At the risk of stereotyping, if you want quality engineering, talk to the Germans.
Accordingly, it should come as no shocker that one of the year's best gatherings of outdoor gearmakers — OutDoor Friedrichshafen — took place in Germany last month. It's the European analogue to North America's Outdoor Retailer, a biannual bazaar celebrating all things backcountry.
This year, ODF bestowed 29 items with a "Best in Show" designation. Here are our top 10, all of which will be released in the coming year (if they're not already).
You're gonna notice a theme here: holy s***t, this stuff is ridiculously lightweight.
Paragon 58 w/ Aerolon System by Gregory
Because the ventilation system makes it cool to carry and it only weighs three pounds. It also has a hydration sleeve and removable sidekick pack.
Ultralight Hammock by Sea to Summit
Because the 20D monofilament sleeper weighs less than half a pound but supports nearly 300 pounds.
Loopo Light by Edelrid
Because it weighs less than a bar of chocolate but will support you while shimmying across glaciers with your pack fully loaded and skis in tow.
Escape Pod 1P Bivy by NEMO Equipment
Because it provides exceptional bug protection and weighs less than eight ounces.
REVO by Wild Country Limited
Because its bi-directional locking system locks automatically in uncontrolled descents in a way that no other belay device ever has.
LOWA Approach Pro GTX
Because it provides incredible stability for a lowtop trail shoe. It’s also lightweight and cuts a more handsome figure than most hiking shoes.
Ultra Light Titanium Pocket Cleats by Vargo
Because they fold up neatly to fit in your pocket while providing exceptional traction.
Ventiprene by Spanflex
Because it’s the first breathable neoprene that also keeps you dry as a bone.
Mythos Eco by La Sportiva (not yet available)
Because La Sportiva’s Mythos is one of the most lauded climbing shoes on the market, and now it’s going to be made entirely by reused materials without sacrificing quality.
Fl-FL-KP80 by Flocus
Because its made from kapok, now considered to be the cleanest, most sustainable fiber on the market, and it’ll insulate you like no other.