<p><b>Smith Forefront </b></p> <p>The first thing that catches your eye about the Smith Optics Forefront mountain bike helmet is that it catches your eye. The inaugural cycling lid from the Idaho eyewear brand is designed with a bold, dramatic silhouette, strikingly different from the traditional head protection you've come to expect. There's a method to the flashy look, though. Those big vents channel lots of air to keep you cool, while exposing a honeycombed inner structure that Smith says is safer than a typical helmet. Called Aerocore, the honeycomb is designed to be crushed on impact more readily than the EPS foam used in most helmets, which means better absorption of impacts and, in theory, lower risk of injury.</p> <p><b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p><b>Get It:</b> $220; <a href="http://www.smithoptics.com/forefront">smithoptics.com</a></p>

Reimagined Mountain Bike Helmet

Smith Forefront

The first thing that catches your eye about the Smith Optics Forefront mountain bike helmet is that it catches your eye. The inaugural cycling lid from the Idaho eyewear brand is designed with a bold, dramatic silhouette, strikingly different from the traditional head protection you've come to expect. There's a method to the flashy look, though. Those big vents channel lots of air to keep you cool, while exposing a honeycombed inner structure that Smith says is safer than a typical helmet. Called Aerocore, the honeycomb is designed to be crushed on impact more readily than the EPS foam used in most helmets, which means better absorption of impacts and, in theory, lower risk of injury.

 

Get It: $220; smithoptics.com

Photograph courtesy Smith

Gear of the Year 2014

Must-Have Gear: Spring/Summer Sometimes good ol' human ingenuity trumps the power of high technology. Take, for example, an avalanche backpack that uses a simple fan to inflate its airbag, eliminating the need for heavy and complex gas canisters. Or a stove that gets better cold-weather performance by turning its fuel upside down. Or a headlamp that better illuminates by letting its lens float. To be sure, this season's best gear has plenty of gee-whiz technology behind it, but its great ideas are leading the way.

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