Marketers of gear brands love award badges because it helps them sell gear. Gear that comes with a Backpacker Editor’s Choice or Outside Gear of the Year stamp of approval is almost guaranteed to be a best-seller for the brand. Award badges appear on retailer’s online product listings, product hang tags, and placards adjacent to the product display on the sales floor of brick-and-mortar shops. Publishers of prominent titles like Backpacker and Outside are thus able to exercise significant influence in the sales process.
As a publisher who has given out such awards and worked with gear brands to help them use the award badge to promote their product, I won’t be shy in admitting that there is benefit to the publisher as well. There is a direct relationship that few of us like to admit that the more favorable a gear brand is towards your publication, the more likely they will let you know about product launches, send you gear to review, or purchase advertising. Likewise, publishers who review gear critically sacrifice their ability to solicit advertising from those brands and promote those products to their readership in the hopes of earning affiliate commissions.
Traditional outdoor industry publishing business models, both print and online, rely on the relationship between gear brands paying the publisher for advertising or affiliate marketing. Outdoor recreation publishers that have built their business model on this foundation have thus evolved into de facto influencers for gear brands instead of providing independent journalism that helps consumers make wise choices about whether or not to buy a product.
Backpacking Light was founded on the idea that consumer advocacy would always be the cornerstone value that drove our business decisions. To that end, we knew that a business model where subscriber (member) support was our dominant revenue source (vs. advertising sales or affiliate commissions) was essential for us to remain independent from the influence of gear brands.
That’s why we are extremely proud to launch the Backpacking Light Members Choice Awards this year. Members Choice Awards represent the gear that Backpacking Light Members use and love. They represent products that are the collective favorites of hundreds to thousands of people submitting their picks in a democratic fashion, rather than the strategic decision made by a tiny group of editors, or worse, just me! – Ryan Jordan, Publisher
Table of Contents
Table of Contents • Note: some sections may only be available to Premium or Unlimited Members.
- Table of Contents
- The Process
- Finding Members Choice Award Winners in the Gear Shop
- 2022 Members Choice Awards
- Packing Systems Accessories
- Bivy Sacks
- Ground Cloths
- Tent Stakes
- Sleeping Bags
- Sleeping Quilts
- Sleeping Pads
- Water Treatment
- Water Storage
- Food Storage
- Packaged Backpacking Foods
- Clothing: Base Layers
- Clothing: Insulated
- Clothing: Raingear
- Clothing: Handwear
- Clothing: Headwear
- Navigation & Electronics
- Health, Safety, and Repair
Nominations for 2022 Members Choice Awards were opened on September 14, and closed on October 31. Members were invited to nominate any product across a total of 45 different categories (for final tallying, some categories were consolidated). Each nomination was then tallied. The top product in each category, plus one or more honorable mentions, were selected based solely on the number of times those products were nominated. In most categories, the top products were nominated by 10% or more of Members who submitted nominations in that category.
The Members Choice Award badge is being awarded to the top products and the honorable mentions in each category. For this inaugural award cycle, we make no distinction between the top products and the honorable mentions.
Finding Members Choice Award Winners in the Gear Shop
The Backpacking Light Gear Shop represents a curated collection of backpacking gear recommendations from our staff, contributors, product reviewers, and now, our members. Gear Shop products can be filtered by award type, and you can find all Members Choice Award winners by using that filter:
The Gear Shop is one of the most popular areas of our site, and our members use it primarily to conduct gear research in a particular category and discover new products. In addition, Gear Shop listings provide a gateway into finding used versions on the Gear Swap, related product reviews, and more.
2022 Members Choice Awards
Each product below is linked to the product listing in the Backpacking Light Gear Shop, where you can learn more about these products and content published by Backpacking Light related to them.
- Durston Gear Kakwa 40
- Gossamer Gear Mariposa
- Hyperlite Mountain Gear Junction
- Atom Packs Atom
- Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest
Packing Systems Accessories
- Enlightened Equipment Revelation
- Enlightened Equipment Enigma
- Hammock Gear Economy Burrow | Premium Burrow
- Katabatic Gear Flex
- Katabatic Gear Palisade
- Soto Windmaster
- MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe
- BRS 3000t
- MSR Pocket Rocket
- MSR Windburner
- Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri
- Toaks 750 Light Titanium Pot
- Evernew 0.6 Ultralight Titanium Pot
- MSR Titan Kettle
- Vargo BOT 700
- Long Handled Titanium Spoon
- BearVault BV500 | BV450
- Ursack Major
- Hilltop Packs ECOPAK Food Bag
- ZPacks Bear Bagging Kit
Packaged Backpacking Foods
Clothing: Base Layers
- Enlightened Equipment Torrid APEX
- Montbell Plasma
- Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
- Macpac Nitro
- Patagonia Nano Puff
- Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Socks
- Injinji Trail Midweight Mini-Crew Socks
- Smartwool Performance Hike Full Cushion Crew Socks
- Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
- Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe
- Camp Corsa Ice Axe
- Kahtoola Microspikes
- MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes
- Suunto M3 Series Compasses
- Garmin inReach Mini 2
- Garmin Fenix Series Watches
- Nitecore NB10000 Portable Battery Charger
- Nitecore NU25 UL Headlamp
Health, Safety, and Repair
- Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent
- ThinkSport Clear Zinc Oxide Sunscreen
- Tenacious Tape
- Victorinox Classic
- Backcountry Fishing: Tenkara Rhodo
- Boating: Alpacka Packrafts
- Bikepacking: Revelate Designs Bikepacking Bags
- Do you use any of the gear mentioned above, and what has your experience been?
- What trends in this overall collection do you observe compared to the types of gear we may have used ten or twenty years ago?
Share your thoughts in the forum below!
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