GearJunkie was on site four days this month at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in search of innovative gear to be released in 2015. Here are some of our top picks from the show floor, a big mix of gear, apparel, and footwear we can’t wait to test next year.
No blade… Airplane ready multi-tool — The Kilimanjaro Ascend ($22) is a compact, keychain multi-tool packed with everything from pliers to a nail file. It’s supposedly TSA compliant although that’s not a guarantee — this little sweet piece of gear could easily be swiped by an enterprising agent after it’s available later this summer.
$16 hydration pack — Hydration bladders tend to build up irremovable stains and smells after a while, but Polar Bottle’s inexpensive, recyclable hydration bladders allow you to replace them without hurting your wallet or the environment. Called the Cenoté, they launch in both 2L and 3L sizes and are made in the USA.
Water resistant soft shell by Canada Goose — The Trenton Jacket from Canada Goose is a water resistant, breathable soft-shell lined with fleece for comfort. At $525, only the most fashion forward and flush adventurers will enjoy this pricy piece.
Fishing kayak rigged to the max — The Jackson Kayak Big Rig Pro is the battleship of kayak fishing boats and comes with a $3700 price tag to match. It arrives stock with a battery pack and charger, fish-finder and a shallow water anchor. Even if you’re not catching, fishing should be fun in this tricked out boat.
Ecco an early adopter of Gore-Tex Surround — Danish shoe maker Ecco uses the new Gore-Tex Surround technology in its O2 shoe ($190). The holes in the sole allow sweaty air to get out. It’s waterproof and breathable from below. The vents on the side of the shoe also give it a unique aesthetic that could be mistaken for a fully draining water shoe.
Black Diamond mixes down and synthetics — Down and synthetics perform differently on different parts of the body. Meet the strategically zoned Black Diamond Hot Forge Hybrid Hoody ($249) with Primaloft Gold Down Blend insulation for some areas (your core) and PrimaLoft Gold Synthetic Insulation for others (under the arms and back). This jacket attempts to maximize warmth to weight ratio at 410 grams, while not clamming up where you sweat or get rained on. Available spring 2015.
Cotapaxi charitable jacket — Cotopaxi sells direct to consumer and donates about 10% of every purchase to a charity specific to the product. The Pacaya jacket is made of a Nylon Ripstop fabric with a layer of DWR. It has a Polartec Fleece shell, making it warm, water resistant and pretty enough to look at — and it does a little good for the world. Available online only at the end of September.
Customizable sleeping bag — The Kammok Thylacine is the first fully customizable sleeping bag system. You pick your choice of shell as well as insulation (down, synthetic or down blend) and through the use of six interchangeable panels, you can switch out the insulation to fit your needs. The Kickstarter fund raising campaign was successfully funded in February. We’re looking forward to custom building our own bag. The UL Edition Starts at $100 without baffles and X Edition starts at $175 without baffles and are available spring 2015.
$50 stainless steel growler — The Klean Kanteen Classic Growler comes in two large sizes (40 oz and 60 oz) and has a threadless removable lid called the Swing Lok Cap. Stainless steel growlers seem to be all the rage these days with their unbreakable exteriors and interiors that don’t retain flavors.
First dry top made of Polartec NeoShell — The Palguin Dry Top from Bomber is the first dry top on the market made with Polartec Neoshell waterproof and breathable material. Polartec continues its battle for bragging rights for the most waterproof and breathable fabric on the market and this is a unique application. At $399, we hope this top doesn’t disappoint.
A retro RV with modern comforts — Forget what you think you know about Winnebago; the Brave is a reintroduced vintage styled RV with a modern facelift. While we have some friends who live in vans, none come close to this $100,000 rolling mansion.
Omega Pacific K9 Sky-Trak — The K9 Sky-Trak ($39.95) is the only portable, packable dog run that provides dynamic resistance so your dog doesn’t get hurt when it reaches the end of the leash at speed. It only needs two sturdy anchor points (like two trees) to set up and, with aircraft-quality aluminum connectors and high-strength nylon fiber line, you won’t have to worry about your pup breaking free. It’s available now.
NiteBlaze reflective running gear — NiteBlaze reflective technology really stands out at night. A screen print of what look like tree branches is pressed onto shirts, tanks, and shorts but is invisible until hit by light, making the wearer stand out brightly at night.
Style in water shoes — The Crush by NRS ($79.95, available Spring ’15) is a draining water shoe that can be worn barefoot for just about any activity. The heel steps down (hence the name Crush) so you can wear it as a sandal when feeling lazy. With smart details this is an ideal piece of footwear for anyone who spends lots of time in or near the water.
‘Don’t spill a drop’ flask — No more spilling expensive alcoholic beverages all over your hand. The Vargo Funnel Flask has an attached silicone funnel that makes it easy to fill up and even easier to drink. It holds eight ounces of your favorite beverage and titanium construction imparts no taste, odor or chemicals.
Light up the back of your handlebars — The CycleFire Bar Plug Lights ($9.95, available Jan. 2015) are weather resistant lights that brighten up the bar caps of your handlebars with red LED lights. That way cars can see you from behind or sides depending on the style of handlebars. Night riders should make sure they are visible from behind before ditching another rear-facing solution.
Steel pint cup for people who like to drink beer slowly — If you drink beer slowly, or it’s really hot outside, this double walled pint cup might be for you. The Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Pint ($21.99) has a vacuum sealed double wall so your drink will stay cold for as long as you want to sip on it. It’s available in four colors and is perfect for beer enthusiasts who nurse their beverages. It will hit the market in February 2015.
‘Weightless Wool’ From Ibex — The lightest-weight merino knit that Ibex has ever made debuts in its W2 Sport Zip, a top made for warm weather use and active pursuits like trail running. It has 13% nylon for added durability but puts the merino next to your skin for temperature regulation and natural odor resistance. Made in Canada. $110.
Classic backpack gets facelift — The men’s Baltoro from Gregory is an iconic large capacity backpack. For 2015, the model will get a major redesign and upgraded suspension, including independently pivoting shoulder harness and hipbelt panels. A cool bonus is an internal hydration reservoir compartment that doubles as an ultra-light removable daypack. The Baltoro (women’s model is called Deva) is available in 85, 75, and 65 liter volumes and retails for $300-$350.
A board made specifically for surfing rivers — Some surfers know that the secret to unlimited waves can be found on rivers. The new Surfer from HALA PEÑO ($1,299, available now) is a 7’11” SUP made for experienced paddlers who want these never-ending rides. The Peño is said to be the only SUP that you can completely control by standing in just one place, much like a snowboard.
Solar charger as fast as an outlet — The StrongVolt SmartCharger ($49.99 to $159, available Fall ’14) charges your electronics “just as fast as an outlet” – that’s the claim at least. The easily folded or rolled device stores excess energy from the sun so it can charge your electronics while in the shade or at night. If it works like it’s supposed to, I’ll be carrying one of these compact chargers with me everywhere.
Hand-cranked generator ready for anything — The X100 PowerHub ($249) is the world’s first hand cranked generator with solar and utility grid outputs. While it might look like something straight out of Star Trek, it’ll power almost anything.
Bag to keep expensive electronics safe — The Camsafe Z25 ($280.00, available Jan. 2015) is a bag from Pacsafe that can hold a DSLR and a 15” laptop, making it great for photographers. It’s designed to keep your stuff safe. The fabric has metal slash proof cables on the inside and interlocking zippers to slow a thief, protecting your laptop and camera.
Tech tent company shows off soft side — NEMO Equipment, known for technical tents and super insulated sleeping bags, has released a soft camping blanket. The Victory blanket ($49.95 to 79.95, Spring 2015) has a flannel top with a waterproof and mud/sand resistant bottom, meaning it’s ideal for the beach or to make a better floor for your tent. The corners can stake out if you’re using it as a picnic blanket and it tucks into itself for convenience on the go.
—Editors and reporters Stephen Regenold, Sean McCoy, Tom Puzak, Jason Magness, Chelsey Magness, Steve Graepel, Sam Salwei, Tom Grundy and Yoon Kim contributed to this report.