The showroom opened for Outdoor Retailer’s 2023 Winter Show on November 14, and retailers, distributors, designers, media, and more trickled in. It was not the all-out, keyed-up gear and apparel frenzy that it’s been in years past. Instead, the buzz was quieter, the days were slower, and the energy wasn’t quite as electric.
We aren’t sugarcoating it: OR has diminished since its move back to Utah.
But brands still showed up: 205 booths were full of owners, founders, and reps excited to show off the latest and greatest products, materials, and services their brands have to offer. In the absence of big names like Patagonia, The North Face, Marmot, Burton, and many others, there was a lot more attention given to smaller, lesser-known companies or those up-and-comers hoping to someday compete with the big guys.
As a result, GearJunkie got the chance to interface with most of the booths and brands present. There were some innovative and forward-thinking products. There was also gear and apparel that made us scratch our heads.
And while not all of it was on the cutting edge or tip of the spear, it was largely new stuff. So, here are some of our favorites from the show that you can look forward to this winter season.
Outdoor Retailer 2023 Winter Show: The Goods
Cargo boxes and truck beds make for great places to store your skis, poles, and snowboards. But the issue has always been the same: Loose equipment bounces and rolls around. Not only does that make a lot of noise, but it also bangs up your gear.
Suus Racks, a new brand out of Bozeman, Mont., has a possible solution. It designed a ski rack that universally fits any rooftop cargo box or truck bed, and that holds your gear securely in place.
The patent-pending Suus Rack is made from steel panels with rubber gasket grooves for skis and poles. They can also work with snowboards, according to the brand’s founder, but you need to have a cargo box with a higher height volume. For compatibility with truck beds, SUUS sells an adapter that appears easy to install. Notches at the bottom of the rack fit into the grooves of a box or bed and adjust to fit your specific model with small dials.
There are some roof rack organizers out there already. But none we’ve seen use such heavy-duty materials, and few are made right here in the US-of-A. The brand currently sells two models, the SR4 ($300), which can fit four pairs of skis, and the SR3 ($290) which fits three pairs of skis.Buy Now at Suus Racks
Joolca Inflatable Hot Tub
How often do you find yourself sitting by a creek, lake, river, or even in a backyard at a BBQ wishing you had a personal jacuzzi? If the answer to that question is “often” or “frequently,” then you should look into Joolca’s Inflatable Hot Tub ($580).
Unlike other inflatable hot tubs on the market, this one is made from durable UV-proof PVC (the same material as SUP boards). It holds between 92 and 80 gallons of water (depending on if it’s used by one person or two), taps into lakes, streams, or pools easily with a hose, and the brand claims it fills and heats in less than 2 hours.
The brand also notes that it could be used as an extra-large beer cooler or a canoe — if you’re in a serious pinch.Buy Now at Joolca
Winnerwell Pentagon Stove
Winnerwell’s stainless steel tent stoves look pretty rad. They’re wood-burning, corrosion-resistant, and look unique too. Next spring, the brand will release its Pentagon Stove ($800), with 360-degree viewing windows, a cooking surface on top, and raisable warming racks for keeping food and drinks toasty — or drying damp socks and gloves.
The 304 stainless steel chimney has an internal spark arrestor and a mesh spark protector at the top.
Sadly, it won’t be available until spring 2024 and isn’t even on the Winnerwell website yet. So if you’re interested, stay tuned.Visit Winnerwell
Hedgehog T2 Boot Dryer
Hedgehog is taking boot dryers to the next level. The Scandinavian company made waves with its fast heating, odor-fighting boot and glove dryers. In 2022, it won the Red Dot Award for Product Design, the MUSE Design Award, and the NY Product Design Award.
These dryers use a brushless motor, a purpose-built impeller, and a ceramic heating element to blast hot air at high pressure into gloves, shoes, or boots. Meanwhile, negatively charged ions help fight odors and keep your footwear smelling fresh.
Hedgehog’s new T2 boot and glove dryer can dry three pairs of gloves or boots at once. It can be wall-mounted or hung in a closet from a coat hanger. It has a 10-hour timer (which seems like overkill, since the brand claims it will dry almost anything out in under 40 minutes) and temperature settings for 37, 45, and 60 degrees.Buy Now at Hedgehog
Sunrise E-Bike All Terrain E-Scooter
E-scooters have blown up in the last decade. Now, they’re a hip form of micro-mobility in cities, and some brands, like Sunrise E-Bikes, even make off-road e-scooters that can get down and dirty off the beaten path. Sadly, though, when winter rolls around, e-scooters typically get garaged pretty quickly. But they don’t have to.
Sunrise E-Bikes’ All Terrain E-Scooter ($2,590) features a 48V 20aH UL-listed battery, a 2,000W motor wheelset, and a 2,000W motor snow caterpillar set. Meaning this rugged e-scooter can shred dirt roads and snowy trails all year round. Its max speed in “Road Mode” is 40 mph, and in “Snow Mode” it tops out at 21 mph. It even has its own Bluetooth app — but what doesn’t these days?Pre-order Now at Sunrise E-Bikes
Sena Snowboard Comms Helmets
Finally, a ski and snowboard helmet that you can talk with your friends through, answer phone calls with, listen to music on, and that even allows you to hear GPS directions. Sena developed its helmet comms technology for motorcycle helmets, so riders could communicate hands-free, without Wi-Fi or cell signals, and without getting off their bikes. Now, they’re applying that same technology to snowboard helmets.
Sena’s Latitude S1 Snowhelmet ($160) with built-in Bluetooth communication and audio is the brand’s first foray into snowsports. The helmet is made from an ABS shell with an EPS liner and is certified to safety standards in the EU and U.S. Speakers, situated inside the ear pads, allow you to stay in communication with up to four friends at once, up to a kilometer apart.Buy Now at Sena
Knog Scout Travel Luggage Tag Finder and Alarm
Knog made a splash in the outdoor market with its handy bike finder and alarm devices. They attach to your frame and, when armed via the Knog app, will emit an ear-piercing shriek if anyone tries to move it. The devices also have a tracking feature that you access via the app to find your bike if it’s ever stolen. Now, Knog is also offering an alarm and finder device for luggage, called the Scout Travel ($60).
The Scout Travel offers all the same cool features as the bike alarm and finder. But it also has an individualized QR code on it. When scanned, that takes you to a page listing the owner’s contact information. There’s even an option to send the owner an email directly from the contact page, making returning lost luggage even easier.Buy Now at Knog
Pondoz Ski and Snowboard Slippers
When transporting skis and snowboards in a cargo box, on a roof rack or rear-mounted ski rack, or in the bed of a truck, your precious gear is vulnerable. Mucky snow, magnesium chloride, salt, rocks, and other gear banging around can cause damage to your edges and top sheets. That’s why Pondoz created its Ski and Snowboard Slippers. They essentially act as protective sheaths for the tips of your boards, and to cover your ski bindings.
The Ski Slippers ($85) and the Snowboard Slippers ($80) are made from 1,000-denier nylon and V-diamond tech vinyl. They’re extremely durable, and they protect your edges and top sheet from getting rusted, gunked up, nicked, damaged, or delaminated no matter how you travel with them. It also sells a Ski Binding Buffer ($40) that cinches around the center of your skis to protect bindings as well.Buy Now at Pondoz
High-quality blenders are hard to come by when you’re out in the wild or even in a parking lot at tailgate parties. There are some portable, handheld blenders out there. But the quality of them can be hit or miss, and they take up as much space as a normal-size water bottle. This got the folks at Cruz thinking: What if they could turn any wide-mouth bottle into a premium handheld blender?
They hit the drawing board and that’s exactly what they created. With 0.5 horsepower, the Cruz BlenderCap ($199) is the most powerful cordless blender ever, the brand claims. It fits onto any wide-mouth threaded water bottle, and with a press of a button, it blends whatever contents are inside. Smoothies, margaritas, piña coladas, or milkshakes on the go have never been easier to whip up.Buy Now at Cruz
Ortovox AVABAG LiTRIC Tour Backpack
When Ortovox’s AVABAG LiTRIC Tour Backpack ($1,300-1,400) hit the market in 2022, it made a splash, winning an ISPO award the same year. But no sooner had the system started building hype than it was pulled from shelves in a voluntary recall over some of the design elements. The team went back to the drawing board, and this year they’re officially relaunching the AVABAG LiTRIC system in the brand’s Tour Backpack.
The touring-specific packs come in 28L, 30L, 36L, and 40L sizes. They are also compatible with all of Ortovox’s “Zip Ons,” which modify the pack size, so you don’t need separate avi bags for longer/shorter missions. The LiTRIC system is rechargeable and requires no CO2 canisters. It can be deployed twice per charge and has an operating temperature of -30 degrees C to +45 degrees C.
Deuter makes a comparable avi bag system called the Alpride E2, which GearJunkie reviewed last year. Ortovox’s LiTRIC system is very similar, but the Ortovox Tour pack is lighter than the Alpride E2, and the LiTRIC system has a 60-hour battery life, as opposed to the Alpride’s 24-hour battery life.Buy Now at Ortovox