Outdoor Retailer ‘Best In Show’ Summer 2017

From climbing gear to tents (to kayaks, boots, stoves, and packs) brands congregate each summer in Utah to launch new products at the Outdoor Retailer trade show. Our team of experts spent the week evaluating hundreds of products at the massive event to find the best to-be-released gear for 2018.

Jack Wolfskin ‘Eco’ Jacket

Meet the industry’s first fully recycled waterproof-breathable jacket. That’s the claim with Jack Wolfskin’s Texapore Ecosphere line, which includes multiple styles with shell fabric, fleece, and zippers all built from recycled sources. Significantly, the waterproof-breathable membrane is made of “left-over fabrics from the production of other jackets” to align with the German company’s goal of zero waste.

ENO Fuse Hammock Spreader System

Finally, an easy and comfortable way to hang two hammocks from just two trees. ENO’s Fuse is a set of aluminum alloy spreader bars that allows hammocks to hang parallel to each other so your companion stays close. This side-by-side hang allows hammock campers to only bring a single tarp, cutting weight. The Fuse spreader bars are similar to tent poles and collapse for transport. They weigh 9.8oz. and will cost $30.

Midland PPG100 Power Station

You can literally sink the Midland PPG100 battery in a lake and still use it later. The 25-pound power station has an IP67 waterproof rating, meaning it can survive submerged three feet for 30 minutes (closed). The 950Wh lithium battery touts a simple interface, built-in inverter, and storage lid. It packs enough punch to run a mini-fridge for 48 hours and charges via solar or wall outlet.

Chaco Z/Canyon 2

Chaco upgrades with a new heel strap and sole, converting its cult classic sandal to a performance water shoe, the Z/Canyon 2. A TPU heel holster secures the foot and doesn’t let it shift, allowing the user to walk with more confidence and comfort. Beneath the midsole is a running-inspired rebound plate. The plate helps transfer your energy more efficiently into forward motion. Wear them in water or on land.

Petzl Bindi Headlamp For Runners

A headlamp designed just for runners, the Petzl Bindi weighs almost nothing at 1.2 ounces. That’s a couple ounces lighter than the brand’s current “active” model (and barely heavier than an ultra-compact emergency headlamp). But this one kicks out up to 200 lumens. It has four lighting modes including red to preserve night vision and uses a rechargeable battery.

Osprey Levity / Lumina

Osprey upped its ultralight game for 2018. Among the biggest players in backpacks, Osprey’s latest weighs just 1.76 and 1.8 pounds for 45- and 60-liter sizes. That’s lighter even than high-end Dyneema bags from boutique brands. Plus, you get Osprey’s excellent “Anti-Gravity” suspension (which we tested and love). In 2018, these will be the packs to watch.

Columbia Omni-Shade Sun Deflector

Clothing that keeps you cool: This concept is a constant quest for outdoors brands, and Columbia took a new, effective swing at it with Omni-Shade Sun Deflector. This technology — which will first be introduced in shirts for running and fishing — literally reflects the heat. Yep, they’re shiny thanks to the titanium-dioxide dots. It’s a welcome new technology that will keep you cooler when standing in the sun.

TNF Prophet Pack 100

The North Face recommits itself to expedition-worthy packs with a giant 100-liter model. The brand applied for three patents in the Prophet Pack 100, which it says carries massive loads in comfort. For one, it self-equalizes weight and gives on-the-move adjustability. The pack costs $439 when it goes on sale in early 2018.

YETI Bucket

YETI improved something that sucks universally. Seriously, this is the best bucket ever made. It improves a category that hasn’t seen change since Home Depot Orange. It’s $40, handles up to 300 lbs., won’t get stuck when stacked, and sports a bomber braided nylon handle. You’ll never need another bucket. Buy once, cry once. And then chuck it in the bucket.

Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Shoe

A standout in Black Diamond’s first foray into climbing shoes, the Momentum ($90) serves as an entry level gym-specific shoe. Most notably, the upper is a knit construction, giving a breathable option for sweaty training days working routes. In testing, we found the shoe stays cooler as it absorbs moisture and is breathable—features that are tough to find in traditional climbing shoes.

Altra DUO Shoe

See-through upper panels, light foam, and meticulous cut-outs on the rubber tread shave grams to get this uber-cushioned shoe to a low weight. With 31mm stack height, the DUO weighs just 7.9 ounces. It has a soft tongue made of suede to prevent “lace bite” on the instep.

Armored Klymit Sleeping Pad

The Klymit Armored V is an air pad that won’t pop flat. Go ahead, lay on broken glass. We tried it. This pad has some of the toughest fabric we’ve seen — an “armored” splay of scaly Superfabric dominates the underside. For anyone who sleeps on rough terrain, Klymit gives a new, pop-proof option.

Tecnica Forge Hiking Boot

Tecnica introduced the first hiking boot that can be thermo-molded. Boot fitters heat the boot in-shop, then use inflatable devices to press the boot around the customer’s feet and ankles. The result is a perfect custom fit. We’ve tested these $250 hikers and attest the Tecnica Forge is awesome.

Leatherman Tread Tempo

Can your Rolex crack glass or tighten a screw? Well, the $575 Tread Tempo can, and it also has a handsome watch face with Swiss movement. Leatherman’s entrance into the world of timepieces impressed us with its combination of functionality and nice looks. It’s based off the tool-equipped Tread bracelet. See it on store shelves (and wrists) soon.

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