Top New Trail Gear at Summer Outdoor Retailer

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We toured this year’s biggest outdoor trade show in search of the coolest findings in trail gear. What we discovered: From footwear to base layers, versatility is key.

At last week’s Outdoor Retailer trade show in Denver—where new gear debuts to the outdoor industry—we noticed a consistent trend among hiking and running gear built for trails. Everything transitions well off the trail, too. Call it hybrid gear: This latest crop of new goods, from hiking boots to backpacks, is anything but one-dimensional. Here are eight pieces we’re excited about.

Smartwool Intraknit™ Merino 200 Crew Base Layer Top

Two blue baselayers from Smartwool are made from a merino wool blend.

Introducing base layers that are warm, quick-drying and dont look like base layers. Yes, please. (Photo Credit: Jess Daddio)

Smartwool’s latest base layer boasts a sleek, seamless construction, while blending the moisture control of merino wool with the durability of polyester. The women’s and men’s versions of the shirt feature different ventilation, insulation and articulation zones that mimic the body’s heat maps, allowing for maximum temperature regulation. Available online at REI.com starting mid-August, this piece is an REI exclusive and will be sold in all stores starting fall 2019. ($120)

Merrell MQM Flex 2 Hiking Shoes

The MQM Flex 2 from Merrell sits on a table at the Outdoor Retailer show,

Need one trail shoe that does it all? The MQM Flex 2 might be your answer. (Photo Credit: Jess Daddio)

The new-and-improved, all-terrain MQM Flex is what many of Merrell’s athletes refer to as their “one-quiver shoe.” Short for Moving Quickly in the Mountains™, the MQM line—and specifically the Flex—is engineered for trail lovers of all breeds. It has the look and construction of a trail-running shoe but with the mid- and outsole of a lightweight hiking shoe. MQM Flex 2 has a proprietary rubber compound outsole and a custom Omnifit system that secures the lacing above the instep. Exclusive to REI, the women’s and men’s MQM Flex 2 will be available online and in stores nationwide starting January 2020. ($110)

Salomon Vaya Mid GTX Hiking Boots

A new lightweight hiking boot from Salomon sits on a table at the Outdoor Retailer show,

The Salomon Vaya boot will be available in spring 2020. (Photo Credit: Jess Daddio)

The Vaya is Salomon’s first women-specific hiking boot built from start to finish. At just 12 ounces per shoe, the Vaya feels supremely lightweight compared to similar GORE-TEX® boots. It comes with a stretchy collar above the heel and women-specific SensiFlex technology above the midsole, a proprietary design that cradles the foot for a more secure fit. Look for it online and in REI stores starting February 2020. ($150)

Ultimate Direction Ultra Vest and Vesta 5.0 Hydration Vests

An updated hydration vest on display at Outdoor Retailer.

Design tweaks to the Ultra hydration vest make this one of our show favorites. (Photo Credit: Jess Daddio)

The latest evolution of the beloved Ultra hydration vest from Ultimate Direction features new technological advances that improve users’ on-trail experiences. The first is the addition of the Comfort Cinch™ 2.0, which debuted last year. The plastic-free, abrasion-free, corded cinching system is now available on all of the Signature Series vests, including the Ultra. The vest will also come stocked with two new Body Bottle™ II 500 collapsible soft flasks. The improved 500-milliliter soft bottles are made from PEEVA, a material consisting of polyethylene and ethylene vinyl acetate that doesn’t retain the taste of past drink flavors. Check them out for yourself online and in REI stores next spring. ($140)

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket

A red and blue Patagonia jacket hang on display at the Outdoor Retailer show.

The new 3-layer Torrentshell from Patagonia is a rain shell that does so much more. (Photo Credit: Jess Daddio)

Patagonia’s latest iteration of its classic rain shell is a telling example of the company’s commitment to both sustainability and the future. The 3-layer construction of the Torrentshell has a new backer, making it more durable than its 2.5-layer predecessor. The face fabric is also constructed from post-consumer recycled materials (think: water bottles and salad bins). It will be available online and in REI stores starting February 2020. ($149)

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Shadow Hoodie

The inside of the Mountain Hardwear jacket shows what percent of the fabric comes from recycled materials.

This new insulating layer from Mountain Hardwear is made with 88 percent recycled materials. (Photo Credit: Jess Daddio)

At first glance, this synthetic hoodie from Mountain Hardwear might look like a jacket already hanging in your gear closet—except that it’s made with 88 percent recycled materials. Engineered with body-mapped construction, this windproof hoodie features PrimaLoft® 80-gram synthetic insulation in the body and 60-gram PrimaLoft® fill in the hood and arms, making it an effective insulating layer for early-morning hikes or overnight backpacking trips. The Ghost Shadow is an REI exclusive and will be available online and in stores starting mid-September 2019. ($250)

Osprey Archeon 25 Daypack

A backpack from Osprey sits on display at the Outdoor Retailer trade show.

This new daypack from Osprey goes from trail to the city seamlessly. (Photo Credit: Jess Daddio)

With a sleek roll-top closure, minimalist design and rich color palette, the Osprey Archeon 25L pack looks like a hipster commuter bag. You could use it for that, but it also has trail-specific additions built for day hikes, such as a removable rain cover, internal reservoir sleeve and trekking pole lash points. The Archeon line also comes in 30, 45 and 65/70 (women’s/men’s) volumes. The entire lineup will be sold online and in select REI stores beginning February 2020. ($190)

Cusa Tea

Cusa Tea has several flavors of instant tea.

Instant tea from Cusa means no more packing out used tea bags. (Photo Credit: Jess Daddio)

It’s no fun packing out a soggy tea bag after a backpacking trip. Now, thanks to Cusa Tea, you don’t have to. This flavorful instant tea is made via a cold-brew plant-extraction technology and evaporative dehydration process, so you pour the loose leaf tea into a mug of water, and it dissolves in hot water in 3 seconds and in cold water in 45 seconds. Select flavors are currently available at REI stores and online, and the newest flavor—mango green tea—will be out later this year. ($10 per 10-pack)

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