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Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2008 (update No. 2)

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From technical outdoors slippers to electrolyte-laced hot cocoa, this year’s Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show in Salt Lake City proved again to be the best place to peek into the future of gear for the great outdoors. Here are a few hot items that caught my eye on the show floor—water booties, jackets, electrolyte-laced hot cocoa and all. . .

Merrell Apparel’s DIY Puffy Coat—This concept piece from Merrell Apparel is like a puffy down jacket, just without the “puffy” or the “down” parts. Indeed, the jacket comes as an empty shell, a semi-transparent white nylon piece with its insulating areas open and free. It is a blank canvas of sorts ready to be stuffed with whatever insulating items the wearer desires. Just zip open the long pockets and stuff in crumpled newspaper, dead leaves, Styrofoam packing peanuts, or whatever else. Anything light and fluffy—and colorful and cool—are candidate for insulating this customizable winter coat.

Available: Fall 2008; will come in a men’s and women’s version

Price: $99

Contact: www.merrell.com

Clif’s Electrolyte-laced Hot Cocoa—
Made for wintertime athletes, CLIF SHOT Hot Electrolyte is a hydrating and refueling drink hidden under the guise of hot cocoa. Just add 8 ounces of hot water to this powder, stir, and you have a steaming cup to drink during or after cold weather sports that will hydrate and replenish muscles. I tried a few hot shots of the formula at the OR Show. Not bad medicine at all.

Available: Now

Price: $1.69 per packet

Contact: www.clifbar.com

REI embraces eVent—
REI took the OR Show to make a big announcement in the outerwear world. Namely, the Seattle retailer unveiled its eVent fabrics Outerwear Collection, an apparel line that is “the first nationally distributed brand to feature eVent fabric technology,” according to the company’s press release. When it comes out next fall, the REI Gear & Apparel—REI’s private label—line will include the men’s REI Shuksan eVent jacket and pant, and the women’s REI Kulshan eVent jacket and pant, all waterproof and breathable pieces made to handle any type of weather.

Available: Fall 2008

Price: $289 (jacket), $229 (pants)

Contact: www.rei.com

Timberland Beach Life King’s Highway—
This “English Moccasin” style of shoe was popular at OR this year. Timberland’s Beach Life King’s Highway model takes its cues from a slacker’s beach shoe and a bedroom sandal. The result is a shoe that comes with a canvas upper and a fold-in nylon heel for wearing it as a slip-on. SmartWool fabric lines the footbed to help regulate temperature and wick moisture. There’s an EVA midsole for underfoot support and cushioning.

Available: Now

Price: $80

Contact: www.timberland.com

Mion Water Snake Bootie—
The Water Snake Bootie is a neoprene shoe made for “amphibious athletes” like kayakers, riverboarders, and whitewater raft guides. The shoe has protection, traction and durability for footwork in fast-moving water. Developed with input from boaters like Tao Berman and Spencer Cooke, the shoe incorporates performance characteristics like a SmartWool liner for warmth; a compression molded EVA footbed; molded drainage channels in the footbed; and a padded heel counter and ankle area for comfort and protection.

Available: Spring 2008

Price: $70.

Contact: www.mionfootwear.com


-OR Winter Market, part 1

-OR Winter Market, part 2

-OR Winter Market, part 3

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