While 2020 is winding down (at long last), something else is rising up: a Himalayan mountain called Qomolangma in Tibet and Sagarmatha in Nepal. You may know it as Mount Everest.
The pyramidal peak's widely agreed upon height has been 29,028.87 feet for decades, but a recent joint survey by Nepal and China now calculates it at 29,031.7 feet. To obtain the new measurement, surveyors had to haul special equipment all the way to the top, and while you won't find anything like a theodolite among December's new outdoor gear releases, there's still plenty of stuff to get excited about.
Kammok revealed its newest trail quilt, the Arctos, back in October, but it's finally available for purchase now. Rated to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it's a super-technical camping blanket but leaves room for fun, thanks to a central cutout that lets you wear it as a poncho.
A recent crowdfunding success illuminates how the conventional gear storage bin was overdue for an overhaul. That's what Rux is, a waterproof bin that's flexible enough to squish flat and sturdy enough to carry like a tote or wear like a backpack.
Burton Mine77 Gore-Tex 11-Pocket Coverall
Mine77 is a line that was spearheaded by Burton's founder, Jake Carpenter, until his passing in late 2019. The latest drop includes the best recent case for onesies in a model strapped with pockets and Gore-Tex fabric. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, this one sold out quickly.
Mountain Hardwear Boundary Ridge Gore-Tex 3L Bib
Mountain Hardwear packed its new bibs with features including a chest pocket, hand pockets and thigh pockets, plus a drop seat for when nature calls. The bib is made of waterproof three-layer Gore-Tex fabric. For an even more technical set of bibs, check out the company's new Viv Gore-Tex Pro Bib.
The Fernweh is a Kickstarter success — it raised over $264,000 — that's finally available for direct purchase. It's a 50-liter backpacking bag that integrates with a collection of accessories to become a pro at hauling photography gear into the wilderness.
Vans Hi Country & Hell Bound Snowboard Boot
Vans tapped snowboarder Sam Taxwood to create a boot versatile enough for any type of riding. A key feature is Vans' Flex Control System, featuring removable tongue stiffeners that let you tune how flexible the boot is.
Goat Boxco Hub 70
New-to-the-scene Goat Boxco makes coolers, but they're more like rotomolded depots. Each one has a central compartment for keeping food chilled, but there is also an outer cargo net and four "turrets" that house containers you can fill with other items or buy pre-filled with things like medical supplies and dehydrated meals.
Ripton & Co. Drift Overalls
Ripton & Co. has staked a firm claim on technical jorts. Yes, jorts, made with stretch and durability for mountain biking and cruising around town. Ripton's newest product is a pair of denim overalls with those same features plus a little bit of insulation, in case you want to hit the slopes in them. Preorders are open now, with shipping in January.
Matador Beast Series
Matador's most technical backpack yet has the features and support for taking on serious outdoor objectives, but its flexible frame allows it to twist down flat in a remarkable show of packing prowess.
Rumpl x Draplin Design Co. Puffy Blanket
Rumpl's latest artist collaboration is with Aaron Draplin, a master of logos whose work you've likely seen, whether you realized it or not (he even did a US postal stamp). Draplin pulled some favorites from his archive to adorn a synthetic insulation camping blanket.
Dangle Supply Titanium Cup
The same minds that made an ultralight titanium bong for outdoor adventures just created a more typical piece of camping equipment: a titanium mug. It holds 420 milliliters of liquid.
Smartwool x The Grateful Dead
Another collaboration not to miss this month came from Smartwool, skier Chris Benchetler and the Grateful Dead. This one features merino wool baselayers and socks smattered with skulls, roses and more, and don't miss the ski/surf flick Benchetler created and set to the band's tunes.
Bern Carbon Watts Helmet
It takes Bern five days to complete its latest snow helmet, the Carbon Watts, because the hands-on process involves the layering, curing and finishing of carbon fiber layers. The result is a helmet that's 11 percent lighter than similar models made of ABS plastic, a typical helmet material, and far stronger too. It'll be available later this month.
Adidas Terrex Free Hiker Cold.Rdy Hiking Boot
With the Free Hiker, Adidas demonstrated style and function can coexist in outdoor footwear (with the help of its top running shoe tech). The Free Hiker Cold.Rdy continues down that trail as a technical winter hiking boot fully equipped with insulation and Gore-Tex waterproofing. One thing you won't find here is laces, though, and the zippered sock-like upper is fully capable without them.