This week the Outdoor Retailer trade show kicks off in Salt Lake City. A crew of GearJunkie reporters will be on site to cover the event, which includes thousands of companies exhibiting in a big building downtown. In this preview post we cover a new rechargeable headlamp concept, a messenger bag with a built-in “power station,” and a water bottle with a silicone covering that’s made of glass. —Stephen Regenold
Power Bag — A big rechargeable battery pack resides in a pocket inside this Timbuk2 messenger bag, called the Power Commute. You charge up the pack at home and then plug in phones, cameras, computers, and other items on the go. The company cites it can “provide up to weeks of charging” time for small gadgets. For sale this fall for $199.
Foam Hard Hat — A light polypropylene foam comprises the SIROCCO climbing helmet from Petzl. The shock-absorbing material protects from falling ice and stone. Bonus: At 165 grams you’ll hardly notice the helmet on your head. (Petzl calls it the world’s lightest climbing helmet.) A final cool touch: The strap buckle clips under your chin with a magnet, letting you secure this hard hat on with one hand. $110.
Bug House — The aptly named Nothing But Net tent from Mountain Hardwear is made entirely of mesh. It’s designed to keep bugs at bay, plus the shelter fits inside the company’s Hoopla tent model if you need protection from wind and rain. Sets up with a single trekking pole. $200.
Air Knife — France’s Baladeo releases another super light knife, the 22G, which as its name hints weighs a mere 22 grams. To achieve this design the company says “everything was discarded except the blade” and the steel frame of the handle. Locking blade included on this knife, which is the lightest of its size and type on the planet.
Same Waterproof, More Breathable — A new fabric from eVent, called DVL, is touted as the company’s most breathable to date. We got a sample DVL jacket to test, the Rab Viper model, and rode a bike during a muggy, 75-degree day in the rain. The DVL fabric did indeed seem superbly breathable on our first go! And raindrops beaded up and rolled off the water-tight fabric face.
The secret is in the eVent DVL’s waterproof membrane, which resides under the face fabric and is a ePTFE (expanded polytetrafluoroethylene) like Gore-Tex. But it’s different, the company states, because it allows for more air flow. This is accomplished in DVL by “a protective print applied directly onto eVent’s waterproof membrane” that makes a “repeating web of outlined triangular shapes” to add durability to the highly-porous material. Air from body heat can pass through, while water drops from the outside bounce off.
Ultra Torch — Nearly as bright as a car headlight, the 700-lumen ULTRA RUSH from Petzl is made for extreme nocturnal pursuits where you need maximum light. (Think downhill skiing in trees at night.) The headlamp is rechargeable and has multiple brightness modes, of which the max output can shine hundreds of feet and turn a night scene into virtual day. $430.
Bright and Good Price — At just $45, the Fenix HL30 may be one of the best buy headlamps on the market when it comes out soon. Ever-increasing L.E.D. technology leaps now let companies like Fenix offer a 200-lumen light (which shines a couple hundred feet in the dark) for lower and lower prices. This one runs on two AA batteries and has six brightness modes, including a red-light map reading mode so you don’t wreck your night vision.
Mountain Bag — Britain-based Mountain Equipment is coming to the U.S., and with it the company will release 36 new sleeping bags. Included is the Xero 300, shown here, a 23-degree F down bag that weighs just 27oz. $340.
All Natural Energy — Skratch Labs’ hydration drink mixes are made from “all natural ingredients and flavored with actual fruit.” The company cites its mixes provide electrolytes with about half the sugar of other products. The company creator is Dr. Allen Lim, a Director of Sport Science for professional cycling teams including Garmin and Radio Shack.
‘Hybrid Power’ Headlamp — It takes traditional alkaline batteries. Or, this headlamp from Black Diamond Equipment, called the ReVolt, comes with rechargeable NiMH double-A batteries that can be powered up via a USB cord. Output is max 110 lumens — bright enough for any camp task. It will cost $60 and weigh a scant 3.4 ounces on your head.
Oregon-Made Multitool — Assembled in Portland, Ore., the Shift multitool from Gerber has spring-loaded “jaws” for grip and requisite implements like drivers and blades. Two knife blades — a full fine edge and a serrated — are included as well as a magnetic bit driver and a bottle opener the company says is strong enough to double as a tiny pry bar. $100.
Tougher Toe Sock — A “double elastic” cuff clamps on the ankle and is said to keep dirt out and better hold the sock in place. Like all Injinji socks, this one (called the Trail Midweight) has toes. Its cushioning throughout is increased for what the company dubs a “smooth, comfortable feel.”
Made of Glass — Real glass is used for the body of the Eddy Glass bottle from CamelBak. How thick is the glass? Think milk jug versus drinking glass, but not as heavy. Plus, there’s a silicone sleeve on the bottles for grip and protection. BPA-free and doesn’t retain taste or odors, the company cites.
Freeride MTB Shoe — A tacky rubber on the sole of these Five Ten bike shoes lets riders “pull, push and adjust” pedals for control on tough trails and in the air. The Freerider VXi shoes, $120, are made for flat pedals with smooth rubber under the forefoot for grip and an “asymmetrical welt” on the inside arch area for added durability after untold thousands of spins of the cranks.
—See GearJunkie’s latest OR Show reportage on our new special section, “Outdoor Retailer Coverage,” and in the articles “Future Gear Extravaganza! 2012 Outdoor Retailer Preview” and “Coming to Market 2013. . . Peek at Future Gear.”