Gear

BACKPACKER Editors' Choice for Spring 2019

11 products that rose to the top for the magazine's testers


GoLite ReGreen Windshell (Green Award)

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An eco-friendly jacket that solves a problem: Each one is made with 20 recycled green plastic bottles, which often end up forgotten in landfills or in the ocean.

Rab Kinetic Alpine Pant

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Rain pants so comfortable, we were happy to wear them even when the sky was clear.

Polartec Power Air

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Microfibers are one of the scourges of the outdoor industry, but this fabric significantly reduces shedding that releases the fibers into our water supply.

Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Long-Sleeve Hoody

Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Long-Sleeve Hoody

This shirt offers the best combination of sun protection and comfort we’ve seen.

Ombraz Classics

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Unique, temple-less sunglasses that don’t squeeze your head and are easy to wear with hoods and hats.

Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 Platinum

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A spacious, semi-freestanding tent that breaks the pound-per-person barrier without sacrificing livability.

MSR Reactor Stove System (Editors’ Choice Gold Award)

MSR Reactor Stove System (Editors’ Choice Gold Award):

Simply put, this is the fastest-boiling, most efficient stove we’ve ever used.

NEMO Airpin Ultralight stakes

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These smartly designed stakes make tying knots for guylines and tarp setups a thing of the past.

Granite Gear Blaze 60 (Editors’ Choice Gold Award)

None

A super-light pack that sets the standard for load capacity and comfort for its weight.

Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20°F

Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20°F

An extremely light, extremely packable bag that comes in at an extremely attractive price.

“Just a little snow.” That’s the phrase that kept playing in my head as we wound our way through Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park in Catalonia, Spain. Everything—the granite peaks towering above us; the shores of an alpine lake; my boots—was covered in four inches of powder, and the “just a little snow” forecast now seemed optimistic in retrospect. Here at BACKPACKER we welcome challenging testing conditions, but this was a first for me. We were supposed to be vetting warm-weather gear, after all. But as the poked through the clouds and we descended into another lake-filled valley, we realized that the setting was perfect. After all, what’s the point of gear testing without a little adversity? And besides, the Pyrenees looked dazzling cloaked in white.

Over the next week, we hopscotched between tiny Catalonian mountain towns and hiked through the ruins of societies that inhabited the Pyrenees a millennium ago. All the while, we put our gear through its paces. Six months of intense testing across the globe had produced a shortlist, and we emerged from Spain with 11 products worthy enough to be called BACKPACKER Editors’ Choice Award winners. This year’s honorees represent the forefront of outdoor gear, and include advancements in safety, comfort, utility, and conservation. We’re proud of this list, and even more proud of the work that went into putting it together.

Not pictured: 

Gerber Devour Multi-Fork: Much more than a spork, this handy utensil stands on its own and packs a multitool that has some nifty features.

Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo: This spacious, affordable solo tent is the perfect combination of weight, livability, and price.

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