Greatest Gear for 2014: ‘Best in Show’ Award Winners

Titanium External Frame — Vargo Outdoors is looking to make the old-school format of external-frame packs more relevant in the ultra-light backpacking world. The company accomplishes this with a light-yet-rigid supporting frame made of titanium alloy.

The Vargo Ti-Arc CF pack weighs less than 2 pounds when empty. In addition to the titanium frame, the pack employs an ultralight cuben fiber fabric, the same tough, thin material used on high-end yacht sails. (A nylon version will also be sold; nylon model pictured below.)

It holds 36 liters of gear. Because of its external frame the Vargo can comfortably distribute weight better than other packs of its size, up to 35 pounds comfortably, the brand cites.

The regular (nylon) version will cost $299. The cuben version will be $375. Both editions will come to market for the ultra-light crowd this fall.

‘Best in Show’ products continued on next page. . .

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.