SUMMER OR: Our Take on Trends & Gear
We’re back from yet another successful Summer Outdoor Retailer — the premier industry tradeshow for outdoor enthusiasts everywhere. Each year thousands of manufacturers and retailers trek to the shores of the Great Salt Lake to engage sales reps and fellow members of the industry on the latest and greatest in outdoor products. For those looking to see what’s new, the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market has the largest and most comprehensive selection of gear, apparel and accessories anywhere. It’s no secret buyers from all over the world come here to get a peek at the new trends and cutting-edge production innovation that make the business of the outdoors one of the fastest growing industries. Take a look at what’s coming down the pipeline for next season in terms of trends and products.
Low-cut Footwear – The battle rages on in the war between backpackers who remain committed to traditional boots to reduce injury and those who’ve made the switch to low-cut trail shoes in favor of reducing weight. Naturally if there’s a market for it, someone will chase it, and footwear is no different. This year we saw more and more companies offering lighter, low-cut options in an effort to attract those who crave comfort and support without all that extra clunk.
Style – Thankfully, the days of sacrificing appearance for performance are over. Gear enthusiasts no longer have to be stuck with baggy, ill-fitting items offered in minimal (read: chartreuse) colors. Advances in fabric have improved performance and designs are sleek and stylish, allowing you to stand tall against the elements without looking like you’re trying too hard.
Stability – One of the hotter trends in recent years has been the rise of the ultralight tent/shelter, able to cut “dead weight” from packs during long trips. The problem is, less weight means less stability – not good in the event you’re faced with a torrential downpour or high winds. This year, it seemed like the gauge has finally moved back to center with newer, low-weight tents composed of siliconized nylon and featherweight poles. It may not be as light, but with most still within the 2-3 pound range, you’re not going to get drenched either.
TOP SIX GEAR PICKS
Patagonia Performance Straight Jeans – Once again, Patagonia puts its money where its environmentally-friendly, eco-sustainable mouth is with an improved denim process that uses 84 percent less water, 30 percent less energy and emits 25 percent less carbon dioxide, making these jeans the go-to alternative for anyone looking to minimize their carbon footprint.
Red Steel from Buck Knives – With a red powdercoat finish that resists rust and corrosion, the Compadre series from Buck Knives are perfect for chopping and cutting. The 104 Camp Knife has a full-tang construction with a nine-and-a-half inch 5160 steel blade. Both the 106 Hatchet and 108 Chopping Froe offer tough, walnut handles weighing in at roughly two pounds, making them ideal for clearing wood and undergrowth in your neck of the woods.
Tread Wearable Multi-Tool – Available to consumers as early as next month, this stainless steel bracelet boasts dozens of tools built within its links, meaning you’ll no longer have to search endlessly through your pack for your Leatherman to make that simple fix.
Snow Peak Geo Shield Stove – Built to accommodate both large and small pans, the Snow Peak Geo Shield Stove comes with an integrated, foldable windscreen that acts as a shield in less than ideal conditions to save fuel or keep your flame from going out.
Sea to Summit Air Sprung Sleeping Mats – Offering a brand new design when it comes to snoozing away, these sleeping mats use two separate chambers to ensure campers get the best sleep possible. Coupled with a series of interconnected chambers, the mat behaves similarly to that of a pocket spring mattress giving you ultimate backcountry comfort.
Katadyn Gravity Filters – Forget about crouching next to the creek with your filter pumping furiously until your arm cramps. Katadyn’s new and improved gravity filter is one of the fastest water purifying mechanisms available. Just scoop from your water source, hang and let Katadyn do the work.