Events, Gear, Outdoor 0

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014

Gathered under the roof of the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City for four days in August, you’ll find the largest gathering of outdoor sports manufacturers in the world. Unfortunately for consumers, the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is a trade only event, with special sessions for manufacturers, reps and retailers. Most of our favorite manufacturers were at the show, and AGW has the goods on some of the most interesting new products on display.

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The Boa Closure System has been the indication of a high end product for years, featured on select Specialized and Northwave cycling shoes. A team of nimble fingered reps spent their show experience retro fitting standard shoes. It was made clear however that this was not an aftermarket product, so don’t get your hopes up that you’ll be able to upgrade your favorite pair of running shoes anytime soon! You’ll have to stay on the lookout for a number of options from various manufacturers.

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The Fenix BTR20 Dual Distance LED cycling lamp offers 800 lumens of output with a small external battery, while the BC30 blasts the trail with 1800 lumens, powered by an integrated battery. The BC30 is impressive in it’s slim profile, it ought to fit right on top of a ~100mm stem. The BTR20 sports what appear to be air intakes for cooling on the front of the lamp, while the larger finned aluminum case of the BC30 will help shed heat from the LED.

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Long known for it’s heavy duty and highly efficient vacuum insulated thermos’, Stanley has announced an all in one Coffee Brew System. The bottom stainless steel section acts as a pot to heat water over a jet boil style burner. The green ring in the center of the assembled unit is actually a french press style steep-and-plunge device, while the top section stores your piping hot, and most importantly fresh, coffee. The whole thing slides together to make packing a breeze. This would be a great addition to our Leadville 100 coverage coming later this week!

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Pick Pocket Proof Pants are a pretty trick innovation in travel clothing. Each pocket features multiple barriers to entry, as well as dual layers of fabric which prevents quick slash and grabs in crowded subway type situations. Clothing Arts also offers a new button down shirt with similar protective features, and a new “business slack” with more subdued styling and fabric that should prove ideal for hopping straight from the airport to a business lunch, all without worrying about which pocket to stash your wallet in.

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Jansport has been a staple in backpacks since our elementary school days but was late to the party when it came to releasing updated designs. With brands like Poler and Herschel taking a good chunk of the retro styled backpack market, and Ogio becoming a standard for more modern designs, Jansport has come out with a variety of new designs that throws them right back into the mix. The lines range from simple throwback designs to full hiking and backpacking packs, to the urban designs shown here. Material options are smart while color and design styles cover just about everything, Jansport looks to be coming strong.

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Alite Designs was the standard for an ultra-light, ultra-packable hiking and camp chair, and many companies are chasing some of that market at this summer’s show. Pictured here are some of Helinox’s options, made of lightweight yet super durable materials, they break down to fit into a pouch nearly the size of your Starbucks to go mug.

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Thermarest took a slightly different approach to the ultralight chair than everyone else has, with a heavy duty plastic tripod leg configuration that folds up to store the aluminum pole and nylon sling sitting surface. Much easier to break down and pack up when you’re on the move, this design is a winner.

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Filson shared their classic clothing and bag designs, as well as some of their newest dry bags.

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ExOfficio Give n Go under garments are known as one of the preferred choices for travelers due to their moisture wicking and quick drying capabilities. Road warriors will often bring two or three pairs of skivvies on longer trips, washing them in the bathroom sink. The material is soft and stretchy, but not constraining, and drys incredibly quick. They’ve introduced a revised style of boxer brief, which features a new ultra lightweight material, flat seams and a wide, comfortable elastic band. They’re available with “leg” lengths of 3”, 6” and 9”.

The Sol Cool Ultimate Hoody from ExOfficio was recently awarded a Backpacker’s Magazine Editor’s Choice award, and for good reason. The So Cool fabric activates to cool your skin, and is found in areas that are most likely to turn hot and sweaty, including the back which can often overheat when wearing a backpack. While you may normally associate hoodies with cold weather conditions, this piece is definitely designed for hot, sunny conditions. The fabric provides an SPF 50 equivalent sun protection, and with the hoody, face wrap, and long sleeves featuring thumb holes, will cover more skin that other long sleeve activewear. The mesh panel on the hoody lets your breath flow freely, while the zipper allows it to open up.

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Five Ten is of course the incredibly popular climbing and cycling shoe manufacturer with the ultra tacky Stealth rubber soles. With multiple variations of the Impact shoe including a clipless variant, the Maltese and Hellcat clipless shoes, and the XC based Kestral which features the Boa Closure System and full carbon shank, Five Ten remains dedicated to producing high quality, cycling specific shoes that are unmatched.

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Aquapac is well known for their waterproof smartphone cases/bags, as well as a soft sided waterproof camera bag system, and has now introduced a low cost waterproof vinyl duffel dry bag. Priced between $65 and $90, they provide a great value for motorcycle camping, kayaking, and many other outdoor activities. 28L dry bag backpacks are priced at only $75. The more expensive but lighter and full featured grey and orange duffels from Aquapac feature backpack straps that easily morph into standard handles.

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A story is often told of the US government spending untold fortunes to develop pens to be used in space while the Russians simply used a pencil. But! That’s incorrect! The Fisher Space Pen was developed using the private funds of Paul C. Fisher, and after extensive testing, 400 were sold to NASA for $6 apiece in 1967. Manufactured in Boulder City, NV, todays Fisher Space Pens are sold to the average joe for the meager price of around $20. New models even feature capacitive tips for use on our iPad’s! The ink is pressurized inside the tube so it will write while submerged in water, on greasy paper, in just about any situation you might find yourself.

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Sea To Summit introduced some new sleeping pads that look more like an inflatable egg crate rather then the long rows of air tubes frequently associated with sleeping pads. This design allows air from compressed cells to spread evenly in every direction, rather than creating a taco shell under you. Incredibly, the yellow pad in the background packs up into this beer can sized sack. The various models are priced between $100 and $200, and can be matched with ultra light sleeping bags that will pack into a similarly sized sack. Sea To Summit is known for using innovative materials that are ideal for not just ultralight backpacking expeditions, but bicycle and motorcycle camping where weight and size are concerns.

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Woolrich had a large presence, featuring many of their new clothes lines. Perhaps best known for their high quality wool blankets, a conference area was lined with some of the numerous patterns and colors available.

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Superfeet insoles are a premium, application specific product. After testing a pair awhile back I’ve purchased the Green model for all of my hiking and riding boots. They’ve transformed a pair of Red Wing Iron Rangers into a boot with all day comfort. Each color indicates a specific application, whether that’s lightweight users, heavyweights, no arch feet, high arch feet, and even heat molded for custom fit insoles. The focus in their booth was using carbon fibers for a rigid base shell that won’t deform over time.

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PacSafe offers secure luggage solutions for the world travel. Their offerings range from small wallet sized pouches, to camera backpacks, to full size roller luggage duffels. Some of the security features that really set their products apart include the lightweight yet uncuttable steel mesh reinforced fabric, double thick zippers (the primary outer teeth along with an inner set of teeth that are zipped and unzipped using the same zipper carriage) that resist tampering, and a couple variations of zipper locks. Pictured here are a new line of urban styled camera backpacks with a canvas exterior that is supposed to wear into a vintage effect patina with use, and their updated technical styled camera backpack line. Larger packs and luggage feature zipper locks with both a magnetic system that pairs the pull tabs together along with a carabiner styled lock that keeps potential thieves from accessing your goods, to the lighter duty clip tucked into a small pocket area on this camera pack. While they do slow down thieves as well as the owner when getting into the pack, they’re a great first level of defense towards keeping honest people honest, and should provide enough of a stumbling block to a thief that they’ll move on to an easier mark. Their product line is extensive and includes solutions for cyclists, motorcyclists, travelers, hikers and students.

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Timbuk2 showed their Stormtrooper color ways in their lightweight Raider (top) and heavier weight Especial Medio(bottom left) and Especial Tres (bottom middle) packs. While designed for bicycle commuting, the Especial line looks to be perfectly suited for all weather motorcycle commuting.

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Clik Elite showed their new Luminous camera backpack. This adventure focused pack slims down the larger Contrejour series while retaining many of the features that make their bags great for outdoor use such as lightweight but strong materials, hydration bladder pockets, internal aluminum frames, and comfortable hip straps.

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Manufacturer of electrolyte and energy drink tablets that dissolve in water, Nuun offered samples of new flavors. The products offer a full, yet lightly flavored drink that doesn’t sit heavy in your gut, and is easy to carry should you refill your water supplies mid-adventure.

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Point 6 showed a wide selection of wool socks, from knee high boot socks to ankle high cycling socks, with a number of options and color ways in between.

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Farm To Feet is a new brand from an older, established hosiery manufacturer that is a 100% American product. From the sheep who offer their wool, the factories that turn it into yarn, and even the printers and paper manufacturers that produce the packaging, everything about these socks is American. On the market since Fall 2013, they offer Everyday and Hiking/Adventure based styles, with a number of designs. Peeking over the packaging of every pair at you is someone involved in the production process, driving home the point that these are products you can be proud to wear.

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Forsake is another newcomer, with mid/high top boots and a new line of low top hikers that are styled along the lines of a more casual skate shoe. Their goal is to produce something with enough support to wear on a hike, while not looking out of place when you go out with your friends after your adventure.

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A few companies are following in the shadow of GoalZero’s solar powered battery solutions, and Enerplex looks to be a serious contender, with an even broader product range. Smartphone and tablet products range in scope from solar panel backed iPhone and Galaxy cases, to the battery packs pictured here. While I had a battery pack with me while walking the show floor, I’d left my Lightning cable in the car and had deactivated just about every service possible in an effort to conserve battery life. I made it back to the car with about 3% left, but that wouldn’t have been an issue with one of these packs that feature an integrated Lightning or USB cable. Available in many sizes and shapes, the larger units are slim enough to slip into an iPad pouch, and the smallest are almost thin enough to slip into a wallet. Another trick product they offer is a flashlight head with a USB plug, designed to mate with a battery pack to provide impromptu illumination.

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EnerPlex’s solar panels are super thin and flexible, which makes them perfect for use in panniers and handlebar bags used in bike packing expeditions and even commuting. They’re also featured in a line of backpacks in various sizes, ideal for anyone from students to motorcycle campers carrying a larger pack.

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The Timex Ironman line brings me back to my youth, when it was the one, the coolest watch you could rock on the playground. Countless laps training for the Presidential Fitness Challenge mile run were tracked with my Ironman watch. The One GPS+ unit is a brand new device that will launch in September, unfortunately not in time for the runners in next weeks Leadville coverage to utilize. The list price of $399.95 will include one year of service with the AT&T LTE network, which will allow the device to perform standalone functions that nothing else is capable of at this time. This means you can leave your phone in the car, but the fee for the network in year two has yet to be determined. The impressive feature set includes an email address specific to your device, live tracking, emergency “Find Me” messaging, real time speed, distance and pace sharing via social media, 50m water resistance and 4gb of memory to play music via a bluetooth headset. The cellular chipset, GPS chipset and sunlight readable, high resolution touchscreen display are sourced from Qualcomm which means the device should hold up well to the abuse it’s sure to receive from hardcore triathletes and trail runners.

That wraps it up for our Outdoor Retailer Summer 2014 coverage! There are some great products headed to stores and we can’t wait to get our hands on some review items! Be sure to drop us a line if you were at the show so we can talk even more about your new products. Now, get outside!

 

 

 

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