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Best New Outdoor Gear for 2014

Outdoor brands from all over the world converged in Utah last week for the twice-annual Outdoor Retailer trade show. Seven GearJunkie editors, reporters, and contributors were on site to meet with brands, demo equipment, and scour the show floor for four days straight.

Here are a few of the “Best in Show” top picks from Gear Junkie. Watch for these goods in stores this fall or in early 2014.

  • Eddie Bauer Solar Power Tent (with Goal Zero): Like a mini solar-powered home, a tent from Eddie Bauer, called the Power Katabatic, offers a sun-soaking array on top of its roof and outlet plugs inside. The panel array is made by Goal Zero. You let the panel passively absorb light all day.
  • Oru Portable Kayak: Funded late last year via a Kickstarter campaign with $443,806 (after a more humble $80,000 goal), the Oru Kayak made its OR Show debut. The origami-like design is impressive, and employs a corrugated plastic (polyethelyne) skin.
  • Trimble Outdoors Topocharger: Convert your iPhone to a backcountry-ready GPS device with this case from Trimble Outdoors. The Topocharger product includes a rugged case with an extra power pack built-in that doubles the phone’s battery life. This lets you go longer outside between charge-ups.
  • Shell Jacket from Columbia: This waterproof hardshell from Columbia, the Men’s EvaPOURation Jacket, was among the best bargains at the OR show. At $99, it competes with jackets that cost twice as much and offers comparable features and breathability.
  • Magellan Echo Watch (Bluetooth-enabled): Want to view stats from Strava or other popular apps on your phone? Now you can with the Bluetooth-enabled Echo watch from Magellan. The company touts you’ll soon be able to control exercise and GPS app functions with button presses on the watch.
  • Thule Round Trip Elite: Travel the world with your bike in a hard-side case. The Thule Round Trip Elite, $599.95, is an ABS case that’s made in Chicago. It’s unique because there’s an aluminum track inside with mounting brackets to connect a bike. A traveler can fly with his bike as airline luggage.

See more “Best in Show” products from Gear Junkie.

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