Nestled in Colorado’s breathtaking Vail Valley, the GoPro Mountain Games have become an annual gathering for outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes. After a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, Vail’s fresh mountain air was once again filled with camaraderie and cheers as spectators and competitors gathered to celebrate their love of the outdoors.
Beyond the thrilling competitions and live music, attendees were able to get a firsthand look at some of the most innovative outdoor gear from dozens of top brands. Picking the best wasn’t easy, but we built this list of our favorites by speaking with brand reps, demoing equipment, and talking with fans. From survival tools to recovery products, these 10 picks—from brands including Adidas, LifeStraw, and GoPro—deserve a spot in your go bag this year.
The Best Outdoor Gear From the 2021 GoPro Mountain Games
1. GoPro Mezcal Floating Polarized Sunglasses
Located at an altitude of 8,150 feet, Vail gets lots of extra bright sun, and that makes a good pair of sunglasses absolutely essential. Luckily, GoPro kept our eyes covered with the new Mezcal polarized sunglasses. These unique frames offer polarized protection and they’ll float in both saltwater and freshwater (ideal for summer adventures by boat). Plus, you’ll get three interchangeable lenses––grey, blue, and amber––so you can choose the best shade for your environment
2. Adidas Terrex Two Flow Trail Running Shoes
Two of the most important considerations for any trail running shoe are traction and weight—and thats exactly where the Adidas Terrex Two Flow shines. The breathable mesh upper and ultra-lightweight midsole significantly reduce weight, while the Continental rubber outsole provides exceptional grip across rugged terrain both wet and dry.
3. Hest Sleep System
This ain’t your average camp mattress. The multi-layer design features an inflatable drop-stitch base and a memory foam topper for optimal body alignment and pressure point relief. The durable waterproof base will absorb uncomfortable rocks and roots, while the temperature-regulating memory foam will keep you cool in summer or warm in winter. It’s the best sleep you’ll ever have beneath the stars.
4. Blue Harvest Labs Freeski Arnica CBD Balm
There’s no shortage of CBD products on the market, but Blue Harvest Labs’ offerings stand out thanks to the company’s cold extraction techniques, science-backed formulations, and premium ingredients, including pure CBD isolate. The Freeski Arnica CBD Balm was developed with pro skier Isaac Freeland and is formulated with shea butter and arnica to reduce inflammation and soothe achy muscles after a long day on the slopes or trails.
5. HiDow Pro Touch 6-12
Endurance athletes understand the importance of muscle recovery, and if you want to really take your recovery to the next level, this wireless electronic muscle stimulator is a must-have. We gave it a try at the Games and were impressed by its targeted, rejuvenating effects on sore muscles and joints. To use it, you simply attach gel pads wherever you’re sore and then use the wireless remote to stimulate muscle impulses and target nerve receptors. With its range of different massage patterns and intensity levels, you can tailor the Pro Touch to your body and enjoy real muscle and joint relief.
6. Cardo Systems Packtalk Ski
Once you push off from the chairlift, communicating with your crew on the slopes gets difficult—unless you’re equipped with the Packtalk Ski System from Cardo Systems. This wireless group intercom system can connect you with up to 15 other people within a range of one kilometer. The receiver mounts to your helmet and comes with a microphone and two small speakers that attach to your earflaps. Once set up, the hands-free, always-on group intercom allows you to talk to your friends, stream music, or even take phone calls while you ski or ride.
7. Stunt Puppy Stunt Runner
If your four-legged friend likes putting their paws to the pavement (or the trail), this hands-free leash is a no-brainer. The leash wraps around your waist, and the bungee section absorbs variations in speed and direction, so your dog won’t send you flying if it decides to chase a squirrel. You can adjust the length of the leash to suit your trail or sidewalk, and it includes a built-in grab handle to keep your pup close.
8. Sterling Duetto XEROS Climbing Ropes
When you’re hanging off the side of a rock face, your climbing rope is literally your lifeline. Make sure you’re using premium climbing ropes, like the XEROS series from Sterling. These UIAA-certified ropes are ultra-durable, and they’re manufactured with bluesign-approved raw materials, so they’re more sustainable (and surprisingly, more affordable) than your average rope.
[Starting at $100; sterlingrope.com]
9. Aquamira 3L Pressurized Reservoir
Pressurized water while camping is a major luxury, but this pressurized reservoir and filtration system from Aquamira makes it much more attainable. Simply pump up the reservoir with the pressure bulb and you’ll be able to spray away. Additionally, if you’re in the backcountry and need a drink from a pond or stream, simply attach an Aquamira Frontier Max water filter for safe hydration.
10. Lifestraw Home Dispenser
It’s not just backpackers and outdoorsmen who need to filter their water—tap water can contain dangerous pollutants that you’ll want to avoid ingesting (see your area’s tap water analysis here). To stay safe at home, the water filtration experts at Lifestraw developed this effective and affordable water filter and dispenser. It holds over gallon of water at a time, and Lifestraw’s two-part filtration technology removes over 30 contaminants to both improve taste and protect your health.
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