OR Trade Show -- 2009 Product Preview, part I

The Gear Junkie is off again and in Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show, a twice-annual industry gathering where journalists and buyers meet with companies to preview the latest in outdoors gear, gadgets and apparel. Here are a few items that caught my eye thus far, a preview of what’s to come in outdoors shops circa 2009. Watch for an update upon my return after the weekend. . .

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Big Agnes Slide Mountain Series
This series of three-season backpacking tents incorporate the Boa Lacing System, a knob-based tensioning device often found on footwear the likes of snowboarding boots. Big Agnes applies the Boa system to aid with fly tensioning on the tent. When the Boa knob is rotated, a tiny cable winds on its spool as the tent fly tightens. The Slide Mountain SL 2 tent weighs 4lbs 12oz and will retail for $499.95; the Slide Mountain SL 3 tent weighs 5lbs 6oz and retails for $599.95. Available in spring 2009; www.bigagnes.com

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Light & Motion Seca
Touted to be “the first LED bicycle lighting system to make good on the promise of besting the top HIDs on the market,” Light & Motion’s Seca line of LED bike lights will provide models with output up to 700 lumens. VERY bright, in other words. And at that output Light & Motion specs five hours of burn time between battery charges. (Burns times up to 20 hours are achievable at a lower brightness setting.) Multiple light pattern modes let you put the Seca’s beam right in front of your wheel or blast a ray of powerful light down the trail, piercing the darkness up to 200 feet ahead, according to Light & Motion tests. Three Seca models will ship next year, with prices starting at $349; www.bikelights.com

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Brunton BrewFire
Brunton calls this “the world’s first portable, duel-fuel coffee maker.” Right, it’s just like your coffee maker at home, but this one is fueled by propane or butane cartridges so it can be taken anywhere. Just put your coffee grounds of choice in the included conical reusable filter, add water, turn the knob and flip a switch. In ten to twelve minutes you have eight cups of steaming hot java. The double-walled, vacuum-sealed stainless steel carafe keeps your coffee hot for 2.5 hours, the company says. Weighs 6.5 lbs. Price: $99; available Feb. 2009; www.brunton.com

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Yakima LoPro Skybox
At 15.5 cubic feet, this cargo box was made for consumers with tall vehicles, low garages and/or those looking for a low profile, space-saving solution. But here’s the kicker: This cargo box has a built-in solar-powered light that automatically illuminates the SkyBox when opened for better visibility inside. $649; available at retail by Jan. 2009. www.yakima.com

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Injinji Rainbow Toe-Socks
Introducing the revival of the classic Rainbow toesock in a new COOLMAX version. Injinji touts these toe huggers as “retro fun in a smart, high-performance sock, ideal for active outdoor adventures.” The Rainbow toesock incorporates Injinji’s patented construction, which recently received the American Podiatric Medical Association’s Seal of Acceptance for its superior moisture management, odor control and ability to improve foot alignment for better posture, gripping and balance. $14; available in February 2009; www.injinji.com

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Crazy Creek Beach Backpack Chair
Advertised as a “super-comfy, lightweight outdoor seat that can be carried anywhere,” Crazy Creek’s Beach Backpack Chair has padded backpack straps for transport. Nice touches include height and length adjustments, a swiveling footrest pad, adjustable headrest, and a drink holder. $99; available in early 2009; www.crazycreek.com

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Bilt Stainless Steel water bottles
Metallurgically, I may be a bit inept. But if it means anything to you, these Bilt bottles are made with a “premium food-grade Korean type 304 stainless steel containing 18% chromium and 8% nickel.” I think that’s good. The company says this material was chosen for its consistent quality and performance characteristics of not leaching chemicals, staining, corroding or rusting. Bilt bottles are available in several sizes, shapes and colors, starting at $16. www.bilt.ca

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Patagonia wool base layers
Wool for warm weather is the premise behind Patagonia’s spring 2009 collection, called Wool 1. The company is pitching the line as “officially the lightest wool baselayer on the market today.” Made from 63% merino wool (16.5 micron fiber) and 37% recycled polyester, this soft, stretchy fabric combines wool’s natural odor control and insulative-when-wet properties with polyester’s durability, stretch and speedy dry time, the company says. www.patagonia.com

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ZYM Catapult
Pop it in your bike bottle and wait for it to fizz. Then drink. That’s all there is to downing the electrolytes and other athletic enhancers in ZYM Catapult, a new hydration product that includes 100mg of caffeine and B12 vitamins. The result, the company claims, is a concoction that “fights off dehydration, fatigue, muscle pain, and lactic acid build-up.” 10 tables cost $8.95; www.drinkzym.com

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Related content. . .

OR Show 2009 Product Preview, part II
OR Show 2009 Product Preview, part III
OR Show 2009 Product Preview, part IV

(Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for eleven U.S. newspapers; see www.THEGEARJUNKIE.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog, and an archive of Regenold’s work.)

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