The three pitching options of the Skyledge tent, including the way to keep the tent dry in a downpour.

The Mountain Hardwear innovation that will likely garnish much of the fanfare in spring 2013 will be the cadre of active apparel outfitted with Cool.Q ZERO, which boasts “active cooling technology.”  Pieces like the Way2Cool Short-Sleeve T ($65) will wick the sweat off your skin, then use a proprietary technology to cool your body before the moisture evaporates.  We’ve tested the same tech in Columbia products (the parent company of MH) and so far it works. We’ll continue to test and let you know what we find.

Elsewhere on the apparel side, the Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket ($300) offers 850-fill down insulation in a package that weight a measly seven ounces, but should keep you warm and dry whenever the weather gets rough. As with all down products in Mountain Hardwear’s line, the Ghost Whisperer boasts waterproof Q.Shield DOWN.  The Plasmic Jacket should also be a fast-mover on the retail shelves. The hard shell jacket employs MH’s proprietary Dry.Q Evap for waterproof/breathable protection, with a  sly-looking exposed water-resistant zipper and a wide array of colors. Priced at only  $140, it could become a gateway drug to Mountain Hardwear for the uninitiated.

Finally, on the outdoor shelter front, they’re introducing the Skyledge 2 and 3 ($450, $550). The footprint for both the two- and three-tent is included in the price, which gives you three out-of-the-box pitch options: the tent and fly, just the tent, or just the fly, with the tent frame anchored in place by the footprint (pictured, above). This last option also lets you pitch your tent in the rain; just roll out the footprint, assemble the frame, toss over the fly, and then you can then pitch the tent without worrying about getting the tent interior fully soaked.  And for the ultra-lighter go-getter, there’s the SuperMegaUL 1, a free-standing one-person tent that weighs in at 1 pound, 14 ounces for $350.
Designed to thwart the thieves that can turn an overseas jaunt into an exhausting exercise in reclaiming your identity, these vigilant shorts are the most convenient way we’ve found to carry a passport, money, phone, and camera without the slightest danger that someone will relieve you of your valuables. The designers of the P^cubed shorts (the P^ = pickpocket-proof in mathematical speak; ^ is the computer symbol for cubed) are nothing but diligent. The two hip pockets each have heavy-duty, durable zippers, plus a button tab for extra security. On the back, both pockets are cleverly designed with an expandable “accordion” feature, allowing them to lay flat or be stuffed with a paperback or guidebook. The passport pocket has three-way security (zips, buttons, and flaps), so there’s no way short of actual kidnapping that will let a thief walk off with your travel documents. Front pockets hold a smart phone and car keys. We love the removable utility pocket—it can fit a small water bottle or soda can. When not needed, simply undo the buttons and store the pouch for later use. Basically, the pants are a hands-free way of traveling—no purse, pouch, or backpack needed. In a pinch you could even use it to avoid the cost of airlines who charge for carry-on bags by keeping all your in-flight essentials on your person.  The knee-length shorts are a travel-friendly blend of 25 percent nylon and 75 percent cotton canvas; the material is soft, comfortable, and has the strength of Hercules.

Introducing Gearzilla’s The Future of Gear, a new column that will highlight some of the coolest trends in the outdoor and travel gear industry, profile industry leaders and their ground-breaking ideas, and preview some of the best new product slated to hit the market in the coming months.

Apparel and gear manufacturer Patagonia recently introduced the sale of used product on their web store.  Part of the company’s Community Threads Initiative—which encourages consumers to buy only what they need, repair what breaks, share what they no longer need, and recycle everything else—this move continues to promote the company’s robust pro-environment identity.

The new feature displays product that’s on sale on eBay within’s Used Clothing and Gear section, filtered by gender and product type, as well as kid’s gear.  Interacting with the specific products takes you to eBay itself, which handles product fulfillment in its typical fashion (Patagonia also includes instructions on how to sell your used product, aping the step-by-steps that lets you sell stuff on eBay.)

From a business perspective, they could potentially erode the sale of some of their latest and greatest (regularly priced) product by promoting the same stuff at half the cost. But there’s no real overhead for Patagonia, either; eBay’s auctioneers handle all the specifics of each sale while Patagonia product stays in the hands (and on the backs) of happy travelers and lovers of the outdoors, boosting brand loyalty. The play also reinforces the durability story of the brand and serves as a solid platform to promote their pledge to reduce the environmental footprint implicit in gear and apparel manufacturing—a pledge we encourage you all to take.

Got something you want us to cover in The Future of Gear? Let us know by adding a comment!

Prices Vary; Expect Half-Off, 7.2 ounces
Ever want to wear shorts but feel they are too casual or sloppy looking? Look no further. Like a bespoke suit, these shorts fit as if they were tailored especially for you.  Nau’s president, Mark Galbraith, was arguably the leading sports-fashion designer of the past 20 years, as these shorts can attest. You might think that wool shorts are over-the-top, too Tyrolean Alps for every day wear. But these shorts are imminently capable—and have proven to be as comfortable on a summer business trip to Manhattan as hiking in the Canadian Rockies.  The fabric is a 98 percent heathered wool/spandex blend—the drape is perfect and there’s slight stretch to enhance mobility.  Whether you dress them up with heels, or wear them with hiking boots, the shorts deliver performance, comfort, and style. Wool’s natural temperature-regulating ability keeps you cool in warm weather and comfortable when the temps drop. How? By wicking moisture away from your skin while at the same time ensuring breathability so there’s no sweat. The shorts have a modest 11-inch inseam (they fall to just above the knee) and a flattering zip fly and snap closure. The two front pockets sit low on the pelvis, so they don’t add bulk around the hips; in the rear are two welted pockets. The shorts can be washed, and then line dried.
Available in Women’s size 2-14, and in a Men’s version, size 28-38
If you’re putting some serious miles on your feet, it’s important to gird your loins with the proper running attire. Pearl iZumi’s Infinity LD Short is one of the few that supports and hides your goodies, but are so comfortable that you could forget you’re wearing anything at all . The Infinity LD’s are comprised of Pearl Izumi’s Minerale polyester interior liner and a silky, lightweight polyester exterior that moves freely and holds chafing at bay.  The liner provides snug support, while the exterior sports a seven-inch inseam to keep your white man-thighs out of sight. The shorts dried quickly and stayed soft and comfortable during multi-day stage runs, and the Minerale material did a solid job of keeping odor at bay (particularly after occasional post-run dips in the nearest river). Elastic side panels provided some much needed flexibility while high-stepping on mountainous terrain, and the elastic waist band ratcheted down the fit without acting as a tourniquet. Two zippered rear pockets can hold energy gel, a few keys and some cash, while hook-and-loop hip pockets are secure enough to keep your empty Gu wrappers from littering the trail.
-Billy Brown