1. Black Diamond GridLock Magnetron
Black Diamond has taken a bold step for biners. As the name suggests, the GridLock Magnetron is secured with magnets, as opposed to the usual screw or twist locks. The innovative carabiner features a gate system with two magnets that securely attach to a steel insert when closed, yet oppose each other when opened with a simple one-handed release. When the Magnetron GridLock and companion RockLock are released next summer, it could mean a new standard in climbing.
2. Gerber Steady
If you’re like me, you probably don’t know what half of the little nubs on your multi-tool are used for. After the bottle opener and knife, it’s all just widgets. But Gerber’s new Steady has something all of us have needed at one point or another: a camera tripod. A pair of legs branch out of one side of the tool and a tripod insert pops out of the other. It’s strong enough to hold small point and shoots and comes with a suction cup for your iPhone. There are 12 other tools as well, but let’s be honest, you’re only going to use the tripod and bottle opener. Look for the Steady in the Spring.
3. Suunto Core Watch
The most important backcountry tool may not be in your pack, but on your wrist. The Suunto Core includes an altimeter and compass for route-finding; a barometer and storm warning alarm to help you prepare for unexpected weather; and waterproof reliability in case a rapid sweeps you downriver. This wrist-top computer also provides sunrise and sunset times to capture the perfect mountaintop photo.
4. Steripen Freedom
The Freedom is Steripen’s smallest, lightest ultraviolet water purifier, killing 99% of the bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your 16-ounce water bottle in just 48 seconds. And with this model, Steripen fixed the only knock we ever had with their purifiers: batteries. The Freedom is completely rechargeable via a computer, wall outlet, or solar charger.
5. MSR SureLock
In 2012, MSR will release the SureLock, an all-season trekking pole that the company claims won’t slip, and can be adjusted on the fly by a trigger at the base of the handle, so you can adjust your poles on the trail according to the terrain. Look for it in January.