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After postponing its debut due to the pandemic, The Big Gear Show finally launched its inaugural event in Park City, Utah this week. The invitation-only tradeshow, which was held outdoors, welcomed brands, buyers, media, and retailers from the camping, climbing, cycling, and paddlesports spheres. Here are some of the standout products we saw at the show.
Helinox Chair Zero Highback and Speed Stool
Helinox is expanding its camp furniture line to include a new version of its wildly popular Chair Zero that’s taller, and has better neck support, than the original. The Highback adds a mere six ounces for this upgrade, which is well worth the added carry weight given the comfort. Pair the chair with the 1-pound Speed Stool, which can be used as an ottoman, table, or seat, and packs down to a minuscule 3.5-by-3.5 inches.
Craving a stack of pancakes dripping with butter and syrup with a side of crispy bacon and over-easy eggs for breakfast in camp? Good news: Eureka! made a griddle from lightweight aluminum that fits with its camp stoves and grills (as well as those from other brands). It has an 8-inch by 10-inch cooking surface made from non-stick ceramic and comes with a cutting board that doubles as a protective cover for storage.
Black Diamond Distance Shell Jacket
Perhaps Black Diamond has discovered black magic, because this running jacket is not only light but also provides reliable, breathable water protection. The Distance weighs only 3.5 ounces—that’s less than two tennis balls—and stuffs into its own chest pocket. Don’t let its featherweight fool you, though: Its 15-denier nylon weave is durable, abrasion-resistant, and provides ample weather protection when you need it thanks to an environmentally-friendly, PFC-free DWR.
SCARPA Spin Infinity GTX Trail Shoe
This shoe is made for mile-crushers in search of nimble, waterproof trail running footwear. The Spin Infinity is built on SCARPA’s most plush midsole platform and performs best when worn for long-distance trail training. The generous cushion provides added impact absorption and a compression-molded EVA layer surrounds the midsole for superior foot stabilization. The outsole has 4-millimeter-deep lugs and grippy rubber for optimal traction, while an exterior support system adds lateral stability.
Mountain Hardwear JMT 35L Backpack
Known mostly these days for making mountaineering and climbing packs, Mountain Hardwear makes its way back to hiking-specific packs with the debut of the John Muir Trail (JMT) 25L and 35L models. Padded shoulder straps, a mesh backpanel, and a hover hipbelt combine for a comfortable, ventilated, and balanced carry. It has a clamshell-style zippered top opening for easy access and is made with a recycled 210-denier nylon ripstop shell and 420-denier Cordura base.
Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Poles
These completely redesigned collapsible z-poles weigh 5.3 ounces each, meaning they are absurdly lightweight. Black Diamond honed the poles by decreasing the layups by 2 millimeters, which shaved 7 percent off the previous version. The EVA foam grips are moisture-wicking to combat sweaty palms and the straps have garage storage for extra strap lengths. The Distance Carbon Z comes in seven fixed lengths, with both carbide and non-scarring rubber tips as well as a run basket and a hiking basket.
Aquaglide Backwoods Purist 65 Inflatable Kayak
For ultralight paddling and easy portage to high mountain lakes, the Backwoods Purist 65 is 6.5 feet long yet weighs just 6.4 pounds. This one-person inflatable kayak can hold up to 250 pounds, and is made from heavy-duty recycled TPU. The kit includes an inflatable seat, paddle keeps, webbing carry handles, deck cargo bungees, a two-stage foot pump, repair kit, and a storage bag.
Lava Linens Classic Travel Towel
Produced by a new Colorado-based company, this responsibly-sourced, sustainable, packable travel towel is great for camping and traveling. It’s made from premium French linen woven with naturally strong flax fibers that are 50 percent more absorbent than microfiber. The 27-inch by 45-inch adventure towel weighs 17 ounces, dries quickly, and doesn’t shed microplastics when it’s used or washed.
Osprey Sportlite Daypack 20L
Thoughtful design details, like a key clip, a rescue whistle on the adjustable sternum strap, and gear-specific pockets are integrated into this minimalist daypack. The updated panel-loading technical pack has quick-release upper compression straps, pole loops, water bottle pockets, an internal hydration sleeve, and a front stretch compression pocket for quick stashing. It’s also sustainably constructed from recycled materials and bluesign-approved fabrics.