This Year in Gear

The Top Camping and Outdoor Gear of 2018


December 22, 2018 Briefings By

Whew! That all seemed quick. Somehow, the end of the year always takes us by surprise. It’s easy to feel that it all went by so fast and yet when we look back at everything that’s happened in the past 12 months, we realize that we really have come a long way. In camping and outdoor gear, 2018 was both reassuringly predictable and delightfully surprising.

Sleeping bags got lighter, and coolers got portable; old standbys like the spork received a welcome redesign; companies old and new embraced the continually-growing lifestyle trend while doubling down on producing technical pieces for hardcore adventurers. If anything can be gleaned from reviewing all of the camping and outdoor products that came out in 2018, it’s that companies are working harder than ever to get more people out into nature and to make them as comfortable as possible — so that they can focus on enjoying the experience.

Yeti’s Newest Product Release Takes It Even Further Beyond The Cooler
Yeti’s Newest Product Release Takes It Even Further Beyond The Cooler

Yeti's base camp takeover starts with a chair that can support a Honda Civic.

Otterbox Just Got into the Soft Cooler Game With its New Trooper Series
Otterbox Just Got into the Soft Cooler Game With its New Trooper Series

Perhaps most importantly, there are bottle openers on both coolers.

L.L.Bean’s New Sleeping Bag Uses Insulation Originally Developed for NASA
L.L.Bean’s New Sleeping Bag Uses Insulation Originally Developed for NASA

PrimaLoft's Gold Cross-Core insulation was developed for NASA and provides more warmth without increasing overall weight.

Danner’s New Work Boot Needs No Break In
Danner’s New Work Boot Needs No Break In

Key features — like a seamless six-inch upper — promise all-day comfort in the field.

Bombas’s Latest Sock Is Built for the Trail
Bombas’s Latest Sock Is Built for the Trail

All the tech from Bombas's running socks in a midweight hiking sock.

Big Agnes Unveils an Exclusive Line of Warm and Durable Sleeping Bags
Big Agnes Unveils an Exclusive Line of Warm and Durable Sleeping Bags

The 1101 Collection sleeping bags are the only bags available with PrimaLoft's newest heat-retaining insulation.

This Company Is Making the Most Absurd Camping Essentials You Didn’t Know You Needed
This Company Is Making the Most Absurd Camping Essentials You Didn’t Know You Needed

Sometimes it's best to treat yourself to the finer things in life, like a copper spoon and a responsibly-sourced wooden camp stool.

BioLite’s New Solar Lighting Kit is the Perfect Upgrade for Your Off-Grid Shed
BioLite’s New Solar Lighting Kit is the Perfect Upgrade for Your Off-Grid Shed

The SolarHome 620 is a portable, easy-to-install off-grid lighting kit. The SolarHome is equipped with three overhead lights and a wall-mounted panel that contains USB charging ports and doubles as a radio.

Did a Ski Boot Company Just Perfect the Hiking Boot?
Did a Ski Boot Company Just Perfect the Hiking Boot?

Every piece of the Forge is designed for customization, most notably so the upper, which is available in both synthetic ripstop and Nubuk leather.

The Spork Receives Its Long-Awaited Redesign
The Spork Receives Its Long-Awaited Redesign

The extra-long Morsel is a fully-equipped outdoor dining and cooking utensil with uses far beyond the backpack.

Filson’s Funky New Cooler Keeps Beer Cold Longer Than You Could Possibly Need
Filson’s Funky New Cooler Keeps Beer Cold Longer Than You Could Possibly Need

Fishing trips, tailgates or lake outings, Filson's new compact cooler was bred to come with you.

This Hovering Tent Makes Camping in the Rain Less Miserable
This Hovering Tent Makes Camping in the Rain Less Miserable

The UNA Tree Tent was made for those who despise having a good hiking trip ruined by a soggy tent. Or if you just like hammocks.

This New Flask Is Perfect for Taking into the Woods
This New Flask Is Perfect for Taking into the Woods

Most who trek into the woods aim to keep their backpacks as light as possible. Here's a 10-ounce exception to the rule.

Balega’s Blister Resistant Socks Have a Permanent Spot in Our Sock Drawer
Balega’s Blister Resistant Socks Have a Permanent Spot in Our Sock Drawer

Balega goes all-natural with its latest blister-resistant fabric — do they work?

Camp Cooking Goes Modular With This New Customizable Setup
Camp Cooking Goes Modular With This New Customizable Setup

A collect-'em-all modular camp cooking setup that will make you the envy of any campground or beach.

This Survival Kit Is for Bug-Out Minimalists
This Survival Kit Is for Bug-Out Minimalists

Mountain Standard and VSSL have teamed up to create an all-encompassing first aid kit for survivalists who want more resources in a smaller package.

OtterBox’s New Accessory Puts Other Cooler Brands on Notice
OtterBox’s New Accessory Puts Other Cooler Brands on Notice

OtterBox just released its All-Terrain Wheels, which are a set of two three-inch wide and ten-inch diameter attached to a reinforced axle and an expandable chassis that can accommodate both the 45- and 65-liter Venture...

Splurge on This Beautiful Fly Box With 111 Hand-Tied Flies
Splurge on This Beautiful Fly Box With 111 Hand-Tied Flies

This 90th Anniversary Box is decked out with flies tied by a legendary fly shop.

Nixon’s Durable New Watch Is the Go-To of Pro Surfers
Nixon’s Durable New Watch Is the Go-To of Pro Surfers

With tide information from over 500 beaches around the world, it's time to hang ten.

The North Face’s New Collection Offers Colorful, Fun and Affordable Camping Staples
The North Face’s New Collection Offers Colorful, Fun and Affordable Camping Staples

The North Face Homestead Collection includes packs, totes, tents and sleeping bags — essentially everything you need to get outdoors in style.

The Reusable Straw That Raised Almost $1 Million on Kickstarter — And Why You Should Buy One
The Reusable Straw That Raised Almost $1 Million on Kickstarter — And Why You Should Buy One

Finally, a collapsible and reusable straw you can take with you anywhere.

This $99 Lamp Will Stop You From Hating Your Office Lighting
This $99 Lamp Will Stop You From Hating Your Office Lighting

Don't have enough desk space for a lamp?

This Service Will Land You the Campsite of Your Dreams, Last Minute
This Service Will Land You the Campsite of Your Dreams, Last Minute

The most picturesque campsites in the world are often booked months in advance, and unlike fancy hotels, there is no national park Expedia to send you an alert when a site suddenly becomes available. Now...

The Lighter of the Future Is Here, and It Uses Lasers
The Lighter of the Future Is Here, and It Uses Lasers

There doesn't need to be an update to the classic Bic lighter, but in Power Practical's forthcoming Sparkr lighters we have one anyway.

After Years of Customer Requests, Yeti Finally Adds Wheels to Its Legendary Cooler
After Years of Customer Requests, Yeti Finally Adds Wheels to Its Legendary Cooler

There's nowhere this cooler can't go.

Snow Peak and Grizzly Coolers Collaborate on a Tough As Nails Cooler
Snow Peak and Grizzly Coolers Collaborate on a Tough As Nails Cooler

Snow Peak's newest cooler comes with the backing of Grizzly Coolers — one of the toughest and coldest coolers out there.

GoRuck’s New Special Forces-Inspired Boots Look Amazing
GoRuck’s New Special Forces-Inspired Boots Look Amazing

When Special Forces veterans and the inventor of the Reebok Pump team up to make a boot, you know it'll be something.

Interested in Fly Fishing? This Is the Rod to Get You Started
Interested in Fly Fishing? This Is the Rod to Get You Started

Getting into a new hobby can be daunting - especially one like fly fishing, which requires an exhaustive list of specific gear. A new company, Reyr Gear, is simplifying the process with its super-packable and...

Designed with the Military in Mind, This Cooler Can Take on Pretty Much Anything
Designed with the Military in Mind, This Cooler Can Take on Pretty Much Anything

A rotomolded cooler that actually has a feature to accommodate a parachute landing.

Patagonia Released Its First Collaboration with Another Brand. And It’s Not What You’d Think.
Patagonia Released Its First Collaboration with Another Brand. And It’s Not What You’d Think.

Hint: It was announced at the ICAST trade show in Florida this week.

Did Yeti Just Make the Toughest Dog Bowl Ever?
Did Yeti Just Make the Toughest Dog Bowl Ever?

Yeti has proven that its willing to over-engineer more than just coolers. Its new product collection includes a dog bowl and a picnic blanket.

One of the Best Hiking Boots of the Year Just Got an Update
One of the Best Hiking Boots of the Year Just Got an Update

Of the over 20 hiking boots that we reviewed this year we rated Vasque's Saga GTX at the top of the list. Now, it's getting a welcome update.

According to Design Experts, These Are the Best Outdoor Products of the Year
According to Design Experts, These Are the Best Outdoor Products of the Year

From a treadmill to a triathlon bike, these are some of the most beautiful outdoor products of the year.

Here’s a Sneak Peek of Oru Kayak’s First Foldable Tandem Boat
Here’s a Sneak Peek of Oru Kayak’s First Foldable Tandem Boat

It's like a bicycle built for two, but it's a kayak.

These Ultralight Smoking Devices Are Perfect for Adventure
These Ultralight Smoking Devices Are Perfect for Adventure

When a well-known bike maker experimented with titanium welding he created a new product: ultralight pipes that are perfect for the outdoors.

Every Dog Owner Needs this Camping Essential
Every Dog Owner Needs this Camping Essential

An easy way to make camping safer for you and your pet.

Carhartt Quietly Released a Super Lightweight Outdoor Camping Table
Carhartt Quietly Released a Super Lightweight Outdoor Camping Table

Carhartt WIP is Carhartt's younger, cooler brother.

One of Our Favorite Lifestyle Brands Just Made a Wetsuit
One of Our Favorite Lifestyle Brands Just Made a Wetsuit

Saturdays NYC collabs with another Japanese brand to push out a wetsuit we can't wait to get our hands on.

This Discounted Camp Blanket Will Make You Ditch Your Sleeping Bag
This Discounted Camp Blanket Will Make You Ditch Your Sleeping Bag

Kammok's Bobcat trail quilt is designed with features that make it versatile enough to replace that old camping standard. (It works great for lounging at home too.)

Ski Season Is Coming and These Are the Gloves You Need
Ski Season Is Coming and These Are the Gloves You Need

The Hestra Army Leather Couloir gloves are constructed for maximum warmth and dexterity with minimal excess materials.

Military Tech Makes These New Socks Awesome
Military Tech Makes These New Socks Awesome

Lorpen's T3+ ski sock is the first sock to use Polartec's Alpha Insulation, which was originally developed for US Special Forces.

This Is the Ultimate Tailgating Accessory
This Is the Ultimate Tailgating Accessory

The brand that knows how to build a high-quality water bottle — and they brought that technology to a coffee mug.

Mammut’s New Helmet Is the First of its Kind
Mammut’s New Helmet Is the First of its Kind

Mammut's history of producing mountain safety equipment took another step today with the release of the Wall Rider MIPS.

This Is What Technical Outdoor Gear Should Look Like
This Is What Technical Outdoor Gear Should Look Like

The North Face just launched its 2019 Summit Series collection, proving that it still knows what technical outdoor gear should be.

This Year in Gear

Just like that, 2018 has come and gone. Take a look back at the best of what the past 365 days had to offer in This Year in Gear