Two editors, thousands of products at the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show, and one mission: Find the most exciting gear of the future.
This is what we found.
The GearJunkie team diligently scoured the Outdoor Retailer Summer 2023 show at the Salt Palace, meeting with brands, inspecting new products, and combing the place from ceiling to floor looking for the most impressive, unique, groundbreaking gear we could find.
Our Best in Show roundup can be found here. But there were lots of cool products that didn’t make the final cut — most of which won’t be available until next season (or even next year). And they deserve some attention, too.
Keep your eyes open for this exciting gear from Outdoor Retailer Summer 2023, coming soon.
ChefRack Hitch-Mounted Kitchen
Camp kitchens can be a pain to set up, and often require a lot of individual pieces and parts. The ChefRack camp kitchen puts it all in one place, right on the hitch of your vehicle. For overlanders, car campers, and anyone who likes to set up cooking space on the fly, this thing is a revolution.
The ChefRack ($1,995) has space for a cooler, two shelves that fold outward for cooking and cleaning space, and a gas stovetop. So you can pull over anywhere, and break into chef mode in a flash. Grill some burgers, crack some brews, dice, slice, and chop veggies, all conveniently on the back of your car. It’ll undoubtedly become the center of the campsite party, and the heart of any cookout.Buy Now
Oru Camp Furniture
Oru made waves when it sailed onto the market with its origami kayaks. They’re light, they’re packable, and they piece together in just minutes. No other boat or paddle brand is doing it like Oru.
Now, the origami kayak company is branching out, bringing its innovative folding design to camp furniture. No more bulky tables or unwieldy camp chairs. With the Oru Camp Furniture set, you can assemble your own outdoor pop-up lounge that’s perfect for campsites, park picnics, lakeside paddle sessions, or beach days. The collection includes an Adirondack lounge chair, a table, and an ottoman.Preorder Now
Spyderco Military 2
The Spyderco Military is iconic and relatively unchanged since brand co-founder Sal Glesser designed it 25 years ago. Soon, it gets its first significant update in the form of the Military 2. The new version trades a liner lock for Spyderco’s Compression Lock mechanism, making the knife both stronger and safer.
The flat-ground S30V blade rests in larger stainless steel liners, giving the knife increased structural strength. The company anchors its four-position pocket clip, which is configurable for left- or right-side, tip-up or tip-down carry. G-10 scales maintain a slim profile and complement its open-backed construction.Learn More
Camp Chef Woodwind Pro Smoker
The previous Woodwind from Camp Chef featured a Wi-Fi-enabled PID controller with a color screen, “Smart Smoke Technology” with 10 smoke level settings. It was compatible with the Camp Chef Connect App, had a temperature range of 160-500 degrees F, a patented ash cleanout, stainless steel meat probes, a premium 22-pound pellet hopper with a bottle opener, and a 3-year warranty.
The brand-new Camp Chef Woodwind Pro features all of that and more. The brand added a stainless steel body and internal components, double-walled construction, a gasketed lid, “down and out” ventilation, and, most importantly, a smoke box that can take hardwood chunks or lump charcoal. That last feature steps up the game for the Woodwind series, allowing users more control over the smoky flavor they’re imparting to the food.
The Woodwind Pro comes in two sizes, a 24-inch ($1,200-1,500) and a 36-inch ($1,500-1,800). Both are available on the Camp Chef website.Buy Now
The latest addition to G-Shock’s Move Series of watches, the GBDH2000 ($400) has GPS functionality and six sensors that each track different elements, to support multiple activities. It was made for serious athletes who want to seriously track their step count, heart rate, blood oxygen level, distance, speed, and pace. It also tracks calories burned, energy sources used, heart rate, cardio load, pitch, stride, altitude gained, number of strokes, and more. It even monitors your sleep quality.
All of that is accessible on the watch face or from the connecting app. It’s solar power-assisted, so the battery lasts a long time before needing a recharge. Check out more details and specs on the G-Shock website.Buy Now
C6 Rev Tent
Most rooftop tents are built for one purpose: Sleeping on top of your car. They make great car-camping and overlanding companions. But if you want to set up your evening abode on the ground, or in a spot where the car can’t get to, you need a separate tent. Most rooftop tents are restricted to rooftop dwellings.
That’s not the case with the C6 Rev Tent. Sure, this thing attaches to the top of a car and will stay there if you need it to. But if you want to set up on the ground somewhere, the tent itself is removable and stands on its own. It’s a four-season tent, weighs 25 pounds, has a 4-inch plush mattress at the bottom, fits two people, and comes in three different configurations.
There’s the standard Rev Tent ($800) that’s ready for ground or pickup bed setup, the Rev Rack Tent ($830) that will connect to any popular roof-rack setup, and the Rev Roof Top Tent ($1,330) that will mount to the top of most vehicles. See the C6 website to learn more about the different models.Buy Now
Garmin Instinct 2 Solar
Changing watch batteries or recharging them is a pain. And an unnecessary one, now that solar technology has advanced so much. Garmin is taking advantage of that with its Instinct 2X Solar.
This watch has a 40-day battery life in Smartwatch mode — without its solar capability. With solar, the battery life is unlimited, according to Garmin. So you’ll almost never have to manually recharge this watch (if you get out in the sun often enough).
The Instinct 2X Solar also features an LED flashlight, a high-resolution display, GPS capabilities, an accompanying app, and health monitoring sensors that track your heart rate, blood oxygen level, fitness age, sleep, hydration, and respiration. It even has an alert for abnormal heart rates. This is a trick watch for athletes, adventurers, and travelers who want to draw power from the sun.Buy Now
Who doesn’t love hip ballcaps and beanies that are perfect for active outdoor use? And when they come with funny, cool-looking animal art on them? From a boutique hat maker in Maine? Please — just take our money.
The hats being made by FLYN are all of these things. Some feature raccoons crushing PBR, others feature coyotes caught red-handed raiding the chicken coop, or grizzly bears nomming on Slim Jims. The art is irreverent and fun, and the hats themselves are well-made.
The trucker caps look great for running and hiking, and the beanies will keep you warm when you’re out playing in cold weather. They also make totes, patches, tea towels, and T-shirts
And, if you don’t see the color, style, and/or art combo you want, reach out and FLYN will make you exactly what you want.Shop Now
Sure, these aren’t all new to the market and there are other brands making refillable lighters. But MK Lighter breathes fresh air into the fire(starter).
Using no-waste production (castoff plastics are reground and reused), refillable lighter designs, post-consumer and recycled plastics, and packaging designed to reduce waste and be recycled, MK Lighter is a step beyond the typical Bic gas station buy. With dozens of models of small lighters and torches available, it’s a fun, more sustainable way to start your fire, grill, or whatever needs burning.Shop Now
FlexTail Evo Icer
Icemakers have been a luxury of the household for a long time. But they’re only now starting to creep into the camping and outdoor world as well. FlexTail’s Evo Icer is a compact little lithium-ion-powered, rechargeable icebox that cranks out 12 “ice bullets” per batch (the previous model, only made nine). According to the brand, it’s capable of making up to 360 ice bullets on a single charge.
Preorder the FlexTail Evo Icer on Kickstarter and get a 46% discount ($299). Visit FlexTail’s website to learn more.Preorder on Kickstarter
Optic Nerve FixiePHENOM Photochromatic Sunglasses
When you’re running or biking outdoors, you need a wide field of view, high-quality lenses that give you visual precision, UV protection, and durability. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if they look fly as hell too.
Optic Nerve brought all of that to the table with its new FixiePHENOM photochromatic sunglasses ($150).Buy Now
Sabre Frontiersman Bear Spray Belt
Bear deterrent is a necessity when you’re backpacking, hunting, hiking, or camping anywhere in bear country. The only problem? Often there isn’t a convenient way to attach the canister to yourself. So, a lot of people end up putting that line of defense inside their backpack — totally out of reach if they need to grab it quickly.
The Frontiersman Bear Spray Belt from Sabre ($26) addresses that issue. It’s essentially a waistband that features a stretchy waterproof pouch that holds your bear deterrent snugly in place and quickly within reach when you’re out on the trail. It also has a zippered pocket for stashing keys or other valuables, a storage case for a cellphone, and a loop ring for a flashlight, compass, or whatever else you hang on it.
It’s compatible with 7.9-ounce and 9.2-ounce bear spray canisters, and adjustable to fit 28-inch to 45-inch waists.Buy Now
VanDoIt Commercial Adventure Vans
Adventure vans are all the rage right now, but they don’t just have to be for recreation. After 73 years of vehicle upfitting, no one knows that better than the folks at VanDoIt. Some of the commercial vans VanDoIt builds are used for disaster relief support, mobile offices, ski rental vans, tour vans, and even law enforcement or mobile therapy vans. And of course, the vans used for those purposes can also be used for recreation when they aren’t on the clock.
This year, VanDoIt debuted its new Rep Van build at OR Summer 2023. It’s a floor plan designed specifically for businesses that want a modular, mobile vehicle. Built on a cargo chassis, the Rep Van contains a platform desk along the driver wall, a T-track installed with space for up to eight monitors, overhead shelving, and a single bed that can be become flush with the passenger wall to open up more space.
VanDoIt says the Rep Van build is ideal for any traveler who needs “to display and store product, work remotely, and travel easily.” Contact VanDoIt if you or your business needs a custom commercial adventure vehicle. They can build a Rep Van to your exact needs and specifications.Contact VanDoIt
Flextail Tiny Pump 2X
Using your own lungs to fill up an inflatable sleeping pad is so old-school. Today, lots of people use hand pumps or electric pumps to do the heavy lifting. Flex Tails Tiny Pump 2X takes it to the next level, though, offering three functions in one device. Not only do they pump air at 180 L per minute, but they also vacuum it at the same rate (for deflation) and even have a 400-lumen light to function as a camp lantern.
At just 2.3 inches tall and 96 g, these pumps will easily fit in your camping gear tote, bag, or backpack. They also feature a magnet that makes them easy to attach to anything metal.Buy Now
Minelab Metal Detector
Hunting treasure never gets old; it only gets easier as the tools of the trade get better with technology. And few companies out there are making metal detectors like Minelab.
The brand started in Australia making its high-end detectors for gold prospecting, treasure hunting, and landmine clearance. Its products are rugged, functional, and designed with different search modes for parks, beaches, or open fields. You can switch frequencies, and search for items at varying depths, and many of its detectors are waterproof for easy use in ocean or river water.
The Xterra Pro and Equinox series of metal detectors are new from the brand this year with a host of slick new technologies and features that make finding lost keys, jewelry, gold nuggets, or historical relics easier than ever.Shop Minelab
Classic wheelbarrows are great — they do the job — but the technology behind them really hasn’t advanced much since they were invented. At least, not until the folks at PolyMule took a swing at reinventing the proverbial wheel(barrow).
The PolyMule is hands down the most advanced tote we’ve ever seen. It can hold 1,000 pounds, is hitch-compatible to be towed by an ATV, and can be linked together with other PolyMules in a daisy chain. It has an uphill assist so you can push it up a slope without it rolling backward, airless tires, and 20.5 inches of clearance, and it’s built to take a beating. For hunting, camping, yardwork, or home projects, the PolyMule will put any other tote to shame.Preorder Now
Grüezi Wool Down Sleeping Bags
We’re all familiar with down sleeping bags. But a mixed wool-down sleeping bag? Now that’s the kind of thing that piques the curiosity. And it’s exactly what the young Bavarian brand Grüezi specializes in.
Grüezi started making its bags solely out of mountain sheep wool in 2015. And people were very pleased with their performance, comfort, and warmth. But that wasn’t enough for founder Markus Wiesböck. He wanted to offer all of that, in a package that was also packable. So, he developed a new form of insulation — DownWool — which blended the benefits of both types of insulation.
Today, Grüezi makes a whole line of bags and jackets that feature this innovative insulation. Its bags have won tons of awards, including several ISPO and Outdoor Industry awards. You can shop the entire collection of bags, outerwear, and apparel on the company’s website.Preorder Now
Sawyer Tap Water Filtration System
Sawyer has made a name for itself as one of the premiere water filter brands in the world. Its products have not only accompanied uncounted backpackers on wilderness adventures but they’re used globally by developing countries to secure fresh, potable water on the day-to-day. Their Squeeze filter system is one of their best-selling items. But now, you can attach a Sawyer filter to any faucet to purify tap water wherever you might be.
The uses for this slick new device are almost endless: VanLifers can use it to drink water straight from their van’s sink, even if they aren’t connected to a potable source of water. Travelers can use it when moving through countries with questionable tap water. Homeowners can use it just to add an extra level of purification to their drinking water. And survivalists can keep them on hand in case of an apocalyptic emergency.
This new filter system from Sawyer will come in handy in any number of situations. And it can filter up to 500 gallons of fresh water per day.Shop Sawyer