Twice a year, Salt Lake City becomes ground zero for outdoor gear when Outdoor Retailer descends upon the city for four days of gear junkie heaven. The two annual events, Summer and Winter Outdoor Retailer, are the nation’s largest conventions devoted to outdoor equipment. Every outdoor company you’ve ever heard of (plus many more you haven’t) gathers to tout their wares to retailers, the media, and each other. It’s also where they often introduce their latest, greatest, and coolest new products to the world.
Though I wasn’t able to make it to this year’s summer extravaganza (July 23-26), I followed along through several other blogs and postings from the event, including those found on Trailspace.com, Backpacker.com, Snewsnet.com, and Equipped.com. Here’s a quick round-up of what struck me as the highlights. Expect to see these products at a retailer near you sometime later this year or early next.
SPOT 2.0 Globalstar introduced the second generation of their popular SPOT Personal Satellite Messenger, the only device that allows users to remotely “check in” with friends and families while out in the backcountry. It’s smaller and lighter than the original, features a better and more reliable GPS receiver, and has several other nice improvements. For all the details, check out SPOT’s press release or (for a more unbiased take) Equipped.com for their comprehensive and excellent review of Spot 2.0.
Camelbak Flowmeter One of the drawbacks of hydration bladders isjudging how much water you’ve consumed, and how much you have left. Camelbak is rolling out their digital flowmeter in the fall ($30), which attaches to your drinking tube and indicates how much you’ve drunk, how much you’ve got left, and (based on your rate of consumption) when you’ll run out.
Ruff Wear Doubleback Dog Climbing Harness There’s now a climbing harness specifically designed for dogs. Strap in Buddy when the situation calls for a canine rappel or hoist (or just safety) in dicey situations. There’s a funny picture of product development on Ruff Wear’s DogBlog. Available this fall ($125).
Brooks Range Mountaineering Rocket Tent This ultralight winter shelter weighs less than a pound and a half, a featherweight accomplished by eliminating designated tent poles and instead using two trekking/ski poles and an avalanche probe for the structure. It’s not yet on their website, though you can read a press release from www.snewsnet.com. Designed for only the most serious winter users ($600).
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.