Fresh Spring Gear Slideshow

Fresh Spring Gear Slideshow

FitBit

The FitBit Flex is a wristband version of the award-winning FitBit One. Like its predecessor, it measures steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, hours slept and quality of sleep. Over time, you can use the app to create improvement goals for yourself—12,000 steps each day, say, or eight hours of good sleep—and the Flex will tell you in real-time how you're doing, helping motivate you to strive for your daily goals. In a sense, it's the gamification of life, where winning makes you a healthier person. 
$100; fitbit.com

—Peter Koch

Big Agnes

Zippers are typically the weakest part of any tent—they're heavy, they jam up, they're noisy (especially when your tentmate is seeking midnight relief) and they break more easily than any other part. So Big Agnes decided to make its Fishhook UL2—fly, mesh, poles and all—completely zipper-free. It uses simple hook closures with a crossover design to seal water—and bugs—outside of the rain fly, and the main door has small magnets placed along its length to create an easy-open-snap-shut seal. (Not clear? See it in action here.) Big A admits that the Fishhook isn't 100% bug-proof, but it's close. Either way, it's an innovative crack at lightweight tent design.
$400; bigagnes.com

—Peter Koch

Under Armour

The Armour39 purports to measure performance rather than simply monitoring activity, and will go so far as to score your workouts on a 0-10 score—WILLpower—that Under Armour says is "the first true measure of an athlete." The chest strap-worn gadget tracks heart rate, calories burned and real-time intensity (which is a comparison of your exercising heart rate versus your baseline resting heart rate). It uploads exercise data to a mobile app in real-time, so you can check out how you're doing throughout a workout (handy if you've set a WILLpower goal for yourself). And what's the juju behind WILLpower? A proprietary algorithm that combines certain heart rate measurements, your user profile (sex, age, weight, etc.), body positioning and workout duration. Due for release March 20. 
$150; underarmour.com

—Peter Koch

Dagger

Whether you’re park-and-playing or looking for a playful river runner for your local Class III run, your playboating will soar to the next level in the new Jitsu from Dagger. Designed with a fast, loose hull, it lets you surf, spin and perform aerial moves on waves or in holes, thanks to a unique rocker profile, centralized volume, and slicey ends. A “double-step” carving rail helps the boat grip wave faces for controlled carving and building up speed for acrobatics. Plus, it has what it calls “the loosest hull on the market” for effortless spins and other maneuvers. Available in three sizes (5'6", 29 lbs.; 5'9", 31 lbs.; 6', 34 lbs.)
$1,049; dagger.com

—Eugene Buchanan

X-1

As the Walkman, then Discman, then iPod taught us, one of the best parts of any workout is being able to listen to your favorite pump-me-up tunes while you sweat. Unfortunately headphones aren't always up to the challenge of staying put and delivering consistent sound while being jostled in your sweaty ears. X-1's Momentum Ultra Light Headphones are earbuds designed with this in mind. With a selection of four ear-tips, these phones can be custom-fitted right out of the box. They are washable and won't short out after absorbing your sweat for weeks on end.
$50; X-1.com

—Megan Taylor Morrison

The North Face

It doesn’t matter if you ride trails in Florida or Montana, you need to be ready for quick changes in weather. The North Face Verto Jacket is a wind- and water-resistant hooded jacket that packs down to the size of a tennis ball and weighs less than two energy bars, making it easy to carry on any trip.
$130; thenorthface.com

—Kristin Butcher

Gaiam

If your wrists or knees need extra padding during your yoga practice, this mat is a great solution. The Uttama is made of 100 percent natural rubber and has the highest level of cushioning on the market. It's 68 inches long by 24 inches wide and puts 8mm of padding between you and the floor.
$90; gaiam.com

—Megan Taylor Morrison

Keen

Stubbed toes are a thing of the past, as KEEN enhances its lightweight, toe-protecting line-up with the new Clearwater CNX, one of 20 new CNX shoes they're unveiling for 2013. This low-profile hybrid sandal comes with a washable polyester-webbed upper, durable midsole with a four-millimeter heel-to-toe drop, and toe ridge in the footbed for grip. The outsole has multi-directional flex grooves for traction on slick rocks, and a bungee lace system makes them as easy-on-easy-off as putting your boat in the water.
$100; keenfootwear.com

—Eugene Buchanan

Withings

This fancy schmancy scale tracks your weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, heart rate and indoor air quality every time you set foot on it, and uploads all of that juicy data directly to your computer via WiFi. Use it to track your health and progress, set realistic goals for yourself or, if you need some serious motivation, turn your followers into Weight Watchers by automatically tweeting your data each time. 
$150; withings.com

—Peter Koch

Lezyne

There are lights that let you be seen, and there are lights that let you see. The Lezyne Macro Drive USB rechargeable light is the latter. It packs 300 lumens into an attractive, remarkably small package that makes evening trips to the market a pleasure.
$70; lezyne.com

—Kristin Butcher

Katadyn

This low-profile canister stove burns in two modes, "efficiency" (aka "regular") and—by simply flipping the fuel canister upside-down—"four-season" for cold or windy conditions. It also takes liquid-gas and, at 6.3 ounces, is one of the lightest stoves on the market.
$95; katadyn.com

—Peter Koch

Apple iTunes Store

Is that a DJ in your pocket? Pump up your workout with FIT Radio, which hires pro DJs to engineer original, energizing playlists from the hottest hip-hop, house, rock, dub step and indie tracks. Choose a playlist to match your tastes, tempo (the beats-per-minute remain fairly steady through each list) and workout, hit play and you won't need to fuss with it until you're done.
Free for Android and iPhone, $2.99 without ads; fitradio.com

—Peter Koch

Soybu

Soybu's Killer Caboose Pant is on our list for those chilly, early-spring days. These eco-conscious, bootcut pants are made from polyester created from recycled bottles. The environmentally friendly design also offers slimming features including Power Flex compression fabric and a double-layer waistband. Pair the pants with a light jacket and sandals, and you’re ready for lunch after class.
$77; soybu.com

—Megan Taylor Morrison

Motorola

Motorola's MOTOACTV is a super-versatile wearable fitness device, with built-in GPS and (with a chest strap) heart rate monitor good for tracking nearly any kind of workout—running, cycling, skiing and even cricket! Beyond that, it's a "smart" mp3 player that holds up to 4,000 songs and, through some feat of electronic wizardry, "learns" what kind of music motivates you and can DJ your workouts accordingly. Beyond that, its functionality can be upgraded by simply downloading apps onto it. 
$150 (8GB), $200 (16GB); motorola.com

—Peter Koch

lululemon

The playful design and neon colors of lululemon's Free To Be Bra are perfect for spring. The looped, criss-crossed back is great for twisting poses, and the design features chafe-resistant flat seams for added comfort. The bra has pop-in cups for easy washing and the mesh fabric near the bust is quick-drying and anti-stink. Note: It was designed for women with a smaller bust size.
$42; lululemon.com

—Megan Taylor Morrison

Deuter

At just over two pounds, this backpack is ideal for a long day hike, providing ample space for multiple layers, a first aid kit and a day's worth of trail food and water. The full zip around the front gives you easy access to the granola bars you accidentally put at the bottom of your bag.
$129; deuter.com

—Megan Taylor Morrison

Ab Carver Pro

The Ab-Carver Pro by Perfect Fitness is the Batmobile of ab rollers—just look at those thick wheels and sleek handles! The stable design lets you roll not just forward, but also to carve left and right to work your obliques. It’s a serious workout and can help you get those Batman abs you’d love for warmer weather.
$39.90; abcarverpro.com

—Megan Taylor Morrison

King Cage

How often can you afford to buy the best? King Cages are made in Durango, Colorado with an artist’s eye for detail. Stainless steel’s smooth, springy nature is combined with a thoughtful design to provide perfect tension when removing a bottle and guiding it back home. Never lose another good bottle to a flimsy cage again.
$17; kingcage.com

—Kristin Butcher

TRX

This system will help you get a serious workout in a seriously tiny space. The TRX Suspension Trainer was designed by former Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick, who needed a way to stay in shape on the road (holed up in hostile territory, if the story is to be believed). The program comes complete with online videos to make sure you can get a full-body workout.
$199.95; trxtraining.com

—Megan Taylor Morrison

Arc'teryx

It's not a lot to look at from the outside, but Arc'teryx's new Haku Rope Bag is a transformer of the highest utility where craghounds are concerned. A tarp and bag that roll into one, it makes hauling rope from one crag to the next easy with an innovative folding design that eliminates the tangled mess of yesteryear. It's compact and simple, and works like magic. See it in action here.
$69; arcteryx.com

—Peter Koch

Native

These lightweight glasses have a comfortable fit and grip well to prevent slipping when running, climbing or riding. The shape won't interfere with your helmet, so you won't have to adjust on the go.
$129; nativeeyewear.com

—Megan Taylor Morrison

Edelrid

For climbing in the heat, you need an extra light and durable harness. Cue the Loopo from Edelrid. This harness is ideal for performance-oriented sport, indoor and competition climbing with flexible gear loops, padded leg loops for added comfort and a Slide Rail System® if you need to attach additional gear loops. And did we mention it weighs only half a pound?
$63; edelrid.de

—Megan Taylor Morrison

Petzl

Petzl's funky-looking climbing helmet, the Sirocco, is made from a single block of expanded polypropylene (EPP), which means it has excellent impact resistance without going to the trouble of incorporating a hard shell. Fewer parts means less weight—the max is a scant 165 grams (5.8 ounces), making it the lightest helmet available. A magnetic buckle allows for easy, single-handed chinstrap closure.
$110; petzl.com

—Peter Koch

Evolv

The Shaman LV is an aggressive shoe designed by professional climber Chris Sharma with the help of Daila Ojeda, Steph Davis, Emily Harrington, Lisa Rands and Ashima Shiraishi. Evolv placed microfiber lining in the forefoot for comfort and durability. Other special features include a "love bump" and "knuckle box" to put your forefoot and toes in a position of power.
$150; evolvsports.com

—Megan Taylor Morrison

Sierra Designs

Choosing a lightweight layering system for high-altitude backpacking can be a pain. Weather changes quickly in the mountains, and it's not uncommon, if you're gaining and losing altitude, to encounter sunshine, rain and even snow in the same day. Enter Sierra Designs, with its fully integrated Cloud Layering System. The Windshell (6 oz) serves as a good go-to hiking jacket; add the paper-thin, waterproof, breathable Airshell (4 oz) when the sky opens up; and the DriDown-equipped Puffy (12 oz) keeps you cozy when temps drop and flakes start to fly (it's fairly waterproof in its own right). The whole system packs up very small and weighs in at a diminutive 22 ounces.
$493 complete system ($119 for Windshell; $249 for Puffy; $125 for Airshell); sierra designs.com

—Peter Koch

The North Face

Sport and trad climbers have a new lightweight, warm option from The North Face in its Verto Micro Hoodie. With 800-fill down throughout the torso, and unlined Pertex Quantum fabric in the sleeves and hood (with North Face's proprietary FlashDry tech at critical points on the sleeves), it keeps your vitals warm while fending off drafts that a traditional vest would allow. The half-pound layer compresses down to a fraction of its full size (making it easy to add to a climbing kit), and it's part of the four-piece Verto Climb Collection, which weighs in at a diminutive two pounds (total!).
$249; thenorthface.com

—Peter Koch

Banjo Brothers

Rain should never have to be the reason not to ride. Banjo Brothers Waterproof Pannier offers the piece of mind of knowing your stuff will stay dry no matter how wet it gets. The tough nylon bag holds a removable waterproof liner and offers 360-degree reflectivity. It’s a well-made and thoroughly thought-out design at a good price. Pair it with Banjo Brother’s folding Grocery Bag Pannier ($39) for added versatility.
$49.99; banjobrothers.com

—Kristin Butcher

Pletscher

A kickstand is the most underrated bicycle-commuting accessory. Without one, it is nearly impossible to load a pannier bag full of groceries and unexpected topples cause expensive accessories to meet concrete more often than they should. Pletscher’s Double Kickstand has two legs to keep your bike upright and stable. Designed for bike touring, its durable lightweight design is compatible with most bikes.
$35; pletscher.ch

—Kristin Butcher

CatEye

Safety lights on the front and back of your bike are a must for commuting safety, since you never know when you may be out after dark. There are plenty of less expensive options out there, but the CatEye Solar’s combination of solar charging and automatic activation while riding in low light makes it the safety light that always works, whether you remember to turn it on or not.
$25; shopcateye.com

—Kristin Butcher

Delta Cycle

Delta Cycles’ Smartphone Caddy II uses an elastic cord and well-placed rubber bumpers to quickly secure almost any smartphone to your handlebar, providing easy access to navigation apps and tunes. Better yet, take your next conference call from the saddle. A variety of mounting options make it compatible with any handlebar setup.
$30; deltacycle.com

—Kristin Butcher

Electra

Though you’ll probably find that a friendly voice sounds best to passers by, a bell is handy when you need to get someone’s attention. Plus, bells and bikes somehow go together like peanut butter and jelly, instantly triggering memories of childhood escapades. There are thousands to choose from, pick one that matches your style or get this Electra Compass Bell if you are navigationally challenged.
$9; store.electrabike.com

—Kristin Butcher

Planet Bike

Fenders keep you dry, simple as that. Even the most beautiful days come with puddles, and the nastiest days are far more tolerable when icy water isn’t blasting your legs. Planet Bike Cascadia fenders are made from an unbreakable lightweight polycarbonate and the hardware is stainless steel, so they’re made to last. Plus, 25% of Planet Bike’s profits go to supporting bike advocacy. Double win!
$55; planetbike.com

—Kristin Butcher

Topeak

Why fill up a bag and sling it over your back when the bike can carry that weight? Take a load off with Topeak’s Super Tourist DX Pannier Rack. Constructed of 6061-T6 tubular aluminum to be strong and light, with stainless steel hardware for corrosion resistance, the Super Tourist provides a good balance of value, light weight, and durability. Its long deck and generous rear extension make carrying big loads a breeze.
$38; topeak.com

—Kristin Butcher

Bell

There are lighter helmets on the market, but it’s tough to beat the Bell Variant’s list of features at any price point. Cam lock adjustment straps and a clever fit system make it easy to dial in a perfect fit. The sturdy adjustable visor is more useful than you’d expect; it’s there to shield your eyes when you need it, but easily adjusts up when you want to see all the way down the trail.
$80; bellhelmets.com

—Kristin Butcher

Club Ride

Club Ride’s apparel looks and feels just as good climbing up a trail as it does hanging out at the brew pub after a ride. Constructed from wicking RideDryWearämaterial, the Roxbury features ventilated mesh underarms and a zippered back media pocket.
$90; clubrideapparel.com

—Kristin Butcher

Dakine

Dakine’s Drafter packs a 100oz reservoir to keep you hydrated on long rides. Not only is there a ton of space (700 cu. in.) to carry all your gear, there are plenty of ways to carry it with a myriad of pockets, helmet and armor straps, and a padded media pocket so your phone won’t get wrecked even if you do. This pack really does come with all the bells and whistles—or, whistles at least, as there’s rescue whistle built right into the pack.
$105; dakine.com

—Kristin Butcher

Fox Racing

When it comes to gloves, less is more. Thick padding on the palm can encourage numb fingers and stiff armor creates painful hotspots. The Fox Dirtpaw Race glove is a no frills model that keeps your hands cool with good ventilation, comfortable with a lightly padded suede palm and stretchy neoprene knuckles, and in control with sticky silicone striped fingertips.
$21.95; foxhead.com

—Kristin Butcher

Gemini Lights

Good lights put an end to post-work races against the sun and open up a whole new world of possibility where even the most mundane trail ride feels like a special event. You can spend a lot of money on fancy lights, but all you really need is a compact helmet light that puts out at least 1,000 lumens. The 1,400-lumen Gemini Duo is an excellent design and good value, but Gemini’s well-reputed customer service is what makes this light the one to buy.
$230; gemini-lights.com

—Kristin Butcher

Lezyne

The Lezyne RAP 14 is a beautifully designed multitool, cleanly integrating all of the tools you’d typically need for minor trailside repairs into a small, lightweight package that feels good in the hand. What sets this tool apart from others is a tiny LED flashlight that makes finding the patch kit at the bottom of your pack so much easier.
$34; lezyne.com

—Kristin Butcher

Pearl Izumi

A rugged tread gives Pearl Izumi’s Enduro traction during those times when the climb is too steep or the obstacle too big. This shoe has a ratcheting buckle system to maintain a secure fit, while the shoe’s quick-drying and breathable uppers will make sure stream crossings don’t put a damper on the ride. 
$120; pearlizumi.com

—Kristin Butcher

Royal Racing

Good riding shorts have a litany of functions, like protecting legs from trailside underbrush, ventilating quads on hot days, keeping them dry on wet days, cushioning your soft bits, schlepping your energy bar or shades, fitting well enough to be forgotten. Royal Racing’s Signature Short performs all of these roles while looking darn good. 
$119; royalracing.com

—Kristin Butcher

Topeak

The mini-pump is often what makes the difference between a quick flat fix and an epic repair. Some pumps are too small, some too large, and most pumps clamp directly on the valve stem making it hard to pump vigorously without breaking the stem. Topeak’s Mini Morph is just the right size and comes with a hose to allow for floor pump-style operation.
$35; topeak.com

—Kristin Butcher

Effeto Mariposa

Nothing ruins a day like a flat bicycle tire, especially if there’s a morning meeting to get to. Carrying a cartridge of Caffelatex Espresso sealant is good insurance against the flat tire blues, as it instantly fills and seals a punctured bike tube. Better yet, put sealant in your tires now to avoid most flats altogether.
$15; effettomariposa.eu

—Kristin Butcher

Camelbak

The Camelbak Podium Chill is one of those products that beautifully solves problems no one much cared about. A water bottle is a water bottle, right? Well, this might just be the perfect water bottle. It’s insulated without being too bulky or stiff, and has an auto-opening soft nozzle that can blast water into your mouth, down your back, in your face, towards your friends or wherever.
$12; camelback.com

—Kristin Butcher

Abvio

Cyclemeter GPS is a relatively new cycling app for the iPhone and Android. It tracks the same data as similar apps (speed, distance, elevation, etc.), but Cyclemeter GPS is set apart by the level of detail and analysis available within the app. While others rely on a download before most data can be accessed or analyzed, Cyclemeter keeps it conveniently on board and easy to access. The downside is that there is no online counterpart to the app that allows for sharing, tracking trends or virtual racing, but to some that’s a good thing.
$5; abvio.com

—Kristin Butcher

Giro

The Giro Atmos is a classic, not because it is old or dated, but because it has been so good for so long. It combines everything you want in a performance road cycling helmet into one high-value package. The Atmos is still competitively light, even compared to much more expensive helmets. And thanks to its high riding design and ample venting, the Atmos is one of the coolest helmets you can buy. Add in the Roc Loc 5 fit system and you have a helmet so comfortable you’ll forget it’s there.
$180; giro.com

—Kristin Butcher

Kryptonite

A stolen bike can make you doubt your fellow man, so keep that from happening with a good lock. Kryptonite’s new Evolution Integrated Chain combines the flexibility of a chain with the security of a U-lock, using 10mm six-sided manganese steel links to foil all but the most determined and well-equipped thief. Add the included $2,250 in bike theft protection and you should have the confidence to lock up anywhere.
$80; rei.com

—Kristin Butcher

Lezyne

You’ve invested in a road bike to enjoy the feeling of easy speed that comes with skinny tires and lightweight components. Don’t compromise that feeling with a bulky pump and tube. Lezyne’s Twin Kit includes everything you need to fix a flat in a feathery, wallet-sized package. One kit will fill two flats and replacement CO2 cartridges are available at your local bike shop.
$24; lezyne.com

—Kristin Butcher

Pearl Izumi

Regular cycling shorts may seem plenty comfortable—that is, until you try out a well-tailored set of cycling bib shorts. Cycling bib shorts conform to a rider’s position, providing a seamless feeling of fit and support. More importantly, they make you feel somehow more Italian. Pearl Izumi’s Attack bib shorts bring high-quality construction and design down to a remarkably low price point.
$105; pearlizumi.com

—Kristin Butcher

Planet Bike

There is a simple joy to traveling lightly on a nice road bike, and that joy can be extended through a rainy day by a good set of lightweight clip-on fenders. Designed to be quick on and off, Planet Bike’s Speedez provide good protection against wet road grime, puddles and passing rain showers.
$45; planetbike.com

—Kristin Butcher

Ryders Eyewear

Ever seen a rock shoot out from underneath a skinny road tire and break a car window? It happens. So does sun glare, road spray, UV damage, and the occasional 30mph insect collision. You don’t want any of these things to happen to your eyes, so you need a good pair of glasses. The Via Photochromic sunglasses constantly adjust to light conditions, always providing just the right amount of tint. These ultra-light glasses resist fogging and fit small to medium faces best.
$90; ryderseyewear.com

—Kristin Butcher

Shimano

Component ace Shimano has produced one of the most reliable, easy-to-use and competitively priced pedals with the beginner-friendly R540. The wide-platform pedal presents a large target for clipping in, and the adjustable cleat tension can be dialed down for easy release. Once you're comfortable, ratchet up its hold, and you've got a solid aluminum pedal that should last you years of riding. Also, though it retails for $69.99, you can get it in the $30-40 range on sites like Amazon and nashbar.com.
$70; shimano.com

—Kristin Butcher

Specialized

A good pair of gloves protects your hands and keeps them comfortable without sacrificing dexterity. Specialized’s Deflect UV gloves combine these features into one very nice road glove that feels light and fast. Body Geometry gel in the grippy synthetic leather palm fights hand fatigue and microfiber material on the thumb helps swipe sweat away. The best part? They’re touchscreen-compatible.
$45; specialized.com

—Kristin Butcher

Twin Six

Any quality jersey is probably going to satisfy your technical needs, but shouldn’t it stoke your fire a bit, too? Twin Six’s Argyle jersey conjures images of heroic jockeys urging mighty thoroughbred steeds to victory. Featuring a full-length invisible zipper, big back pockets, and moisture-wicking microfiber construction, this jersey looks and feels fast.
$80; twinsix.com

—Kristin Butcher

GoPro

If you want to capture that underwater encounter with a sea lion, snap the horizon from the inside of a barrel, or grab some POV action while charging down a raging river, GoPro's Hero3 Black Edition has got you covered. A 12MP sensor, aspherical lens and beefed-up processor allow for high resolution at fast speeds: 2.7K at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 60 fps, 1440p at 48 fps, and 720p at 120 fps. High-definition super slo-mo, here we come. Also, the camera has built-in WiFi. Included dive housing, remote, and mounts give you the freedom to shoot in a wide range of watery circumstances.
$400; gopro.com

—Mark Lebetkin

LifeProof

LifeProof's durable waterproof case will keep your late-model iPhone dry up to 6.6 feet deep and 30 minutes... but what it you lose your grip while snorkeling, or your river-running action-cam experiment goes awry and your i-companion flies overboard? The LifeJacket Float, paired with LifeProof's case, will keep your phone above water and visible for easy retrieval. With access to buttons, speakers, lens and mic, you don't lose functionality, and you can strap a lanyard or wristband to one of its four eyelets for extra security.
$40; lifeproof.com

—Mark Lebetkin

Creek Company

Creek Company’s new inflatable stand-up paddleboard, the Osprey Fishing SUP, is designed for fishing, pure and simple, while also letting you unleash your inner Laird Hamilton. With a fast hull, it lets you cover more ground than you ever could on traditional one-person float-fishing craft (i.e. pontoon craft and float tubes), and offers a better casting range and higher line of vision for casting to everything from trout rises to tailing bonefish. At 11’2” long, 35 inches wide and six inches thick, it’s also stable enough to bring a cooler as your kitchen sink, which you can sit on when changing flies. It comes with three fins for tracking, D-rings for gear, and Scotty mount pads for rod holders, anchor drops and fishfinders. Bonus: it rolls up for transport and storage.
$1,500; creekcompany.com

—Eugene Buchanan

Watermans Applied Science

It’s not just a marketing ploy that Watermans sponsors surfers and stand up paddlers. Water rats agree that the Face Stick SPF 55 will stick to your skin no matter what. The face stick rolls on like deodorant—or lipstick if you're feeling fancy—and is lightly tinted (they’ve got two shades) so you can see where you’ve covered. It protects against UVA and UVB rays for 8 hours, and won't migrate or degrade with sweat, saltwater, or much of anything short of soap.
$15.95; watermansappliedscience.com

—Mark Lebetkin

Bomber Gear

For touring in the sun, be it in the mangroves off a beach in Florida or tackling the coast of Baja, keep solar rays at bay with the new Solar 50 Rash Guard from Bomber Gear. Made from 11-oz. Lycra and offering a whopping SPF 50 protection, the top offers a performance cut made for paddling motions, flat seam construction to eliminate irritating interior ridges, and a reflective screen-printed logo for safety. Bonus: anti-microbial treatment agent to reduce that post-paddle smell when you’re après-ing afterward.
$45 (long sleeve); $40 (short sleeve); bombergear.com

—Eugene Buchanan

Wave Sport

With retractable skegs for tracking, hatches for gear storage and a hull for easy whitewater, the new niche of river trekkers is taking the watersports world by storm. Available in two sizes (9'7", 47 lbs; and 10'3", 50 lbs), Wave Sport’s new Ethos offers a stable, forgiving platform and confidence-building introduction to paddling in up to Class III whitewater. In whitewater, the hull stays maneuverable for turning and punching through waves, with progressive chine edges that help beginners learn the feeling of carving; in the flats, it tracks well thanks to a dropdown skeg system. Simply deploy the skeg to stay on course. Comfort-wise, it features a roomy cockpit and adjustable, padded outfitting (including a customizable leg-lift on the seat). For quick overnighters, gear can be stowed in a waterproof hatch in the stern.
$999; wavesport.com

—Eugene Buchanan

NRS

There’s no easier way to get down Class II-III whitewater than in an inflatable kayak. The new NRS Outlaw inflatable kayak makes it easier still thanks to a rigid floor and extra width (37.5”) for stability. PVC-coated polyester repels abrasion and slides over rocks, while the PVC-coated drop-stitch floor inflates rock hard for a Mike Tyson-like punch through hydraulics. Adding to maneuverability is an 18” rocker profile to help it climb over waves, and 10.5" tubes and a 4" self-bailing floor for flotation. D-rings let you secure water bottles and other gear, and bow and stern handles make carrying a breeze.
$645; nrsweb.com

—Eugene Buchanan

MTI Adventurewear

The idea’s not to swim, but if you do, you want a PFD you can count on. Perfect for recreational paddling, the MTI Journey SE is the company’s lightest PFD, tipping the scales at less than 1 lb., and is contoured to fit like a glove, thanks to front chest panels that wrap around the torso while keeping the sides free for movement. Soft shoulders are trimmed with reflective tape and a stretch mesh pocket includes a built-in signal whistle for additional safety.
$55; mtiadventurewear.com

—Eugene Buchanan

Perception

Smaller recreational paddlers now have a kayak they can call their own in the new Prodigy XS from Perception. Designed for tooling around on lakes, ponds, bays and other mild waterways, the 10-foot-long, 27-lb. boat carries all the features of the series’ larger sizes without the extra bulk or weight. Comfort-wise, its Zone Outfitting backband, seat pad and knee pads add both cushiness and control, while a lowered deck offers better visibility and handling.
$399; perceptionkayaks.com

—Eugene Buchanan

Shred Ready

When noggin meets rock, you want the best protection you can get. Find it in the new Standard Halfcut helmet from Shred Ready, featuring an ABS injection-molded shell, multi-impact molded EPP liner, and HOG2 Retention System securing behind the nape of the neck. It also comes with interchangeable foam fitting pads so one size fits all, rust-resistant, stainless steel hardware and a four-point retention system.
$69.95; shredready.com

—Eugene Buchanan

Wave Sport

While running difficult whitewater may still be a pursuit for adrenaline junkies, it just got a whole lot easier in the Recon from Wave Sport. Available in three sizes (7'9", 47 lbs; 8'3", 50 lbs; and 8'8", 52 lbs), it’s designed for intermediate and advanced paddlers, with continuous rocker and unique volume distribution for soaring over rocks and drops. An upswept shape helps it resurface and unload water, a domed stern deck minimizes back-ending in holes, and side wall flare helps secondary stability and edge control. Safety-wise, it comes with seven rescue points, as well as arched, soft-grip bow and stern handles for carrying and rescue. You’ll also be charging it in comfort, thanks to an all-new, adjustable outfitting system that lets you focus on what lies ahead.
$1,099; wavesport.com

—Eugene Buchanan

adidas

Finally, adidas has introduced its new, hotly anticipated BOOST™ cushioning technology. Said to have the highest energy return of any competing foam, gel or air, this approach to cushioning involves blowing up thousands of small energy capsules within the solid granular material (TPU). The result is a more efficient energy release and supreme durability. Upon first wear, the soft, bouncy feel is apparent, contributing to both comfort and performance. Testing to date seems to indicate that the new technology will stand the tests of time and extreme weather conditions.
$150; adidas.com

—Mackenzie Lobby

Brooks

The next best thing to being barefoot might be wearing the Brooks PureDrift. Weighing in at just 5.6 ounces (men’s), these hyper-light kicks tout a sock-like fit and flexibility through three functional units, thanks to the anatomical last, whisper-thin upper, and wraparound Nav Band. The sock liner can be removed for a zero-drop experience, adding to the natural feel. Taking advantage of Brook’s BioMoGo DNA, the PureDrift’s soft platform adds a welcome spring to your step in an otherwise minimalist shoe.
$100; brooksrunning.com

—Mackenzie Lobby

Patagonia

Patagonia has redoubled its efforts to appeal to trail runners with its spring 2013 line of running apparel, three-quarters of which is either new or redesigned. The company's understanding of the off-road set is especially apparent in the new Traverse Jacket, which is Patagonia’s lightest, most breathable softshell jacket to date. Comprised of a durable recycled polyester blend with a water-repellent finish, it's versatile enough to be worn from late winter well into the spring months. Not only will it keep you warm and dry on cool mornings, it’ll still breathe as the days get warmer and longer.
$119; patagonia.com

—Mackenzie Lobby

PEAR Sports

If you're into gadgetry, PEAR’s souped-up system is the next high-tech electronic you need to add to your arsenal. Combining a wireless heart rate monitor, foot pod, customized training plans, real-time coaching and workout data, its goal is to help you reach your goals. From 16-week half marathon training plans to 40-minute treadmill threshold workouts, it offers a reasoned approach to training, backed up by plenty of data to aid you in figuring out what does and doesn’t work. A simplified approach to a lot of complicated statistics, PEAR’s system lays out charts and graphs in easily understandable formats that can help a runner improve on the go. With iPod shuffle compatibility and an iPhone app, you may even be able to pair your current gizmos with this high-performance training system.
$199; pearsports.com

—Mackenzie Lobby

PROBAR

For the increasingly health-conscious athlete, PROBAR is set to unveil the new Bolt Energy Chews this spring. Unlike most other nutritionals on the market, these chews are 100% vegan, organic and packed with electrolytes, B vitamins, antioxidants and complex carbs to boost performance on the run. If you aren’t a fan of the ingredients in traditional gels, chews and beans available, consider Bolt a healthier alternative. Even better, these chews don’t taste like they’re good for you. The Berry Blast, Strawberry, Orange and Raspberry options are all flavorsome and easy to take down mid-run.
$2.69 (2.1 oz pouch); theprobar.com

—Mackenzie Lobby

Saucony

New from Saucony this spring is the Virrata, which is set to lead the charge towards a new approach to running footwear. By balancing ample cushioning with minimalist elements, the Virrata is a light, flexible and protective running shoe. Built on a zero-drop platform, these shoes are meant to encourage a more natural running motion than traditional shoes will allow. With 24 ultra-springy pods lining the outsole of each shoe, along with strategically placed flex grooves, the Virrata is marked by innovation, comfort and high performance.
$90; saucony.com

—Mackenzie Lobby

The North Face

Featuring the Cradle Guide system, this new trail shoe is designed to naturally guide your foot to a correct toe-off, regardless of how you strike the ground. But the Hyper-Track's first priority is to protect you from the roots and rocks of the trail, which the amply-cushioned, supportive midsole does without the added bulk of traditional trail shoes. Marked by a 4mm heel-toe drop and weighing just 9 ounces, these are a fresh approach to racing shoes in the off-road category, which explains why most of TNF’s sponsored athletes are wearing them for their big races this year.
$120; thenorthface.com

—Mackenzie Lobby

Topo Athletic

With Vibram’s former CEO at the helm, it’s no surprise that the new Topo Athletic brand takes a unique approach to running footwear. Featuring a split-toe design, the RT model is built for everyday running, while the RR model is for shorter and faster training. Categorized as a lightweight shoe rather than minimalist, the RT encourages the feet to move naturally, but still guarantees some guard against the ruts and rocks of the road. Featuring an anatomical last and a Japanese Tabi-inspired design, these feather-light shoes will feel one with your feet.
$100; topoathletic.com

—Mackenzie Lobby

ZEAL Optics

The Equinox is a standout among ZEAL's sport line, a lightweight performance model with super sharp, polarized lenses. But there's more to these shades than meets the eye. This spring, they'll feature the company's new plant-based E-llume lens, which eliminates the need for some of the environmentally unfriendly, petroleum-based materials that are common in sunglasses production. Add to that bio-based Z Resin™ frames, and these are some high-performance, earth-friendly specs.
$139; zealoptics.com

—Mackenzie Lobby