Talking with the founder of Pakboats/Scansport. There are more inflatable and foldable canoes and kayaks here this year.
The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006 officially begins in a few short hours. With the start of ORSM'06 the real chaos of the event will commence. From that chaos will emerge a bevy of exciting products for the ultralight backcountry traveller as well as new insights into the direction our favorite industry is going. But before we spread out to track down these precious nuggets of information some of the Backpacking Light staff attending the show were able to explore the Open Air Demo first.
The Open Air Demo is held along the shore of Willard Bay several miles north of downtown Salt Lake City. Today the waters were calm and warm, and the skies clear, with a brilliant sun beaming down upon us. The atmosphere at this demo day was relaxed with several dozen vendors showing off their pride and joy: mainly, canoes and kayaks. We let ourselves become caught up in the excitement of testing boats from the kevlar canoes made by Bell to the intriguing pedal powered, recumbent bicycle style boats by Wave Walker (we all studiously avoided the H3 Hummer...).
This is a time to get into the swing of things and in some cases make new contacts or re-acquaint yourself with people you have met before. And with any luck perhaps come across a diamond in the rough that you would otherwise miss amongst the multitude of exhibitors at the Salt Palace.
This year a second day was added to the Open Air Demo and that has enhanced the camp-like feeling of this event. Vendors, retailers, and media are all fairly relaxed - the calm before the storm. While I personally did not find any diamonds here my belief that there will be products of interest to us all was confirmed. There is product buzz already about what's to come tomorrow.