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Editors’ Choice Awards
These eight new products represent the best, most innovative backpacking gear on the market right now. From a multitool fork to an affordable ultralight tent, this is the best equipment we used all year.
Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo
Boutique ultralight usually costs a mint—and for good reason. Shaving ounces gets harder and harder the lighter you go. So it’s with great pleasure that we discovered the Lunar Solo, which uses workaday materials and a clever-but-not-too-clever pitch with a trekking pole—and still has more floor space than pretty much all other tents in its class. Read the Full Review / Buy Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Now
Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Long-Sleeve Hoody
Every hiker should own a hooded sun shirt. The perfect layer, it can be worn next to skin or over a baselayer; it provides shade and warmth; and, best of all, it protects from light precip, breeze, and, of course, sunshine. But which one to get? This one. Read the Full Review / Buy Mountain Hardwear Men’s Crater Lake Long-Sleeve Hoody Now / Buy Mountain Hardwear Women’s Crater Lake Long-Sleeve Hoody Now
Gerber Devour Multi-Fork
Whatever gets food from bowl to mouth will do, right? Not so fast. The 7.6-inch-long, aluminum Devour changed our minds for two reasons: 1) It gets the utensil out of the dirt when you lay it down, and 2) it has multitool features for virtually no extra weight or bulk. Read the Full Review / Buy Gerber Devour Multi-Fork Now
Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20°F
If you’re ruthless about cutting weight, you’ll like the Hyperion. It’s one of the lightest models in this temp category, thanks to a narrow, heat-saving shape (shoulder circumference is 57 inches), a half-length zipper, and 900-fill goose down. It packs down to the size of a honeydew and kept us warm on an 18°F night in the Pyrenees. Read the Full Review / Buy Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20°F Now
OK, let’s get one thing out of the way: These shades look funky. We don’t deny it. But get past the fact that they lack temples and you just might realize you prefer them that way. Ombraz eliminates sidearms, attaching the frame directly to a woven-polyester cord that you cinch around your head. Read the Full Review / Buy Ombraz Sunglasses
Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 Platinum
Tent makers have been flirting with the 2-pound barrier for years. Like the four-minute mile, the challenge seemed forever out of reach—until it wasn’t. This is the first two-person tent we’ve tested that sneaks in below 2 pounds and doesn’t come with a host of caveats. Read the Full Review / Buy Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 Platinum Now
Rab Kinetic Alpine Pant
Rainpants. You put them on only when you have to and take them off as soon as you can. They swamp out almost immediately, they never fit well, and the crinkly whoosh would make George Costanza die. That’s why we love Rab’s new Kinetic Alpine Pant, an asterisk-free, weatherproof trouser we actually want to wear all day. Read the Full Review / Buy Rab Men’s Kinetic Alpine Pant Now / Buy Rab Women’s Kinetic Alpine Pant Now
NEMO Airpin Ultralight Stake
There’s usually no better praise for tent stakes than to simply ignore them. That changes today. The aluminum Airpins are easy to notice, and easier still to use. Simply put, they eliminate knots. Read the Full Review / Buy NEMO Airpin Ultralight Stake Now
Editors’ Choice Green Awards
These two products are pushing the limits of sustainability.
Polartec Power Air
Fleece has long been an outdoor staple because it’s cozy, warm, and fast-drying. It’s great at keeping us comfy—and terrible for the planet. But now, you can get Polartec Power Air, a new fleece that sheds five times less than comparable fabrics, according to Polartec’s testing. Read the Full Review / Buy adidas Men’s Power Air Fleece Jacket Now / Buy adidas Women’s Power Air Fleece Jacket Now
GoLite ReGreen Windshell
Here’s a depressing thought: All those green plastic bottles you’ve been dutifully recycling for years? Turns out pretty much no one wants them. GoLite takes aim at this problem with the ReGreen. Approximately 20 green plastic bottles go into each jacket, which is made from 100 percent recycled polyester. Read the Full Review / Buy GoLite Men’s ReGreen Windshell Now / Buy GoLite Women’s ReGreen Windshell Now
Editors’ Choice Gold Awards
Newer isn’t always better: This classic gear still holds up.
MSR Reactor Stove System
For simple, small-group meals, the Reactor is the best stove on the market, period, and has been since it debuted in 2007. That’s because it’s faster than the competition—it boils 1 liter of water in 2.5 minutes—and fuel-efficient enough to put those almost-empty canisters back in play. Read the Full Review / Buy MSR Reactor Stove System Now
Granite Gear Blaze 60
Since its debut in 2011, this is the backpack we’ve recommended to friends more than any other. First, despite its light weight, the Blaze carries like a porter. You never really feel the pounds, even with north of 40 on board. The rigid support comes from the plastic framesheet—updated this year to be even more supportive—and the hipbelt foam is the exact right amounts of structure and cush. Read the Full Review / Buy Granite Gear Blaze 60 Now