‘Best In Show’ Gear Awards (part I) From Outdoor Retailer Trade Show

‘Super’ Synthetic Jacket — A designer at Mountain Hardwear sketched a rough diagram on a piece of scratch paper to convince us that the Super Compressor Hooded Jacket was worthy of recognition.

His ink lines mapped an intricate interior baffle design, including “bubbles” of propped-up Thermal.Q Elite fill, an open air pocket in the middle, then an additional layer of insulation underneath.

The result is a new take on the synthetic puffy that ricochets body heat unlike anything on the market. It rolls up to the size of a football for storage in a pack when you get too warm. $295; available in fall 2014

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.