Editors' Choice Parade

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The first day of of the Winter 2009 Outdoor Retailer Show, the hugest and awesome-est, tradeshow in the outdoor industry is just three hours old, and Backpacker has already stole the ol' show with our Editors' Choice Award announcements.

Kristin Hostetter, Jon Dorn, and Dennis Lewon set out on the "EC Parade" at nine o'clock and delivered 18 awards to the best pieces of gear we tested all year. We'd looked at, literally, thousands of new tents, packs, boots, bags, stoves, puffies, hard shells, soft shells, pants, socks, hats, knives, cameras, GPSs, chairs, pads, sporks, mugs, duffels, headlamps, chop sticks, and other outdoor widgets of every stripe. Then we took the finalists on our most grueling gear testing trip of the year--a weeklong, weather-whipped, winter trek in Wales.

The (very stoked) winners include a GPS-enabled camera, the lightest yet most livable and durable 4-person tent we've ever used, a boot that comes in sizes for every hard to fit foot, another boot that's just plain good for everything from dayhikes to gear-intensive multi-days, the most versatile headlamp ever, a touchscreen GPS, the most comfortable sleeping pad we've ever crashed on, and some really tasty energy chews.

...As you can tell, I'm being a teensy bit vague. That's because you'll need to pick up our April issue (The Gear Guide!!) to get the full scoop. We'll also have tons of video from our epic gear testing trip in Wales.

~Shannon Davis