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Explore Magazine staff spent late-January walking the busy aisles of the Outdoor Retailer 2013 Winter Market, in Salt Lake City, Utah, last week. Why? To uncover the best and newest outdoors gear, trends and technologies — so we can keep our readers in the loop. We'll be testing and reviewing much of this gear throughout the year — so when it comes time for you to make a new purchase, you can buy with confidence knowing we've put in some legwork for you.

So what's new at OR 2013? As it would turn out, plenty. Here are a few quick teasers — look to future issues of Explore for tests and gear review articles.

* Thermarest has new, super-thick, super-comfy inflatable mattresses — that amazingly roll up to be not much larger than a standard sleeper. We're talking thick here, like "at home comfort" thick.

• Helly Hansen's new Thrym Jacket is a sight to behold — at $900, it promises (and delivers) extreme performance.

• Smith goggles unveils its "Dr. Bob" — a totally retro design (think tri-colour straps) with all modern technology.

• Backcountry Access' new iPhone/iPad app is incredble — chart routes, stay in touch, check out weather and avalanche forecasts. Very nice — and free (for now).

• Louis Garneau's new boa-system running snowshoe is the lightest snowshoe I've ever picked up. Can't wait to test this one.

• Adidas Outdoors' new "speed hikers" are impressive — the Fast R shoe and Swift R shoe look particularly promising.

• Rossignol's new backcountry touring, skinless/waxless skis look awesome — fat enough to make some real turns with, yet light and versatile for touring.

• I loved JanSport's Skip Yell collection — super stylish, throwback style "rucksacks."

• Mountain Hardwear and Outdry will be soon unveiling a, fully functional waterproof backpack. Stay tuned — this looks like the real dea.

OK — so I know that's not a lot of information. But I'm doing it on purpose — to get you excited about our upcoming gear reviews. Look for this and so much more, online and in print.
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