Each summer and winter, the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show in Salt Lake City serves as the outdoor industry’s ground zero of new gear and innovation. This year’s summer market broke all kinds of records, exploding in nearly every major category, including overall attendance, which topped 25,000.
The show was so big it spilled out of its long-time home in the Salt Palace into a New Exhibitor Pavilion in a makeshift building across the street. In addition to attendees, this year’s show brought all kinds of new equipment, clothing and ideas.
Here are highlights from the show floor:
So much goes into planning outdoor excursions that it can be quite difficult to plan for the unthinkable. The Delorme inReach does that for you by providing backcountry communications by way of satellite.
More intuitive and advanced than other satellite rescue beacons, say its makers, the inReach lets you send and receive free-form text messages of up to 160 characters when paired to a Delorme PN-60W GPS navigator or an Android-based cell phone. Type your message—whether it be a cry for help or a standard update on your whereabouts—via the PN-60w or Android phone, and the inReach unit will get it there with satellite power.
When used alone, the inReach works more like a traditional rescue beacon, allowing you to send pre-written messages via email or text, or solicit emergency help from rescue personnel. One big difference: The LED light on the unit confirms your message was received, providing a little more peace of mind.
InReach hits the market this fall for $250 plus subscription costs. The navigator or phone is sold separately.
Ortovox not only introduced an innovative piece of gear in the Mountain SkyVer, but possibly created a new category of adventure sport. It’s essentially a light, drive train-less mountain bike designed for hike-a-bike downhilling.
The approximately 17-pound bike folds up into an accompanying, purpose-built Trail Rider 20 backpack. Hike it up your favorite hill or mountain; turn around and bike back down.
Ortovox is selling the sport as a sort of summer counterpart to backcountry ski touring. More than just a novelty, the company’s bikes are serious equipment—the most expensive one, at $2,000, sports carbon components. The $1,500 trail model has full suspension.
An entry-level bike starts at $1,299, and the Trail Rider 20 pack costs $125.
A launch scheduled later this year was canceled, and the company isn’t sure when it might get the MountainSkyver to market. That’s all right, I wasn’t going to buy one anyway (I’ve already spent enough on full mountain bikes), but it’s still a pretty interesting piece of gear.
The WaveJet is a mini-motor of sorts designed to attach to surfboards, kayaks, paddleboards and other small watercraft.
Initially built to help big-wave surfers catch monster waves without a tow-in vehicle, it’s useful for any board or small boat enthusiast who wants a little automated power to boost speed and paddling efficiency. Controlled via a wrist remote, it delivers up to 20 pounds of thrust and 30 minutes of power per charge.
At $4,500, you may just opt to keep paddling the old-fashioned way, but the WaveJet is an interesting option for those that can afford it.
Sea to Summit Specialist Tents
Sea to Summit expanded into tent manufacturing at this year’s show. Choosing to jump in with both feet, the company released innovative one- and two-person tents that are among the lightest on the market.
When pitched with alloy poles and stakes, the Specialist Solo weighs 1 pound 5.8 ounces, and the Duo 1 pound 13.7 ounces. The tents can also be erected with two trekking poles and natural anchors, cutting the weights down to 15.6 ounces and 22.3 ounces, respectively.
Each tent uses a double/single-wall hybrid design that provides ultra-low weight and superior ventilation, the retailer says. The tents feature a single layer of Pertex Endurance 20D waterproof-breathable nylon for the canopy, waterproof 15D nylon for the walls, and mesh doors protected by a waterproof vestibule.
The mesh doors are supposed to provide better ventilation than a traditional single-walled tent, while saving weight over a full rain fly. The Solo retails for $429 and the Duo for $499.
The name “SurvivalStraps” may bring visions of dire situations of Man versus Wild-esque proportions, but more likely, you’ll use your strap to replace a bum shoe lace or tie some gear down.
Whatever you end up using it for, you’ll carry around 14 feet of 550-pound test, military-spec paracord on your wrist with these stylish straps. They come in thousands of different color combinations and unravel into cord that can be used for countless things in the wilderness and at home.
Don’t worry about having to knot it back together; if you use the paracord, send in a picture and story, and you’ll get a new SurvivalStrap for free.
The straps come in several styles including watch bands and basic bracelets. The standard men’s bracelet costs $25 and you can order it now at survivalstraps.com.
Chris Weiss is an Ogden-based writer who has contributed to Bomb Snow, Colorado 365, Outdoorzy and Trails.Com. Check out his gear and outdoor news at Uncooped.com.