Sweetwood Cattle Co. General Manager Becca Fix holds the latest edition of Backpacker Magazine in front of the Editors' Choice Award presented by the editors of the magazine. Big Agnes also won an Editor's Choice Award for its Scout UL2 tent.

Photo by John F. Russell

Sweetwood Cattle Co. General Manager Becca Fix holds the latest edition of Backpacker Magazine in front of the Editors' Choice Award presented by the editors of the magazine. Big Agnes also won an Editor's Choice Award for its Scout UL2 tent.

Steamboat Springs companies earn nod from Backpacker Magazine

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Big Agnes/courtesy

Members of Big Agnes and Backpacker Magazine celebrate after the Steamboat company's Scout UL2 tent won an Editors' Choice Award. Pictured, from left, are, Rich Hager, Bill Gamber, Backpacker's Kristin Hostetter, Len Zanni, Backpacker's Denis Lewon, Sarah Uhl and Carl Johnson from Backbone Media.

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Caitlin Colgan sends out packages of jerky from the Sweetwood Jerky Company Wednesday afternoon. Sweetwood and Big Agnes products were named Editor's Choice in Backpacker magazine.

— Two local companies were honored as 2013 Backpacker Magazine Editors’ Choice Award winners.

The awards, which have been given out since 1993, honor the top products in the outdoor industry based on innovation, design, materials and performance.

Big Agnes won for its Scout UL2 tent, the company's seventh Editors’ Choice Award since 2004.

Sweetwood Cattle Co. won for the first time for its jerky, marking its inclusion into the outdoor industry.

The companies were two of 14 manufacturers to earn the recognition.

“It’s our first award, and we’re super excited,” said Becca Fix, Sweetwood’s general manager. “We’re excited to see where it takes us. We were lucky to be included along the other companies. Anytime you’re listed alongside Big Agnes, you feel lucky and know you are doing something right.”

Sweetwood was one of two food companies to earn the designation. The product, offered in four varieties, uses whole muscle cuts for its jerky and all natural flavors.

She said the editor of Backpacker Magazine was introduced to the product at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market a couple of years ago. From there, she said Sweetwood provided Backpacker with plenty of samples, and soon they became a hit.

“There is definitely some hype with protein and the outdoor crowd now,” Fix said. “People are looking for something to give them energy other than sugar.”

The jerky is available at retail spaces throughout town and at www.sweetwoodjerky.com.

For Big Agnes, the award was the status quo. The outdoor company has found a niche in tents and sleeping bags and has become a favorite of Backpacker. Big Agnes has won Editors’ Choice Awards from Backpacker in 2004, 2007 through 2009 and 2011 through this year.

The Scout UL2 tent is a classic A-frame wall tent or tarp. The single-wall tent uses trekking poles for support. The trail weight is just 1 pound, 9 ounces with a packed weight of two pounds.

“We know that a lot of people carry trekking poles when they are backpacking or hiking,” said Len Zanni, a co-owner of Big Agnes. “There are other tents in this category on the market, but we figured we’d see how good of job we could do. Obviously, we’re pretty pleased with the result.”

The tent is available at www.bigagnes.com.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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