The 10 Products That Won Awards in the 2023 Summer Gear Guide
We reviewed 386 pieces of gear. But these ones stood above.
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The process for identifying the best outdoor products each season is an arduous one. Over the course of three months, hundreds of testers receive thousands of products from brands big and small to test for our Summer Gear Guide. The mission: test the products repeatedly, in all conditions, and then send feedback to our category managers, who select the highest-ranking items. What you see below is the absolute best gear of the season.
Osprey Exos/Eja Pro 55L ($290)
Weight: 2 lbs (men’s S/M), 1.9 lbs (women’s XS/S)
Size: XS/S and M/L (women’s), S/M and L/XL (men’s)
Pros: Outstanding comfort, breathability, and durability for a pack this light.
Cons: Load-carrying capacity maxes out around 35 lbs
Bottom Line: A fully-featured multi-day pack designed for the ultralight- and lightweight-curious.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm NXT ($240)
Weight: 1 lb (regular)
Sizes: Regular, Regular Wide, Large
Pros: Off-the-charts warmth-to-weight ratio; very packable
Cons: Mummy dimensions are too slim for some; still a bit crinkly
Bottom Line: Therm-a-Rest’s NeoAir XTherm NXT offers the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any sleeping pad, ever.
Crazy Jacket Fly ($190)
Weight: 1.6 oz. (W’s S) 1.7 oz (M’s M)
Pros: Class-leading weight and packability; not clammy; excellent wind protection
Cons: Few features; fragile fabric
Bottom Line: The Crazy Jacket Fly is the best, lightest windshell we’ve seen.
Read More Buy Women’s Now Buy Men’s Now
Diorite Gear Telescopic Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles ($180)
Weight: 7.4 oz (per pole)
Size: One size (71-158 cm length)
Pros: Best-in-class versatility and durability
Cons: On the expensive side
Bottom Line: A do-it-all pole built to withstand the rigors of daily use
Stowaway Gourmet ($13-20)
Pros: Category-defining flavor, texture, and diversity
Cons: Expensive, vertical orientation hard to eat from
Bottom Line: Stowaway Gourmet simply makes the best dehydrated backpacking food on the market.
Giant Propel Advanced SL 0 ($12,500 as tested)
Testing Groupset: Dura-Ace Di2
Weight: 15.2 lbs (S)
Pros: Speedy; great all-roounder
Cons: Doesn’t excel in one particular area
Best for: Going fast without sacrificing comfort or handling
Trek Fuel EX 9.9 ($10,750 as tested)
Build: XX1 AXS
Weight: 31.9 pounds
Pros: Fun and and capable in all trail conditions
Cons: All the expensive tech adds up to a high price tag
Best for: Mountain bikers looking for one great mountain bike for all their singletrack needs
Oros Strike Indicator 3 Pack ($10)
Weight (per unit): S-L, .56g, .93g, 1.6g
Best For: This product is equally adept on rivers and still waters. On lakes and reservoirs, Oros indicators work great when fishing midges. On rivers, these indicators ride high in the waves and can carry large nymphs even in heavy flows.
Scarpa Vapor S ($229)
Weight: 8.3 oz
Pros: Insane sensitivity; a vacuum fit and lots of rubber make for epic steep-rock footwork (hooking, grabbing, and scumming); sero dead space
Cons: Squishiness and asymmetry can be distracting on slabbier terrain
Bottom Line: The Vapor S is for slipper aficionados who gravitate toward bouldering, gym climbing, and sport climbing. It’s pricey, yes, but all the elements are done right, and the shoe conforms to the foot like a second skin.
Ocun Hawk QD Wire Bio-Dyn-Ring Quickdraw ($110 for a five-pack)
Weight: 2.7 oz
Pros: Bio-Dyneema is an ecologically friendly, light sling with dogbone material for weight-conscious climbers; Easy-clipping action on the wiregates was welcome on crucial clips—lots of tension and spring
Cons: White coloration, also found on regular Dyneema, could be confusing in a fixed-draw situation, in which you’re not sure whether the draw was dyed and has faded (and is thus a safety risk) or whether the dogbone was white in the first place.
Bottom Line: This is a more eco-friendly, multi-use quickdraw that works for all genres and all climbers, but is especially good for alpinism given its light weight and freeze-resistant wiregates.