This year has been all about living indoors. As such, much of our purchases went to making those spaces between your home’s walls more relaxing, more engaging, and more productive. There is, however, no shortage of great outdoor gear that debuted throughout 2020, which kept it interesting for those who spend their recreational time camping, hiking, and adventuring in the wild.
Here are some of the coolest outdoor products that 2020 brought our way.
Coghlan’s Water Pump
Yes, you can bring a Lifestraw and drink from any water source you can find along the trail. If you’re going to be car camping, though, might as well take one of those five-gallon water jugs, so you can have a steady supply of potable water available at all times. Coghlan’s Water Pump adds a battery-powered faucet at the top of those jugs, allowing you to easily draw water from them at the push of a button. No need to lift up the jug to pour each time and no wasted water at any point, making hydration in the backcountry a much easier affair.
Insist on slumming it outdoors in a tent even in the coldest days of the year? Yeah, you need all the technical cold weather gear you can get your hands on. Maybe even this unique heated pad cover, which attaches on top of full-length sleeping pads to add safe, controllable, and sustainable heat all through your slumber. Designed to plug into either a 12V power supply or a 5V USB power slot, it uses electricity to warm up its integrated radiant carbon strands (RCS) and turn your sleeping surface into a toasty creature comfort. In 12V mode, it can heat up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit within two minutes, all while gradually working its way to 80 degrees Fahrenheit when hooked up to a USB power source. It’s lightweight, durable, waterproof, and machine-washable, too, making it incredibly convenient to have in your stash.
We know, that doesn’t look like a comfortable stool. That’s why, we’re guessing, they named it BTR, which is an acronym for “better than a rock.” Because… you know… it is. Add in the fact that it slots into the water bottle pouch of any backpack and you’ve got a functional collapsible stool that you can take along even when hiking on foot. It has twisting telescopic legs that locks in place once the whole thing is deployed and sturdy aerospace-grade aluminum construction, allowing it to support weights of up to 140 pounds. Available in 14-inch and 17-inch tall variants.
Equipped with the outfit’s unique Spider Baffle System, which keeps a set amount of down in place while the rest move freely under the shell for maximum loft, and Super Spiral Stretch System, which allows the bag to stretch to accommodate any tossing and turning during sleep, Montbell’s Seamless Down Hugger is one of the most technically-accomplished sleeping bags in the market. Combined with the weather-resistant Gore-Tex exterior, fully-taped seams, and detailed adjustable elements (hood, flap, gusset), it makes for one of the most thoughtfully-designed sleeping bags we’ve ever seen and, more than likely, one of the most comfortable, too.
This travel duffel can be used as a single 42-liter bag to carry large items via a large zipper that spans the length of the bag on one side. You know, just like any large duffel out there. Unlike them, however, the SEG42 has five zippers on the opposite side that let you divide that 42-liter main chamber into five separate segments, namely two six-liter compartments, two nine-liter compartments, and one 12-liter compartment. That unique layout allows you to organize your stuff organically, with no need for packing cubes, pouches, and dividers of any sort, all while making it dead easy to retrieve anything, provided you remember which compartment you placed it in. Oh yeah, it can also be carried like a duffel or a backpack, so you can carry it on one hand or one shoulder if it’s pretty light, then go backpack mode for those times it’s a little too heavy for comfort.
This backpacking stove can collapse into the size of a small handheld flashlight that measures just 4.1 x 1.4 inches (length x diameter), allowing you to carry a functional stove in, practically, any pocket. Even better, it has a burner that can produce 8,530 BTUs, so you can boil a liter of water in just five minutes, all while coming with integrated windscreens on three sides that keep the flames in tip-top shape the whole time it’s cooking. Granted, you’ll still have to bring a fuel canister and a cooking pot along, but this thing takes portability to a different level.
Instead of using silicone or fabric bands like regular headlamps, Petzl’s wearable lighting uses a semi-rigid wireframe that reduces the contact area between the headband and your head. This innovative design makes it more comfortable to wear on your head, all while fitting over helmets, wearing around your neck, and mounting onto other objects for a lot more potential uses around camp. Yes, it’s weird-looking, but it turns the humble headlamp into a much more versatile tool.
Adding a third door to a tent may seem like such a simple change. The effect of that simple addition, however, is a lot more impressive, allowing you to get a full 270-degree view of your surroundings even while you relax under the tent’s shade, making it the perfect tent to pitch when camping during the summer. It gets two side doors with vestibules and one entry-head door, whose cover can double as an awning for extended protection from the elements. The tent, by the way, packs down to 20.5 x 6.5 inches, all while coming with enough room to fit two people comfortably with extra gear in tow.
While BioLite first introduced its HeadLamp two years ago, this year marks an innovative update in the form of the 750 model. Chief among the welcome upgrades is a new “Constant Mode” that eliminates the auto-dimming that most headlamps do to conserve battery life. To the unfamiliar, most headlamps do this as your eyes slowly adjust to the darkness, so you still retain your ability to see without using up as much power. While it’s a good feature, it’s proved problematic in some situations, especially when you’re working in tough terrain, pitch-dark caves, and similar conditions. Well, this headlamp gives you an option to eliminate that, putting you in complete control of the illumination at all times. Since that feature will use up power much faster, they also added the option to hook up a power bank while using the headlamp, so you can just attach a battery to your head, along with the lighting accessory. Sure, it’s a little inconvenient, but that definitely beats losing power in the middle of a hike.
This streamlined cargo box mounts on the roof rack of your car, allowing you to safely carry a variety of gear inside. Unlike similar products, however, it comes with an integrated 36-watt solar panel that’s attached to a built-in converter with two USB slots that you can use to charge power banks, mobile devices, and other small electronics that you might find the need to bring along to your outdoor adventures. This way, you don’t have to set up solar panels to recharge your phones and other gadgets any time you’re outdoors – just hook them up to the box on top of the car where everything’s ready and waiting. It has 16 cubic feet of cargo space, by the way, with a profile that, the outfit claims, will fit most skis and snowboards easily.