2015 Gear Preview: OR Show (part I)

Our twice-annual pilgrimage to the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City starts tomorrow. Thousands of brands display new wares and gear that won’t be available to public until 2015. This post, part I of our preview series, reveals a smattering of swag that caught our eye. —Stephen Regenold

Also check out Part II of the 2015 Outdoor Gear Preview

Backcountry Mini-Keg — Pour a tall one on the trail. DrinkTanks are stainless steel portable kegs. Made in Bend, Ore., and touted to keep beer cold and on tap for 24 hours.

Fold-Up Grill — Lighter brand Zippo will release a grill. Made for camping and tailgating, the All Terrain Grill has a porcelain-coated grate and folds up for transport. We like the “anti-rattle” claim for times when you’ll be transporting the system in the trunk of your car.

Water on one side, sports drink on the other… The D|Vide Hydration Bladder from Source makes it possible to drink water and an electrolyte drink from the same bladder. This means you don’t have to choose between the two, you just have to decide which nozzle to drink out of. Or maybe you’re a risk-taker and want to drink both at the same time.

MSR’s trekking pole support FlyLite Tent weighs less than 2 lbs — Ounce counters rejoice! The FlyLite from MSR weighs in at 1lb 9oz, making it a contender for one of the lightest full-protection tents in its category. It’s held up by two standard trekking poles and has 29 square feet of floor space.

‘Wearer can move as if there’s no pack’ — That’s the claim. The Atmos AG (Men’s) and Aura AG (women’s) are Osprey’s fourth generation of its ventilated backpacks. New this time around is a load-balancing system that Osprey cites allows a wearer to move as if they don’t have a pack on. That’s quite the claim, and we plan to vet it this week at the show.

Backpack turns into a rolling suitcase — The EC LYNC System from Eagle Creek turns your bag into a rolling suitcase in seconds. It’s just as easily removed so you can turn it right back into a regular backpack. If this EC LYNC is as good as it sounds, I may only need to take one bag to OR next year.

Filter and Flavor Your Water in the Same Bottle — The Fit Top water bottle lets you filter water then flavor it (or put protein powder in it). Before, you had to filter water then pour it into another container to flavor it. But now you can enjoy your flavored water in the same bottle. Why does that matter? Filtered water might be safe from microbes but can taste awful without some flavoring.

KettleCharge stove optimized for charging electronics — The Biolite KettleCharge stove can generate electricity — 10 watts of energy, to be exact, which is enough to power everything from a tablet to a UV water purifier. Its LED dashboard tells users when the generator has reached optimum temperature to charge devices.

Yakima introduces ‘world’s widest’ SUP carrier — The Yakima SUPDawg is a SUP roof rack that can carry two 36 inch wide boards, making it the widest on the market, Yak cites. The universal mounting hardware can fit to any bar shape, eliminating many of the hassles of fitting a new rack. Best part of this rack? It smells like UPdog.

Beal Unicore is the lightest and thinnest rope on the market — Beal plans to release what it calls the lightest climbing rope of its kind on the market, weighing in at 48grams per meter. (Notes Beal, “This rope is rated as a single, half, and twin rope, making it the thinnest and lightest single rope.”) Called the Beal Opera 8.5mm Unicore, the rope is rated at five falls and is UIAA certified to be water repellent. Fast and light!

Therm-a-Rest integrates foam pad with air pockets — The Evolite from Therm-a-Rest is a sleeping pad that integrates air channels onto its open cell foam design, meaning you get the compressibility of air but the loftiness of open cell foam, the company cites. While the weight savings are minimal it’s much loftier than other pads. More loft, better sleep, happier camper.

Camp Stove has integrated windscreen — The Snow Peak Geo Shield Stove is a compact unit with an integrated windscreen that allows proper oxygen flow, the company cites. No longer do you have to worry about your flame dying from too much wind or too little oxygen when you try to shield it from the wind. The Geo Shield is also built to accommodate larger pots and pans.

Rain or Shine, Just Like the Mailman — The All Elements bag is OGIO’s first 100% waterproof roll-top bag. The outer reflective material of the bag provides 360º of visibility. You can now stay dry and be seen in all conditions.

Ultra low profile, durable kayak (SUP & beach) shoe — The Astral Loyak is a low-profile shoe that’s made for water (kayaking, beach, SUP, etc.). Its upper is built with ultra durable 1000 Denier Cordura Nylon and the sole is made of G.15 rubber, a type of high-friction rubber that grips on boats or SUP boards.

Smartphone Charging Flashlight from Black Diamond — It’s a light… it’s a charger… it’s the Black Diamond Ember Power Light. The 150-lumen flashlight is a charger all-in-one. Plug your phone or other gadget into the unit for a power-up. Or, use it to light up the hiking trail.

Dakine USCG Approved Waist Pack — The United States Coast Guard just approved Dakine’s Waist Pack as a TYPE V Life Jacket with TYPE III performance. It works for adults 80lbs and more. All you have to do is pull a cord to inflate in a time of flotation need.

The tent that’s more like a cabin —The NEMO Wagontop 4P is a standing-height shelter that’s more like a cabin than a traditional tent. It sets up using only two poles and is, of course, waterproof to NEMO’s quality standards. We can’t wait to walk into this ginormous tent later this summer without having to crouch to get inside.

Ruffwear Seat Belt —Too many dogs are unsafe because of bad seat belting methods (or none at all). No more! The Load Up Harness meets or exceeds Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for vehicle crash tests so now your pooch can be as safe as you are on the road.

The go-to shoe for water and trail — The Chaco OutCross Evo 1 is a multipurpose shoe designed for water and trail. It has a mesh and webbing upper for quick drying. It also includes a protective toe cap and a neoprene sock lining so you can wear it barefoot without rubbing.

Mio Fuse — Mio is about to release a watch that reads heart rate, measures steps, calories, distance, speed and pace. At $170, we’ll have to play with it to see if it’s comparable to competitors in a quickly saturating market.

Sandal-Shoe built from Paracord — The KEEN UNEEK is constructed with two different color paracords that are woven together and throughout the shoe. This funky looking sandal-shoe definitely turned our heads. Try one on at OR.

Salewa’s speedy ascent into trail running —In March 2015, Salewa will be releasing the Speed Ascent, a redesigned, technical trail running shoe. The Speed Ascent’s rocker-shaped sole helps you to save energy and be more efficient on technical terrain, the brand touts.

Kokatat Idol — This drysuit has something called SwitchZip, meaning it zips completely off at the waist. Depending on what your adventure has in store, this suit allows you to switch out an entire drysuit for just a dry top. A common sense concept and somewhat surprising that we haven’t seen more of this.

All-In-One Duffle from Fishpond made of recycled fishing nets — The Westwater Zippered Duffel from Fishpond is constructed using a recycled material made of commercial fishing nets. TPU welded seams and water resistant zippers keep the insides dry. We love repurposed gear, especially when its second life is sexier than the first.

Lightweight, bug-free hammocking — The ENO Guardian SL Bugnet slips over all ENO hammocks to create a bug-free environment. It’s 20% lighter than its big brother, the Guardian, making it a great minimalist piece that keeps bugs out.

Mountain Hardwear ‘highest performing’ sleeping bag — The Hyperlamina Spark Sleeping Bag is rated to 35º and weighs right under 2 lbs. The shell is wind-resistant and is insulated in strategic zones to maximize warmth where most needed. We’ll be looking forward to wrapping ourselves up in this ultralight yellow burrito.

KEEN Water Boot — The Gorgeous Boot is a neoprene bootie made for cold water. The upper is built of 2mm insulating and cushy neoprene. Pull one on in cold-water conditions, and then jump right in!

—Gear Junkie writers Yoon Kim, Thomas Hall, and Josh Campbell contributed to this report.

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.