Nyberg’s Picks: Best of Outdoor Retailer: Episode 2

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Here are a few more of the most interesting gear we found today on the floor at Outdoor Retailer:

Hard Goes Soft—The New Storm Shell

I don't know who this guy is, but I like his jacket. This is Mammut's new Kento storm shell, and it has one thing to say: that potato-chip bag crinkle of your old rain shell—trés passé. This is a full tilt, 2-layer waterproof breathable jacket that is as supple as a soft shell. It's ninja quiet. And it looks good. Come spring '11, it will run you $199, and hold you back by just 12.8 ounces.

Garmin Updates Its Workhorse

The Garmin 60 was Outside's Gear of the Year-winning handheld GPS a few years ago. For those who still like push buttons instead of touch screens—i.e. anyone who wears gloves—the 60 series was the way to go. For spring '11, the company is doing a big overhaul—keeping the push buttons but adding some great new features like satellite photos and a more sophisticated antenna. There are a ton of wonky improvements—stuff like 3-axis tilt compensated compass and wireless data transfer—but we'll get into that stuff later. One improvement: The software is now Mac compatible.

Sleeping Pads Wake Up

There were a lot of great sleeping pads on the floor of Outdoor Retailer this show—meaning you have much better nights' sleep in your future. Exped had the most technically advanced (or at least interesting) pad I saw for ultralight hikers. At 15 ounces, and about the size of a Quiznos rolled up, it's both very light and VERY warm. Exped has rated it at R4, which basically means it can sleep on snow in truly sub-freezing conditions. It's about 2.5-inches thick, incredibly light — made of 15-denier nylon—and also incredibly delicate. Watch those crampon points. 

 On the other end of the spectrum is the luxuriously thick, five-inch Aerobed Packmat (built for car camping). The cool thing on this pad: Its pump is its storage case. You can inflate it in just a few pumps, as opposed to blowing yourself lightheaded. I've personally tested this one, and I can vouch for both its ease of use and comfort. 

More to come. Stay tuned.


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