While the majority of Gear Institute’s Best New Gear Awards were awarded during Day 1 of the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show, the GI editors reserved a few for gear gems found during explorations of the trade show floor.
We awarded 9 awards initially, based on pre-show exposure to the gear, but by the end of Day 1, it was obvious we needed to round out the awards to a smooth dozen after finding three high-quality products worthy of the title, Best New Gear of 2019.
Here are the last of the BNGA winners this season:
Fishpond Flathead Sling
Sling packs have captured the affections of many fly fishers in recent years, making serious inroads into the market dominated by traditional fishing vests. But the one significant knock on slings has been their asymmetry – they typically work only for right-handers. But Fishpond’s new Flathead Sling is truly ambidextrous, working equally well when worn on the left shoulder (for right-handers) or over the right shoulder (for lefties). The pack’s main compartment sits flush and level where slung forward from the left or right, making it easy to access from either hand. The Flathead features a deep main compartment with adjustable dividers for smooth management of fly boxes, cameras, and other gear. A magnet-closure front pocket is equally ambidextrous. And on the back of the pack, a molded panel holds net handles in the perfect position for easy deployment regardless of which side the pack is worn. $149.
Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket
Part of Patagonia’s High Endurance Kit, the Storm Racer Jacket is anything but your normal lightweight packable running shell. The jackets innovative and unique looking double front zipper construction allows easy access to your pack without having to take off the jacket, meaning you can keep moving and stay sheltered from the elements. $249
Altra Provision 4
Altra takes what it means to be a stability shoe back to the drawing board with the redesigned Provision 4. Featuring a patent-pending dynamic arch feature that wraps the midfoot medially and uses proprioception to help slow pronation resulting in on-demand stability when needed. As your foot rolls inward the dynamic support feature kicks in only when needed and adjusts how much it corrects based on the individual. A great feature for neutral runners who as they fatigue need extra support. $130