The annual Outdoor Friedrichshafen in Germany is among the largest outdoor-gear trade shows in the world, tantamount to America’s Outdoor Retailer. While Europe has gear not found in the U.S., there is much crossover. The Gold Awards are best-in-show titles given out by the organizers to products released within two years, some for sale now, and some coming soon or in 2018.
Osprey Levity 60
Coming soon from Osprey, the Levity 60 represents “The Ventilated Pinnacle” of design. Most notably, the 60-liter pack weighs just 1.8 pounds. It also has a highly ventilated suspension found on other Osprey packs. As the judges noted, “packs of this volume don’t get any lighter.”
RIDER 3.0 Via Ferrata Set
The Skylotec RIDER 3.0 is the safest via ferrata set on the market, the brand touts. The rig uses a free-running ascender that brakes automatically in the event of a fall. This can reduce fall distance and also allows the user to rest anywhere.
Nordisk Lofoten 1 ULW
The Nordisk Lofoten 1 ULW tent weighs just 1 pound with a packed-up size of about 4.5″ x 8.5″. The brand claims it is the lightest one-man tent in the world, and smallest when packed. Judges said it is also extremely well made.
Helinox Chair Zero
Lightest chair ever? Hard to verify, but at just over 1 pound the Helinox Chair Zero is certainly in the running. It also happens to be comfortable and packs down tiny to fit in a backpack.
The tex-lock is a textile-based bike lock. It’s soft to touch, doesn’t rattle, and is super flexible. But the brand claims it has similar security as traditional locks. Judges like that it’s lighter than conventional metal locks and offers a good level of protection.
Katadyn BeFree Water Filter
The BeFree water filter and bottle from Katadyn is about the simplest water filtration on the market. Just fill the bottle and drink through the filter. When the filter plugs, give it a shake and it cleans itself. We’ve tested it and agree, it works great.
Primus Primetech Stove Set
The three-liter Primus PrimeTech Stove Set 1 has a windscreen and pot with a heat exchanger that the brand claims cuts fuel consumption in half compared with conventional stoves. A regulated valve gives consistent output even in low temps. The entire package is lightweight and compact.
Exped DownMat TT9
Manufacturer Exped calls this the “most durable and comfortable 4-season mat of a revolutionary new mat generation.” Thanks to its design, in the case of a puncture, only an individual tube is affected and can be repaired or replaced. Air-tubes are available individually with down or synthetic filling. Judges called it comfortable, durable, and insulating.
Gregory Baltoro 65 Pack
When designers created the Baltoro 65 pack, they focused on delivering energy savings. The result? A pack that is 6% lighter than its predecessor. The suspension encourages hips and shoulders to rotate freely, allowing the center of gravity to stay more aligned with the wearer’s path, saving energy. Pre-curved hip belts and shoulder harnesses can be customized using eight gender-specific sizes. Judges said the carry system is very comfortable and offers great load management.
Earthcolors Natural Waste Dyes
One person’s trash is another’s… cloth dye. Earthcolors uses natural waste products of the agriculture and herbal industries, such as almond shells and rosemary leaves, to make its dye. Judges liked that the process is a “step toward greater sustainability.”
Jack Wolfskin Texapore Ecosphere
Jack Wolfskin claims its Texapore Ecosphere is the first fully recycled membrane jacket on the market. The shell fabric, waterproof-breathable membrane, fleece, trimmings, and zippers are all recycled. It’s a 20k/15k waterproof-breathable shell, so it stacks up to much of the competition.
Fision Size Adviser
Take two selfies and this technology tells you what size to wear. The image processing technology creates 3D body models based on two pictures of a person. In a matching process between the model and the manufacturing table of the garment, a holistic size recommendation for any piece of apparel is provided. It could be a huge innovation for online shopping.
Patagonia MicroPuff Hoody
Patagonia claims the MicroPuff provides more warmth for its weight than any jacket it’s made before. It uses a proprietary “PlumaFill” insulation Patagonia calls the “best down-like synthetic yet created.” According to the brand, PlumaFill has comparable warmth-to-weight, compressibility, and feel to down, but “in an ultralight, durable, warm-when-wet synthetic garment that will never clump or cold-spot.” Judges agreed: “It’s extremely lightweight and has body-mapped, quilted baffles in a unique and distinctive tiled design.”
Norrona Convertible Alpha60 Jacket
The Norrona Convertible Alpha60 Jacket is made for mountain biking. Built with breathable Polartec Alpha60 insulation, a recycled face fabric, a breathable back, and reflective details, judges said they would “buy it immediately.”
Women’s Alize Ultra Light Windproof
At 106 grams, the Alize Ultra Light Windproof Jacket by Paramo weighs less than a banana. But it packs a helmet-compatible hood, a full-length zipper, ventilation zips, and pockets. It’s made from Nikwax Ultralight Windproof fabric, which is tear resistant and repels water with a PFC-free coating.
KEEN EVOFIT ONE Sandal
This next-gen sandal has a synthetic upper fabric that Keen touts “adapts to your foot.” PU cushioning provides underfoot comfort. It’s made without PFCs and has a natural odor-control treatment. Judges raved about KEEN’s special footbed design: “The innovative synthetic upper, PU cushioning and rubber outsole are very comfortable in all terrain,” they wrote.
Tecnica Thermo-Formable Hiking Boots
Skiers know the benefits of moldable boots. Now, hikers can get the same kind of custom fit with the Forge boot from Tecnica. The boot has thermo-formable inserts in the heel, arch and ankle, and a moldable footbed.
Wild Country Meshuga Climbing Shoe
The Meshuga is a new design that uses naturally elastic PU and microfiber in a patent-pending sandwich composite construction and a Michelin rubber outsole. Judges liked the precise upper and molded rubber in the design.
Packman 42 / Packman 45 Backpack
BACH introduces a weatherproof concept in its Packman 42 and 45. The packs allow a user to stow wet and dry gear separately. They are made for backpacking and mountain treks.
Hydro Flask Soft Cooler Pack
The 25-liter Hydro Flask Cooler Pack keeps foods and drinks cold up to 48 hours and weighs just 2.5 pounds, the lightest in its category.
Blue Ice Choucas Light Harness
The Choucas Light Harness is the world’s lightest harness with independent openable leg loops. It weighs just 3.17 ounces and has gear loops and ice screw keepers for fast-and-light alpine climbs.
Edelrid Topper Station Refit
The Topper Station is a climbing gym anchor for refitting an existing anchor system. It can be installed without requiring modification to a wall. The carabiner can move freely in all directions so it reduces rope kinking and twisting. Judges called it an “important contribution to improving indoor climbing safety.”
Gruezi Bag Biopod Downwool Subzero
Wool and down in one sleeping bag. That’s the magic ingredient in the Gruezi Bag Biopod Downwool Subzero. The brand claims the wool absorbs humidity and creates a buffer for the down material. The down is therefore able to remain stable in humid conditions.
DMM iD incorporates a radio frequency identification feature (RFID) into ropes, harnesses, ‘biners, slings, and more. This helps climbers manage, inspect and audit their climbing gear safely with a RFID system. Judges said it’s “an important advance in safety management.”
Robens Couloir 750
This sleeping bag is designed for ease of use inside. Everything from the center zip, the position of thermal collar and hood position adjustment, and the overall shape has been developed to work as effortlessly as possible, the brand touts. Judges loved the hood and thermal collar.
MSR TrailBase Water Filter Kit
The TrailBase is meant for versatility. Modular components allow use as a gravity system at camp, a pocket-size filter on the trail, or a fast and light reservoir for clean water anywhere.
Nemo Helio LX Pressure Shower
The Helio LX is a 22-liter, welded fabric water tank. Fill it, set it on the ground, and use the foot pump to pressurize. Enjoy 7-10 minutes of pressurized water with occasional pumping during use, Nemo touts.
onTracks Guidance System
A strange haptic innovation for hikers who get lost: Select a route on your smartphone app, and slip on these bracelets. The left bracelet vibrates for a left turn, right for right turn. Simple as that.
Sheico Group Digital Printed Glideskin
This stretchy neoprene rubber for wetsuits and swimsuits can be printed in new ways. Judges said it “makes new and unique patterns possible. Designers will love it.”
Vaude Sport Seamless tent
The Space SUL 1-2P Seamless Tent has “almost no seams.” The brand claims it’s twice as tear resistant without perforating seams. It has steep walls for lots of useable space. Judges said that the production process behind this product deserves to be honored.
Millican Miles The Duffle Bag 40L
This duffle bag has an external laptop sleeve, internal compression straps, and removable rucksack straps, so you can carry it four different ways: as a rucksack, a shoulder bag, or by either of the two handles.
Pants From Fishing Nets
The Ride On Pants from Ternura are made from recycled fishing nets. The brand collected 12 tons of old nets from Basque fishing ports in 2016. Ternura turned the nets into fabric through the “Econyl regeneration system” and sewed itÂ into pants. These have stretch and fluorcarbon-free DWR.
BaseFresh is a deodorizing treatment for clothing worn next to skin. Nikwax claims it revitalizes the wicking properties of base layers and improves moisture management and thermal regulation. It can also reduce and remove body odors.
Tierra DETERRA Hood Anorak
This technical jacket by Tierra is made without any fossil-based materials. It’s made of castor beans, Tencel, wool, corn, cotton, and corozo nuts. Instead of plastic stoppers the hood is adjusted with a knot.
Saxx Kinetic Running Shorts
These are some comfy running shorts. Saxx, known for its men’s underwear, created this short with a wonderfully soft and supportive liner. We’ve tested and love ’em. So did the judges.
This modular training space for climbing, parkuor, Crossfit (and more) is easy to set up and offers endless variation. Work on upper or lower body specifics, coordination, balance, or a mix.
Lyo designed these backcountry meals for sharing. The profits are shared with the brand’s ambassadors, who created the recipes. Judges like the marketing concept. “The individual meals with favorite recipes from popular outdoor athletes is a creative idea that will connect with customers,” they said.
VATERLAND Urban Commuter Jacket
Startup brand VATERLAND got attention with a jacket sewn by refugees in Germany. “The concept behind this jacket is very worthy of a reward,” judges said. “VATERLAND has successfully set up a production system where refugees living in Europe use their skills to make high-quality clothing.”