The twice-annual Outdoor Retailer trade show is an exhibition of the best outdoors equipment in the world. New this year, GearJunkie.com launched an inaugural “Best in Show” award for the Summer Market trade show, held in early August. After four days in Salt Lake City at the show — and some early product tests — we’ve picked a list to feature a dozen to-be-released innovative products you’ll see on the market in 2011. From featherweight tents to portable power generators, these items exemplify innovation and new thinking in the world outdoors. —Stephen Regenold
1. NPOWER PEG — Not much bigger than a cigar, and weighing about 12 ounces, the nPower PEG device captures and stores kinetic energy as you hike. Put it in your backpack and the up-and-down movement of hiking bounces a magnetically-active mass that passes through a conductive loop. The result of this weird science is enough juice to idly charge an iPod, GPS or cell phone as you bounce and trek down a trail. $149.99, www.npowerpeg.com
2. BLACK DIAMOND Z-POLE — Made for fast-and-light backpackers and endurance runners, the Z-Poles have three-section, carbon-fiber shafts that offer stout support but also fold up fast. Black Diamond debuted three versions of the Z-Pole at the trade show. The Ultra Distance model, pictured below, weigh a scant 4.75 ounces per pole. Light and bomber on the trail, the Z-Poles offer a new type of trekking pole experience. (Ultra Distance model cost $149.95 a pair.) www.blackdiamondequipment.com
3. LA SPORTIVA MORPHO SHOES — Low to the ground, but still well cushioned. That’s the promise of La Sportiva’s MorphoDynamic sole technology, which will soon be seen on two new trail shoes from the Italian shoe- and boot-maker. The wider, lower, and less-treaded MorphoDynamic soles are made to absorb, add stability and grip when running on uneven terrain. The promise is a fast shoe that is “one of the most responsive, plushest rides around.” www.sportiva.com
4. STERIPEN SIDEWINDER — No batteries required. The SteriPEN Sidewinder has a crank arm mechanism to power its water-purifying system. The protozoa-zapping unit uses bursts of UV light to kill bacteria and other bad microbes that swim and float unseen in untreated water. $99.95, www.steripen.com
5. SEA TO SUMMIT 3D NANOSHELL — Down insulation loses performance when it’s wet. But for sleeping bags, down’s warmth and compression is king. 3D Nanoshell is the name of a new idea from Sea to Summit that is an innovative approach to managing moisture in down bags.
The system includes a breathable, water-repellent outer shell and then a layer of fluffy, synthetic, silicone-encapsulated fibers underneath. The next layer underneath that is the down. This sandwich of fabrics and synthetic fiber creates a system that blocks moisture from the outside of the bag and also allows condensation from the body to rise through and “wick” out of the down. In short, the silicone-encapsulated fiber pulls moisture from the down to keep the bag dry from the inside and maintain performance where other down-insulated bags might suffer. www.seatosummit.com
6. TERRA NOVA LASER ULTRA 1 — Poles and fly included, the Laser Ultra 1 weighs an impossible 1 pound, 1 ounce. This is a feat of ounce-shaving heretofore unseen in the world of shelters outside. The U.K. company uses thin fabrics and minimal design to create a shelter made for one person that is being touted as the lightest double-wall tent in the world. www.terra-nova.co.uk
7. KLYMIT INERTIA X FRAME — Cut out, body-mapped, and highly compressible, Klymit’s Inertia X Frame is a new turn in the category of the sleeping pad. It inflates by mouth with air or with a special argon gas, which is pumped in via Klymit’s optional handheld cartridge gun. According to the company, argon adds significant insulation value over normal air. Deflate the pad, roll and fold it up, and the X Frame packs into a stuff sack not much larger than a soda can. $99.95, www.klymit.com
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