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The Year in Outdoors: 2023 Saw Some Great New Gear—Here Are a Few Favorites

2023 was a great year for exciting product launches.

From big brands like Garmin to smaller manufacturers like White Duck (if you’re not familiar with them, you soon will be) brought their A-game to develop wildly capable products. Sea to Summit expanded into different markets. Rockie Talkie found a way to beef up the already unshakable Mountain Radio.

It’s a good time to be a lover of the outdoors. It’s also a good time to snag great gear at a discount during holiday and end-of-the-year sales. Cheers to these pieces of gear—just a handful of our favorites in 2023—and the people behind them. We can’t wait to see what’s next.

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Outdoor Gear of 2023—A Few Favorites:

Garmin tactix 7 AMOLED Edition

Image by Garmin

Garmin is on the fast track when it comes to updating its adventure watches right now. The tactix 7 AMOLED Edition launched in September with an adaptive display that’s crisp and vibrant in bright sunlight but also compatible with night vision goggles.

A new Red Shift mode changes the watch face to a red and black scheme that’s easier on your eyes in the dark and even reduces disruption to your natural sleep cycle.

Of course, the tactix 7 AMOLED Edition still comes with all the navigation, fitness, and environmental data you expect from a top-tier Garmin watch. It’s waterproof, tough, has a battery life of up to a month, and looks great with customizable faces that display the information you want, exactly how you want it.

To get even more out of your Garmin, sync it with the Garmin Connect and Garmin Explore apps on your phone.

Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio

Image by Rocky Talkie

Everybody who’s used Rockie Talkie’s Mountain Radio seems to love it. The Colorado company made sure its radios could handle all kinds of abuse, including freezing temperatures that normally kill batteries in a hurry.

The new Rocky Talkie 5 Watt Radio does everything the Mountain Radio does, just with more power for increased range.

The 5 Watt Radio is a little larger than its predecessor, but that means you also get five days of battery life instead of four despite producing more than double the output.

This new version is compatible with GMRS repeaters, receives NOAA weather alerts, and can monitor two frequencies at once. You’ll need a GMRS license from the FCC to operate any 5-watt radio, but getting one is easy.

The first two batches of these radios have sold out, so pre-order one from the next batch to get them as soon as they’re available in January 2024. 

Sea to Summit Ikos TR3

Image by Sea to Summit

This year, Sea to Summit started offering a tent that’s just as bomb-proof as its famous waterproof roll-top bags. The Ikos TR3 can withstand high winds and wet weather better than most tents on the market. It’s packaged in a way that’s easy to spread among multiple packs, and you can choose from a two-person or three-person tent.

The rainfly design is particularly clever because you can take down the tent inside the standing fly or use it as an independent sunshade.

As expected from Sea to Summit, every component is high-quality and well thought out. If you camp in climates that get lots of rainfall or snow, this is the backpacking tent for you.

White Duck Regatta 360

Image by White Duck

Sea to Summit might be the top dog in hardcore backpacking tents, but the White Duck Regatta 360 is on an entirely different level.

This is a modern take on old-school canvas tents that you can use year-round. White Duck has been making rugged expedition-style tents for years, but the Regatta 360 adds roll-up walls that let you enjoy the view in every direction with screens to keep bugs out. It’s easy to set up in minutes, even by yourself.

This tent has a 13-foot circular footprint and weighs 68 pounds, so you’ll need some kind of vehicle to get it to your campsite. Once it’s pitched, there’s room for six (although three will be more comfortable) and the center height is more than 8 feet tall, so there’s plenty of room to walk around. 

If you’re lucky enough to spend a long vacation exploring a national park or other public lands, this is a fantastic basecamp for all your hiking, backpacking, cycling, kayaking, and whatever else you can think of. For what you get, it’s a solid buy at $890.

Isle Pioneer Pro

Image by ISLE

We love it when companies make water sports more accessible, and that’s exactly what Isle is doing with the Pioneer Pro series of inflatable paddleboards. There are a bunch of interesting materials and manufacturing processes behind these paddleboards, but the bottom line is that anyone can enjoy time on the water without dealing with a roof rack.

These paddleboards are stable on the water and incredibly strong. Storage isn’t an issue, either, since they roll up into a small rolling case.

Three board lengths are available with maximum weight ratings of up to 450 pounds. All of them have a grippy surface for standing or doing yoga and are compatible with padded seats and cargo boxes if you’d rather kayak with a little bit of gear.

You can buy an electric pump separately, but Isle recommends an air pressure of 15 psi, so a portable hand pump ought to be fine.

Peak Design Capture 3.0

Image by Peak Design

The struggle is real for adventure and travel photographers. We have to carry all our normal backcountry gear and a load of camera equipment. Peak Design teamed up with Sitka this year to make a limited run of camera clips that solve this problem and look fantastic.

This hot-ticket item sold out fast, but you can still get the standard black or silver Peak Design Capture 3.0 mount. Clip one of these to the shoulder strap of your pack, screw the quick-release plate to your camera, and be on your way knowing that your camera is secure and accessible.

The aluminum and PVS components are strong and weather-resistant. The whole system weighs just 3 ounces. When seconds matter and you need to get your camera into action as quickly as possible, having a Capture 3.0 will result in you getting more images on your memory card and fewer missed opportunities haunting your sleep.

What gear did you love in 2023?

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