Outside 'Gear of the Year' 2012

The twice-annual “Gear of the Year” awards were announced by Outside magazine this week. Unveiled in the publication’s Spring/Summer 2012 Buyer’s Guide, the best-of-the-best list is culled from “several months of torture-testing the latest crop of rugged cameras, tents, shells, boats, packs, and just about every other piece of gear you need to play outdoors this summer.” Here is the full list, the 2012 “Gear of the Year” award-winning products.

outside magazine gear of the year logo.jpg

TENT: Easton Kilo 3

SHELL: Outdoor Research Axiom


BACKPACK: Eddie Bauer First Ascent Alchemist 40L

TRAIL SHOES: Danner Crater Rim

ROAD-RUNNING SHOES: New Balance Minimus Zero Road

gear of the year winners.jpg

Eddie Bauer pack, REI sleeping bag, OR jacket — all winners


CAMERA: Canon PowerShot G1X

LUGGAGE: Tumi Ducati Due Porte

Specialized Stumpjumper.jpg

Specialized Stumpjumper

SUNGLASSES: Oakley Radarlock

MOUNTAIN BIKE: Specialized Stumpjumper Expert FSR Carbon 29er


BOAT: Sterling Reflection


—The Spring/Summer 2012 Outside Buyer’s Guide goes on sale May 1.

Posted by Mike Jones - 04/25/2012 12:05 PM

The Outside “Gear of the Year” has become a total joke. I think they choice items soley based on what items and colors will look best on the cover.

Posted by wvmtnhiker - 04/25/2012 12:16 PM

I totally agree Mike! Trail shoe: Danner, come on!

Posted by Sam Moulton - 04/25/2012 01:45 PM

Mike, wvmtnhiker: I’m the editor of the Buyer’s Guide and, on behalf of my crew of testers, I have to respectfully disagree with your opinions. Across the board, we test the crap out of the gear. I won’t bore you with the details. Just ask the Junkie himself, who tests winter jackets, among many other things, for us. The fact that the gear also happens to look great is merely a bonus—and a credit to how talented our in-house photographer is.

Posted by Gear Junkie - 04/25/2012 02:29 PM

Gear tests are always subjective to a point, and Outside hires a diverse group of people to test equipment (myself included) for its Buyer’s Guide and “Gear of the Year.” So you get a range of opinions on what is “best” in each category. I can tell you the process is 100 percent editorial; the Outside staff takes it seriously and things like the aesthetics of a product (how it would look on a magazine cover) do not factor into what appears in the magazine. In my experience, the editors trust the writers and gear testers in each category and work with them to make picks on what gear to feature. Everyone involved tests a load of equipment to narrow down to a few highlighted items that appear in the Buyer’s Guide. Of those, one piece is then crowned “Gear of the Year.” In the end, as I stated, these GOY winners are only really opinions, so you can agree or disagree on how great a backpack or a trail shoe might be. But the process to get there should not be dismissed.

Posted by Boz - 04/25/2012 06:46 PM

I think the fact there are several unexpected picks goes to show that Outside isn’t just shilling for its advertisers.

Posted by UnnecessaryImmaturity - 04/25/2012 10:15 PM


Posted by kp - 04/26/2012 10:16 AM

“Wicked burn”?

I dont think you know what this means.

Posted by sembalun - 04/27/2012 06:39 AM

I wonder how that Alchemist 40L could be pick as backpack gear of the year. Total joke.

Posted by jpea - 04/27/2012 07:34 PM

perhaps because it has a built in bivy pad (nice and not found almost anywhere) and can expand 15 more liters if needed. not a ton of packs are coming out with new and exciting features so at least this one is trying. most are pretty tried and true…

Posted by NONO - 04/29/2012 09:48 PM

Totally agree with Mike. I would like to see gear selected for the award being innovative and have a break through in quality, lightweight, durable etc… I am sponsored by First Ascent and I had hat how heave their pack is. What are they getting an award on their first try …. come on!

Posted by hammer - 07/31/2012 11:25 AM

I will take anything you guys at gear junkie want to give away..im in it to win it..if you dont like the gear go some where else and buy your gear…respectfully,..jack

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