17 Exciting New Backpacking Products from Outdoor Retailer

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Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if purchases are made through those links. This adds no cost to our readers and helps us keep our site up and running. Our reputation is our most important asset, which is why we only provide completely honest and unbiased recommendations.

We spent this week walking around the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Denver, drooling over all the awesome new gear coming to the backpacking world in 2019. Outdoor Retailer is one of the largest gear conferences in the world and this week we were fortunate enough to meet up with some of our favorite companies to get a sneak peek at their upcoming innovations. We put together this article to quickly share some of our favorite new products with you.

The next stop for us is Glacier National Park where we plan to spend two weeks hiking our faces off and testing new gear. We hope you’re having an awesome summer and spending some solid time outdoors. For more updates and info, make sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter. If you’re in the market for some awesome backpacking gear now, check out our Backpacking Gear Guide and Top Picks list.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite


WEIGHT: 8.8 oz.

RELEASE DATE: January 2019

One of the products we’re most excited about for 2019 is Therm-a-Rest’s NeoAir UberLite, which is somehow even lighter than their wildly popular NeoAir XLite. The XLite has been a CleverHiker Top Pick for many years due to its best-in-class warmth-to-weight ratio and cushy comfort. The new NeoAir UberLite will weigh 3.2 ounces less than the XLite and packs down even smaller, which is awesome news for lightweight backpackers. The UberLite won’t be quite as warm as the XLite (1.2 less in R-value), but still feels fairly durable and may be a tad quieter in our estimation. We think the UberLite has the chance to unseat the XLite as our top sleeping pad (see our full Best Pads list here) and we’re really excited to get it on the trail.

Big Agnes HV Carbon Fly Creek 2

MSRP: $849.95

WEIGHT: 1 lb. 2 oz.

RELEASE DATE:  January – March 2019

We’ve been using tents and backpacks built with Dyneema Composite Fabrics (Formerly Cuben Fiber) for many years, and it’s an impressive material. DCF is extremely light, fully waterproof, won’t sag when wet like silnylon, and is also surprisingly durable. But DCF is also still relatively new to the scene, requires special construction techniques, and is really expensive. Drawbacks aside, some of our all-time favorite tents and favorite backpacks are made with DCF.

Big Agnes is the first big tent manufacturer we’ve seen to make a product with DCF, and we’re hopeful that this is just the beginning of more widespread DCF use in the outdoor industry (and hopefully more demand will make it cheaper too!). The HV Carbon Fly Creek 2 (really more of a 1-person tent in our view) is insanely light and is sure to be attractive to ultralight backpackers and thru-hikers, but it’s also quite expensive due to the unique material. BA will also be releasing a couple other DCF tents in 2019 (the Tiger Wall and Scout) as well as a tarp and bivy (the Onyx and Flower Wall). We’re super excited about this trend and we applaud Big Agnes for their innovation.

MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe

MSRP: $69.95

WEIGHT: 2.9 oz.

RELEASE DATE: January 2019

MSR has resisted putting push ignitors on their stoves for some time now because they tend to fail fairly quickly. So in true MSR fashion, they meticulously designed a push ignition system built to last, and then they tested the heck out of it. MSR’s new Pocket Rocket Deluxe contains some excellent innovations to their already super popular MSR Pocket Rocket stove line, which has been on our Best Backpacking Stoves list for years. With a push ignitor, pressure regulator to help in the cold or at high altitudes, and a recessed burner head that will improve wind performance and cooking efficiency, we think this will be the best pocket rocket stove yet.

NEMO Dragonfly 2P Tent

MSRP: $389.95

WEIGHT: 2 lbs. 10 oz.

RELEASE DATE: January – February 2019

In 2019 NEMO will introduce their new Dragonfly Tent and we’re really excited to test it out. The Dragonfly seems like excellent competition for Big Agnes’ Copper Spur tent series, which has dominated the ultralight freestanding tent market for the past few years. The Dragonfly 2P will weigh less and cost less than the Copper Spur UL2, and will still offer a solid amount of interior space for a 2-person ultralight backpacking tent (but won’t be quite as spacious as the Copper Spur in our estimation). The Dragonfly has two huge side doors and will also have two large vestibules. For 2019 the Dragonfly will be offered in 1-person and 2-person versions, but we’re hopeful that NEMO will build a 3-person version at some point for backpacking couples who want more interior space and are willing to carry a few more ounces.

Sawyer Micro Squeeze and Bottle Breather

MSRP: $24.99 / $5.95

WEIGHT: 2 oz. / 0.5 oz.

RELEASE DATE: August 2018

The Sawyer Squeeze has been among the most popular backpacking water filters ever produced and has been a regular fixture on our Best Backpacking Water Filters list. It also comes in the Sawyer Mini model, but we’ve found that the Mini’s flow rate tends to diminish over time. Now, Sawyer is introducing the Sawyer Micro to solve that problem. The Micro has a slightly wider filter than the Mini which should help increase its flow rate. Sawyer is also releasing a new Bottle Breather attachment system which will allow users to attach the Micro directly to a small-mouth plastic water bottle. In addition, Sawyer is updating its squeeze bags and they claim they’ll be stronger and lighter than previous models. We think the new Micro filter, bottle breather, and updates to the squeeze bags will be an awesome addition to the backpacking water filter market.

Therm-a-Rest Vesper Quilt

MSRP: $329.95 / $379.95

WEIGHT:  15 oz. (32°) / 1 lb. 3 oz. (20°)

WEIGHT:  January 2019

Therm-a-Rest has been one of our favorite sleeping pad manufacturers for many years and now they’re upgrading their quilt line to be more competitive with the lightweight market. For most of our backpacking trips we use lightweight quilts because they’re super comfortable and provide excellent warmth-to-weight ratios. The new Vesper Quilts from Therm-a-Rest seem like an all-around great product. Their price points seems a tad higher than some of the cottage companies, but they’re also constructed with high quality materials (900 fill Nikwax treated down), have a convenient pad connection system, and have wide side baffles to help prevent drafts. The 20°F model seems most useful for the types of backpacking trips we like to take, and we’re really excited to test these out.

Therm-a-Rest Hyperion Sleeping Bag

MSRP: $369.95 / $419.95

WEIGHT: 1 lb. (32°) / 1 lb. 4 oz. (20°)

RELEASE DATE:  January 2019

Similar to their new quilts, Therm-a-Rest’s new Hyperion Sleeping Bags look awesome. They’re also made with 900 fill Nikwax treated down and have exceptional warmth-to-weight ratios. 1 lb 4 oz for a 20°F EN rated sleeping bag is pretty ridiculous and their price points are competitive in the world of high quality down sleeping bags. These bags will likely have a bit slimmer cut to keep weight down, but that’s a tradeoff most lightweight backpackers are okay with. On trips where temps are going to be colder (around freezing or below) we generally opt for sleeping bags over quilts and the specs of the Hyperion are tough to beat. We’re excited to get the new Hyperion 20°F on the trail.

Altra Lone Peak 4.0 Trail Runners

MSRP: $120

WEIGHT: 10.2 oz. per shoe

RELEASE DATE: August 2018

Don’t tell Altra their shoes have a “wide” toebox. Wide is a nasty word in their line of work. “Foot-shaped” is their preferred nomenclature, and we have to agree. This week we sat down with Altra founder Golden Harper and got an in-depth look into their running line. Their wildly popular Lone Peak has been a staple on our Best Hiking Shoes list and this August will get some nice upgrades while keeping a lot of what we loved from previous models. The Lone Peak 4.0’s will have a more durable upper, added drainage capacity, and a more burly outsole for better traction, which is a big deal to us. The Lone Peaks are also available in a waterproof RSM (rain, snow, mud) model, which we’re excited to test in cold and nasty conditions. In addition, we’re looking forward to testing some of Altra’s newer products, like their Superior and Timp trail runners.

Sea to Summit Spark III Sleeping Bag (updates!)

MSRP: 449.95

WEIGHT: 1 lb. 6 oz.

RELEASE DATE: March – April 2019

Sea to Summit has made some adjustments and updates to their ultralight Spark sleeping bag line, and we’re definitely excited to test them out. Past models of the Spark had some of the best warmth-to-weight ratios in the sleeping bag market, and the new models are no exception. These bags will likely have a slimmer cut, which is great for lightweight efficiency, but can feel a bit snug to some. The Spark will be offered in four different versions: SpI (40°), SpII (28°), SpIII (18°) and SpIV (5°). For the broadest range of use on most of our backcountry trips, we’ll be most interested in testing the Spark III.

Sea to Summit Etherlight XT Insulated Pad

MSRP: $189.95

WEIGHT:: 15 oz

RELEASE DATE:  March – April 2019

Sea to Summit makes some of the most comfortable sleeping pads on the market and their UltraLight Insulated Pad has been a CleverHiker Top Pick for the past two years. Sea to Summit’s new Etherlight XT is their lightest, thickest, and S2S claims quietest insulated sleeping pad yet. The Etherlight series incorporates the “airsprung cells” that we love from their other pad line but adds additional thickness, which will help prevent any bottoming out while shifting around. With an R-value of 3.8 and a durable build, the Etherlight XT Insulated pad will be a great fit for most spring, summer, and fall backpacking trips. If you’re mostly a summer backpacker, Sea to Summit is also making the Etherlight XT in a non-insulated version ($159.95, 12.4 oz). We’re also curious to test out Sea to Summit’s new “pillow lock system,” which is a small velcro kit designed to help keep your pillow in place throughout the night.

MSR Zoic 2 Tent

MSRP: $199.95

WEIGHT: 4 lbs. 6 oz.

RELEASE DATE:  February 2019

At 4 lbs. 6 oz., the Zoic 2 from MSR isn’t the sexy new ultralight tent of the year, but what it does offer is a solid, well-constructed addition to the Budget Backpacking Tent category. The Zoic 2 comes at a very competitive price point, has a low weight for its class, and is constructed with MSR’s high quality standards. It has a much more roomy interior than most lightweight two person tents, with enough space to allow two wide sleeping pads. The Zoic 2 will also come with MSR’s new Xtreme Shield waterproof coating on the rainfly, which they claim will last three times longer than standard coatings. Though this tent isn’t wildly innovative, it seems like a great new option for beginner backpackers who want a comfortable and spacious lightweight tent, but don’t want to break the bank.

MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent (updates!)

MSRP: $449.95

WEIGHT: 3 lbs. 8 oz.

RELEASE DATE: November 1st (only at REI)

MSR’s Hubba Hubba NX has been one of the most popular backpacking tents ever built and it’s been a regular fixture on the CleverHiker Best Backpacking Tents list. For 2019, MSR is giving the Hubba some notable improvements, including an innovative ultralight “Syclone” pole system that will flex under force and bounce back to shape in nasty weather conditions. The 2019 the Hubba will also include a new Xtreme Shield coating system, which eliminates the need for seam tape on the rain fly, making it far more durable and long lasting. Though these changes may seem fairly small, we think they’re a nice upgrade to an already outstanding tent.

NEMO Hornet (updates!)

MSRP: $369.95

WEIGHT: 1 lb. 14 oz.

RELEASE DATE:  January – February 2019

The NEMO Hornet 2P has been on our Best Backpacking Tents list for the past two years and we think it’s a great option for solo hikers wanting the convenience of a double-wall, semi-freestanding tent. For 2019, NEMO has given the Hornet some nice updates, including innovative “fly bar” top clips, which add more headroom to the interior – always a welcome upgrade. In addition, new rigid struts at the corners of the tent help increase stability and interior volume without adding much weight at all. Though NEMO will still make the Hornet in a 1-person version, we think using the 2-person model as a solo shelter is the best fit. In a pinch you could sleep two hikers in the Hornet 2P, but the space will feel pretty tight.

NEMO Ultralight Tensor Insulated (updates!)

MSRP: $159.95

WEIGHT: 14 oz.

RELEASE DATE: January – February 2019

We’ve been big fans of NEMO’s Insulated Tensor Sleeping Pads for a long time, and they’ve been on the CleverHiker Top Sleeping Pads list for the past two years. NEMO’s new Ultralight Tensor pads (offered in insulated and non-insulated versions) will be a tad lighter than previous versions, and will incorporate a new convenient valve design. In addition, the new Tensors will come with a pump sack included, making pad inflation faster and easier. One thing we love about the Tensor is that they come in a range of sizes depending on your needs (short, regular, long, wide, mummy, rectangular) and we find them to be quieter than most other sleeping pads on the market. We welcome NEMO’s improvements to this already stellar product and look forward to getting them out on the trail.

NEMO Kayu (men’s) and Aya (women’s)

MSRP: $389.95

WEIGHT:  1 lb. 13 oz. / 2 lbs. 1 oz.

RELEASE DATE:  January – February 2019

NEMO’s spoon-shaped Disco (men’s) and Rave (women’s) sleeping bags have been a popular choice over the past few years for backpackers and campers wanting a roomier cut in their sleeping bags. They’ve made the CleverHiker Best Sleeping Bags list for just that reason. Well, now NEMO is taking that same technology and putting it into a more conventional mummy shape to help keep weight down on the trail. Nemo’s new EN rated 15°F Kayu (men’s) and Aya (women’s) come with 800 fill dry down, comfy liner fabric, a sculpted hood shape, and a small zipper pocket. Their unique “thermo gills” allow for better temperature regulation on warm nights and the bags come with a compression stuff sack to keep bulk to a minimum. These won’t be the lightest sleeping bags on the market, but their weights and prices are still very competitive and they have a lot of convenient features.

Granite Gear Blaze 60 (updates!)

MSRP: $269

WEIGHT: 3 lbs.

RELEASE DATE: Spring 2019

Though slightly heavier than the popular Crown2, the Blaze 60 backpack, has been among Granite Gear’s most popular backpacks for many years. In 2019 Granite Gear will be making some excellent upgrades to the Blaze 60, including a new sturdy molded framesheet that will allow much heavier load carrying capacity. One of the biggest changes to the pack is the addition of a new full front zip that runs the length of the bag and provides access to all the gear in your pack. Granite Gear also replaced their mesh side pockets with a more durable fabric, which solves one of our only complaints from previous models. The side pockets will also be angled, allowing users to more easily access their water bottles. The Blaze 60 will still retain their fully adjustable hip belt and torso length, which is a feature we love. We also like the new colors and more modern style of the 2019 line.

There are some minor updates to the Crown2 as well, which has been on our Best Backpacks list for the past couple years. Similar to the Blaze 60, the updated Crown2 will have more durable side pockets, replacing the less durable mesh that’s on the current model.

Gossamer Gear Silverback 50 & Special Edition Kuma


WEIGHT: Final weights TBD

RELEASE DATE: October 2018

Gossamer Gear didn’t have a booth at this year’s Outdoor Retailer, but we were fortunate enough to meet up with GG President, Grant Sible, to get a sneak peak at three of their new upcoming products. In fact, we think CleverHiker is the first publication to announce these new Gossamer Gear backpack updates! Starting in October 2018, Gossamer Gear will offer a stylish new daypack called the Drifter (not photographed), a completely redesigned Silverback 50 (a nice improvement in our opinion), and a special edition of their Kumo pack. Each one of these packs has its own unique attributes, but what strikes us as most important is that Gossamer Gear is now working with a weaver to develop their own unique fabrics and they’re incredibly durable for their weight. For example, the special edition Kumo will have a “robic nylon jacquard camo fabric” and the new Silverback will feature a new black extreema grid fabric, which is 3 times tougher than standard nylon and will be very water resistant. 

Gossamer Gear is still fine tuning the final MSRPs and listed weights for these packs, but we’re sure they’ll be competitive, per usual.

More Information

We’re super stoked for the new innovations in backpacking gear hitting the market in 2019 and hope you are too! If you found this helpful, please share on social media and click the little heart button below to give us a digital high five! 

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Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if purchases are made through those links. This adds no cost to our readers and helps us keep our site up and running. Our reputation is our most important asset, which is why we only provide completely honest and unbiased recommendations.