We’re on the ground at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2018, scouting the best new gear from the outdoor industry launching in 2018 and 2019. Ahead of announcing our annual picks for Editor’s Choice, we’re taking a moment each day of the show to share some of our favorite items from the floor.
Contribution by AJ Powell, Meg Lappe and Tanner Bowden.
RMU Core Pack MTB
Rocky Mountain Underground is no longer just a ski company. With every season, the Colorado-based brand expands further into the outdoor space, and it’s following up the recent release of its Tailgate Locker with another mountain bike product, the Core Pack MTB. The pack features many of the same traits as RMU’s other outdoor products: rugged materials, adjustable components, multi-sport versatility. It’s 15 liters and features a ventilated back panel, a dedicated tool pocket, a removable waistbelt, a helmet sling and even an integrated diagonal ski carry (for the colder months). The Core Pack MTB will retail for $140.
GCI Pod Rocker + Pod Rocker with SunShade
The only thing better than a rocking chair on a front porch overlooking a lake is a rocking chair you can take anywhere and roll back and forth to the soothing sounds of all bodies of water. GCI wants you to do just that with the launch of its Pod Rocker. The chair features GCI’s patented Spring-Action Rocking technology, so you’re comfortable in all sitting positions. A beverage holder and side pocket provide you with all the necessities for a good fire-side conversation — sip on a cold beer while playing Cards Against Humanity, solitaire or even Go Fish. If it’s too sunny, the UPF 50 shade adjusts so you can read on a Kindle or check your phone without sun glare. Plus, each chair comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Bikepacking Edition
At Outdoor Retailer, Big Agnes launched bike packing tents to help ease the pain of carrying a more heavy-duty tent with you while on the bike. Whether you’re heading from NorCal to SoCal down the 101 or taking a route less traveled, the new Copper Spur UL2 Bikepacking Edition tent has shorter tentpole segments so it’ll fit between your shifters, in a frame bag, or will simply take up less space in your pack. This tent comes with all of the bells and whistles you expect from Big Agnes, in addition to some bikepacking necessities. There’s a helmet sleeve under the fly and a large interior storage area for your bike gear.
Mountainsmith Dry Tour Lumbar Pack
Fanny packs, lumbar packs, hip packs — the name changes, but the trend continues to grow. Mountainsmith designed the Dry Tour hip pack outdoorsmen in mind. The pack keeps your most important gear dry, no matter what inclement weather is about to hit. Store a water bottle in the removable pocket to stay hydrated while you’re getting active. Fishermen can take full advantage of the pass-thru sleeve which is ideal for a fishing net, or just added storage. This is the pack that’ll work for everything from SUP’ing to rainy day hikes, to photography on the water to fishing.
Yeti Panga Backpack
Yeti’s newest product pushes the boundaries on what a backpack can be. The Panga Submersible Backpack 28 is an airtight citadel with the characteristics of the durable Panga duffle, but wraps into a unique backpack design. When you have to keep things dry, like on a boating or rafting trip, or even when you’re headed out to go SUP camping or fly fishing, opt for this new backpack. It’s built to be around water and is 100 percent waterproof. You could even take it surfing if that was socially acceptable (it isn’t).
The Panga Backpack is available now.
Nemo Equipment Roamer Sleeping Pad
Nemo has always done an excellent job of making backpack-friendly sleeping pads that are incredibly lightweight and plush, but for 2019 it’s maximizing comfort with the Roamer. The Roamer isn’t a backpacker’s sleeping pad; it’s built with self-inflating open-cell foam covered with plush fabric and lined on the bottom with a durable base that can be placed squarely on the ground. It’s a significant upgrade to the thick air mattress approach to camping.
Mountain Hardwear Selvedge Denim Climb Pant
More and more outdoor companies are spotlighting lifestyle pieces within their catalogs, and as a result, denim has been revitalized as an outdoor material. Mountain Hardwear impressed us before with its Dyneema-laced Crux pant, but the Selvedge Denim Climb is perhaps the most stylish pair of climbing jeans we’ve seen yet. These jeans are harness-friendly, offer a slight amount of stretch, and are designed to display the results of your efforts through a patina of cracks and scuffs.
Adidas Terrex Free Hiker
Falling somewhere between a running shoe and a hiking boot, Adidas Terrex’s new Free Hiker offers plenty of style without sacrificing on performance. The boot features a Boost midsole that’s cushy and supportive mated to a stretchy knit upper. While we wouldn’t recommend carrying heavy loads while wearing them, if you’re looking for a more comfortable hiking boot that you can wear all day, put the Free Hiker on your radar.
Camp Chef Versatop Grill
For small-dwelling folks, the new Versatop Grill from Camp Chef is designed to work at a condo, high rise or small backyard, and perhaps even in your tiny home. This portable grill top has a 16.5-inch by 15-inch griddle and a 15,000 BTU stainless steel burner. The matchless ignition erases all fire concerns and the built-in grease cup lowers the clean-up after you cook. It can work with Camp Chef’s BBQ box, a pizza oven and many of the other one-burner accessories it offers. You won’t have to wait until next summer to see this as it’s set to hit the market this fall.
Outdoor Research X-Gaiter
Just as Outdoor Research did with its award-winning gloves at Winter Outdoor Retailer, the brand is taking aerogel technology and adding it into a gaiter. The idea is to be able to extend the use of your standard hiking boots into colder climes. It’s called the X-Gaiter with PrimaLoft Aerogel insulation, and it’s guaranteed to keep your toes warm. Aerogel is a compression-resistant insulation used by NASA, and is now featured in a variety of products to help get you outdoors and stay warm.