According to the staff at Backpacker Magazine, gear testing is the best job in the world. “We are lucky people, and we take it seriously,” says Editorial Director Shannon Davis. “Our test team of more than 140 field scouts and staffers put in thousands of bag nights and even more miles, often through really sucky weather to sort the great from the good.”

The team spent six months on a collective quest to determine the absolute star products of the upcoming season; no item too obscure, no conditions too foul, no trail too steep. This year that quest culminated in a staff expedition to a quiet corner of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah to pick award-winners. The staff experienced unseasonable lows and winds which pushed the boundaries of comfort.

When they emerged from the desert, seven products had made the cut. The Spring 2020 Editors’ Choice-winning gear represents the best the outdoor industry has to offer in terms of toughness, safety, weight, eco-consciousness, and innovation. Each item advances its specific category in a significant way, and any hiker who takes these products out on the trail will be happy they chose them.

“We know that customers walk into outdoor shops with our Editors’ Choice issue in hand, looking for these winners,” says Davis. “That’s why we’re stoked to announce them at the Outdoor Retailer show, where buyers can jump on the intel and be sure to stock the products that their customers are gonna want.”

To complement the gear, Backpacker is also handing out two awards to things you can’t stuff in your pack. One of them, the national parks annual pass, is a tribute to something timeless, an all-access pass to the best backcountry in America. The other, the Climate Neutral initiative, is a nod to a direction Backpacker would like to see the world go in, a fuller awareness that every business can do more to analyze and offset their environmental impact.

Spring 2020 Editors’ Choice Award Winners

Mountainsmith Zerk 40b

A favorite for minimalists and long-trail dreams

Gregory Paragon 48 / Maven 45

Legendary pack suspension and features with an affordable price tag

Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Tee (booth #37105-UL)

As soft as your favorite old T, as technical as any other out there, and made of recycled materials

Rab Phantom Pull-On (booth #36066-UL)

The lightest and perhaps only shell you need

Exped FlexMat Plus

The last word in affordable, worry-free sleeping pads

Giorgio’s Savory Wild Portabella Jerky

Mushroom jerky (you read that right) that’s a refreshing break from the usual

Climate Neutral (Editors’ Choice Green Award)

This new independent nonprofit is undertaking the largest carbon foot-printing exercise in the history of mankind to create a community of Climate Neutral Certified brands. Backpacker is jumping on board, too.

MSR Dromedary (Editors’ Choice Gold Award) 

Simply stated, the toughest water hauler we’ve ever tested

National Parks Annual Pass (Editors’ Choice Gold Award)

Since its inception in 2004, it’s the best bargain in all-access outdoor exploration. 

Related

EC19_WinterPosters_Page_09

BACKPACKER Magazine's Editors Choice Awards for Spring 2019

“Just a little snow.” That’s the phrase that kept playing in my head as we wound our way through Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park in Catalonia, Spain. Everything—the granite peaks towering above us; the shores of an alpine lake; my boots—was ...read more

alex-lange-pv14V3sRB0c-unsplash

The picks are in. Backpacker has released the Fall 2020 Editors’ Choice Awards.

For over a decade, BACKPACKER has sent a team of expert gear testers to a far-flung wintery zone for an intense week of ski touring, camping, and debate to bring you the season’s best products with our annual Editors’ Choice Awards.  “It’s always challenging,” said Gear editor ...read more

BACKPACKER Magazine Names The 2020 Editors’ Choice Award Winners

Boulder, Colorado, March 20, 2020 – The manufacturers below are honored as recipients of the 2020 BACKPACKER Editors’ Choice Awards, the most prestigious award in the outdoor industry, given annually to products in recognition of their outstanding innovation in design, materials, ...read more

Mountain Hardwear_M_GhostWhispererUL crop

The 50 hottest products of the season, ranked

Combing through the season’s new gear can be like bushwhacking through a jungle: slow going. Consider us your personal guide. We spent weeks poring over press releases and product shots, watching embargoed videos, and asking questions about materials, features, and design. Then ...read more

gear

Gear watch: The 25 coolest products at Outdoor Retailer

Didn’t make it to this year’s show? We’ve got you covered. We prowled the floor for three full days in search of new products that your customers will be scrambling for. Here are 25 of the most interesting products at this year’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. A “scrappy” ...read more

Tommy Caldwell climbing

Industry Buzz: Tommy Caldwell and POW, new Salomon marketing manager, Patagonia, Editors Choice winners, and more

Keep up by reading Industry Buzz. Here are today's top headlines: Have a news tip? Email us at snewsedit@aimmedia.com. Protect Our Winters launched POW Climb today with their newest alliance member, Tommy Caldwell, and with the support of new partners La Sportiva and the American ...read more

View from inside an orange tent, looking out to trees and a fire pit

2020 SNEWS Retailer Survey results, part 4: Camping sales

This is part four of a multi-part series. The next installments will be published in the coming weeks. You can read the entire series here. We've reached the point in our analysis of the 2020 Retailer Survey results when we start digging into individual product categories to ...read more

Outdoor Gear Companies

First Look: More BACKPACKER’s Editors’ Choice Awards

For the first time ever, BACKPACKER has let the cat out of the bag, announcing its prestigious award winners a few days early to give buyers a heads-up on what to order at #orshow. You’ll get the scoop in only one place: SNEWSnet.com. Four winners were announced on Jan. 4. Check ...read more

Backpacker magazine Editors' Choice Awards thrill winners

Just a little over a month after Backpacker magazine announced the winners of the 2003 Editors' Choice Awards, the press release avalanche from companies winning recognition continues. Editors' Choice Award recognizes a product for "outstanding innovation, design, materials and ...read more