Six days. Five Gear Junkie partners and contributors. A ski day. Thousands of products to look over and investigate. Each winter, the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City brings together tens of thousands of attendees to ogle the latest in outdoors apparel and gear. The Gear Junkie crew — five of us this year! — are just back from the madness. Here are a few products that stood apart from the rest. —Stephen Regenold
Like an Airstream Trailer for the adventure set, the Cricket Trailer is a lightweight camper tow-able by almost any automobile. Station wagons, minivans, and even some four-cylinder cars can hook up and haul the 15-foot-long pod. Inside, a 6-foot-2-inch-high ceiling, a bed, table, fridge, sink, and optional toilet provide a cozy living space for a camping couple or a small family on the road. The price tag is a steep $15,000 and up.
The Brooks Range Elephant Foot Sleeping Bag, $249, takes inspiration from minimalist European alpinists, the company says. Indeed, the compact down bag, which has suspenders built in, comes up only waist-high when in use, necessitating a warm down jacket on top for a bearable night’s bivy. But the result of the pared-down design — which is specified to keep a climber warm to 15 degrees Fahrenheit — is a bag that packs tiny and weighs just 1 pound. Available now.
On the trail, Rover needs water too. The SingleTrak pack from Ruff Wear is a hydration-ready pack for the canine set. Two Platypus bottles are included, and one of the pack’s external pockets can hold a collapsible water bowl. It comes in three dog sizes, small, medium and large. The price is $89.95. Available in April.
Touted as the lightest roll-top storage sacks on the market, the waterproof, transparent, Uberlight CTF3 Drysacks from Granite Gear shave precious grams from a backpack. The company says they weigh in at half the gram-age of comparably-sized sil-nylon bags. The secret fabric is a “non-woven laminate material.” Available in four sizes, the smallest one, at seven liters of capacity, weighs a miniscule 15 grams on Granite Gear’s scale. But you pay for the weight shave: The prices range from about $39 to almost $50 for these high-tech storage sacks.
National Geographic’s latest iPhone application, World Atlas, gives the ability to virtually explore the globe on a small screen. There are satellite photos, ocean maps, and GPS-based tools. A unique option, the “antique” view, offers old-world-style maps viewable on a 21rst century device. The World Atlas app, available on iTunes, costs $1.99.
The name may be a mouthful, but the Ironman Global Trainer Bodylink System from Timex provides a GPS-enabled training experience heretofore unavailable on such a small face. The watch has a four-part split-screen to display data on your real-time running speed, your pace, distance, heart rate, and other metrics a fitness freak may need. Available in May for about $300.
In the I’m-not-sure-about-that category, Bridgford Foods Corporation’s premade, shelf-stable sandwiches are touted to have a three-year life if stored at 80 degrees or less. The “ready to eat” sandwiches are marketed to campers, hikers, hunters, and boating enthusiasts. The sandwiches, originally developed for the U.S. Military, come in flavors including BBQ beef, BBQ chicken, Italian, and “pepperoni stick.”
The Keen Alaska Boot is a full-on snow tromper from a company best known for its sandals. The women’s boots, made with a leather upper, are lined with insulation and have a “thermal heat shield footbed” said to reflect warmth back into the boot even as you walk over frozen ground. The boots will cost $150 when they debut later this year with Keen’s cold-weather line.
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