This pandemic year has highlighted how important the outdoors are. As one of the only spaces to gather responsibly, they've been critical for recreation, fitness, dining and general escape from our own homes.
On a related note, kudos to the government for recently unveiling a plan to conserve 30 percent of the country's land and water by 2030, much of which will become parks as well as new grounds for hunting and fishing.
That kind of news is easy to get excited about, especially with summer on the horizon — but also when there's all kinds of new outdoor gear with which to enjoy all those wide-open spaces.
Arc’teryx Stowe Windshell ReBird
This lightweight, breathable, packable jacket is not only super stylish and functional, but also it has a story to tell. Made of materials saved from waste, it highlights Arc’teryx’s new ReBird platform, a hub where customers can follow the brand’s continuing re-commerce efforts. The ultimate goal is circularity, where well-made, long-lasting products get plenty of use, re-use and repurpose to minimize environmental impact.
Snow Peak Alpha Breeze
The Japanese outdoor brand looked to Adirondack and A-frame cabins to inform the design of its newest tent. The Alpha Breeze's somewhat-domed form is familiar; what's novel is the inclusion of various entry points and a fly that converts to an awning for a covered front porch hangout.
Nocs Zoom Tube
You might not think of binoculars as cool until you see the ones Nocs Provisions is making. Its latest is a monocular called the Zoom Tube that magnifies what you're viewing by a power of eight. It's compact enough to stash in a hiking pack and is both rugged and waterproof, so you don't have to fuss over it.
CEP Outdoor Collection
Professional athletes regularly rely on compression to boost muscle recovery during and after activity, so why shouldn't hikers? That's what CEP believes, as evidenced by its new outdoor collection. The new compression socks are available in various heights, and the construction includes a small dose of that old standby, merino wool.
Wandrd PRVKE Lite
Wandrd recently updated its flagship camera backpack, the PRVKE, and in doing so, it released a pared-down version for photo missions that don't call for as much stuff. That said, the PRVKE Lite still has space for a camera, three lenses, laptop, tripod and other photography essentials. There are plenty of organizational pockets, and the pack is padded and weather-resistant, too.
Silky Pocketboy Outback Edition
Silky updated its practically sized Pocketboy hand saw with a new handle made of extra-grippy arbor composite. With a 6.69-inch blade and a weight just over half a pound, it's the perfect tool for any camping or hunting trip that calls for a saw (and will beat a tiny multi-tool variant any day).
Confounded by backpack packing techniques? Hillsound has a solution in its new PackStack organizers. They're like packing cubes but are shaped with curved sides to slot down into a hiking backpack, making it easier to stay organized while traveling with multi-day packs.
Tubolito Tubo MTB PSENS
What's a computer chip doing inside a mountain bike tube? Measuring the tire's PSI, beaming that info straight to your smartphone and taking the guesswork out of pumping up for a ride.
Osprey Talon Ghost
Osprey is following up the recent update of its crowd-favorite Talon backpacks with an all-white version called the Ghost. The pack is made of recycled high-tenacity nylon and has features for journeys by trail or sidewalk alike, including stretch side pockets for water bottles, a bike helmet attachment and Osprey's new sturdy and breathable Airscape back panel.
Altra LP Alpine
Altra's Lone Peak is a favorite among trail runners, but now the less-hardcore of us can get a feel for it with this new everyday take on the shoe. The LP Alpine has grippy tread for hiking, a responsive foam midsole and the brand's trademark Balanced Cushioning platform that positions your heel and forefoot on the same plane for a more natural gait.
Ruffwear Float Coat
This new PFD from Ruffwear includes a sturdy handle on top so you can haul Fido back onto your paddleboard/raft/kayak/etc. in any dog-overboard scenarios.
James Niehues American Landscape Project
The artist famous for painting trail maps for ski resorts around the world has a new mission to illustrate US National Parks in the spirit of Ansel Adams, and it's similarly engrossing.
USWE Hajker Hiking Packs
The hallmark of these hiking packs is a four-point harness system USWE calls NDM. That stands for "No Dancing Monkey" — no joke — and refers to the feeling of an ill-fitting backpack bouncing around behind you. The tech uses elastic straps and a central clasp to keep the new bags sitting tight, which, in turn, allows you to move more fluidly over uneven terrain.
Rip Van Wafel Birthday Cake
Try one of these, and you'll never go back to that cardboard-y granola bar for a trail snack. Each one only has three grams of sugar, but somehow they really do taste like cake.
Price: $36 (24-pack)
Spartan by Craft Nordic Speed Trail Shoe
As Spartan has expanded from OCRs to trail running races, it only makes sense for the brand to team back up with Craft on an accompanying shoe. This aggressive pair, featuring a grippy, carbon-infused outsole, smooth-riding reinforced foam midsole and flexible, durable upper, is just the thing.