I don’t NEED another daypack…but then I spot one sporting features I wished my old one had. “How did they know?” I wonder as I lay down hard cash. “What will they think of next?” Then I walked into the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. Whoa…
I’ve been to seven OR shows and I’m always blown away as my gaze sweeps across acres of new and improved products along with some tried and true favorites. It’s like Candy Land for the outdoor tribe.
I never see it all, and I’ll confess that I dash toward a couple of brands to see what new surprises they have coming. Oddly, this year I was most excited by a new coffee press design, a fat bike, and an responsible product story that touches multiple brands (likely you own some of this product already and had no idea). Some of these products are in stores now, but most will be available in the fall. This gives you a chance to build up you gear fund before next season. Without further delay, I’ll fill you in on the stuff that made me say, “I like it!” at the Outdoor Retailer show.
1. Duofold Base Layers
Not all of us can afford $90 plus for a single Marino base layer piece. Duofold by Champion delivers comfort, warmth, and wicking performance that won’t drain your adventure fund.
Even with more than 100 years of experience in base layer design, Duofold continues to innovate with products like Warm Control, a low-friction, water-resistant fabric providing a high performance fit and warmth without weight to maximize comfort during tough workouts. The Varitherm and THERMatrix™ fabrics featured at Outdoor Retailer pair comfort and cute styling that moves effortlessly from slope to après cocktails.
2. DPS Skis Foundation Line
The first run I did on a pair of DPS skis had me grinning so big my teeth froze. They keep things simple, focusing on futuristic design to deliver the best performance.
“Every model in the Foundation series shares DPS Chassis DNA, a shaping design that yields performance consistency from shape-to-shape and length-to-length,” explained a recent press release. “For 2016-17, we’ve redoubled efforts in our R+D and rolled out the red carpet for the new centerpiece Foundation line,” explains DPS Founder, Stephan Drake. “The on-snow feel is a wonderful blend of power and dampness that is readily accessible to a wide range of skier profiles.” The price point for the Foundation line sits at $799.
The Chassis DNA design will also be incorporated into the new Tour1 and Pure3 construction Wailer 106, Lotus 124, and Cassiar 82/87 shapes in winter 2016-17.
3. AVEX Bottles
Seriously, how could anyone improve a bottle? AVEX made it their mission and I’m a fan. I’ve watched this company innovate for years starting with a simple, non-insulated bottle that did two things well, it opened easily with one hand and never leaked.
Now they’ve outdone themselves by creating a modular selection of bottles and lids that you can mix and match for the ideal size, flow, and insulation – all of them leak-proof. This means fewer bottles to store yet always the perfect one for your needs. Look for the new FreeFlow, Fuse, 3Sixty Pour, and ReCharge bottles on their site.
4. Fat Bikes by Scott
Dude, don’t call my bike fat! But it is, and it’s beautiful… I’m all about staying active throughout the winter running, skiing, hiking, and now, riding. Fat bikes keep rolling through dust, sand, and powder so they are a great solution for cyclists who want to keep riding when snow blankets the trails.
I also found fat bikes to be the perfect for the Martian landscape of Burning Man. Check out the Big Jon by Scott for a great ride, but there are a number of options out there to choose from plus rentals as well. My main point is that there’s a reason fat bikes are becoming more common, they’re fun!
5. Osprey Kresta and Kamber Packs
Osprey released the Kode backcountry series a couple of years ago and it’s solid. Now they have redesigned the previously unisex line to include gender-specific models for men and women.
“The introduction of the all new Kresta brings tailored fit and function to women in the backcountry,” said Cassie Tweed, Director of Design for Osprey Packs. “With the Kresta, a natural companion to the men’s Kamber, our backcountry collection is now both impeccably crafted and holistically complete.”
Additional features include a large red zipper pull on the avalanche safety pocket, a dry pocket for electronics, dual-position helmet net, ski and snowboard carry, ice-tool loops, and more.
6. Hydrapak Stash Bottle
I wasn’t sure I’d be terribly interested in a booth full of hydration bladders and soft bottles, but I went anyway. Then this gal was standing there – on top of a collapsible water bottle. I expected to hear, “clean up on aisle…” but it didn’t pop. No mops required. The bottle she was abusing was the 1L collapsible Stash bottle, which collapses down to 2-inches when not in use. I like that it can fit in my pack while traveling or skiing, only taking up space when it’s filled.
“The Stash bottle embodies the commitment to innovation and expertise with technical manufacturing that has allowed us to pioneer a new category – flexible, collapsible bottles,” says Matt Lyon, CEO of Hydrapak. “This product offers all the benefits of a hard bottle, plus a remarkable space-saving functionality that’s ideal for hikers, climbers and adventurers of all types.”
7. Smith Optics I/O Goggle with ChromaPop Lens
My favorite sunny lens will soon be available on snow goggles. If you haven’t tried Smith’s ChromaPop lenses, stop by your local dealer and check them out—at minimum, look at the demo on their site. The color definition is spectacular! I love a good storm-day on the mountain, and can’t wait to have this lens helping me see my way to bliss.
8. Espro Travel Press
Fresh pressed coffee or tea, without grit or over-steeped flavor. The dual-filter design of the Espro Press delivers hot perfection, even hours later. The filters are 9-12 times finer than a standard French Press. Once pressed the filter keeps the grounds or leaves locked away from the water, preventing over-steeping.
I was so impressed by this to-go press that I promptly bought a second one for family. My ideal scenario…load it with freshly ground coffee beans, toss it in my ski pack, then add water at the on mountain lodge later avoiding their expensive, often crappy, coffee. Relaxing with gourmet coffee (or tea) between runs…winning!
9. Allied Feather and Down
Taking a stand for the humane treatment of animals and the environment isn’t easy or cheap, so when I see a company stand up for its values, I get excited! You likely have never heard of this company, but there’s a good chance some of their product is hanging in your closet.
Allied supplies down to companies such as The North Face, Eddie Bauer, Outdoor Research, and Helly Hansen. Now they have completed the audit and certification process of the Textile Exchange Responsible Down Standard (RDS).
What does this mean? It is a giant step toward bringing responsibly sourced down to the mainstream market through a system of transparency, traceability, and third-party oversight. The RDS ensures, “no live plucking, force feeding or any other mistreatment of animals, from gosling to finished product. In addition, the RDS has strict traceability requirements to validate the source of certified down and feathers,” explains Allied on their site.
“We are excited to announce the forthcoming reality of more responsible down in our products through the partnership of Allied, among others,” said Adam Mott, Director of Sustainability, The North Face. “The RDS is currently the broadest and most comprehensive approach to animal welfare available in the down supply chain. Through its collective use, the industry will see improved animal welfare conditions and better traceability in the down supply chain at a much larger scale than The North Face could accomplish alone,” he said.
Allied hasn’t stopped at the RDS. They recently announced that they will eliminate all fluorocarbons from their water resistant down products by 2017. Review their “Partners” tab to learn which brands use their product.
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