Full disclosure: Gear is a wicked subjective thing. Always has been, always will be. To curate this list, our team of hardcore—and highly opinionated—gearheads pored over hundreds of new product launches, reading the specs and sifting through the marketing promises. We zoomed in on photos and watched embargoed video clips. And we debated. We culled the massive list down once, then made another pass until we had our 50 most coveted products. Then we voted to determine the rankings (we are a democracy, after all). In order of how badly we want to try it, here is Part 2 of our list of the 50 most exciting product launches for Fall '19. Read Part 1 here.
24. Jones Snowboards Super Sap Bio-Resin [$479]
THE PROMISE It’s the greenest snowboard on the market.
THE DEETS All Jones boards are now built with Super Sap Bio-Resin, a bio-based, USDA-certified, renewable epoxy resin made with plant-based carbon instead of petroleum-based carbon.
THE STOKE Resins are the most toxic component of skis and boards. Super Sap is a huge sustainability step in this category, and we hope other brands follow suit.
25. HydraPak IsoBound [$38]
THE PROMISE The world’s first insulated reservoir (no hose jacket required) keeps your water at the perfect temp, always.
THE DEETS Double-wall construction and open-cell foam insulation create a barrier around the reservoir, keeping fluids from freezing in winter and cooler longer in summer.
THE STOKE We’ll miss Grandma’s hand-crocheted bladder sleeves, but not our frozen water bottles.
26. inov-8 ROCLITE 335 [$150-$175]
THE PROMISE It’s the first hiking boot to feature graphene in the outsole—a super strong carbon-based material that adds ultralight durability.
THE DEETS This winter fast-hike/trail runner hybrid boot has a PrimaLoft upper and a graphene-infused rubber outsole for greater wear, traction, and flexibility. When graphene was developed in 2004, the scientists who isolated it earned a Nobel Prize, and the incredibly durable, super thin substance was heralded as world changing.
THE STOKE Boot soles that never wear out? Challenge accepted.
27. Dynafit TLT8 Carbonio [$849]
THE PROMISE It’s an ultralight touring boot with real drivability on steeps.
THE DEETS An update to the popular TLT6, the 8 has Grilamid and carbon construction; a single, strong cuff buckle; and a reinforced, lower-volume shell to maintain performance while conserving weight. The cuff rotates a full 60 degrees for a natural, energy-saving walk mode.
THE STOKE Two-buckle boots don’t normally have the all-mountain performance the TLT8 claims, so our curiosity is piqued.
28. Vasque Coldspark UD [$140]
THE PROMISE This is one of the nimblest winter boots out there.
THE DEETS Vasque swapped out traditional insulation for a heat-reflective barrier to bump up the BTUs in this revamped favorite while cutting out weight and bulk.
THE STOKE If the space blanket idea works inside footwear, it could be a big step toward agility in winter boots.
29. Nite Ize RunOff Collection [Starting at $25]
THE PROMISE Drybags with the world’s first toothless waterproof zippers.
THE DEETS Expanding into a brand-new category, Nite Ize launches six different bags, all featuring its new TRU Zip, which is superquiet, smooth-running, and easy to operate. The pouches are made of welded thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is flexible and compressible. They’re waterproof (and sand- and dustproof) down to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
THE STOKE Sounds like it takes the fiddlework out of sealing a drybag. Our iPhones await samples.
30. Hestra Freeride CZone Mitt [$160]
THE PROMISE Handwear created specifically for snowboarders.
THE DEETS The Freeride removes the ski pole-specific pre-curve and gets rid of the outside stitching that skiers like for better grip. Increased durability/flexibility in the cuff and bottoms of fingers stand up to repeatedly ratcheting bindings.
THE STOKE The riders on staff finally feel loved.
31. LEKI Helicon Lite Backcountry Pole [$80]
THE PROMISE These touring-specific poles are dialed to make your transitions silky smooth, like the pow you crave.
THE DEETS The Helicon Lites feature a strap that releases quickly when pulled upward for safety in avalanche terrain. The notched Binding Basket is designed to manipulate touring bindings—like adjusting heel lifters and popping boot buckles.
THE STOKE The less futzing we need to do during transitions, the better.
32. K2 Mindbender Skis [$500]
THE PROMISE The Mindbender’s new laminate has unrivaled torsional and longitudinal stability.
THE DEETS The key tech here is carbon fiber woven in different directions to boost torsional and longitudinal rigidity separately for better stability all over the mountain.
THE STOKE The carbon braid means a damp shovel, but makes the tail more manageable—ideal for a wide variety of ability levels.
33. Somewear Personal Satellite Hotspot [$350]
THE PROMISE A superior app user experience means unprecedented ease of use and reliability in a messenger beacon.
THE DEETS This compact, lightweight unit pairs with your smartphone to provide global two-way text, location sharing, weather updates, and SOS emergency services with a mobile-first approach.
THE STOKE Every emergency beacon worth its batteries is two-way now, but this one saves some cost by hitching your SOS to your phone, which is cool. But if your phone dies, you might, too.
34. OluKai Pehuea Heu [$130]
THE PROMISE If a sneaker and a slipper had twin love children, the result would be these cozy kicks.
THE DEETS The upper is made from waterproof nubuck leather and lined with genuine shearling, and the beefy rubber sole and gel footbed mean your feet will be high, dry, and comfy all day long.
THE STOKE Because why should wearing slippers all day be frowned upon?
35. Matador Freerain 24 [$65]
THE PROMISE It’s the super-packable backpack that doesn’t compromise on features.
THE DEETS At 6.6 ounces, this frameless 24-liter backpack packs down to 5 by 3 inches and has a roll-top closure, front organization pockets, and plenty of adjustable straps for dayhikes or travel.
THE STOKE Compared to other compact packs, the Freerain 24 has features galore. But the real test will be how it carries.
36. Mountain Hardwear Phantom Alpine 15°F [$900-$930]
THE PROMISE Free your arms and stay warm on that chilly bivy with the Phantom Alpine’s dual side zips.
THE DEETS The bag features 850-fill goose down and a zipper on each side that lets you pop out your arms to do camp stuff.
THE STOKE We’ve loved the Phantom collection for years, and the addition of dual side zips brings more versatility and comfort to the table.
37. Mammut Diamond Fingerboard [$450]
THE PROMISE This hangboard is your personal trainer.
THE DEETS An attached mobile-phone holder automatically operates the Mammut training app as you weight and unweight the hangboard so you can follow the free training workouts hands-free and keep your phone from getting chalked.
THE STOKE Did hangboarding finally get fun? Maybe a little bit.
38. Ortovox Trace Ski Pack [$100-$120]
THE PROMISE It’s the ultimate skimo pack.
THE DEETS It keeps weight low and close to the body for optimum balance, while the ventilated shoulder straps and hipbelt stay comfortable during sweaty ascents. Main pack access is through the backpanel, with dedicated spots for a shovel and probe. Available in four sizes, from 18 to 25 liters.
THE STOKE Seems like everything we want for daily missions.
39. Mountain Equipment Odin Jacket [$200]
THE PROMISE Fewer stitches, fewer holes, fewer little white feathers floating in the wind.
THE DEETS Each baffle is created during the fabric weaving process, resulting in improved durability and better heat retention, plus it virtually eliminates migration of the 700-fill, water-resistant down.
THE STOKE Woven baffle jackets have been around for a few seasons (think: Mountain Hardwear) but this is a similar tech at an easier-to-swallow price point.
40. Full Windsor Splitter Titanium Multi Utensil [$60]
THE PROMISE Toss all your old sporks and melted spatulas. This is the only camp utensil you need.
THE DEETS The 1.8-ounce Splitter is made of two separate titanium utensils: a spatula and a long spork (perfect for reaching into dehydrated-meal bags). When joined, they morph into tongs.
THE STOKE Does the world really need another titanium spork? No. But this is so much more. Declutter. Simplify.
41. Noso Pride Patch [$7]
THE PROMISE It fixes ripped gear and stands up for inclusivity.
THE DEETS The 2.25 x 1.5-inch patch features the iconic rainbow flag and is suitable for repairing tears in puffy jackets, sleeping bags, and shells in seconds.
THE STOKE We love these patches: Why use duct tape to make a temporary, messy repair when you could do the job right and make a statement of unity?
42. Helly Hansen Odin Mountain 3L Shell Jacket and Bibs [$475-$600]
THE PROMISE It’s a tailored-just-for ski-tourers top and bottom outer layer.
THE DEETS The Odin shell and bib use a new proprietary membrane built for the stop/start tendencies of ski touring; the hydrophobic microporous membrane that releases moisture quickly in cold and dry weather. For backcountry relief, the men’s bib has a front zip, while the women’s has a drop seat that allows you to keep the suspenders up.
THE STOKE The membrane sounds a lot like others out there, but we do like the design of this outfit.
43. MSR Paragon Snowshoe Binding [starting at $260]
THE PROMISE Snowshoe bindings are notoriously cumbersome. These slip on easily, stay snug around your boots, and keep you stable even on the steepest of slopes.
THE DEETS This one-piece TPU mesh binding is light, durable, freeze-proof, and conforms to a wide array of boot sizes with a glove-like fit. The single-piece design makes them easier to adjust (no more messing with multiple straps over the foot). The mesh and variable thickness of the TPU help prevent pressure points without sacrificing durability or strength.
THE STOKE Could the perfect binding make us actually want to go snowshoeing? We’ll get back to you on that one.
44. Terracea Beacon and Huntington 2L Jackets [$360]
THE PROMISE The Beacon (for men) and Huntington (for women) look at home on city streets and have the technical chops to keep you warm and comfy on the slopes.
THE DEETS These water-resistant insulated jackets feature body-mapped PrimaLoft Silver insulation, helmet-compatible hoods, magnetic zipper and pocket flaps, and long, butt-covering cuts to combat icy chairlift seats.
THE STOKE A fresh new brand on the apparel scene is always welcome. We hated to send our sample back after living in it for a week in Vermont.
45. Merrell Thermo Rogue Boa 2 Mid GTX [$250]
THE PROMISE This athletic hybrid is packed with the best in protection, but stripped of any bulk, so you can move fast on any winter adventure.
THE DEETS PrimaLoft Gold, along with Aerogel over the toes, provide warmth, and a Gore-Tex lining keeps things dry. The Boa lacing system ensures quick adjustments and a secure lockdown. Vibram’s Arctic Grip Dura 2 compound combined with Merrell’s new lug geometry enhances the grip and adds speed and confidence on trail and ice.
THE STOKE We dug the Rogue when it came out last year. This is a worthy upgrade.
46. The North Face Summit L6 Insulated Belay Skirt [$250]
THE PROMISE This women’s wrap-around puffy skirt will keep anyone’s tush warm on the chilliest belays.
THE DEETS It’s a puffy for your butt and legs. Measuring 27.5 inches long, the skirt uses 800-fill, water-resistant down and a 10-denier Pertex Quantum shell for weather resistance and durability.
THE STOKE Women will love it as a winter wardrobe staple, but there’s no law against men wearing it, either.
47. LiftRider Ski Backpack [$125]
THE PROMISE You won’t grapple with bringing an extra layer and/or lunch, because wearing this ski pack is like wearing nothing at all.
THE DEETS The super-low-profile, wedge shape of this 20-liter pack allows you to jump on the chairlift with it right on your back. The main compartment holds an extra layer and the included 2-liter hydration system, while a padded upper compartment keeps your PB&J from getting squished (it rests above the back of the chairlift). Breakaway pack straps add safety, ensuring you never get caught on the chair. Also cool: A dedicated cell phone garage keeps your phone insulated and the battery life fresh.
THE STOKE We love the idea of having everything we need for a full day of frontcountry skiing, without the hassle of hauling a traditional pack.
48. Kathmandu Connect Smart Backpack [$350]
THE PROMISE The Connect pack is a powerful, smart travel bag that won’t ever get stolen.
THE DEETS The 28-liter, travel-specific Connect Smart Pack features a Joey integrated power system that will charge multiple devices and pair with your phone via Bluetooth to prevent theft. If your pack gets too far from the phone it’s paired with, the Joey inside will ring and make noises to avert a thief. Or if you lose your phone, the Joey can actually call it to help you find it.
THE STOKE OK, it feels like a slightly paranoid product, but how fun would it be to bust a thief with this?
49. Osprey Daylite Waist [$30]
THE PROMISE Fanny packs are hot right now, and this one is sleek, non-fussy, and affordable.
THE DEETS Like the rest of Osprey’s Daylite line, the new Waist is lightweight and simple, yet functional. It features a zippered main compartment, an interior mesh organizer, key clip, and adjustable waist belt in a superlight and portable package.
THE STOKE If we’re wearing a fanny pack, it’s gonna be this one.
50. Popia Hat Collection [$60]
THE PROMISE These high-quality, on-trend merino hats will brighten your winter wardrobe and keep your head toasty.
THE DEETS All Popia hats (like the POW, pictured) feature supersoft, lightweight, fine-gauge merino wool; a double-layer design with a contrasting interior; and a generous pom to top it off. Small-batch, exacting craftsmanship (in playful motifs and bright colors) ensure it will last for decades.
THE STOKE Big fuzzy hat toppers are all the rage. We dig.