Gear Institute Expert Test Menu


By: Aaron Bible - July 19, 2017

Camping is the sport that unites all the other outdoor sports. The gear might not be as sexy as climbing hardware or hand-tied flies, but it can save your life and allow you to rest comfortably after a hard day adventuring. Here’s a look at some of the camping and backpacking innovations brands will be showing off next week at the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow in Salt Lake City.

Cauldryn Battery Powered Waterbottle

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Brand new to the market and something innovative for hikers and backpackers, Cauldryn says its water bottle can boil and sterilize water by heating it to 212 degrees with a removable, rechargeable battery. It will then keep 16 ounces of your favorite hot beverage at a set temperature all day long.

Sierra Designs' Staying Power

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Photo by Mason Strehl, courtesy of Sierra Designs

Sierra Designs’ says its newest sleeping bags and air pillows represent the next chapter in the brand’s legacy of affordable, innovative design. Importantly, all of their 2018 bags will include PFC-free insulation and fabrics. And, Sierra Designs’ new semi-freestanding Sweet Suite tent is a 2-door, 2-vestibule lightweight tent with pre-bent pole geometry that creates near vertical walls for exceptional interior space ($369.95/2p; $459.95/3p)

Brooks Range Foray


The new Foray Deluxe has a comfy 34 square feet of floor space and a free standing design in a two-person tent with cross ride poles, which create a better internal space, in addition to two easy-to-enter/exit D-doors. A No Drip front door provides extra protection from the elements.  ($459.95)

Astral Footwear


Astral is introducing its next generation in ultralight, amphibious hiking shoes with the TR1 Merge (MSRP $140). Mid-cut, fast-drying uppers and G Rubber outsoles merge in a multi-season hiking shoe.

UCO Magic Fire Starters


We love the new UCO Stormproof Sweetfire Behemoth firestarter – reputed to be the largest, most submersible tinder on the market at 5.5 inches, made from bagasse (a sugarcane waste product) with a Stormproof striking tip. They have a burn time of 15 minutes. ($14.99/10-pack in collectible metal tin)

Kelty Camping


Kelty is introducing a new lightweight aluminum trekking pole called the Snapshot; a new version of its famed child carriers, the Journey PerfectFIT; a family camping tent called the Sequoia; and the Kelty Tru.Comfort Camp Bed with Vortex Inflation System. The Sequoia allows a 6’6” camper to stand up and move freely in both 4 and 6-person styles. Kelty’s Vortex Inflation System is a no-batteries, no-pump bag that captures external air and inflates the 4.75-inch bed for campers looking for comfort. (Single $119.95, Doublewide $179.95)

Helly Hansen Tech Prep

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Helly Hansen is never one to hold back on new product innovations, especially in jackets, and this year the Euro brand is introducing the new Odin Thrudheim Jacket ($275), with updates to its classic Verglas Light Jacket ($200), among other new products for trekkers.  Made from a new light and soft 3L Helly Tech Professional fabric, it will be a great option for the technical w/b shell crowd.

MSR Megalopoly

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This fall, MSR is introducing a new Trail Base Water Filter Kit ($139.95); WindBurner Stove System Family sets range ($179.95-$259.95); and a Hubba Tour Tent Line ($549.95 - $749.95). The Trail Base microfilter kit delivers the versatility of two filters in one—a gravity system and a trail filter—plus a fast and light water storage bag.

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The expanded WindBurner family will now offer solutions for solo travelers, group campers and variety of cooking styles in modular, nesting cookware with the consistently fast boil times that MSR’s radiant burner technology and windproof systems deliver. All pre-existing WindBurner products and accessories will fit/work with the new remote stove design.

Therm-a-Rest Forever

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The new gapless Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Camper Duo weighs 4 lbs 2 oz. in an R-Value of 2.2 and 3-inches of stable support – perfect for side sleepers. Designed with famed polar explorer Eric Larsen, the new Polar Ranger is an 800-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down bag designed to keep adventurers safe and secure through the worst winter storms. Side vents open to allow customizable temperature control and arm use; while overlapping draft tubes prevent cold spots when zippers are closed. The synthetic snorkel hood eliminates cross drafts and resists moisture created by breath.

About the Author

Aaron Bible

Aaron Bible

Aaron H. Bible is an adventure travel writer, documentary photographer, and gear abuser.


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