Gear, gear and more new gear! This week in Salt Lake City several GearJunkie editors will sift through products from more than 1,000 brands at the Outdoor Retailer trade show to find the best and most unique new products that will line the shelves in 2015.
Yesterday, we offered an Outdoor Retailer product preview with 27 new items that have already caught our eye. In this, part II, is a new batch of footwear, apparel, outerwear, and gear that we look forward to testing first hand. —Stephen Regenold
Uber Stove (charges, cooks, lights your camp… all off-grid!) — The Biolite BaseCamp will cook your food, charge anything with a USB, and even provide light to your campground via a tiny connected LED bulb. The 20-pound, $299 wonder machine is a camping gear nerd’s dream. Biolite notes that 30 minutes of charging time will get you about 5 hours of talk time on a smartphone.
‘Dot Matrix’ From The North Face — Fewer seams and less weight are touted features of this rain shell. Its FuseForm material construction “transitions from poly to nylon” fabric to give durability where needed (or lighter weight where not). The jacket weighs in at 325 grams and will cost $199.
“Zap Hike’n Strike” Hiking Staff Stun Gun — We saw this at demo day and couldn’t resist. It’s been around for a bit and is available now. We’re also not quite sure who or what to test this on — yet! This hiking staff packs 950,000 volts to knock your adversary on their butt with a non-fatal jolt of electricity and has “extreme spike electrodes” on the top. We’re not sure if it would be effective on bears (or just make them mad), but this is one unique product for personal protection that may come in handy in rough areas.
Arc’teryx Footwear —Eight models in all, including boots and shoes in men’s and women’s models, high-end Canadian brand Arc’teryx will jump full into performance footwear in 2015. These are not your average hiking shoes; they come with removable booties, rubberized textiles, injected EVA midsoles, custom pattern Vibram soles, and models with no tongues. (See our full coverage from a previous article on this product here.)
GoTenna Off-Grid Connection — “No Service? No Problem!” That tag line explains the premise of the GoTenna. The small radio beacons sync with phones off a cellular network and let users send text messages back and forth. Call it a modern day walkie-talkie. The cited range to text via the GoTenna is up to 50 miles, depending on the terrain. (See our full coverage from a previous article on this product here.)
Bug Free Sleeping Zone — This cot offers a tent-like sleep experience, Therm-a-Rest cites. The LuxuryLite Cot Bug Shelter fits on top of a cot to keep all bugs out during the night. It’s 55 inches tall off the sleeping surface and attaches with elastic straps.
‘Air Sprung’ Sleeping Mats — Sea To Summit has a line of sleeping pads with neat innovations, including a design that uses two separate chambers — a top and bottom that blow up individually — marketed to let a camper fine tune the level of comfort by adding more air pressure to the underside chamber (to mute bumps or rocky ground) but less air to the top layer (providing a softer sleeping surface). In addition, a weld pattern creates a matrix of interconnected chambers (called Air Sprung Cells) that operate in the same way as a pocket spring mattress. We tested the pads in Sea To Summit’s Boulder office last month and can concur the company is onto something new.
Tiny Hydration Hose — Geigerrig will show off its mini drink hoses at the OR Show. The hoses are about the size of an IV tube. Why the shrinking? The flexible hose can be routed through clothing and clipped to a collar, and it weighs almost nothing but delivers on-demand water with Geigerrig’s pressurized hydration packs. (See our full coverage from a previous article on this product here.)
Backpacks From Car-Rack Maker — One of our editors hiked the White Mountains in June in the to-be-released Thule technical packs. He noted, “Each pack is almost infinitely adjustable — they don’t come in different sizes. The guide packs have a pivoting suspension system that allows for more movement in your torso while still distributing the load weight on your belt.” (See our full coverage from a previous article on this product here.)
Soft-Side Cooler ‘Keeps Ice For Days’ — We got an early-release of Yeti Cooler’s Hopper, a new soft-sided cold case. It’s a high-end, portable cooler that in our test did indeed keep ice frozen for multiple days sitting out in the summer heat. (See our full coverage from a previous article on this product here.)
GORE-TEX ‘Mesh’ Footbed — The battle against sweaty feet continues, and this year Gore unveils GORE-TEX Surround, a new kind of waterproof shoe design with an “all-around breathable sole.” The company developed something it calls a Surround Spacer, which is a woven mesh insole that allows air to pass beneath the GORE-TEX bootie insert, helping the feet to better breathe. (See our full coverage from a previous article on this product here.)
Savory ‘Sweet Potato’ Bar — Beef, prunes, sweet potatoes, spices, salt, and other unexpected ingredients comprise the Omni Bar. We tested a few flavors out. They have a mild, somewhat salty taste that was a welcome alternative to the sweet and fruity alternatives that dominate the energy food market.
‘Fast’ Gravity Filters — Scoop a couple liters of water from a stream or lake and the new Katadyn gravity filters can purify it in 2 minutes, no pumping required. The company cites its filters are among the fastest on the market. We tested the system out in Colorado and got pure water from a mountain lake with zero fuss. (See our full coverage from a previous article on this product here.)
New Kind Of Camp Food — We were impressed with the sliced okra and other quality ingredients in the Chicken Gumbo, one of AlpineAire’s new dehydrated camp meals. The line has redesigned packaging as well, making it easier to interpret nutritional information and “cooking” instructions on the trail. (See our full coverage from a previous article on this product here.)
Red Steel From Buck Knives — Made in the USA, and each one treated with a red powder coat finish for rust and corrosion resistance, Buck Knives’ Compadre Series is something new. The line has a camping knife, a hatchet, and a machete-like tool called a chopping froe, all made with steel and walnut-dymondwood handles. (See our full coverage from a previous article on this product here.)
—Stephen Regenold is editor of GearJunkie. Sean McCoy, Tom Puzak, and Yoon Kim contributed to the report.