Treasure Hunting

Finding diamonds in the rough at Outdoor Retailer

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When the BACKPACKER team hits the floor of Outdoor Retailer, it’s a little like going on a treasure hunt. We know there are great new products hidden amid thousands of pieces of same-old gear and some truly questionable ideas. Here are a few of today’s finds.

Bargaintent: Ground, a manufacturer of technical apparel, is launching a new line of tents. The Batu, which comes in 2- and 3-person versions, looks spacious and well-bult, with two doors and vestibules and high-quailty materials like DAC poles. They’re not ultralight (6 pounds for the 2-person, 6.4 pounds for the 3-person), but the price starts at $179, making it a pretty sweet deal. We haven’t tested the Batu yet, but Ground says the tents are in a few stores this fall if you want to check one out. 

Rain-ready shirt: A Florida company has created water-resistant Dry Freak shirts that feel like a typical polyester shirt but shed water almost like a rain shell. The shirts are made for sailors, but feel light and breathable enough for hikers. We have no idea how they’ll work on the trail, but they could be a good solution when you’re working hard in cool, wet conditions.

Drinking problem: Sometimes at Outdoor Retailer we find solutions for problems we didn’t even know we had. Case in point: The Hydration Calculator, a watch-like gizmo that, yes, tells you when to rehydrate. Sure, some people are pretty smart about drinking water when they feel thirsty. But for those of us who just can’t figure it out, the Hydation Calculator is a godsend. Water bottle not included. –Dennis Lewon