10 Cool Pieces of Gear Emerging in 2012

From solar chargers to miracle fabrics and iPhone accessories, The Adventure Post crew identified 10 of the best new products at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2012, the trade show where outdoor gear makers show off their new wares, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Most of the featured products are expected to be out later this year in stores and online. We’ll be featuring more new product trends and launches from the show through the next couple weeks.

1. Goal Zero – Sherpa 50 Portable Charger

Weighing 14 ounces – half as much as its predecessor – the Sherpa 50 portable charger allows you to charge a laptop and other electronics, eliminating the need for an AC inverter. You really can tote this device around easily, as it measures about 5 inches long on each side, and is 1 inch thick. Also, you can use Goal Zero solar panels to charge the Sherpa 50 in five to 10 hours, or plug the device into a wall outlet to charge it within two to three hours. Retail price: $250

2. The North Face – Flash Dry Technology

Plenty of fabrics wick moisture, but they can still feel wet if water doesn’t evaporate quickly. The new FlashDry technology from The North Face causes moisture on fabrics to evaporate extremely quickly (we were pretty impressed with live demonstrations), and it can be used in all kinds of fabrics, including waterproof/breathable materials in jackets, base layers, hats and gloves. Keep your eyes peeled for the new Stormy Trail Jacket ($165), a waterproof running jacket with a windproof, fully seam-sealed FlashDry shell.

3. Suunto – Ambit Watch

Sunnto’s Ambit combines GPS frequencies with a wireless accelerometer to give you precise speed data when you’re charging up and down trails while training outdoors. The key is that it reacts quickly to more accurately keep up with your activity. It offers advanced heart-rate monitoring tools, plus a compass, barometer and upgradable functions through Movescount.com. Retail price: $600

4. Osprey – Ozone

You’d be hard-pressed to find lighter travel bags than those in Osprey’s new Ozone series. For example, the 22-inch bag ($229) weighs just 4 pounds, and the 28-inch model ($249) weighs only 5 pounds. Osprey designed a chassis that’s about 25 percent lighter than the framework of its previous bags, but still outfitted Ozone bags with reinforcements in high-wear areas, and built them with beefy polyurethane wheels.

5. Viewranger – Viewranger App

The Viewranger App does a great job turning your SmartPhone into a backcountry navigation tool. This app includes a large database of searchable, highly detailed topo maps. It offers many of the functions of a regular GPS, allowing you to plan, follow and record routes, and create waypoints. You can cache info, so you don’t need an active signal to navigate, and you can get on-screen guidance and alerts to keep you on track. Plus, social media is integrated, so you can share your location, maps, photos and text messages. Retail price: $5

6. Lowepro – Flipside Sport

Lowepro’s Flipside Sport is a great example of the company’s new generation of high-tech packs. The 15-liter Flipside sport weighs just 2.4 pounds, has the type of suspension you’d see on most technical daypacks, and protects camera gear better than previous models. A key feature is the removable camera compartment with a drawstring nylon cover, allowing you to handle camera gear without exposing it to rain. Also, a hydration reservoir lies on the side of the pack and away from sensitive gear. Retail price: $150

7. Petzl – NAO Headlamp

Built for trail running, hiking, climbing or skiing at night, this NAO Headlamp detects incoming light to adjust automatically, and deliver the right brightness, based on pre-programmed settings. It delivers from 7 lumens to 355 lumens, and you can download Petzl software to customize optimal brightness, burn times and beam length. Retail price: $175

8. Granite Gear – Aji Backpack

Granite Gear relies on ultra-hiker Justin Lichter (aka Trauma) to test the limits of its packs, and he ticked on 2,500 miles of the Himalayas in the Aji. The pack has an improved suspension that will replace the popular Vapor Trail suspension, including sleeker shoulder straps and a molded back panel. Weighing 2 pounds, 9 ounces, it also allows zippered access from the top, sides and bottom. Retail price: $220

9. Mountain Hardwear – Hydra Pro Glove

With many waterproof gloves, the outer fabric can still collect water and get heavy. But this technical glove from Mountain Hardwear has an outer skin composed of Q Shield, a seemingly magic technology that prevents water from soaking in. Because the Q Shield treatment is fused to the fibers of the fabric, it won’t wear out. The Hydra Pro is also built with a special waterproof membrane bonded directly to the outer shell, and not sewn, so water can’t seep through seams, and you have better dexterity. Retail price: $125

10. Lifeproof –  iPhone Case

Some phone cases claim to be waterproof, but they throw in plenty of caveats. The Lifeproof case is waterproof, period. No ifs, ands or buts. It’s also dirt-proof and shock-proof, handling a 2-meter drop. You can also shoot high-definition video through the cover, because the camera lens protector is made of high-quality glass. And the case is only 1 millimeter thicker than an iPhone, so you don’t have something chunky to shove in your pocket. Retail price: $80

Stay tuned for more products and trends coverage from Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2012 and brought to you by The Adventure Post editors.

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Katy January 24, 2012 Reply

Ooo! I’m first in line for the Osprey- Ozone!

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