Every summer, I run around Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City checking out the most innovative gear for our Gear of the Show awards. But as I walk the aisles, I also pay attention to the small stuff—the pieces that don’t cost a full month’s rent but still make playing outside a bit easier or more fun. This show, I spent three full days on the hunt for these little things. Here are the five I’m most excited about.
Stanley Quick Sip ($15)
Stanley figured out how to keep your coffee hot but not too hot. The Quick Sip is a dishwasher-safe stainless-steel tube about the size of a roll of quarters filled with a nontoxic gel that you insert into your insulated mug. The gel reacts to the heat and helps cool the coffee to a more drinkable temperature of about 160 Fahrenheit (the cooling happens 20 times faster than it would normally). The gel then switches off, so your coffee stays in the sweet spot. Say goodbye to burnt coffee-tongue forever.
Hydroflask 32-Ounce Growler ($45)
Hydroflask’s old insulated growler was pretty good, but this one is even better, thanks to a redesigned cap. This version has deeper threads and insulation built in, so it’ll do a better job of keeping your beer bubbly. The new cap also has a bomber plastic loop that lets you attach the growler to your raft without worrying it’ll come off when the water gets rough.
Jetboil MightyMo Stove ($50)
Jetboil made a name for itself by creating backpacking stoves that boiled water stupid fast but could also slow-cook your onions. The MightyMo has both of those features—it pumps out 10,000 BTUs and comes with burner control—but weighs just 95 grams, making it ultra-feathery for long backpacking trips.
Gerber Commuter Knife ($33)
The Commuter proves you don’t have to spend a fortune on a decent knife. This made-in-America piece features a sharp 420 high carbon steel blade. Bonus points for the hearty, easy-grip handle made from a glass-filled nylon overlay.
Black Diamond Iota Headlamp ($40)
This rechargeable headlamp is tiny—it weighs a scant 56 grams—but pumps out 150 lumens and is feature rich. For example, you dim the lamp by pressing a button on top, and a simple tap on the side (no button) brings it back to full power.