The Best New EDC Gear from Outdoor Retailer 2019

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While most everyday carry gear certainly has its tactical roots, it’s hard to ignore how useful outdoor equipment and survival gear can be for your day-to-day. Gear designed for the outdoors often features the latest technology in performance fabrics and hardware, rugged durability to weather inclement conditions, and light weight for making long treks on the trail that much easier. Not to mention, many of our members take their EDCs from city to mountain and back, blending urban EDC with outdoor gear as well-prepared weekend warriors. That’s why we recently headed to Outdoor Retailer, the largest trade show for the outdoors industry in North America. In this recap, we’re highlighting new EDC-worthy products and trends from the outdoor industry that should be on your radar.

While Case has a proven track record of traditional knives, that isn’t stopping them from going toe-to-toe with their more modern competitors. Their new Sharktooth flipper boasts up-to-date materials like S35VN blade steel, anodized aluminum, and G10 inlays. Case’s parent company, Zippo, is making an effort to give back to the environment with its collaboration with Woodchuck. These lighters feature topographic patterns on wooden veneers. When you buy one of these lighters, Woodchuck will also plant a tree as part of the program.

Topo Design’s made-in-the-USA bags and clothes bring excellent materials to familiar, “heritage” outdoor silhouettes (think lashing squares, simpler shapes, etc). Their upcoming Premium Collection set to launch next spring is fully blacked out with a bag for any travel situation you can think of. They’re also updating some best-selling packs with materials like heavy canvas and Horween leather, and they’re also cooking up new collaborations with outdoor and climbing brands like Danner boots and So iLL climbing.

Fenix’s booth mainly focused on outdoor searchlights, lanterns, headlamps, and other camp lighting solutions, but one new light that might have crossover with many EDCers is this right-angled, adjustable head task light. The Fenix WT20R’s magnetic base and articulating head make it useful for hands-free illumination either at your worksite or on your person thanks to a clip on its back side.

KeySmart showed that it’s expanding its offerings beyond managing your keys, with a full display of bags, wallets, knives, and one-piece tools. Their Urban 21 travel pack sports a lower profile design to pull double duty as a commuter bag, tricked out with plenty of compartments, even some for a tile and your KeySmart. They’ve also got slim wallets made with a technical leather-like material, gent’s-styled slim keychain knives, and a magnetic quick-disconnect keychain, and their Altul line of animal-shaped multi-tools.

One of the big trends we saw at Outdoor Retailer was the push for upcycled and recycled materials as a sustainability effort. Companies are showing their commitment to using less to preserve the environment and keeping the great outdoors beautiful. Green Guru and Alchemy Goods, for example, upcycle bike inner tubes and scrapped fabrics into functional packs for cycling and getting around. PacSafe and Osprey also showcased new urban packs made with recycled nylon and poly fabrics too.

Gerber had a strong showing in my book with some larger fixed blades, but more importantly, its all-new line of pocket tools. They fill that niche between full-sized pliers-based tools and barebones single-piece multi-tools. Some, like the Prybrid Utility and the Prybrid X, are prybar-cross-utility knife hybrid tools. The Prybrid Utility is the beefier of the two, equipped with a larger boxcutter-like utility blade. The smaller Prybrid X (pictured as the header of this article) houses a smaller, precision craft knife much like an X-Acto blade. 

The other tools in the Armbar family feature tools that swivel out, Swiss knife style. Besides the standard set of blade and drivers/openers, the Armbars come equipped with excellent scissors and a specialty tool like a corkscrew or bit driver arm. Stay tuned for more info on these tools as they’re set to launch early next year.

Chrome may have earned their reputation in the EDC scene for their cycling and messenger bags, but they were right at home standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the other technical packs at the show. For 2020 they’re bringing their blacked-out, weatherproof materials and problem-solving design ethos to new silhouettes. EDCers might be particularly interested in their upcoming utility hip pouch and smaller cross-body bag as a lower-volume alternative to the popular Kadet sling.

WANDRD had a strong showing with their photography-focused packs with designs that took risks and took an outside-the-box approach. For example, their DUO pack (which is live on Kickstarter right now, by the way) looks sleek an unassuming from the outside, but fully opens up to reveal tons of easy-access internal organization. They also showed off their VEER 18L packable backpack that has a surprising amount of structure and protection thanks to unique, inflatable components.

Casio proudly showcased their recent ProTrek Smart watch, the WSD-F30. Its beautiful touchscreen OLED display leverages Google’s WearOS to be one of the most robust ways to check a map at a glance. In G-SHOCK news, Casio’s upgrading many of their models to ditch the stainless steel backplate in favor of carbon fiber.

You might remember Flowfold for their US-made, minimalist EDC wallets featuring waterproof sailcloth. They’ve since taken their mastery of the material and applied it to bags, pouches, duffels, and slings. Better yet, many of the bags sport cool, retro-inspired color blocking you don’t usually see on bags made of this material.

5.11 had a few new products to show in the EDC space, including a family of headlamps, new carabiners, and modular accessories for their Hexgrid and GearSet systems. The standout was the AMP-C, a super compact, minimalist pack for the AMP platform that can attach to a separate, laser-cut shoulder strap/harness made of thin and durable Hypalon. It can be worn as a smaller backpack with its included Hypalon straps or as a chestrig configuration.

Hydroflask’s big news was their lighter weight Trail series of bottles, available in both lightweight stainless steel and a premium titanium version. Best of all, the titanium bottle still sports Hydroflask’s double-wall vacuum insulation to keep drinks to temperature all day long. Hydroflask makes more than bottles now too, as seen with their Journey series. These insulated hydration packs come in various capacities but all sport this sleek, minimalist silhouette with a narrow profile, darting, laminated zippers, and more. It looks like a promising city-to-mountain pack.

Benchmade had a couple of new products to show besides the carbon fiber Proper and new Bailout knives we’ve covered recently. The Mini Vallation was a beautiful knife all around from the blade shape to the handle. Looks aside, it looks like a fast and functional assisted knife in a more manageable size for EDC. Benchmade’s also set to launch a folding knife sharpener for light sharpening and touch-ups in collaboration with Worksharp. The tool looks and feels like a Benchmade thanks to its use of Benchmade components on the pivot, pocket clip, and more.

SOG’s exciting news comes in the form of a medical shears-based multi-tool, dubbed the Parashears. Shears are an invaluable tool for EMTs, first responders and the like, and there weren’t too many existing options for multi-functional shears worthy of a spot in your EDC. The Parashears not only include other tools built into its design, but they’re also quick to deploy one handed with a couple of flicks of the wrist.

CRKT continues to innovate for the bushcraft and outdoor space beyond their well-received Field Strip knives in recent years. The Clever Girl Folder brings one of CRKT’s popular fixed blade designs to your pocket as a full-sized folder, this time using their new Ikoma-designed Deadbolt Lock mechanism. The intuitive mechanism disengages by pushing down on the pivot itself like a button, letting you close the blade with your fingers out of its path. Once deployed, it’s a super solid lockup as well, fit for batoning and other heavy-duty outdoor cutting tasks.

Speaking of knives, one that made my eyes pop out of their sockets as I was walking past the Spyderco booth was the recently released Paysan. It’s a production version of Peter Rassenti’s custom titanium integral framelock knife and it’s stunning. Even as a production collaboration it’s likely out of most of our budgets, but if you appreciate design and craftsmanship it’s worth a look, if only to admire.

Last but not least, I wanted to share a sneak peek at something I’ve been working on with Manhattan Portage. It’s our take on an EDC pouch organizer that can be used standalone in your main pack, or strapped up as a low-profile, cross-body sling for managing overflow in an organized way. As part of Manhattan Portage’s black label collection, it features some of the best materials they have to offer, like Cordura brand nylon and YKK hardware throughout. Stay tuned for more info on Everyday Carry’s next collaboration as we finalize the design to get it in your hands later this year.

What gear are you looking forward to from Outdoor Retailer? Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned for more info on these products as they release.

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