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Presenting the Gear of the Year: Must-Have Outdoor Gear and Tech

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By Mary Anne Potts

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While fuel costs soared and the economy gasped, 2010 has actually been a great year for outdoor recreation. Good ol' camping may be more popular than ever, as reported by CNN, and national parks, such as Yellowstone, are breaking attendence records. Which means: There is no guilt in investing in new gear so that you can properly hike, bike, or climb in our own spectacular backyard. You might even argue that it's smart to upgrade your softshell or ski boots so that you are ready to enjoy our (affordable) natural resources.

With that, we bring you the best outdoor gear and tech of 2010, written by our longtime gear expert Steve Casimiro, editor of The Adventure Life. As to be expected the Gear of the Year products are pretty much amazing—a snow helmet that breaks apart on impact to save your skull; down sweaters that are ultralight and cozy; a headlamp that may be smarter than you are; and much, much more. We even have a GPS, digital cameras (from a helmet cam to DSLR), and our favorite smartphone.

Take a look. You will probably find something you do actually need.