Here’s some highlights from the recent Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City, the massive trade show that included about 1,300 brands and 27,000 attendees. The show, which is not open to the public, allows retail owners to place orders for the next year. That means most of the items we found will not be available to consumers until next summer.
Tundra 45 cooler. Yeti. Yeti coolers are well known in the South and primarily among anglers, but the brand is spreading quickly and for good reason. These coolers are cool and the one-piece molded construction keeps food cold for a long time. Two-inches of a trademark secret insulation is the key. On top of that, they are durable. Lids aren’t breaking off after one summer and they are virtually impossible to crack. The coolers cost more than the cheapos you can pick up at regular stores, but are typically the only cooler you will need to buy again. Available now (if in stock) for $329. store.yeticoolers.com
Spring River women’s waders. Patagonia. The addition of a women’s line adds depth to Patagonia’s growing commitment to fishing gear. The Spring River Wader is designed to fit women with all the technological wonders of the men’s waders. The EZ-Lock suspenders are mounted at the waist, allowing for maximum height in big water or pant-height for smaller streams in warm conditions. Patagonia says the suspenders also allow for a quick bathroom break without having to get undressed. The waders will come in petite, regular and full sizes (XS-XL in all models). Other items in the women’s line include sun hoodies, shirts, pants and the River Salt Jacket. The Spring River Wader ($399), and a wide collection of other Patagonia fishing gear, will be available Jan. 1. patagonia.com/us/home
Freescape Lantern. Gerber. People have dimmer switches in their homes, why not while camping? The Freescape lantern includes a touch-sensitive control for dimming or brightening a light. It uses three AA batteries and sends light out the side lens, but is also designed to focus light down when hanging inside the tent or above a table, kind of like recessed lighting in your front room. Available in February. gerbergear.com
Predator 13 fishing kayak. Old Town. Sitting is not often the best body position while fishing. Recreational kayak makers have been working to make more stable boats for years. The Predator 13 is designed for anglers to be able to stand up for casting, hook-setting and paddling. The kayak also includes six removable mounting plates and the Element seating system for comfort while sitting. The Predator 13 is available now for $1,299. predatorkayak.com
Base Camp Axe. SOG. Collecting firewood is not allowed in many campgrounds, but there is something comforting about having a good ax in camp. Use the Base Camp to drive in tent stakes, split that expensive wood available from the camp host into kindling or intimidate aggressive ground squirrels. The ax is 16 inches long, weighs 33 ounces and has a natural swinging feel. Available now for $80. sogknives.com
Upano Waterproof Duffels. Aquapac. Aquapac took a huge step into the outdoor gear world with the Upano line of waterproof bags. The bags are lightweight and seemingly bombproof, with welded construction and a roll-top closure. The air-release valve allows for compression for molded fitting in tight situations like rafts. Comes in 40-, 70- and 90-liter versions, ranging from $120-$145. Available now. usstore.aquapac.net
Falkon trail runners for kids. La Sportiva. Perhaps La Sportiva president Jonathan Lantz got tired of seeing his children in shoes from another brand or maybe he just wanted to add a youth dimension to the lineup. Either way, the Falkon has many of the features of the adult version with an EVA midsole and FriXion outsole. Like the adult version, these shoes are as likely to be used for every-day wear as on the trail. Available early 2014 for $75.
Backcountry Bed 800 sleeping bag.
Sierra Designs. Sierra Designs is undergoing a revamp of its line and gets off to a strong start with the Backcountry Bed 800. This sleeping bag has all the features typical of the Sierra Designs lines, but is made to feel more like sleeping at home. The bag is zipperless with entry via an oval-shaped opening on the top. Instead of zipping up to stay warm, sleepers pull up an oversized comforter attached to the bag. The comforter can be tucked into the bag for colder nights or left on top or pushed away entirely for warmer nights. The Backcountry Bed feels roomy and cozy, not confined and claustrophobic. The bag will be available in the spring in a two-season ($349) and a three-season ($399) model, with regular, long and women’s specific models. sierradesigns.com
Hydrogen Reactor. Brunton. Charging devices for the backcountry have taken a unique twist, or should I say splash, with the arrival of the Hydrogen Reactor. The Reactor combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, and aside from a potentially annoying misting sound, seems like a viable alternative for producing power in out-of-the-way places. Each Reactor comes with two Hydrogen Cores, equal to more than 30 AA batteries, and can be recharged. Each Hydrogen Core re-charges in one hour and can make up to six smart phone charges through a USB port. Available in October, along with other Reactor Series items, for $149.99. brunton.com
Device App. GoPro. There was plenty of chatter at Outdoor Retailer about a new app from GoPro, which allows people to use mobile devices to view and share photos and videos shot on the HERO3 and HERO2 (with the Wi-Fi BacPac). The app allows people to use their phone or tablet (iOS or Android) as a remote control to change camera settings, start and stop recordings or shoot pictures. GoPro users can finally see what they are shooting live in a preview. No longer will you have to wait to transfer the video from the memory card to a computer. You can see video and photos while still on the slope, river or mountain. And, more importantly to some people, immediately post to social media sites. Now if they can figure out the battery life issue. See a video of people using the app at gopro.com/software-app/gopro-app.
Syclone tent poles. Easton. Every once in a while we get a chance to really see products from Outdoor Retailer in action. One evening during the show last week, I headed to the Easton Mountain Products exhibit to see the new Syclone poles put to a test. With a wind machine cranked at over 80 mph, several Easton tents held their form or returned to form when the wind was shut off. Impressive. The new composite poles are 80 percent more resilient to failure and bending than aluminum, company officials say. After seeing them under pressure, I have no reason to doubt it. The poles will come standard in the Torrent two-person tent available for ($399) in the spring. The new Slickrock tent (two-person, $299, and three-person, $349) will also have the Syclone poles. With such high quality, people at the show were pondering when the poles will start showing up in tents other than Easton. eastonmountainproducts.com
Kid Comfort Air carrier. Deuter. Passing comments on the trail like, “Wish I could ride in that thing,” might increase when the Kid Comfort Air is the carrier. This is a new carrier from Deuter and is designed for active outdoor families. The carrier features the AirComfort back system to provide ventilation for the lucky parent hauling the load and an easy side entry. The carrier tips the scales just under 6 pounds, perhaps making the timeframe you can carry kids on your back just a little longer. Available in the spring for $229. deuter.com/en_US
Pivot wading boots. Orvis. These boots take a big step in helping anglers avoid spreading invasive species. Gone are the sponge-like felt bottoms and shoelaces, replaced with the Boa lacing system and JStep rubber soles. The Boa steel wire dialed lace system allows for quick adjustment of the boots without the bulk and debris-grabbing laces of the past. Orvis was not entirely happy with its previous versions of felt-free boots and worked to come up with a “grippier” rubber for the center of the sole and a firmer, abrasion resistant outsole to provide durability. All wading boots, of course, still need to be completely dried or treated before being used in a new fishery. The boots will be available in the spring for $179. orvis.com
Amphibious collection. Keen. It’s not like Keen really had to do anything else to reinforce its claim on the sport sandal world, but here it is anyway. The Amphibious collection (available in the spring) includes the men’s Class 6 and women’s Class 5 sandals. The Class 6 ($90) is a lightweight EVA footbed with an adjustable heel fit and bungee lace system. Lugs on the soles are designed for wet and dry surfaces. A more casual Slide version ($50) is also coming. The Class 5 ($80) is designed for river guides and those who spend a lot of time on the water, but want underfoot protection. The casual version of the Class 5 is the Flip ($50). keenfootwear.com
Tuna Alley sunglasses. Costa. Don’t let the name fool you. Tuna Alley sunglasses will work just as well in landlocked locales as they will on the open ocean. The patented Costa 580 lenses are among the best in the sunglass world. Other features include a large, wrap-around style to protect against side glare, front frame vents to help prevent fogging and a no-slip lining in sweaty conditions. Tuna Alley glasses comes in tortoise, matte black, white, crystal and blackout. Available now for $169. costadelmar.com
B.D.V. Hoody. Black Diamond. Black Diamond launches into its second wave of a massive apparel line launch in the spring with the B.D.V. Hoody, a reincarnation of the old-school, and some might say legendary, Alpine Shirt. The (Black Diamond Vertical) Hoody was made as an all-purpose piece for the four-season alpinist. It stretches when necessary and the half-zipper allows for cooling when required. The Hoody ($199) is fast, light and impressive. Available in the spring. blackdiamondequipment.com