I hobbled to bed early last night, fresh off a plane and beat down from a weekend in Salt Lake City, where the Wasatch Mountain Range cuts high granite peaks over town. But for once it wasn’t an alpine feat that’d done me in. No, I was home from a trade show, nursing a tight back and a frazzled mind, exhausted from three days of press appointments, product demonstrations, and brief, telling glimpses into the future.
Indeed, the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market—an annual trade fair for buyers, product designers, athletes and journalists, held this year August 9 – 12—serves as the world’s premier stage for new outdoors gear, gadgets, footwear and apparel. Companies light the fuse on products at the OR Show that don’t debut to the public until spring 2008 and beyond.
Here’s a peek at some highlights. . .
YOUTUBE READY—The POV.1 Integrated Video System from V.I.O. Inc. includes a camera, microphone, recorder, wireless remote, software, and online video distribution in an integrated system. The entire POV.1 weighs less than 1 pound, and the recorder is smaller than most television remote controls. It is wearable, rugged and simple to use. ($849; www.vio-pov.com; available: autumn 2007)
THE SENTINEL—High Sierra’s Sentinel 65 is part of a new line of affordable internal-frame backpacks from the Chicago-based company. At just $119.99 (street price), the Sentinel 65 weighs a manageable 4.8 pounds and boasts 65 liters of main-compartment storage space. Accessories include a hydration-bladder sleeve; loops for ice axes and hiking poles; a front-load sleeping bag compartment; a tuck-away rain cover; and a contoured aluminum frame. The company’s Airflow channels help keep your back cool and dry. Comes in black, orange and blue. Size: 32.0” x 14.25” x 8.75” ($119.99; www.highsierrasport.com)
TIMBERLAND B-LIFE LINE—The Collective 60-40 and Fixed shoes, pictured above, are part of Timberland’s new lifestyle line. But here’s the kicker: These good-looking shoes have form and function, with Mad Rock sticky-rubber soles for climbing, BOA lacing systems, and stiff forefoot plates for pedaling a bike. ($85 per pair; www.timberland.com; available: spring 2008)
PRO FILTER—The Frontier Pro attaches to hydration system hoses and standard water bottles with 28mm threads and features an antimicrobial filter the company says eliminates 99.9% of harmful giardia, cryptosporidium and large bacteria. Includes 28mm thread tube adapter, 12” draw tube and 3 replacement pre-filters. ($19.95; www.mcnett.com; available: Sept. 1)
WEARABLE MACBOOK CASE—The name says it all. Type and hike, or store your digital camera shots right after your CF card is full. Etc. Official product name is: RadiatorT Wearable MacBook Case. ($TBA; www.civilianlab.com; available: TBA)
NEW-TAKE PLB—Don’t want to alert SAR every time you’re in trouble? The SPOT Satellite Messenger, a new emergency beacon, uses GPS and a satellite network to bleep out communiqués of four iterations, including 1) “I’m Okay”; 2) “Summon emergency
responder”; 3) “Request help” for friends and family; 4) Track Location, a feature that tracks your path, stores waypoints, then displays it live on the Web via Google Maps. ($149, plus an annual $99 service fee; www.findmespot.com; available: autumn 2007)
HELMET HERO—My favorite little camera company—GoPro—unveiled helmet mounts at OR, which let you bike, run, jump, surf, ski, whatever, with a video camera overhead recording your every move. The Helmet HERO accessories include the housing for a GoPro camera, plus attachments for a helmet and flat mounts that can be used on snowboards or kayaks. Also included: the Head HERO strap that enables the camera to be held on like a headlamp. ($69.99; www.goprocamera.com; available: October)
TOPO ONSCREEN GPS—Partnering with National Geographic, Magellan’s new line of Triton GPS devices display topographical maps in the 1:24,000 scale. Additional features in the line of six devices include color touchcreens; digital compasses; barometers; LED flashlights; digital cameras; and an audio recorder. (Triton 2000 model, $499; base model, $129; www.magellangps.com; available: autumn 2007)
NUCANOE—Tim Niemier, founder of Ocean Kayak and pioneer of the sit-on-top kayak movement, announced the debut of a new hybrid design at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show. The NuCanoe is a stable, safe, and easy-to-use watercraft that’s extra wide to increase flotation and stability. Yet, due to the unique hull design, it is still light, responsive, and nimble on the water, according to the company. It features a high-flotation, sealed hull that is virtually unsinkable. At 12’ long and 42” wide, the NuCanoe offers plenty of room for people, pets, and gear. (Recreation model, $699; Deluxe model, $949; Adventurer model, $949; www.nucanoe.com; available: now)
ACCELEROMETER WATCH—the TraiLeader watch’s embedded accelerometer lets trail runners and hikers gauge measurement of distance and speed while on the go, including a real-time miles-per-hour figure. Other features include an altimeter, barometer, compass, thermometer, and watch. ($139.99; www.tech4o.com; available: January 2008)
YACHT KNIFE—This Wenger knife was designed to resemble the hull of Alinghi, the current defender of the America’s Cup. As such, it’s made for the yachting set, with two models available, both with knurled texture grip for increased safety and better control while out on the water; a 4-inch locking blade that features 50% serration; plus yachtsman’s tools like a needle-nose pliers, flat head screwdriver, and long flat head screwdriver. Given its intended use in a salty environment, the knife has been subjected to stringent anti-corrosion tests. ($135; www.alinghiknife.com; available: now)