In our final installment of coverage from the summer 2014 Outdoor Retailer trade show (held in early August) we look at more than a dozen interesting and innovative items you need to watch for in stores this fall and into 2015.
Puffy Pants — The Nano Puff Pants from Patagonia are on our must-have list for this winter. The pants use PrimaLoft insulation and a recycled polyester shell and liner materials to, as the brand puts it, “epitomize lightweight, compressible warmth” on the legs.
Pelican Hard-Side Luggage — We’ve trusted Pelican cases forever to keep our goods safe. This year, the brand launches a luggage line, the Pelican ProGear Elite series, which has carry-on size and larger models. All have the company’s signature crush-proof sides and waterproof seal. They come with a TSA-approved combination lock and smooth fabric interiors for easy packing. $475 to $645.
Sail Your SUP (paddle has hidden sail) — Sailpaddle’s DaSail looks like a normal SUP paddle. But inside there is a sail that extends along the side of the carbon shaft. The sail allows a rider to choose between paddle power and sail power. Sailpaddle’s product has been in prototyping for nearly three years and will be completed for production before the end of 2014.
Solar Cooker — Among the more interesting of sightings at the OR Show, the GoSun uses reflected sunlight to heat a metal cylinder that you put uncooked food inside. The company cites the Solar Cooker can reach temps of 550 degrees F inside and deliver a cooked meal in 20 minutes. We need to test this miracle machine soon! $129.
Wool And ‘Wood’ — Tencel is a thin fiber made from sustainably-produced wood. Icebreaker combined it with merino wool in the Cool-lite technical apparel line, which is touted to keep an active wearer “cool, dry and comfortable during summer runs and workouts.” Cites the brand, “merino regulates temperature, breathes, and resists odor, and Tencel has a high natural moisture content that keeps the body cool in the heat.” The line comes out in spring 2015 and includes technical tops and shorts for trail running and other active sports.
Carabiner Light — We got this interesting mashup in house to test. The LED Carabiner Light from Kilimanjaro gives 120 lumens of brightness and a body you can clip anywhere. It is about 6 inches tall. The lighted ‘biner shines bright for 6 hours off three AAA batteries. $22.99.
Alpine Speed Pack — Our climbing-oriented editors loved the look of the Neon Speed backpack from Mammut. It fits snug on a climber’s back, is lightweight, and it has attachments for a rope, helmet, and axes. But the pack rolls up small enough when empty to carry in a larger backpack before striking out from a base camp for a summit. $79.95.
Survival Sleeping Pad — The Escape Sleeping Pad from Adventure Medical Kits is made of a thin reflective material. It packs tiny and inflates to provide an insulating bed in a time of emergency or ultra-light need. $25.
Fastest Backpack On The Planet — Built with input and testing from uber-athlete Kilian Jornet, Salomon’s S-Lab X ALP 20 is a multisport pack made for climbing, running, and most any pursuit. The 20-liter pack has enough space to carry a day’s worth of supplies and is equipped to haul skis, crampons, ice axes and a rope. A single vertical zipper sits back-facing; you access the inside without taking off the pack by rotating the buckled pack in front of you then unzipping to grab your gear fast. $150.
Collapsible Coffee Kit — Stanley impressed at the OR Show with its Mountain Vacuum Coffee System. They come in two sizes and screw apart to reveal all you need to brew in the backcountry — the lid separates into two cups, a dry storage area holds coffee grounds, and an integrated French press lets you brew up on site. Leak-proof and made of stainless steel to keep hot water piping for hours as you hike. $50.
Wigwam Tall Socks — The Tall Trekker Fusion and Taos are two nice sock upgrades from Wisconsin-based Wigwam. A graduated compression design enhances circulation with the Trekker, and the Taos is a lifestyle sock made of soft merino wool.
Shock-proof, Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker — Touted to be the world’s “most rugged and reliable” portable Bluetooth speaker, the ECOSTONE has been super solid in our test so far. Made by ECOXGEAR, the waterproof Bluetooth speaker can be submerged in H20 and is impervious to blowing sand outdoors. It has a rubberized shock-proof case with a handle to tie it off. There’s a subwoofer and it produces amazing sound when paired with a phone or other device. Finally, the unit has a USB charger — plug in your phone or tablet to recharge it in the wilds. $149; available now.
Horny Toad Has A New Name — The innuendo looks to have finally caught up with Horny Toad, which renamed itself as Toad&Co this summer. With the new moniker the brand released a line of clothes, including its Modern Travel collection. The travel-oriented Men’s Boarding Pass Pant, $84, are made of a cotton/poly/spandex mix and touted to be oil- and stain-resistant (as well as giving UPF 40+ sun protection). The Women’s Transito Skirt is made of a Tencel/nylon/spandex blend. It holds its shape over multiple days of wear, Toad&Co cites, making the $69 skirt set for travel.
Canine First Aid — Adventure Medical Kits packs products for pups in its Adventure Dog Series kits, including dressings and bandages for paws, a tick remover, an elastic bandage that won’t stick to fur, a small leash, an emergency (dog) blanket, and a packet of medical information on how to apply some ad hoc veterinary care in the woods. $25 to $50, depending on the kit.
Refined Climbing Harness — Petzl showed off its slick Hirundos harnesses, which are slim, clean and lightweight. The harness body is made of a thermo-formed foam that “integrates the different yokes into the one layer, producing a unit that is slimmer, cleaner and without pressure points,” Petzl cites.
Uber-Hobie — Marketed as a human-power “fishing machine,” the Hobie Pro Angler 17T Tandem is a serious vessel with a pedal system to move over ocean waters or a lake. Comfortable seats, storage areas, a skeg, and the ability to add a small trolling motor makes this boat stand out. $5,299.
—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.