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Top 10 Gear Picks from Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2018

Backcountry safety, eco-friendly climbing shoes, heated gloves(!), and more.

By: Liam McNally + Save to a List

A few times a year, the outdoor industry gathers at Outdoor Retailer to show off the latest and greatest gear, hold discussions and panels covering topics most important to our community, and share ideas for innovation and collaboration across the board. Over a couple days of walking the floor in Denver last week, I took a look at some of the newest, most innovative pieces of gear in the industry as well as some timeless products with exciting updates. Here are 10 pieces of gear that I'm especially stoked about.


Black Diamond Jet Force Pro

The updated avalanche airbag system in the new JetForce Pro from Black Diamond is sure to put any backcountry skier's mind (and their mother's mind) at ease. Of course, you always rely on good decision-making first, but if the worst case scenario plays out, having this on your back could be the difference between life and death. With a fan-based system (no canisters), bluetooth capabilities for easy software updates, and a modular system that gives you the ability to increase or decrease the carrying capacity depending on what kind of tour you're going on, BD really thought of everything. The JetForce Pro is rechargeable, travel-friendly and extremely durable. No surprise that it was a winner for the OR Innovation Award. Available Spring 2019.


Norrona Tamok Gore-Tex Pro Jacket

I'd never heard of Norrona until shortly before this year's Winter Market, but quickly became a big fan. They're a family-owned company, started by a Norwegian guy named Jørgen Jørgensen (seriously) in 1929 and they make some really nice-looking winter apparel. In the Tamok Gore-Tex Pro Jacket, the durable, recycled 45D outer fabric has a natural and cotton like feel, and the shoulders have reinforced yokes with a suede look for that extra protection and edge. The whole Tamok collection features backcountry-ready, highly technical apparel with clean, minimalist style. Available Winter 2018/19.


Outdoor Research Gripper Heated Sensor Gloves

Nothing crushes spirits on the ski lift like cold hands. Luckily, Outdoor Research is on it. Light, tactile, windproof and super-warm, the new Gripper Sensor Heated Gloves add power (literally) to one of Outdoor Research’s best-selling gloves with the ALTIHeat system. ALTIHeat distinguishes itself by offering 61 percent more power output than any other heated glove system, combined with twice as much heated surface area. In addition, ALTIHeat integrates the heating elements into the interior fabric, which means no bulky wires, better flex, as well as heating throughout the fingers and back of hand. GORE-TEX INFINIUM with WINDSTOPPER technology ensures these gloves stave off bad weather, and a Sensor thumb and index finger allow compatibility with touchscreens. Available Winter 2018/19.


Big Agnes Insulated AXL Trail Boss

This is one tough sleeping pad. It's hard to tell from an image, but the fabric looks and feels absolutely bomber. The Insulated AXL Trail Boss is made with aviation grade rip-stop fabric made with nano filament thread for abrasion and tear resistance - the polycarbonate coating on exterior of the bottom fabric makes it 10 times more abrasion resistant than fabric without this coating. They use similar stuff to make the emergency life rafts and evacuation slides on aircrafts...so let your dog try its damndest to puncture this thing with its claws on your next camping trip and I'll but it holds up. Available Spring 2019.


Matador Adventure Gear Travel Accessories

Matador Adventure Gear is another new company for me and another Innovation Award Winner. They make super packable day packs and ingenious travel accessories like the toiletry items shown above. The toiletry bottle on the right seems to be the biggest game-changer for most, but the one on the left is especially neat to me; a bar soap carrier that allows the soap to dry while being stored, without the bag itself getting wet and soapy. Don't ask me how they do it, but if it performs as they claim it does I'll be a loyal customer. Available now.


Adidas Outdoor Climaheat Jacket ($349)  

I've been curious about Adidas Terrex for the last couple years as I continue to see their climbing athletes crush while sporting their gear. The Climaheat Jacket caught my eye at the show, although I was partial to the orange color option (available 2019). A packable down jacket combining Pretex Quantum GL face fabric for the best strength-to-weight ratio and 90/10 goose down for feather-light warmth in the coldest weather, the Climaheat also features a pack-it-pocket for compact storage. Available now, just not in the orange color that I have my eye on.  


Mammut Realization Short

I'm super curious about these and imagine that they are polarizing for most climbers. For me, after a long day of climbing - or even after one tough route - nothing feels better than taking off my harness. But according to most reviews I've read, Mammut has pulled off the balance of comfort and function with the Realization Shorts, so they could become a must-have for me. Available now.


Fjällräven’s Bergtagen 38

If you can't quite swing the price tag on the Jet Force Pro, or for whatever reason, an airbag system isn't your first choice for a touring pack, Fjällräven’s Bergtagen 38 should definitely be on your radar. I love the balance of style and function in this pack, which is not a surprise coming from Fjällräven. Designed to perform on tough ascents, the Bergtagen 38 is a non-compromising mountaineering backpack with a strong focus on durability and comfort. The unique wooden frame, top lid and hip belt are all removable, allowing for adaptable usage – you can have a sturdier, more supportive pack for long approaches and a lighter, more flexible one for summit pushes. Made from their new, waterproof Bergshell fabric in recycled nylon with an innovative, flat ripstop construction. Available Spring 2019.


La Sportiva Mythos Eco Climbing Shoe

The Mythos are supposed to be the most comfortable climbing shoes on the market and I'm actually really surprised I haven't picked up a pair yet. I'm too loyal to my TC Pros, I guess. The Mythos Eco aren't super new, but I only discovered them at the show this year. Produced almost entirely from eco-friendly materials and with sustainable processes, they quickly jumped to the top of my list for my next pair of climbing shoes. Available now.


Icebreaker Men's Tech Lite Short Sleeve Crewe

I already own a shirt just like this from Icebreaker that's my first choice for running, climbing, and hiking. It's a super lightweight and breathable layer (layering is Icebreaker's specialty). I love my current Tech Lite Shirt, but at OR I got to check out some of their graphic T's with beautiful artwork and now I have to have one because they just look that much better. Available now.

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