Editor's Note: This article was opened to the public on July 22, 2010. To subscribe and see Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010 articles as they are published, click here.
Monday July 20, 2009
Summer Outdoor Retailer starts with Open Air Demo, a day at Pineview Reservoir near Snowbasin to check out what’s new at manufacturer booths and to spend some time trying out boats on the water. It was a hot day, so the water really felt good.
Open Air Demo consists of lots of booths and boats - and there is always something new, something interesting. We had great fun looking for lightweight gear, and it didn’t take long to find our usual quota of fresh, intriguing products.
I guess it’s obvious from this photo that Coleman has a new line of insect repellents coming out. Sunscreens too, though they didn't have a poor person cooking in a costume for that product.
Available now from Grand Trunk is a new 6.7 ounce hammock called the Nano-7, claimed to be the lightest hammock on the market. That weight includes the carabiners at the ends but not the Tree Sling attachment cords. It’s constructed of 1.27 ounce ripstop nylon, measures 9 feet x 4 feet, and costs $70.
Also from Grand Trunk is their new Tent Shoes (1.5 oz/pair, $15), which are PU-coated overboots that slip over hiking boots. More comfortable yet, they can be worn over bare feet or dry socks when you get to camp. It sure feels good to get wet/dirty shoes and socks off and something more pleasant on your feet.
At the Sun Dry booth we found the new Sport Hat (2.2 ounces, $34), modeled by Janet Reichl. This hat really seems to get the proportions right - it has a 3.5-inch brim and 5-inch back veil - just enough. Other sun hats seem to overdo one or the other measure and look a bit dorky as a result. Janet liked the Sport Hat so well she bought one. A similar hat called the Offshore Water Hat (2.8 oz/$34) has a neoprene chin strap with buckle and sweat band to provide extra wind stability.
At Birkenstock Footwear we found some really light flip-flops called the Wikiki (3.7 oz/pair women’s 6, $30). They are made of blown EVA, similar to Crocs, a much lighter alternative to carrying a pair of heavy sandals for camp shoes.
For geocaching enthusiasts, here’s the gadget for you! The geomate.jr (3.2 oz/$70) is a GPS device that comes pre-loaded with the locations of 250,000 geocaches in all fifty states. It incorporates a high sensitivity SiRFstarIII receiver, and runs on two AAA batteries. When you turn it on, it gives you the direction and distance to the nearest geocache. The device also displays your present lat-long location, compass direction, and elevation, so it could be used as a locator device in conjunction with a cell or sat phone in case of an emergency. If you successfully find all 250,000 geocaches, you can find another hobby or purchase the Update Kit ($25), which consists of a cable to download new locations from a website.
The Columbia Mobex Pack (28 oz/$100) is a new adventure racing/trail running/lightweight day hiking pack that incorporates loads of cool features: clamshell fast entry (just rip it open), five external pockets, three internal pockets, trekking pole attachments, HDPE framesheet, and Exo-Flex nylon frame that extends the main compartment. It’s constructed of 20d triple ripstop nylon and has a capacity of 1452 cubic inches.
Paddle boards were the darling of the Open Air Demo. It seemed just about everyone at the show tried one out, and they outnumbered kayaks in the paddling demo area. Alan Dixon is on an 18-foot 6-inch Catalina Unlimited Model by Joe Bark Paddle Boards, designed for racing on big water, like the California Channel to the Catalina Islands or the Molokai Channel in Hawaii. A basic board for flat water is about 12 feet long, 30 inches wide, weighs about 30-35 pounds, and costs about $1350. Why get one? Well, they're unique, they’re great for an upper body workout, and you can even fly fish from one or take your kid or dog for a ride!
Alison Simon demonstrates a wider and more stable sport paddle board.
Coleman is a diversified company that makes just about everything for camping, and their products are generally well designed and well thought out. Well, it had to happen - Coleman is introducing their 2009 Evolution series of Cobalt camping trailers. Yes, it’s a pop-up trailer, but these look much better suited for access via backcountry roads: they have extra clearance, traction tires, an awning, a large storage rack on the tongue, rugged components and reinforcements, and everything you need inside. You might say it’s a “senior’s backpack.” I (Will) have always said that when I get old and crippled, I’m getting one of these, so we put our name on one. Alan Dixon left, and Will Rietveld right.