The Outpost is a hands-on, immersive take on traditional trade shows. This month, in the redwoods of Northern California, we got a peek at the hottest trends in outdoors gear.
Enjoy the experience of a rooftop tent… without the roof. Tepui launched the SkyCamp, a “semi-permanent” wooden camping stand to hold any of its rooftop tents. It offers storage underneath for bikes or gear, and it has a built-in picnic table. The stands come with a tent and start at $2,650.
GoWesty VW Restorations
Finding a hippie-bus is the easy part. Getting it road (and camp) worthy can be harder. That’s where GoWesty comes in. The California company outfits Volkswagen and Westfalia vans with the modern gear to make them capable and comfortable campers. We toured a Vanagon Westfalia, Eurovan, and Type 2, complete with refrigerators, solar power, and sleep systems.
Power Practical Sparkr Mini
Start your next campfire with a jolt. Power Practical impressed us with its line of off-grid camping accessories, including one of our favorite gadgets, the Luminoodle. But this year, the brand pushed its fireless fire starters, the Sparkr flashlight and Sparkr Mini lighter. They’re fun and functional, lighting small sticks or paper easily with a mesmerizing purple spark.
Specialized Yonder Boot
Sometimes the coolest gear doesn’t even exist yet. Specialized exhibited a concept cycling shoe that has not gone into production: The Yonder Journal Boot. We thought the boots with an SPD clipless interface on the sole were among the classiest kicks we’ve seen—cycling or otherwise. Photo credit: Peter Amend
Smith Lowdown Focus
Block UV rays, focus your breathing, and achieve a clearer mind – all with your sunglasses. Smith showed off its upcoming Lowdown Focus sunglasses, the product of a collaboration with MUSE meditation technology. The brand purports the sunglasses monitor brain waves and, through a connected app, guide you to a calmer, clearer mind with “guided soundscapes.”
My Hydro Flask
Create a water bottle unlike anybody else’s. Hydro Flask’s “My Hydro” launched just before the holidays last year, but it was a huge hit at this year’s Outpost. With seven sizes and customizable lids, straps, boots, bottles, and more than a dozen colors, the brand offers 183,000 different options.
Sleep, float, relax: The inflatable hammock market welcomed a new face: Chillbo Baggins (yes, really). Wider and flatter than the traditional inflatables we’re used to, Chillbo Baggins loungers were everywhere at The Outpost. In fact, two of our editors slept under the stars and can attest they were cozy. Plus the loungers were a hit for floating along the coast.
Photo credit: Peter Amend
Asics Gecko XT
Asics teased its 2018 trail runner, but we don’t know much yet. The Gecko XT will launch February, and while we couldn’t test it out, we know it will have standard lacing (not a Boa closure), has uniform tread pattern with braking lugs on the rear, and a mesh upper. It looks like a solid trail shoe with all-around capabilities and breathability. We’ll update when we know more.
UCO Vapor+ Headlamp
Light the way regardless of your power source. UCO unveiled its 2017 lineup, and we tried the Vapor+ headlamps during the forest nights. The $50 Vapor+ runs off AAA or rechargeable Li-Ion pack, and blasts up to 300 lumens. It also sports a red light.
Believe it or not, gluten-free beer can be delicious. We’ve tried gluten-free beer that tasted like a sorghum-soaked gym sock, but we sampled San Francisco-based Sufferfest Beer and were impressed. The brand’s gluten-removed blonde, IPA, and pilsner were on tap and we couldn’t taste a difference from traditionally brewed beer. Photo credit: Peter Amend
Eagle Creek Converge Backpack
Take the essentials, and a few extras, through the woods or above the clouds. We wore Eagle Creek’s $119 Converge travel backpack around The Outpost before tossing it in our overhead compartment. Two quick-grab pockets, with built-in key fob and padded cell phone pocket grace the front. The middle pocket stores larger gear, and the rear-most pocket sports a fleece-lined laptop sleeve and document pocket. Plus, the rear has a roller-bag attachment sleeve.
Belmont Hellagood Blanket
Hot days and cool nights make for lots of wet grass. Belmont Blankets realized this and showed off its line of outdoor blankets, including the waterproof-based, fleece-topped HELLAGOOD blanket. This $125 ground cover spreads 5’x6′ and, like all Belmont Blankets, is made in Portland, Ore.
Chaco National Park Foundation Sandals
Trek in comfort and benefit the National Parks. Chaco adds four styles to its National Parks Foundation collection in 2018. The collaboration helps raise awareness and money for the National Parks Service’s official charitable partner. Coming into the Z/1 and Z/2 lines are Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier designs.
High Brew Coffee
Stay awake, stay cool. High Brew‘s cold-brew-in-a-can is quickly becoming a mainstay of overnight summer camping adventures. The 8-oz. cans come in a variety of flavors, including mocha, salted caramel, dairy free, and protein-boosted cappuccino. For a quick kick that’s cold and not-too sweet, we thought it was a hit.
Stanley French Press
If hot coffee is part of the routine no matter the environment, then Stanley has you covered. Made in the classic Stanley green, the 48-oz., stainless steel french press keeps fresh-brewed coffee hot up to four hours. Plus, like most things Stanley, it looks like it’ll hold up through dings, drops, and lots of use. Launched this year and available for $65.