I’ve now had a full week to absorb the new gear I saw at Outdoor Retailer. In a whirlwind day, I was able to stop at most of the usual suspects for a quick overview of what’s coming in Spring 2012. Here are some highlights.

The North Face Single-Track Hayasa Trail Running Shoes

I was a big fan of the original The North Face Single-Track’s and looking at the new Hayasa has me anxious to get some dirt time. Lightened up, but still sturdy enough and protective enough for the roughest of trail runs. It utilizes an enhanced TPU CRADLE system for support. I’m told that while the Hayasa tips the scales at a mere 8.9 oz each, it’s not a minimalist shoe. Expect this bio-correct trail runner to arrive in Spring 2012 at $110 msrp.

Dynafit MS Feline Superlight Trail Runners

Hitting the ground running with a really killer initial design, Dynafit may just become a well-known trail running brand in a jiffy with the Feline Superlight. It features a tenacious Vibram outsole with a unique Multi Pad midsole to middle from outer traction. I was able to slip into these and they certainly feel impressive. The only downer looks to be the price… $159.95 is pretty steep, even for a great pair of trail runners.

KEEN Backseat Pack

While some of KEEN’s previous packs have missed the mark as far as technical capabilities, the new Backseat Pack doesn’t even attempt to get technical and in the process, it excels at providing an ingenious solution to on-the-fly seating. Have you ever been to a parade or a festival and had to plunk down on the grass for a few hours? Well, this pack is a comfortable and has a built-in fold out seat. It utilizes lightweight materials so you won’t get bogged down as you walk to your destination. Pretty cool pack.

Smartwool PhD Cycling Ultra Light Mini Socks

I’ve never been shy about my love for all things Merino and nobody does Merino wool socks like Smartwool. I got a pair of these socks prior to OR and have ridden a few miles in them already. I like the overall fit and the comfort is off-the-charts. With just the right mixture of natural and synthetic materials, the PhD Ultra Light cycling socks are now top of the heap. Expect to pay $15 per pair.

Gregory Alpaca and Cache Rolling Travel Bags

Everyone’s got to go on vacation every once in awhile, right? When hauling your gear past TSA agents and around town, Gregory has introduced a new twist on roller bags. Everyone has experienced the inadvertent carry-on bag “barrel roll” when dropping a curb wrong or moving too quickly to the Terminal. And I’ve also kicked my bag with my heel because you have to hold the bag in the middle. The wide handle provides leverage to avoid the inadvertent barrel roll and the heel-kick. It also has lots of other great features to boot, but that alone is worthy of praise.

Montrail Bajada Trail Running Shoes

While Montrail has garnered a ton of attention for their trail running shoes, they haven’t yet had a neutral, world-class shoe in their line. The new Bajada features a full-length low-profile Gryptonite outsole along the lines of the Montrail Rogue Racer. Though definitely not minimalist, this shoe reduces excess bulk and certainly provides something that the market is looking for.

Sierra Designs Mojo 2 and 3 Person Tents

Sierra Designs has long made a name for itself in tents and the all-new Mojo single/double-wall hybrid tent takes the best of each designs to deliver a lightweight 2 or 3-person tent. With single-wall upper fabric and split lower with outstretched wings that cover mesh areas for increased ventilation. The 2-person will tip the scales at 2 lbs 11 oz and $399 while the 3-person is 3 lbs 8 oz and $449.

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


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