The annual Outdoor Friedrichshafen, the European counterpart to America’s Outdoor Retailer, takes place in Germany and is among the largest outdoor-gear trade shows in the world. Some of Europe’s gear won’t hit U.S. shelves, but there’s plenty of crossover. Show jurors awarded Industry, Startup, and Gold Awards for products released within the past two years, for sale now, or coming soon in 2018/19.
Judges dubbed the Smart Scorecard “the first ever fully digital solution for running, climbing, and bouldering competitions.” Awarded for its Degree of Innovation, the Smart Scorecard replaces traditional paper scorecards. It allows real-time rankings and live results for climbing competitions that can also be viewed online.
Adidas Terrex Agravic Windweave Jacket
Better breathability here, a little more windproofing there: The Adidas Terrex Agravic windbreaker’s material sports variable-density yarns. Judges liked that this permits more breathability and protection where it’s needed than traditional windbreakers.
Norrona Skibotn Gore-Tex Pro Jacket
Dual front zippers, hand covers, and four-way-stretch Gore-Tex: Friedrichschafen judges said Norrona‘s cycling jacket “deserves an award for its feature set alone.” Judges liked the enduro/downhill jacket’s venting capabilities, all-weather protection, and — yes — hand covers.
The support of a hiking boot with the agility of a trail running shoe: That’s the claim of Naglev’s Unico. Judges awarded the shoe for its one-piece Kevlar upper, integrated merino sock liner, and “super clean design.”
Salewa Wildfire Edge Convertible Approach Shoe
With the Wildfrire Edge approach shoe, Salewa aimed for a comfortable, fast approach shoe that can tighten up for greater performance on technical climbing sections. And judges agreed it does just that, awarding the “progressive” shoe for its “high-functional versatility.”
Icebreaker Transparency Report
We took note of Icebreaker’s comprehensive Transparency Report when it launched this spring. And now the New Zealand merino company receives high marks from industry professionals as well, with judges deeming it “an important benchmark for transparency in the industry.”
Gore-Tex 3D Fit Footwear
No waterproof shoes? No problem! Gore-Tex introduces the 3D Fit insert: a stretchy, form-fitting liner you wear like a sock to keep your feet dry in any shoes. Judges called it “an important breakthrough for shoe manufacturing.”
Vaude Trail Spacer 8 Pack
Hike, run, or mountainbike, the Trail Spacer 8 pack from Vaude claims to offer a storage option with a breathable, vest-like fit. Judges liked the seamless 3D shoulder straps and lightweight knit construction. Plus, the pack received high marks for “great load distribution” and “outstanding breathability.”
Green Threads RT66 Recycled Stretch Nylon
Green Threads claims it has the “world’s first commercially available” type-66 stretch nylon. Judges considered it a “great blend of highly desirable attributes” with high sustainability.
Fjällraven Bergshell Recycled Nylon
Sweden’s Fjällraven developed its own 100 percent recycled waterproof fabric. Judges called Bergshell “an important sustainable innovation” and praised its abrasion resistance and weight.
Scott Spunto Jr. Plus Helmet
Scott‘s Spunto Jr. Plus won over judges as a legitimate safety advancement for young athletes. The MIPS-equipped kids’ helmet has an adjustable fit to grow with the child as well as an integrated light.
Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO Inflatable Kayak
Lauded for inflatable kayak portability with skin-on kayak performance, the AirFusion EVO by Advanced Elements won acclaim for its simple setup and solid performance in the water.
Outwell Dreamboat Sleeping Pad
A self-inflating sleeping pad with adjustable insulation, the Outwell Dreamboat’s ease of use and functionality earned it an industry award. Judges liked that users can flip the pad over for more or less insulation.
Nikwax Hydrophobic Down
Even if you filled your down sleeping bag with water and shook it for 16 straight hours, it would still keep you warm. At least, that’s if it has Nikwax hydrophobic down fill. Judges called it “a new step forward for eco-friendly, innovative, functional down production” and touted Nikwax’s claim that it’s 50 times more water-repellent than untreated down.
Grüezi bag Biopod DownWool Nature
No zippers, no plastic, and nothing synthetic. As German-based Grüezi bag advertises the Biopod DownWool Nature, “everything about the sleeping bag is made of natural materials.” It sports water-repellent cotton construction with a down-wool-blend fill. Judges awarded it as a “very sustainable and innovative” sleeping bag design.
GentleTent GT Inflatable Roof Tent
Meet the world’s first inflatable rooftop tent, according to its manufacturer, GentleTent. At just over 55 pounds, it’s hundreds of pounds lighter than traditional rooftop tents and advertises an inner height of at least 4 feet 3 inches. Judges called it “a great idea” and nodded to its drop-stitch construction.
Exped Hammock Trekking Tarp
Cover your hammock or your campsite: The Exped Hammock Trekking Tarp can be staked out and folded in a number of configurations. Judges noted not only its functionality and weight/pack size but also its zero-waste manufacturing process.
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Tent
“Amazing!” said Friedrichschafen judges, who awarded the ultralight Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 tent for having “the lightest, most advanced tent fabric we know of.” The two-person tent weighs 1 pound 11 ounces, sports two doors and two vestibules, and costs $400 here in the U.S.
Leki Black Series Trekking Poles
“Infinitely adjustable” and all carbon, the Leki Black Series trekking poles earned judges’ respect. The performance poles received the award for their “super-strong, super-light and comfortable carbon” construction.
Gregory Jade 53L Ventilated Backpack
Free-floating carry system, 3D hip belt, and adjustable torso all add up to a backpack that “all the female members” of the judges panel appreciated.
Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL Child Carrier
Built specifically for a woman’s body, the Kid Comfort Active SL marks Deuter’s first child carrier with moms in mind. Judges nodded to a sturdy construction and functionality they “expect from Deuter.”
Black Diamond Distance 8L Pack
A running pack with mountain adventures in mind, Black Diamond‘s Distance 8-liter pack earned an award for its “superb fit, great workmanship, and clean look.”
Tecnica Plasma S GTX
Walk into a specialty retailer and have custom-made footwear perfectly shaped to your feet in 20 minutes. That’s the idea behind Tecnica‘s Plasma S GTX. Tecnica introduced thermo-molded hiking boots last year. Now, it tackles shoes with that same bespoke fit system also used in ski boots.
Mammut Taiss Light Mid GTX Boots
Using “Georganic 3D technology,” Mammut created a mountaineering boot that fits better and weighs less than boots of old. Judges said the Taiss Light “demonstrates a very impressive design.”
Mad Rock Haywire
Calling it “an important breakthrough,” judges praised Mad Rock for the Haywire’s single-piece rubber toe box. Mad Rock wasn’t shy either, calling the Haywire the “future of climbing shoes” thanks to the sticky rubber it says is more sensitive and will not delaminate or lose shape over time.
Ecco Exostrike Dyneema Leather Boots
We appreciated the look, feel, and potential of Ecco’s Exostrike Dyneema-bonded leather boots when we got our hands on them. And so did Friedrichschafen judges this month, awarding the boots for “rugged hiking functionality” and a “modern aesthetic.”
Valandre Troll Down Jacket
The innovative baffle design earned the Valandre Troll down jacket its Industry Award. Judges said the anatomically shaped down chambers allowed the down inside to “loft more fully,” resulting in “impressive insulation performance.”
A spun mixture of silk and merino negates the use of synthetic fibers while maintaining their performance and durability. Judges liked the Jackson Betaspun fabric, which is fully biodegradable and offers natural-fiber feel against the skin.
Norrona Kvinherad Flex2 Smock
Sneak up on a moose in the forest with this waterproof jacket by Norrona. The Kvinderad won over judges, who touted it as a solid option for hunters who value near-silent materials.
Tindeq Duck Rings
This year’s startup award went to Tindeq for its climbing training device, Duck Rings. Designed to be a simpler, portable alternative to hangboards, Duck Rings received acclaim from judges as a great warmup and core-training tool.
Sheico Group Recycled Spandex
Sheico Group won a Gold Award for developing recycled spandex, an innovation that could save up to 1,200 tons of waste. The brand claims recycled spandex performs identically to its non-recycled counterpart. And judges called it “a truly sustainable innovation.”
Nordic Pocket Saw
Stop combing for manageable firewood and start collecting the best logs, no matter the size. The Nordic Pocket Saw offers a highly portable wood-cutter that judges called a “highly effective and very powerful piece of kit.”
Garmin inReach Mini
Garmin’s smallest satellite communication device to date won Gold at this year’s Friedrichschafen. We’ve reported on the 3.5-ounce inReach Mini sat comm device, which offers communication and maps in the most remote locations on Earth.
Robens FjellGard 60
Half insulating foam, half self-inflating polyester, the FjellGard 60 four-season sleeping pad took home Gold as a high-warmth pad that does away with cold spots.
CAMP Skimo Total Race Crampons
Hyperlight aluminum alloy and Dyneema come together to create a ski-mountaineering crampon that judges said “raises the bar for fast, secure attachment to alpine touring ski boots.” Judges also noted CAMP’s micro-adjustable linking bar allows for a more fine-tuned fit than ever before.
Salewa Apex Wall Backpack
Citing “outstanding attention to detail,” judges awarded Salewa‘s Apex Wall mountaineering pack a Gold Award. With reduced contact points and an “exceptional” load distribution system, the Apex Wall won over judges for its breathability and comfort.
Ortlieb Atrack Waterproof Backpack
An innovative rear-entry zip highlighted the features judges loved on Ortlieb‘s Atrack waterproof pack. Part travel duffel, part outdoor pack, the German-made carrier also won acclaim for its multiple attachment options.