Summer 2021 marked the return of outdoor gear shows following the public health hiatus of 2020—and with it the much anticipated inaugural Big Gear Show, hosted at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah. The Big Gear Show was an opportunity for your local retailers and gear testers to scope out what manufacturers have in store for the upcoming seasons. The past year has only fueled our appetite for getting outdoors. Even with the reality of ongoing supply chain issues and health restrictions, gearmakers are seeking solutions and continuing to push innovations for you to enjoy your time out there. There were 138 companies at the show, with plenty of products to comb through. So here’s a rundown of some stand-out camping lifestyle gear we had a chance to test.
1. GSI 2 Can Cooler Stack
Cold beverages for the summit anyone? GSI is fixing a long-standing problem you didn’t know you had. By elongating the body, and widening the mouth of a stainless-steel, insulated, vacuum bottle, this great little cooler provides 24 hours of cold retention. It just so happens to be the perfect fit to carry two cans of your favorite beverage. Sounds just about right for sharing a celebratory cold one with a friend, whether you’re sitting at the vista or reaching that secluded waterfall. Word on the street from GSI is they even make for a great solution to keep burritos warm. The can cooler comes in a three-piece six-pack version for your whole trail crew, or perhaps an afternoon on the disc golf course.[Available fall 2021. $29.95; gsioutdoors.com]
2. Ignik Fire Can
Ignik has taken the inspiration of the surplus ammo cans we’ve seen put to various outdoor use for years, and transformed it into a portable campfire. The goal of the Fire Can is to create a semi-enclosed, wood-free solution for sitting around that warm glow in the woods. To keep it conveniently stowable with the rest of your gear, it hooks up to any size propane tank, including Ignik’s Gas Growler. By providing an enclosed fire, lifted from the ground, Ignik is seeking to provide an option that reduces impact to campsites and also wildfire risk—a huge concern now more than ever.[Available fall 2021. $199.99; ignik.com]
3. Helinox Field Office
Working remotely on the road doesn’t have to mean sitting in coffee shops, or being cooped up in your van. Helinox has recognized that with its new modular Tactical Field Office and forthcoming Field Office tables. Both iterations have the same overall concept, with slight differences in finished style. They include a table and cargo bag that breaks down within itself to carry like a briefcase. It all weighs less than five pounds, so you can tote a laptop, storage drives, camera gear, and complete work space all around camp.[Tactical Field Office available now, $199.95, helinox.com; Field Office available spring 2022, $199.95, helinox.com]
4. PURTREK Trek Pole & Water Filtration System Pole
One of the most innovative and intriguing new pieces of gear in 2021 is the Purtrek water filtration trekking pole. It’s no gimmick. Founder Kyle Stringham spent five years developing the complex system. What he came up with is an ultralightweight pole constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum with an interior made of hollow fiber filter, capable of removing 99.9 percent of bacteria. This genius invention eradicates the need to carry two completely separate pieces of gear on your next long hike or backpacking trip. Why is the Purtrek better than your traditional filter? The length of the trekking pole means you’re producing up to two times more water per pump. This mean you’ll spend less time hunched over a creek to stay hydrated.[Available late summer 2021, $189.99; purtrek.com]
5. Tahe 11’6” Beach SUP-Yak
The popularity of crossover paddling craft continues to grow. With inflatables rolling up to the size of a large duffel, able to fit in the trunk of a car or your van’s rear storage, why wouldn’t you pack something to get on the water? Tahe’s recently released Beach SUP-Yak is one of the most thoughtful SUP/Kayak convertible designs yet. Designer Jimmy Blakeney brings his kayak know-how to these craft that can act as a solo paddleboard or two-person kayak. The SUP-Yak has a seat you can actually spend a day on, plus adjustable foot blocks that provide the platform to drive the kayak forward. Arguably the most innovative feature is the stitched webbing loops running the sides of the board. They make the seat and foot block placement fully adjustable and, in paddleboard mode, let you strap gear where you want it, rather than being limited to set bungee positions. This makes the SUP-Yak great to paddle for a day of tandem kayaking or an overnight paddleboard trip.[Available now. $559.95; tahesport.com]
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