Backpacker Names Editor’s Choice for Best New Gear of 2020

One of the best places to be right now is in the great outdoors, provided you’re keeping yourself safely distanced from others. The fresh air and warm sun is good for us not only physically, but mentally too.

Which is why even in the midst of a global pandemic, its still a good idea to hit the trail and escape home confinement for a little while. It’s also a great excuse to buy some new gear to accompany you on those outings, which is why the editors at Backpacker magazine have put together their picks for the best new outdoor gear for 2020.

As is typical in the spring of the year, there is an array of new product set to arrive on store shelves just in time for the start of the hiking, backpacking, and camping seasons. Those seasons may be a bit disrupted at the moment, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some opportunities to still get out and enjoy a backcountry escape. When you go, these new pieces of gear will make those trips a bit more enjoyable.

For instance, Backpacker loves the new Mountainsmith Zerk 40, a backpack specifically designed with thru-hikers in mind. The editors were also impressed with the MSR Dromedary, a new generation water hauler for use at the campsite, and the Rab Phantom Pull-On, a super lightweight, waterproof shell that packs down incredibly small.

Other items on the list include a new sleeping pad from Exped, a classic trail shirt from Patagonia, and a backpack from Gregory. There are a few other nice items as well, but you’ll just have to click through and check out the entire line-up for yourself. Needless to say, if you’re a gear hound, there will be more than a few things you’ll want to add to your gear closet.

Some of the new gear that we would normally expect to find on store shelves this spring is likely to be delayed or supply constrained due to the coronavirus pandemic. Much of the gear is manufactured in China of course, which has weathered the worst of the virus storm, but is still ramping up production. Things are expected to be back at full capacity sometime in the summer or so, which hopefully will be about when the rest of the world is starting to get back to normal too.

Check out the full editor’s choice list here.

Kraig Becker