Future Gear 2010

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This gear won’t be in shops until the spring or next fall. But here’s a peek at a few innovations and out-there items coming soon to an outdoors store near you.

Glowing Sandals — Never trip in the dark again. A small LED light is built on the tow strap of the Teva Illum sandals, which come to market this spring. The flip-flops, available in men’s and women’s versions, shine a 10-lumen beam with each step taken. For beach hikes at night, the footlights are waterproof to three feet deep. $50 and up, depending on model.

Swiss Army Knife with Laser — Just when you thought nothing more could be added to a Swiss Army Knife, Victorinox unveils the Presentation Master. Beyond its small scissors, file and blade, the red-handled package includes a laser pointer and a 32GB data drive. A tiny fingerprint scanner encrypts the drive so only the owner can access the files and data stored inside.

Bug Suit — Suit up for battle against buzzing objects. Sea to Summit’s new kit of no-see-um mesh clothing includes a mosquito-confounding jacket, mitts, pants, and socks — all coated with an Insect Shield Permethrin treatment to offer “superior bug protection.” The see-through polyester mesh packs up tiny when not in use. The head-to-toe suit is made up of a top and a bottom package, which are sold separately. The two products together will cost about $70 when they arrive in March.

Heated Vests — Body heat not enough? Electrically-powered heated vests are coming from Mountain Hardwear, which will sell a women’s and a men’s version ready for next winter’s ski season. The vests are prewired garments operated by a battery and embedded with heating elements. Bonus: beyond just heat, a power plug in a vest pocket can be used to recharge handheld electronics such as GPS units, cell phones and MP3 players.

Fancy Feet — Go back to the future with the retro Five Tennie, an outdoors-oriented tennis shoe that mimics a model released in 1985. Five Ten, an outdoors/climbing-shoe company, touts its namesake Five Tennie as having a “Spiderman sticky” sole for better grip on the trail. Available this month (late February) for about $70.

–Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.

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