We're back with another look at Backpacker magazine's 2011 Editors’ Choice award winners, this time some of the smaller "best of" items. Look for these products now at REI.com or at selected REI stores.
DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator
Wouldn't it be great if you could send messages to friends and family (and yes, rescue personnel) from anywhere in the backcountry, at any time, with customized texts and precise location information? Now you can. $549.95 plus $99/year for the required service plan (addtional options, extra).
SteriPen Adventurer Opti
Says Backpacker: "Our testers have tried every water-treatment method available, and for most trips and most conditions, this one beats them all." Reasons: It's lighter, faster, doesn't impart a taste and eliminates all microorganisms (bacteria, protozoa and viruses). $89.95.
Black Diamond Ultra Distance Z-Poles
These carbon-fiber poles are incredibly light (8.4 oz. for the 100cm size), stowable (they fold into a 13" long bundle) and quick to deploy. The poles are not adjustable, which means fewer parts that can break; they instead come in 4 sizes. $149.95.
The North Face Venture Jacket, women's and men's
The Venture earned the Editors' Choice Green Award by using bean-derived castor oil instead of petroleum-based products in this jacket's HyVent DT EC membrane. The result, says Backpacker: "A shell that works and eliminates the use of an estimated 50,000 pounds of petro-pollutants this year (no small beans there)." $99
See all award-winning gear at REI.