Twice a year, gear makers from all over the world gather in the Denver, Colorado Convention Center to share their newest designs, innovations, and inventions with outdoor stores, journalists, and their peers. This year, the biggest focus was on how to keep people kitted out in rain jackets, hiking boots, and travel bags, without trashing the beautiful places we thrill to experience.
Besides eco-benign waterproofing and repurposed content, gear keeps getting lighter but also more durable, using less material and lasting longer. Here are a few of our favorite new products, most of which will be available spring of 2020.
Black Diamond Session
Grippy, comfortable and versatile, Black Diamond’s new lifestyle approach shoe might be the ultimate travel shoe. Made to help rock climbers get to the crag, it has the support, stability, and grip to make it ideal for a technical approach to a viewpoint, a long haul flight, or café hopping.
It slides on easily (no need to fuss with laces), and the integrated sock-like bootie and knit upper are supportive and won’t overheat your feet. You won't fear you'll slip, regardless of where you're walking. The sticky rubber sole is grippy for both approaches or commutes. $120, blackdiamondequipment.com
These plastic-free, endlessly reusable silicone bags have an air-tight pinch-shut seal, a lot like a Ziplock. But these sandwich bag-like storage bags won’t end up in the landfill or the ocean after you empty them of trail snacks, toiletries, or leftovers.
The bags don’t absorb flavors. They also save on dishes--you can cook, store and freeze right in the bag and you can also eat out of Stasher bags. If one does get damaged or you want to replace it, send your old bag back to Stasher and they’ll turn it into playground pebbles. Starting at $8, stasherbag.com
Osprey Arcane Tote Pack
Made for urban day hikes, the canvas-feel, cleanly designed Arcane Tote is built from sustainable fabrics and custom hardware and is classy, timeless, and pleasant to touch. A top zip gives access to the main compartment. Seal your gear inside with the secure fold-and-hook closure. In front, a shove pocket holds small items and tucks away the tote straps when you’re wearing this bag as a pack.
A mesh-covered, ridged foam backpanel facilitates airflow and manages sweat. It holds a 15” laptop, and it converts from a pack to a tote with quick-release aluminum security hooks on the shoulder straps, which also have a hidden pocket for small essentials like a metro card. $110, osprey.com
Thule Chasm Wheeled Duffel
This bag has the storage, organization, and durability to hit the road for any length of adventure. A large main compartment has space for clothing and active gear with external compression straps to control the load. An exterior pocket and a spacious interior mesh lid pocket keep you organized on the go.
It’ll quickly become your favorite travel companion and it won’t wear out. The Chasm is built from durable, weather-resistant tarpaulin that shields your gear from elements, with a protective and shock-absorbing, molded polycarbonate back. The V-channel telescoping handle lets you maneuver oversized rear wheels over tough terrain without tipping. $330, thule.com
Goal Zero Sherpa 100 PD
Power your phone and tablet, GPS and watch, and more with Goal Zero’s Sherpa 100 PD. It’s easy to pack at 1.4 pounds, and it’s slim and trim enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
Multiple USB-C and USB-A charge ports let you juice up several devices at a time. And the Qi wireless charging pad reboots your phone, no dangling cable required. If you’re on a longer or more power-intensive trip, recharge the Sherpa 100 PD with a solar panel or wall plug. And the price can’t be beat. $170, goalzero.com
Peak Design Travel Tripod
This professional-grade, full-feature camera tripod is the width of a water bottle (around 3.2 inches), the length of a small baguette (15.5 inches), and it weighs 2.8 pounds (in carbon). The project raised over US$6 million in two weeks on Kickstarter for its portability, packability, and intuitive ease of use.
To extend the tripod, you release the three cam levers in a single one-handed click, and the tripod’s nested legs extend to over five feet. The head dial has smooth 360-degree adjustment and it locks, whether you’re using a DSLR or phone on the quick release top-plate. $349-$599, with pre-release deals still available through Kickstarter.
Eno The SkyLite Hammock
Sleeping in a hammock is an acquired taste, and skill, and usually requires flipping and flopping until you find a comfortable position. The SkyLite is a new style of hammock that’s flat like a bed or lounge chair and easy to sleep in – no flopping required.
A removable spreader bar system creates space inside, and a J-shaped door lets you in and out easily. Toggles at each end make this hammock easy to hang. A breathable mesh bug net covers the whole thing to keep mosquitoes and other bugs out so you can read, nap or just hang out without swatting. 2lbs, 7’ x 3’ and holds up to 250lbs. $170, eaglesnestoutfitters.com
GSI Pinnacle Pro Stove
Base campers rejoice. Packed in your car or camper, GSI’s sleek and modern 1.5-inch thick Pinnacle Pro Stove takes up half the space of a standard two burner stove. GSI engineers redesigned the twin 11,000 BTU high-efficiency ring style burners to draw and mix oxygen and fuel on a horizontal, not vertical plane, reducing burner depth.
Retracting legs that expand automatically when you open the stove further contribute to the space savings. The stove lights instantly with a dual piezo ignition system. And the non-stick coated boil-over tray makes cleanup fast and easy. $170, Gsioutdoors.com
Patagonia Nets to Brims P-6 LoPro Trucker Hat
Patagonia’s logo hat brims are now made from repurposed discarded fishing nets that have been sourced and traced by Bureo. Each year, the project will prevent around 40 tons of waste from entering the ocean. The P-6 LoPro Trucker complements a repurposed brim with an organic cotton front, a mesh back, adjustable snap closure and, of course, Patagonia’s logo. $35, Patagonia.com
Biolite Headlamp 200
Headband-like and a feathery 1.6 ounces, this rechargeable headlamp is minimalist, comfortable, and powerful. Its 200 lumens is enough to shine 50 meters into the night to light a hike, tent setup, bottom of the backpack search and more.
The battery lasts up to three hours on high, and 40 hours on low. And it’s rechargeable, so you won’t be tossing disposable batteries in the landfill when you use it. $40, bioliteenergy.com
MSR Thru-Link In Line Microfilter
Add filtration to your hydration without buying a new system. MSR’s Thru-Link, which was developed in 2006 as an on-the-move water filtration solution for the U.S. military, is now available to everyone else.
The universal filter uses fast-flow hollow fiber to remove pathogens, particulates, and microplastics, and activated carbon to reduce chemicals, tastes, and odors. Drink through it on the trail, or use it for gravity filtration in camp or on the road. $40, msrgear.com
Red Paddle Compact 9’6” Paddleboard
Save space without compromising on performance with this full-sized SUP that folds down to half the size of a regular inflatable paddle board. Its foldability makes it easy to carry, whether you're hopping on a bus, or tossing it in your trunk.
A new weaving process creates an extra-strong web of threads at the board’s core. Combined with a rugged exterior, when it’s inflated, it’s stiff and also resistant to punctures and wear. The Compact comes with a backpack, a 5-piece paddle, Titan pump, leash, and removable fins. $1899, redpaddleco.com