Get your pen and paper out because it’s time to make a shopping list for the upcoming backpacking season. Backpacker has announced its 2015 Editors’ Choice Award winners.
Every year around this time, the Backpacker editors get together and pick their top gear for the year. The selection process begins without any set categories or even a set number of recipients. Backpacker’s extensive testing drives the process and through that, the award-winning products rise to the top.
“Backpacker gear reviews set the benchmark by which all others are measured,” states Backpacker Editor-in-Chief, Dennis Lewon. “That’s because no other magazine or website conducts field testing as rigorously or impartially as the crew led by Gear Editor Kristin Hostetter. Our core testers each have years of backcountry experience and expertise in multiple pursuits, from climbing to paddling to skiing. Under Kristin’s leadership, they put new products through punishing real-world abuse in the toughest terrain and worst weather.”
This year’s Editor’s Choice Award winners include: the Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System, Sea to Summit X-Pot, Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Sleeping Pad, NEMO Sonic Sleeping Bag, La Sportiva Synthesis Mid GTX Boots, Big Agnes mtnGLO™ Tent Lighting Technology, Outdoor Research Deviator Hoodie, Princeton Tec Sync Headlamp and Osprey Atmos AG/Aura AG Packs.
In addition to choosing the best new gear of the year, Backpacker takes a look back in time and bestows the Editors’ Choice Gold Award upon products that have sustained best-in-class performance for more than five years. This year, Backpacker is recognizing the Snow Peak GigaPower Stove and the Gregory Baltoro/Deva Packs for their continued excellence.
Editor’s Choice Award Winners
Jetboil MiniMo Stove
The Jetboil MiniMo is not just about boiling. It’s about cooking. The MiniMo simmers like your stove at home and features metal handles and a low spoon angle for easy eating right from the included cooking cup. The MiniMo boils a half-liter of water in 2 minutes and 15 seconds, and the proprietary regulator technology ensures consistent performance down to 20°F.
Sea to Summit X-Pot
A cooking pot can be the bulkiest and most awkward thing to stuff in your pack. Sea to Summit has the fix for that with the full-featured X-Pot. It has flexible silicone walls that allow it to collapse for compact storage, yet the walls stay stable when you’re cooking and stirring. The aluminum bottom distributes heat well for fast boiling. The X-Pot has silicone wings for handles and it includes a translucent lid with a built-in strainer.
Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Sleeping Pad
You haven’t experienced camping comfort until you’ve tried the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Mat. Featuring two independent air chambers, the Comfort Plus lets you fine-tune your level of comfort no matter how jagged the ground is under your tent. This dual-chamber design also ensures a level of built-in redundancy; if a puncture occurs in one layer, the other layer remains fully functional.
Includes a stuff sack, a repair kit with six self-adhesive patches, and a spare silicone one-way valve flap.
NEMO Equipment Sonic Sleeping Bag
Top-of-the-line 850-fill-power duck down provides toasty comfort down to 0°F. The ingenious zippered Thermo Gills allow you to vent body heat at your core without unzipping the entire sleeping bag.
NEMO Sonic Sleeping Bag
La Sportiva Synthesis Mid GTX Boots
If you’re prone to blisters on your fast-paced, sweat-inducing hikes, then the Synthesis Mid GTX boots are for you. Equipped with highly breathable Gore-Tex® Surround™ waterproof protection, they vent heat 360 degrees to keep moisture from building up inside on sweaty days.
Both men’s and women’s versions only available at REI.
Big Agnes mtnGLO™ Tent Lighting Technology
Equal parts party and practical, Big Agnes mtnGLO™ Tent Lighting Technology guarantees that your tent-bound nights will be a lot more fun. With the click of a button, LED lights built into the tent illuminate the interior. Two settings, high and low, cover your lighting needs.
There are 14 tents and two accessories that feature mtnGLO™ Tent Lighting Technology. Get the entire assortment of Big Agnes mtnGLO™ tents at REI first.
Big Agnes mtnGLO™ Tents
Outdoor Research Deviator Hoodie
Combining Polartec® Alpha® insulation on the front torso and gridded fleece everywhere else, the Deviator Hoodie provides the ideal amount of air permeability and warmth to keep you comfortable on alpine adventures.
Available in men’s and women’s versions.
Princeton Tec Sync Headlamp
This simple and intuitive headlamp features white and red modes and five different brightness levels for versatile, trail-friendly functionality that powerfully lights up objects 58 meters away.
Osprey Atmos / Aura AG Packs
The revolutionary Anti-Gravity™ (AG) suspension system found on the Atmos and Aura packs delivers seamless body-contouring comfort for hauling big loads on long trips.
The Atmos and Aura are each available in 50-liter and 65-liter versions with an exclusive dry sack and raincover—only when purchased at REI.
Editor’s Choice Gold Award Winners
Gregory Baltoro and Deva Packs
Overhauled for 2015, the Gregory Baltoro and Deva packs maintain the features that have made them great for so many years while delivering a bunch of improvements to make your grand adventures more comfortable.
The packs feature customizable suspension, a waterproof hipbelt pocket that fits a smartphone, and a hydration sleeve that converts to a daypack.
The A3 suspension system features adjustable, pivoting shoulder straps and hipbelt panels for supporting heavy loads with ease. The Deva is specifically designed to fit the female body with custom shoulder straps and a wishbone frame.
The Baltoro is available in 65-, 75- and 85-liter models. The Deva comes in 60-, 70- and 80-liter models.
Snow Peak GigaPower Stove
Originally introduced in 1999, the GigaPower stove still reigns as one of the most reliable compact backpacking stoves out there. It doesn’t boil quite as fast or block wind quite as well as some of the higher-priced stoves, but for the budget-minded hikers, the GigaPower continues to be a favorite.
It boils one liter of water in just under 5 minutes and weighs in at a mere 3.25 ounces. The GigaPower stove is available with or without an automatic piezo ignitor.