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Outdoor Retailer 2010 is upon us - August 2-6 to be exact - and Backpacking Light will be there once again to roam through over 1,400 booths to find innovative new lightweight gear and report back to our readers. That's not an easy task because there's so much conventional gear to wade through to find the really good stuff - gear that's new, innovative, and lightweight. We will publish a daily report from the show, starting on Tuesday August 3 and ending on Saturday August 7.

While OR showcases lots of interesting new gear from the big companies (plus some startups), it would be a disservice for us to ignore new gear from the small companies, focused on our specific needs, who sell ultralight gear online and can't afford the high cost of exhibiting at OR. So, we are once again highlighting new goods from the small companies that design gear expressly for lightweight backpacking. They are definitely an important source of innovative new lightweight gear, and we want to give them equal visibility in our coverage of our industry's biggest trade show.

It's interesting to look back to the late 1990s when ultralight backpacking was first taking off: there were very few companies manufacturing ultralight gear, and ultralighters were making much of their own gear out of necessity. Remember the GoLite Breeze pack and Ray-Way gear? Fast forward to the present: we now have a growing number of small companies in the business, plus participation from the big companies, and in fact the lightweight/ultralight gear arena is getting quite competitive. This article is a testimony to that; I was amazed at the large number of new gear introductions from the small companies, it equals or exceeds what we are likely to find from the big companies at OR. Things have changed a lot in a little more than ten years. With that in mind, let's get started!


  • Overview
  • Z-Packs Hexamid Tent and Dyneema X Gridstop Backpacks
  • Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri Cone
  • Kooka Bay Ultra Light Sleeping Pads and Kookalight Pillow
  • Big Sky International Mirage 2P-BF Tent, New Fabrics, and New Poles
  • Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA) Introduces New Camino and Epic Backpacks
  • LightHeart Solo and Duo Tents Set Up With Trekking Poles
  • Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo Ultralight Shelter Systems and Windrider Backpack
  • Elemental Horizons Aquilo Backpack and New Accessories
  • Mountain Laurel Designs Introduces Extra Strong Cuben Fiber Dry Bags and 4.7 Ounce Hammock Tarp
  • New Ultralight Stuff From Gossamer Gear
  • A Diversity of New Products from Titanium Goat
  • Other New Small Companies Selling Lightweight Gear

# WORDS: 3850
# PHOTOS: 21

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