The 2022 Men’s Health Outdoor Awards
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IT’S BEEN a strange couple of years, and most of us have been more than a little cooped up indoors. We could all use some serious outside time right now. Thankfully, summer is already in full swing. Long days, warmer weather, and plentiful sunshine make this the perfect time of year to log off, leave the phone at home, and, as they say, “touch grass.”
If you haven’t done so already, it might be time to take stock of your gear closet. What’s worth keeping? What can you donate? And what equipment needs a flat-out upgrade? Hundreds, if not thousands, of new products launch each year making shopping for the best outdoor gear daunting. Thankfully, we’ve done the hard work for you. Our editors personally tested more than 200 products for every type of outdoor adventure, including hiking, camping, backpacking, kayaking, biking, and more. We sorted out the good, the bad, and the ordinary. The result is a hand-picked list of the very best outdoor gear of 2022—thoroughly tested, researched, and reviewed.
Best Sport T-Shirt
Merino Short Sleeve Tee
Cotton and synthetics have their place in everyday apparel. But nothing beats Merino wool when you’re working up a serious sweat. Smartwool’s aptly named Merino Short Sleeve Tee is a simple, lightweight T-Shirt that’s versatile enough to wear just about anywhere. We especially love the UPF 20+ sun protection and have literally worn this for a week in the summer heat with zero noticeable odor. (Not that we recommend you do the same.)
Best Outdoor Shorts
KUIU’s new-for-2022 Switchback Shorts are lightweight, “everything”-resistant (including water, stains, and wear), and built with the technical details that matter for serious outdoor adventuring. A zippered thigh pocket, two-way stretch, and a reinforced pocket knife feature, all coupled with a simple, streamlined silhouette make these perfectly adaptable for the backcountry and as everyday wear.
Bandanas are one of the most versatile pieces of apparel. Buff’s Multifunctional Neckwear is like a bandana, but better. This deceptively simple, all-in-one cloth can be worn around the neck or to protect your face from the sun and the elements with powerful UPF 50 protection.
Best Active Shirt
Persuadr Short Sleeve Shirt
Most activewear looks like activewear. Kuhl’s Persuadr has the chops to wear well during high-intensity activities, but the clean-cut design means it can pass for everyday wear. It’s lightweight and ultra-soft with a dash of classic style. We love that versatility that makes it a great all-in-one option for day hikes, city treks, and dinners in town.
Reversible Bucket Hat
We love gear that does double, even triple, duty in the outdoors. More versatile gear means less to pack. Fjallraven’s Reversible Bucket Hat is two hats in one with a solid Patina Green on the outside, and a Patina-and-Navy block pattern on the other. Its simple, full-brim sun protection for leisurely camp days and afternoons at the beach.
Hot Shot Boxer Brief
Even while working out, camping, or exploring the backcountry, no man should have to suffer through sweaty drawers. We love Saxx’s form-fitting underwear with a soft, cooling fabric that helps dissipate heat and regulate your body temp during high-intensity activities. Plus, the built-in BallPark Pouch keeps your boys comfortably supported and away from your body heat.
Best Sport Wallet
Avid adventurers know that “ordinary” wallets aren’t built for the outdoors. Groove Life’s Groove Wallet features a slim, handsome design and rugged metal construction with just enough storage space for your most essential cards. It’s designed to help you “trim the fat” from your traditional wallet load to keep you more streamlined in the great outdoors.
Best Lightweight Hoodie
River Run Hoodie
Finding the perfect lightweight hoodie is almost impossible. Voormi’s versatile River Run is made of soft, Merino wool with a featherweight construction that’s great for warm-weather sun protection or as an extra layer when the temperature drops. Integrated thumb loops help keep the sleeves exactly where you want them. It’s our new go-to hoodie for year-round wear.
Teton Armless Sunglasses
Armless sunglasses might sound a little confusing. But Ombraz makes them work, thanks to a built-in strap that allows you to dial in the perfect fit. We especially love the all-new Teton model with a versatile silhouette that’s both modern and retro. Without traditional arms, the design is nearly flat, so they’re perfectly packable for beach days and getting outdoors.
Best Rain Jacket
Beta LT Jacket Hadron
Arc’teryx has been our favorite outerwear brand for years. The all-new Beta LT Jacket Hadron is lightweight, comfortable, and near-bulletproof (no, not literally). Thanks to 3L Gore-Tex fabric, it’s windproof and waterproof, yet breathable. One of our testers call it “… super packable. The best lightweight rain jacket I’ve ever owned.”
Quilted Crewneck Sweatshirt
Nothing beats a perfectly broken-in sweatshirt for cool summer nights around the campfire. With a brushed inside and raglan sleeves, L.L. Bean’s Quilted Sweatshirt is buttery soft and feels like the favorite sweatshirt you’ve had for years.
Best Cooling Sport T-Shirt
Merino Tencel Long Sleeve Tee
A featherweight long-sleeve shirt is perfect for both sun protection in warmer weather and layering when the temperature drops. This long-sleeve tee from Ibex combines all the best features of Merino wool and Tencel into one versatile top that’s cooling, protective in the sun, and with a relaxed, tagless design that’s comfortable in any weather.
Best Flannel Shirt
The Brushed Flannel Shirt
For sheer comfort and versatility, nothing beats a classic flannel for outdoor-friendly wear. The Brushed Flannel Shirt from Everlane features a soft, abrasion-resistant finish so it’s plush, yet durable enough for outdoor chores and activities. Bonus: It’s warm enough to wear on its own as a shoulder season top.
Best Merino Wool Hoodie
Chinook Merino Hoody
There’s no better fabric for outdoor wear than Merino wool. Stone Glacier takes it to the next level with its Chinook Merino Hoody. The Merino6 fabric is a unique blend of Merino wool and fine Nylon threading. The result is a versatile, all-season hoodie that’s moisture-wicking and odor-repelling in even the worst conditions.
Best Bathing Suit
Ridge Swim Trunk
Like everything in Weekends At’s catalog, the Ridge Swim Trunk features a bright, bold design that’s contemporary and a little retro. The organic, hand-drawn print is UV-protected so it’s durable enough to survive years of whatever water sports you’re into. Plus, we love the silky-smooth finish that makes these a joy to wear.
Best Sport Socks
Flite XT Trail
We don’t often get excited about socks. But Swiftwick reinvented the game this year with the release of its Flite XT line. The Swift Flite XT Trail are hands-down the best sport socks we’ve ever tested for hiking and backpacking. They’re soft, supportive, and the Merino wool construction wicks away sweat like a champ.
Best Recovery Shoe
After a hard workout, you want to give your feet the love and relaxation they deserve. OOFOS’s OOcandoo recovery sandals feature an all-new design using the much-loved OOFOS footbed and easy-to-don hook-and-loop fasteners, making them ideal for recovery, hiking, and travel.
Adapt Hike Max
Even the best hiking boots sometimes need a little “help.” Superfeet’s Adapt Hike Max are the best hiking-centric insoles we’ve ever tested, providing hundreds of miles of extra comfort. They’re perfect for hiking, biking, or almost any outdoor adventure that keeps you on your feet. Because they’re designed to trim, you can dial in the exact fit for your boots.
Best Lightweight Trail Shoes
Sometimes a legit hiking boot is overkill. If you value speed and lightweight above all else, nothing beats Merrell’s aptly named Moab Speed. We’ve hardly ever had to break in a pair as they’re extremely comfortable and trail-ready right out of the box. All-around comfort, durability, and solid foot protection make this out favorite featherweight trail shoe. Plus, it’s available in Gore-Tex and non-waterproof varieties—your call.
Best Casual Shoe
3-Eye Lug Handsewn Boat Shoe
For more casual outdoor-friendly footwear, Timberland’s 3-Eye Lug Handsewn Boat Shoes offer rugged good looks with a classic boat shoe silhouette that’s been upgraded with the brand’s popular boot lugs. The result is a deceptively simple casual shoe that’s built tough enough for the outdoors.
Best Hiking Boot
Outpulse Mid Gore-Tex
When only a serious hiking boot will do, we look to Salomon. The Outpulse Mid Gore-Tex is a mid-height boot with strong ankle support, out-of-the-box comfort, and a long list of technical features—many borrowed from the brand’s trail running line-up—that guarantee it’s ready to tackle any trail. For a lighter-weight alternative, go for the low-top version.
Best Camp Chair
Chair Zero Highback
Camping furniture isn’t something most of us consider when packing for the backcountry. But, Helinox’s original, ultra-portable camp chair got a reboot this year, so it’s taller, more comfortable, and weighs just 1.5 pounds. It’s still our go-to for hiking, backpacking, and camping.
Best Camp Couch
Traditional camp chairs are so 2020. For serious fireside relaxation, you need a proper camp couch. Kelty’s portable Low Loveseat has been a gamechanger for our summer camps this year. It offers more space than a traditional camp chair in an oversized form factor with plenty of room for you and your significant other (or your dog or just yourself if you’re a solo trekker who likes more room to spread out).
Best Camping Tent
Telos TR2 Tent
Sea to Summit’s flagship camping tent is so simple and clever, it’s a wonder no one thought of the design before. The lightweight design transforms from legit backpacking tent to semi-open awning/shelter and back again in seconds. Plus, it features some of the best ventilation of any camping tent we’ve ever tested.
Best Camping Lantern
Alpenglow 500 Lantern
Sleek, lightweight, and bright, BioLite’s AlpenGlow 500 delivers everything we expect in a great camping lantern. Plus, it features an array of fun lighting modes with almost infinite color combinations.
Best Rooftop Tent
GEN2 Overlander Tent XL
Many rooftop tents are unnecessarily complicated and expensive. Smittybilt’s GEN2 Overlander Tent XL strikes a great balance of price, utility, versatility, and user-friendliness. We love the essential features like no-see-um mesh, generous window space, and the fact that it opens up to the size of a king-size bed!
Best Backpack Cooler
Boss 30L Cooler
Most coolers aren’t built for the backcountry. They’re big, bulky, and insanely heavy, especially stocked with ice and beer. Enter: The Icemule Boss. It takes everything great about a cooler, turns it into a portable, waterproof bag, and adds backpacking straps, so you can take your favorite beverages, meat cuts, or picnic essentials just about anywhere.
Best Pocket Knife
Savvy Carbon Fiber Pocket Knife
For outdoor lovers who want one pocket knife that does it all, we love the Gerber Savvy. The compact, folding design looks great, deploys smoothly, and is built for everyday use in a variety of outdoor-centric applications. Plus, it’s fully customizable with text, graphics, and unique colors on the Gerber website.
Whether you’re biking, kayaking, hiking, or car camping, a good multi-tool can make all the difference. Leatherman’s classic Signal has been our go-to for a while now. With nearly 20 tools in total—including essentials like knives, drivers, openers, and even a hammer and safety whistle—it’s the one tool to take into the outdoors when you want to take just one.
Best Sleeping Bag
Magma Trail Quilt 30
Leave the bulky sleeping bag at home. REI Co-op’s own Magma Trail Quilt offers almost all the warmth, comfort, and coziness of a traditional sleeping bag. But, by leaving off the hood, zipper, and bottom, it weighs significantly less at a backpack-friendly 1 pound 3 ounces. The 30-degree temperature rating makes it a perfect choice for three-season camping in all but the coldest climates.
Best Trekking Poles
Connect Carbon 5 Cross WT Swing Poles
Trekking poles are great for hiking, backpacking, and ski touring. But, they’re often cumbersome and heavier than they need to be. TSL Outdoors solves this problem with the Connect Carbon 5—a pair of featherweight, extremely durable carbon trekking poles that collapse down to fit neatly into a daypack or carry-on suitcase.
Best Hydration Pack
Crossover 10L Hydration Vest
Sometimes even a daypack is too much. For fast day hikes, trail running, or anywhere you need to travel light, Nathan’s Crossover line allows you to pack plenty of water and just a few other essentials. The 10L model features a two-liter reservoir that’s large enough to keep you hydrated on most runs, rides, and day hikes.
Pioneer 2.0 Inflatable Standup Paddleboard
Isle makes some of our favorite paddleboards. The Isle Pioneer 2.0 is still the best all-around, and it recently received a reboot. The latest model is durable, easy to ride for any skill level, and packs down small, making it a great option for city dwellers and anyone with limited garage space.
Inlet Foldable Kayak
Having a kayak is amazing. Transporting one isn’t. They’re big, bulky, and difficult to wrangle atop any vehicle. Oru solves that problem with the Inlet—a featherweight, origami-style folding kayak that packs down small enough to fit into the back of almost any car, truck, or SUV. Completely assembled, it’s surprisingly easy to pilot with effortless tracking.
Citro 30 H2O Hydration Pack
We love this lightweight, mid-sized daypack for its 30-liter capacity that’s perfect for carrying exactly what we need for a day hike. There’s room for snacks, sunglasses, and other essentials, plus a rain shell and even an extra layer of clothing. The included 3L reservoir clips neatly inside its own sleeve and features an easy-to-fill, no-spill cap.
Litewater Dinghy Packraft
Packrafts—ultra-portable, inflatable watercraft designed to fit in a backpack—open up a whole new world for hikers. Klymit’s Litewater Dinghy is the most packable we’ve tested with a stowed size of just 9 inches x 4 inches (roughly the size of a Nalgene bottle). It’s extremely lightweight too. Toss it into your pack with a collapsible kayak paddle, and deploy it in minutes at your next water crossing or anytime you feel like tooling around a backcountry lake on your next day hike.
Best Portable Coffeemaker
Pipamoka Portable Coffee Maker
For the gentleman who can’t live without a properly poured cup of morning joe, finding a decent portable coffee solution can be a challenge. Wacaco’s Pipamoka is a sleek, all-in-one vacuum coffeemaker and travel mug. Just add your favorite grounds, hot water, and a little elbow grease, and you can have a rich cup of coffee literally anywhere.
Best Car Camping Cooler
Patrol 55 Coolbox
You haven’t truly camped until you’ve camped with a portable Dometic refrigerator. But, this decidedly more low-key and affordable option is the next best thing. It’s the best passive coolbox we’ve tested this year for car camping, capable of keeping ice frozen for days while looking great doing it
Best Insulated Bottle
Master Unbreakable Thermal Bottle
Serious coffee drinkers demand serious carafes. The Stanley 1913 Master Unbreakable Thermal Bottle is perfect for early sunrise hikes or sipping coffee on chilly mornings while car camping. It’s big, beefy, and the vacuum-insulated construction keeps drinks hot or cold for days. Plus, the lid doubles as a cup.
Best Camp Utensil
Devour Titanium Spork
The spork might still be the best camp utensil of all time. Gerber reinvented this camp kitchen essential with an all-titanium design that’s extremely lightweight yet practically unbreakable. The latest version features the same classic spork silhouette with nine total functions, including a can opener, flathead drivers, a scraper, and even a kickstand feature.
Best Camp Kitchen
Sherpa Camp Table & Organizer
Wrangling all your kitchen goods for the outdoors can be challenging. Camp Chef’s Sherpa Camp Table & Organizer is an all-in-one solution for storing food, cookware, utensils, and other kitchen essentials. It folds down small but opens up to counter height with a roll-top aluminum table for easy food prep. It’s even safe for hot pans right off the fire.
Best Camp Stove
Titan Camping Stove
$89.99 (18% off)
Solo Stove took everything awesome about its jumbo-sized portable bonfire pits and shrunk it down into our favorite camp stove. The Solo Stove Titan is lightweight, durable, and burns any sort of natural material (wood, sticks, leaves) cleanly. It’s the perfect, all-in-one camp cooking solution for two. Bonus: The super-efficient design creates almost zero smoke.
Best Roof Rack
Slimline II Roof Rack
From snowboards to backpacks to rooftop tents, hardcore outdoor adventurers tote a ton of gear. Front Runner has long been our favorite provider of vehicle and storage solutions. Its Slimline II, in particular, is the best outdoor-oriented roof rack on the market. With a durable, modular design, it’s customizable to carry everything from camping gear to kayaks to skis to extra water jugs to—you get the idea.
Best Camp Storage
Hillsound’s PackStack Pro are fully waterproof, zippered containers great for organizing everything from clothes to food to first aid kits to electronics. The unique semi-circular shape is built for backpacks. So, they’re designed to move seamlessly from your garage to your car to your backpack without having to unpack and repack anything.
Best Duffel Bag
Medium Rugged Twill Duffle Bag
Filson has long been a favorite of ours for its classic, yet timeless outdoor apparel and gear. The Medium Rugged Twill Duffle Bag is perfectly sized for both car camping and carry-on travel. It’s handsome enough to show off, yet plenty durable (including scuff and water resistance) for more active outdoor pursuits.
Best Portable Speaker
Soundboks Go Bluetooth Performance Speaker
Loud, ultra-portable, and “everything”-proof, the Soundboks GO is built to survive shocks, drops, water, dust, dirt, and just about anything else you can throw at it. All of which makes it the perfect portable speaker for car camping and partying in the great outdoors.
Best Action Camera
GoPro’s all-new HERO10 Black features eye-popping 5.1K Ultra HD video resolution, a rugged, weatherproof design, and mind-blowing image stabilization, proving it’s still the best action camera on the market hands-down. We’ve take it hiking, biking, and kayaking and it never misses a beat.
Best Mobile Charger
Wireless Power Bank
For off-grid emergencies, OtterBox’s Wireless Power Bank offers just the right amount of backup juice. It’s ultra-portable, yet powerful enough to keep smartphones and small electronics topped up in the woods, whether you’re car camping or exploring deeper into the backcountry.
Best Multisport Smartwatch
fēnix 7 Solar Edition
Garmin’s multisport smartwatches just keep getting better. The fenix 7 Solar Edition is the best in the brand’s catalog with a beautiful touchscreen display and solar charging to ensure it almost never runs out of battery. Under the hood, it tracks a dizzying array of personal data, including heart rate, Pulse Ox, activity stats, real-time stamina, performance metrics, and more.
Best Solar Generator
Portable Power Station Explorer 500
$529.99 (12% off)
When you don’t want to leave home without your most essential tech, there’s Jackery’s Portable Power Station Explorer 500. It’s a perfectly sized solar generator (that charges from car and wall outlets too) that’s powerful enough for keeping phones, tablets, and digital cameras topped out while “roughing it” in the front country.
Best Emergency Locator
inReach Mini 2
Garmin continues to pioneer the world’s best emergency locator beacons. The latest version of its lightweight, ultra-compact inReach Mini 2 works anywhere on the planet, from pole to pole. Not only can you text Nana from Antarctica, but it puts a last-ditch SOS button in your pocket in case things go very, very sideways on your next epic expedition.
Best Hiking App
onX Backcountry Premium
“Hands-down my favorite app for planning any outdoor adventure with more than 55,000 campsites and half-a-million points of interest,” one tester said. “The maps are beautiful, simple, and intuitive. Plus, it works offline and is only $30 per year.”
Best Sport Earbuds
Z.N.E. 01 ANC True Wireless Earbuds
For the highest-intensity workouts, you want a pair of wireless headphones that can stand up to sweat, shock, dust, and even occasional rain. Adidas’ Z.N.E. 01 ANC True Wireless Earbuds are our new go-to. The IPX5 rating means they’re durable enough for outdoor adventuring, plus they’re sleek and stylish to boot.
Best Outdoor-Friendly Tablet
Galaxy Tab S8+ 5G
When you need a little more than your smartphone to stay connected, but a laptop is overkill, there’s Samsung’s S8+ Tablet. We found the built-in 5G capability blazing fast for streaming videos on the beautiful, 12.4-inch 8K display while car camping. Plus, all-day battery life means you’ll hardly need to charge it while you’re away.
Best Insect Bite Treatment
Bug Bite Thing Suction Tool
Insect repellent usually works. But, when it doesn’t, this unique tool removes the poison or venom by literally sucking it out of your skin. It works on bug bites (including mosquitos and ants) and stings (bees, wasps, and more) without batteries or harsh chemicals.
Best Lip Balm
Offensively Large SPF 15 Organic Beeswax Lip Balm
Between the sun, the wind, and the cold, being outdoors is hard on every part of your body. Duke Cannon’s Organic Beeswax Lip Balm is designed to protect the one part of your body most of us overlook. The jumbo-sized stick delivers all-natural SPF15 sun protection for all manner of outdoor adventuring. We think the fresh minty flavor tastes great too.
Best First Aid Kit
First Aid Plus Kit
Putting together a decent first aid kit can be a hassle. Uncharted Supply Co. tackles the hard work with its First Aid Plus—a comprehensive, waterproof, all-in-one first aid kit that’s perfect for any outdoor adventure. Strap it into the rear of your car with the built-in MOLLE panel, and forget about it until you really need it.
Best CBD Salve
Topical CBD Salve
If CBD isn’t part of your post-workout routine, we kindly suggest that it should be. The science might still be out on this all-natural phytocannabinoid (that means it’s derived from the cannabis plant), but we think salves like CBDol’s Topical CBD Salve are a near-miracle recovery solution after high-intensity activities like hiking, kayaking, trail running, and more.
Best Camp Wipe
The Massive Wet Wipe
Most “large” shower wipes are just glorified baby wipes. Epic Wipes seriously ups the ante with its massive shower wipes that measure a whopping 2.6 feet by 1.6 feet for “showering” off after serious outdoor adventures. Plus, we love that they’re biodegradable and durable enough to survive multiple uses.
Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion
Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 100+ is a serious upgrade to the thick, heavy sunscreen lotions most of us are used to. It’s lightweight, non-greasy, water- and sweatproof—perfect for even the highest intensity activities.
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