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Friday, August 01, 2008

Best of Show: Innovative Gear Awards

I'm headed to Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake next week to report for the trade show's daily paper. With gear in mind, here's a look at the most innovative new equipment from the European OutDoor show, held two weeks ago in Friedrichshafen, Germany, as chosen by a jury that reviewed 280 new products from 25 different countries. I haven't held a single one of these products in my hands, but they all look intriguing.

Gold Wiglo Tent Concept, by Bergans of Norway. A kind of tepee with a main post in the middle and three additional posts on the sides, providing generous floor area, large entrances, and great stability.

Gold Therm-a-Rest NeoAir from Cascade Designs. Super-light air mattress said to be warmer than any other non-insulated air mattress. Jury said: "Not only unbelievably light and beautifully designed, it is also extremely comfortable and very easy to use."

Silver Smart belay device from Mammut. A lightweight device designed to automatically catch much of the load in a fall, particularly useful for skinny ropes. Jury's opinion: "Smart is dynamic, quick, and simple. A convincing design solution with perfect functionality."

Silver Mamook GTX boot by Mammut. A full-function mountaineering boot weighing just 3.5 pounds a pair.

Silver Exos 46 pack from Osprey. A lightweight but stable backpack. Jury's opinion: "The sophisticated structural design provides excellent wearing comfort."

Silver Steel Blade shovel from Grivel. Super-light snow shovel with a steel edge for icy snow. Jury's opinion: "The shovel has been reinvented: small, light, and multifunctional."

Silver BH1 bolt from Bolt Products in Germany. Twisted steel bolt that "dynamically jams into the hole when pressure is applied to significantly increase its holding power."

Silver Orbit camping lantern from Black Diamond. Super-light, adjustable, pocket-size lantern with big candle power. Jury's opinion: "A good-looking, aesthetic, low-key product."

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