This story is part of the GP100, our list of the 100 best new products of the year.
Over the past few years, the outdoors was for many of us the only refuge from an unstable and constantly shifting world; as a result, we came to better understand exactly what we want (and don’t) in our outdoor gear. Brands responded with items that have their roots in customization — without the custom price tag. Think ski kits designed for adaptive athletes, multi-piece hiking apparel kits that can be mixed and matched, gloves with swappable liners and mountain bike helmets with micro-adjustment capabilities.
The best outdoor gear of 2022 proved items — and attitudes — aren’t necessarily as set in stone as we thought they were. Improvements in fit, function and features don’t just upgrade the end-user experience — they also illuminate a compelling trend: we’re more in control of what we buy, and how we use it, than ever. So what’s your next move after peeping this list? As Hunter S. Thompson would say: “Buy the ticket, take the trip.” We’ll see you out there.
Eddie Bauer BC Flyline Adaptive Jacket and Bib
Why It’s Notable: Sit-skis enable adaptive athletes to shred just as hard as anyone else. Now, for the first time ever, those shredders have a thoughtfully designed kit to match.
The Big Picture: Every skier and boarder knows the feeling — an otherwise epic day on the slopes ruined by some unexpected gear mishap. Your goggles keep fogging up. Your pit zips jam and you’re schvitzing. Something is just off with your boots. Due to the very nature of traditional outerwear, sit skiers are often stuck with such hangups. “A normal ski kit just doesn’t really work for my situation, just because I’m sitting down,” explains adaptive athlete Trevor Kennison in an Eddie Bauer video. “The pants hike up super high, to like my shins. Zippers on the sides were a huge issue, or on the butt. There’s snow buildup [on my lap]. I would just get soaked every single time.”
So the man and the brand teamed up to do something about it. Through multiple rounds of feedback and testing, Kennison and Eddie Bauer’s design team developed a jacket and bib that address these specific issues. Extra insulation and articulated knees keep legs covered and warm. Stretch fabric and full-range sleeves ease movement. A shaped hem (on the jacket), a high back (on the bib) and strategic zipper placement (none on the sides or rear) reduce bunching and prevent sores. Seam-sealed, waterproof/breathable material and EB’s toughest DWR treatment help torsos and laps stay dry.
The final product is outerwear Kennison hails as “a modern freeride sit-ski kit” that lets adaptive athletes feel confident and comfortable hitting the British Columbia backcountry — or wherever they choose to shred. By listening and responding with care, Eddie Bauer made an inclusivity breakthrough best encapsulated by this final comment from Kennison: “Especially nowadays, it’s really, really cool to have someone step up to the plate and treat you just like anyone else.”
Eddie Bauer BC Flyline Adaptive Jacket and Bib
Main Material: 100% recycled ripstop polyester
Protection: 3-layer WeatherEdge Pro, waterproof/breathable to 20K/20K, plus StormRepel Super DWR
Insulation: ThermaFill synthetic
Biolite Headlamp 425
Why It’s Notable: One of our favorite head torches received some major material upgrades while maintaining an approachable price point — through inflation, no less — cementing its permanent place in our camp bag.
The Big Picture: There’s wisdom in the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but we’re glad Biolite didn’t listen when it came to its lightweight, easy-to-operate headlamps. For 2022, the Headlamp 425 (along with the 325 and 800 Pro) got significantly better: we’re talking a new rear red light with solid or strobe mode, a larger power button that’s easier to operate with gloves on, a one-hour reserve mode that alerts you to a low battery and an external powerbank (sold separately) that allows for extended runtimes via Pass-Thru Charging. The 425 retains the same antimicrobial, moisture-wicking backing material and slim, low-profile construction found in previous models, along with a pre-pandemic price tag that’s tough to beat.
Weight: 2.75 ounces
Run Time: 60 hours on low; 4 hours on high
Tentsile Ocean UNA Hammock Tent
Why It’s Notable: Sleeping in the trees got more eco-friendly with a new iteration of Tentsile’s Hammock Tent, the first of its kind made from 100 percent reclaimed Ocean plastic fabric.
The Big Picture: Made by recycling 128 single-use plastic bottles, the Ocean UNA Hammock Tent gives campers an opportunity to be more environmentally responsible while camping out in places like the spots where its main material was sourced. The tent is only available in white, as there are no additional chemical dyes involved, allowing 70 percent less water to be used in the production process. It still has all the great features from the original UNA Hammock Tent, including ample storage, bug mesh and a rainfly, of course. It’s just that now when you hug those trees you are sleeping between, you can really mean it.
Sleeps: 1 person
Material: 100% reclaimed Ocean plastic fabric
Weight: 5.1 lbs
Fox ProFrame RS Helmet
Why It’s Notable: Having introduced the concept of a lightweight full-face helmet in 2017, Fox developed Integra Split, the first major technology upgrade MIPS has seen since its inception in 1996.
The Big Picture: Can an ultralight, great-fitting helmet be safer too? Fox proved it’s possible with the Proframe RS, which features an industry-first MIPS Integra Split protection system and a 360-degree precision-fit BOA retention design that stand out from the pack.
But, what is Integra Split? This breakthrough integration of MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system) combines a dual-density foam, multiple layers and a low-friction slip plane designed to reduce rotational forces in a crash. Providing protection specifically for both low- and high-speed impacts, it’s the most notable step forward MIPS has taken in years.
Combined with the BOA fit system, it results in a hyper-advanced version of the classic full-face helmet. The micro-adjustment capabilities of the BOA system, paired with the removable antimicrobial pads, result in a semi-custom fit, and after a long day of downhill riding, our tester swears by the lasting comfort of this futuristic brain bucket.
Fox also added in thoughtful details like an adjustable visor and a clever under-visor GoPro mount. But really, the next-level safety and adjustability baked into the ProFrame RS are what make it the most progressive mountain bike helmet yet.
Sizes: S, M, L
Weight: 820 grams (Medium)
Recommended Use: Enduro, Trail, Downhill
Hestra Fall Line 5-Finger Ski Glove
Why It’s Notable: There are lots of complicated approaches to sustainability. But Hestra’s dead-simple tweak to an iconic product ensures you’ll be rocking it for years to come.
The Big Picture: Hestra’s Fall Line gloves and mitts were already among the best money can buy. Rugged yet stylish cowhide construction, G-Loft insulation, wrist straps and carabiner-ready grommets make them incredibly satisfying to wear and easy to tote. And yet, the 86-year-old Swedish brand messed with success: they made the toasty fleece liners removable.
Now, we love big, sweeping, R&D-packed approaches to sustainability as much as anyone — think Gore-Tex’s groundbreaking expanded polyethylene (ePE), which will likely be found in more than one product on this list next year. But Hestra’s tiny change is simultaneously huge, for two reasons. First, you can ditch or swap liners (secured with Velcro tabs) as conditions dictate. Second, you can replace worn-out liners to dramatically extend the life of the glove itself, which is durable enough to last for decades. Versatility + sustainability = change for the better.
Hestra Fall Line 5-Finger Ski Glove
Size Range: 6–11
Available Colors: 6
Alternate Styles: Mitt, 3-finger, Women’s
Foehn Salem Dyneema Parka
Why It’s Notable: Foehn’s new parka is re-writing the puffy jacket script — its strength-to-weight-to-warmth ratio is unparalleled, and its development brings innovation to a classic silhouette.
The Big Picture: Founded by Ingrid Sirois and Anthony Boronowski in 2017, upstart brand Foehn first wowed us with awesome climbing pants. So what sets their new puffer apart? The face fabric is made of Dyneema, a material with a strength-to-weight ratio so high (stronger even than steel), it’s usually reserved for ultralight packs and tents. The translucent quality belies its anti-abrasion, anti-rip power and, combined with 800 fill power down insulation, the Salem Parka can withstand the most extreme cold temperatures on the planet (-40 degrees Fahrenheit). Heading out on a sub-freezing adventure — or a Starbucks run? Pack this puffer and you’ll be good to go.
Foehn Salem Dyneema Down Parka
Weight: 749 grams
Fill Power: 800
Standout Features: An internal bungee cord that cinches the parka tighter around your body, plus an adjustable hood for heat retention
Hikerkind Trousers_01 System
Why It’s Notable: All of the well-designed pieces can be worn together or separately for a smart, user-friendly trail set that not only wows in a visual sense, but a tactile one as well.
The Big Picture: Sure, looks aren’t everything, but it’s hard to deny the joy of finding a pair of pants, shoes or a fleece that looks damn good. There are seemingly countless hiking apparel brands out there, but something was missing: duds that looked just as home off the trail as they do on. A set that could transition from catching your connecting flight in Denver to striding along ridge lines in the Sierra Nevada, and everywhere in between. That sweet spot between GORPcore and elevated style is here with Hikerkind’s Trouser System.
Only a couple of years old, the Brooklyn-based brand’s appeal doesn’t lie solely in its ideals; the message founders Allison Levy and Chelsea Rizzo are shouting from the digital rooftops isn’t focused on buzzwords like “sustainability” and “women-led, women-founded” — although those could be applied. Rather, it’s the functionality of the product that’s the star of the show. The Trousers System is made with bluesign-certified, recycled materials, and built with the idea of being able add or remove layers on the trail without friction or discomfort. All of the pieces are at least 50 percent recycled, and after months of testing, we’ve seen firsthand their ability to stand up to the wear and tear of everything from hiking to horseback riding, trekking to traveling.
Outdoor recreation continues to see a broadening of audience; there are more types of hikers on the trail than ever before, and to meet the needs of new participants that don’t self-identify as “core,” Hikerkind created a system of clothing that functions as well in the city as it does on the trail. That achievement alone earns it a place on this list.
Hikerkind Trousers System
Sustainability: Bluesign certified, OEKO-TEX certified and recycled materials
System Colorways: Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Crest Trail
Sizing: XS to XL
The James Brand The Palmer
Why It’s Notable: If you believe beautiful things can’t also be rugged and useful, this work of art masquerading as a utility knife will perish the thought.
The Big Picture: The Palmer is 5 ounces of fun, and while $60 may seem like a lot to pay for a utility knife, it’s worth every penny to invest in everyday carry tools you want to use — especially when they rock a patent-pending quick-change system that makes swapping blades easy. The James Brand has made a name for itself by taking commonplace items and instilling them with an undeniable panache that makes even mundane tasks pleasurable. Sure, you could open that envelope by hand, but isn’t it so much more satisfying to slice through the enclosed bill with TJB’s smooth-operating EDC killer?
TSA Friendly? Yes (Just toss the blade before you hop on the plane)
Weight: 2.5 ounces
Pinarello Grevil F Ekar
Why It’s Notable: Loaded with racing pedigree and features aimed at pedaling as fast as humanly possibly, this ultralight Italian gravel bike’s capacity for velocity is positively pazzo.
The Big Picture: As gravel racing continues to explode in popularity, every well-heeled weekend warrior’s looking for an edge. We’ve ID’ed a big one in Pinarello’s 19-pound competition-class offering. Based on the brand’s multiple Tour de France-winning roadie, the Dogma, the Grevil F boasts speed-boosting touches both obvious — aggressively gravel-optimized geometry, streamlined fully-integrated cables, hill-crushing 1×13 drivetrain — and subtle: a thumb-triggered shift lever lets you hit overdrive from even a deeply tucked aero position. No wonder this resplendent rig carried our breathless tester through his first race, Colorado’s SBT GRVL, with what can only be described as a cat-who-ate-the-canary grin upon his face.
Frame Material: Toray T700 carbon fiber
Drivetrain: Campagnolo Ekar 13S
Wheel Clearance: 650b or 700cc
Hyperlite Unbound System
Why It’s Notable: Hyperlite Mountain Gear created a versatile collection of ultra-light backpacking essentials that were thoughtfully designed with thru-hiking adventures at the forefront.
The Big Picture: With such a potent pedigree in the ultralight space, what could Hyperlite possibly do better? The Unbound System includes a 40L pack, a two-person tent and a 20-degree quilt that collectively add up to “The Big Three.” The brand went to great lengths with these products to ensure the best features were nailed down in the testing process without sacrificing any additional weight.
The backpack ranges in weight from 28 to 32 ounces, depending on size. It has an impressive modular design with the necessary bells and whistles for organizing your gear, both on the interior and exterior of the bag. In situations where every ounce counts, you can even remove certain features to further lighten your load.
As it weighs just 23.9 ounces, you or your hiking partner won’t have any issues getting this tent to the next campsite. Making the most of your space, the tent is pitched with a couple of trekking poles, giving you plenty of room to be comfortable. Ready for the elements, the bathtub floor, fully taped seams and waterproof Dyneema Composite Fabric will make a rumbling storm a lot less unnerving.
If you are not yet into ultra-light backpacking, you may be unfamiliar with the quilt-style sleeping system. The design mimics a traditional sleeping bag, minus the “extra” fabric (i.e. mummy bag hood), allowing this particular quilt to weigh between 18.58 and 22.06 ounces, depending on size. In addition to the already warm 1000fp RDS-Certified Grey Goose Down, it can also be connected to your sleeping mat, for extra insulation.
Do the math and you’ll find that even at the biggest sizes, this Big Three tips the scales at under five pounds. Because out on the trails, less really is more.
Hyperlite Unbound System
Backpack: 30 oz., 40L internal capacity, 9L external capacity (medium)
Tent: 23.9 oz., 48” x 90” pitched, 8.5″ x 6″ x 5.5″ packed
Quilt: 20.10 oz., 72” x 58” (regular)
Wolf Tooth Components 6-Bit Hex Wrench Multi-Tool
Why It’s Notable: The Minneapolis-based brand can’t stop rolling out clever bike accessories. This particular small wonder ensures you’ll never be caught without a hex wrench (or screwdriver) again.
The Big Picture: From bottle relocation systems to self-bleeding dropper posts, Wolf Tooth Components makes loads of products that make bikes better. Somehow the coolest one fits on a keychain. Click the 6-Bit Hex Wrench Multi-Tool’s locking-pin keyring attachment to release it from your keys and access an army of double-headed bits. Including the pivoting socket/8mm hex, you’ve got 11 total functions: seven hex wrenches, two screwdrivers and two Torx-compatible bits. Magnets keep everything secure — g’head, stick it on your fridge — and the whole package is so slick and handy, we now literally relish tackling odd jobs (bike-related or otherwise).
Wolf Tooth 6-Bit Hex Wrench Multi-Tool
Material: 7075-T6 aluminum
Max Torque: 40 Nm
Isle Switch 2-in-1 Stand-Up Paddle Board
Why It’s Notable: Water sports enthusiasts short on storage space will appreciate this two-in-one inflatable kayak and stand-up paddle board, a marvel of packability and versatility.
The Big Picture: You want a paddle board, you want an ocean kayak, you want to be a waterman, dammit! But… you live in a 50-square-foot apartment. What used to be an insurmountable issue for small-space dwellers with big outdoor dreams has been solved, handily, by this lightweight aquatic wonder. Isle bridged the gap between inflatable kayaks and paddle boards with a few thoughtful design tweaks.
The patent-pending ISLE-LINK connect system that runs along both rails allows you to attach the included kayak seat and footrest — plus a bevy of accessories — exactly where you want them, and the vessel itself supports one or more passengers up to 425 pounds while weighing a mere 19. The Switch also compresses down into its own travel bag, ensuring it can make a splash no matter where you call home.
Isle Switch 2-in-1
Weight: 19 pounds
Load Capacity: 425 pounds
Inflated Length: 11’6”