We get really excited about the big-ticket items at Outdoor Retailer (just check out our Gear of the Show list for proof), but there’s a lot of great, usable stuff that doesn’t require a second mortgage
Last week, the world’s top outdoor brands launched next season’s gear at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah. Over three jam-packed days, I saw hundreds of products, much of which was eye-wateringly expensive. But there were also plenty of downright affordable options. Here are six of my favorite new pieces of gear, all priced at $40 or less.
Snow Peak Mini Flame ($40)
The five-ounce Mini Flame attaches to the top of a fuel canister (it’s compatible with those from Snow Peak and Jetboil) to add some softly lit steampunk flair to an outdoor table setting. It requires very little gas, so Snow Peak recommends using it on old canisters that are too low to cook with but not yet empty.
Darn Tough Vertex Running Sock (From $15 to $18)
Through-hikers on the Pacific Coast Trail love Darn Tough because its socks live up to their name: one PCT hiker told me you can count on them for more than 1,000 miles. Like the hiking socks, the company’s new, lightweight, no-show running offerings are supposed to last approximately forever. Darn Tough builds in durability by creating socks with 1,441 stitches per square inch. If the socks fail, the company will take them back, no questions asked.
Stanley Vacuum Switchback Mug ($30)
Stanley’s insulated mugs always score at the top of our tests. The only gripe we’ve had is that they’re big and heavy. Enter the Switchback, which has been slimmed down to 16 ounces—a perfect size to throw into a snow-safety pack. Like its bigger brothers, the Switchback insulates well and has an easy-to-use, no-spill lid.
Good To-Go Pad Thai (From $6.75)
I was so busy at OR that I skipped lunch, but thankfully I was able to grab two tasting samples of Good To-Go’s new dehydrated Pad Thai. It’s almost restaurant-quality good, thanks to high-quality noodles and natural ingredients responsibly sourced by four-star chef Jennifer Scism.
Platypus Meta Bottle ($20)
Collapsible water bottles are nothing new, but we like the Platypus Meta because it’s made from food-grade silicone that keeps its structure even when not completely full, making it easier to stand upright on a picnic table. When not in use, the bottle collapses to the size of a hockey puck.
Yeti Rambler Water Bottle 18-Ounce ($40)
Yeti keeps growing its line, and this time it had three bomber water bottles to show off, including a nicely sized 18-ounce offering. These stout tubes, like everything else Yeti makes, are highly insulated and look like they’d bounce a sledgehammer and be more at home on a logging site than a backpacking trip. We’re excited to beat these things to hell during durability tests.