out a growing footwear collection to include heat-moldable hiking boots, hiking shoes and trail running shoes. In 2021, the company, still best known for its ski boots, is releasing its first piece of crossover footwear with the Magma. Somewhere between a hiking shoe and a trail runner, the Magma is set to do everything with a customizable upper, a grippy outsole and shock-absorbing heel. Its versatility makes it an ideal shoe for adventure travel, which, fingers crossed, will be an option again next year.
Salewa Dropline Mid
The Dropline made our list of the Best Hiking Boots of 2020, so while it's no surprise Salewa has plans to make a mid-height version, it is exciting. The idea behind the Dropline Mid is still speed hiking, and its design is geared toward unencumbered stability. That notion manifests in a thermoformed heel cuff that provides lateral support for trucking downhill and a precise fit system that hugs the foot snug. There's also a Pomoca rubber outsole that Salewa claims has self-cleaning abilities, so it's ready for use in any terrain and conditions.
Zenbivy Camp Bed
Sleeping bags and camping pads might have you thinking that sleeping in a tent is more about managing discomfort than getting a good night's rest. For 2021, Zenbivy is releasing an all-in-one Camp Bed that prioritizes both comfort and easy set-up. The system includes a fitted sheet that hugs a foam-topped self-inflating mattress and a quilt that zips into place to bring everything together. Breaking camp in the morning is as simple as unplugging the valve and rolling the whole thing up. Its the modern-day equivalent of the cowboy bedroll, and unlike the other products on this list, you can preorder this one on Kickstarter later this month.
Houdini Wadi Pants
Most lifestyle-oriented activewear still manages to look, well, like activewear. Bucking that trend is Houdini, which puts its minimalist Swedish spin on all its releases without forgetting the technical elements that make this kind of clothing so great. In the Wadi Pants, that mindset surfaces in the form of a fabric called Liquid Rock that's made of polyamide and elastane for a lightweight and subtly stretchy feel ideal for hot temperatures. It'll also be available as shorts.