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For the first time ever, BACKPACKER lets the cat out of the bag and announces its prestigious award winners a few days early, giving buyers a heads-up on what to order at #orshow. You’ll get the scoop in only one place: SNEWSnet.com. Check back on Jan. 5 and 6 as we unveil the rest of the winners. See you at the show!
Exped SynMat Hyperlite Duo
Say goodbye to the gap with the first-ever couples’ backpacking mattress. It packs down to Nalgene size, weighs less than 2 pounds, and provides a cozy, comfy platform for two.$279; 1 lb. 12 oz.; exped.com
MSR Guardian Purifier
Get totally pure water anywhere in the world with this pump-style water treatment device, and never, ever have to worry about cleaning or clogging. $350; 17.3 oz.; guardianpurifier.com
Patagonia Merino Air
This do-everything merino/Capilene blend has unbeatable warmth-to-weight, superb breathability, crazy-good stink resistance, and looks nothing like any baselayer you’ve ever seen. $129-$149; 6.9 oz. (m’s M crew); patagonia.com
Columbia OutDry EX Diamond Shell
Who needs a DWR? This innovative new shell never wets out or wears out, and might very well be the last backcountry rain jacket you’ll ever have to buy. $400; 15 oz. (m’s M); columbia.com
More award winners will be revealed Tuesday and Wednesday for SNEWS subscribers only. Subscribe now so you don’t miss anything!