Every outdoor gear nerd’s dream, Outdoor Retailer, is where manufacturers bring their latest and greatest creations. My partner and I spent the day scouring their recent Winter event held in Salt Lake City, January 20-24. As always, we didn’t see it all, but still have more products to talk about than room in this post. Oh the frustration!
Read on to find what excited us this Outdoor Retailer:
Are you a backpacker who values a consistent and controlled flame? Then this may be your stove. I don’t carry a bowl when backpacking, but the new MiniMo pot shape is perfect for cooking and eating. Even cooler is the MiniMo’s excellent flame control, and a boil time of 2:15 per 16 ounces. Stove and pot weight – 14.6 ounces. MSRP $130
I rarely include lifestyle clothing in my top picks, but this shirt by Mountain Khakis stopped me in my tracks! The fleece lining is so buttery soft I could hardly keep my hands off of it. I imagine slipping into this shirt after a hard-charging day of skiing, or wearing as a jacket on a cool morning. It’s versatile and warm, making it a great travel piece too. And, they’re adding a men’s version this season. Treat yourself. MSRP $60
Manfrotto, the leader in camera tripods, took a leap into the outdoor market this season with the Off Road series of packs and hiking pole/monopods. I’m impressedby the amount of thought put into the packs, pairing the needs of both hikers and photographers in one multi-purpose day pack. The hiking poles offer a camera mount allowing them to double as a monopod. Well-done, Manfrotto! Poles areavailable for $99; the packs should be available soon.
Three words, super light performance. DPS charged into the backcountry market with their lightweight Tour1 construction. When I first picked up these skis, I gasped. Then I knew I had a problem. With skis this light, I’d be weighing every other piece of ski gear I own… Then I skied on them and found all the performance I expect from DPS. This is my top pick for the backcountry and it’ll be available mid-year. MSRP $1050
Why invest in technical base, mid, and outer layers only to pull on cotton skivvies? Cotton underwear holds sweat and can make you feel cold and nasty. The Give-N-Goseries underwear are lightweight, wicking, quick dry, and odor resistant. If your adventures demand comfort and technical performance, ExOfficio underwear are for you. Still not convinced? Explorer, Eric Larson, reportedly spent 53 days in one pair of these briefs on his way to the North Pole. And yes, he still owns them. MSRP$30
In the quest for a durable, wind-resistant, lightweight glove, I found a winner: there designed Venta Glove by Arc’teryx. These hydrophobic multisport gloves are ideal for backcountry skiing, cold weather running, and other high-output winter sports. The palm is reinforced with TPU to improve durability and grip and the thumbs and index fingers are touch screen sensor compatible so no need to pull off your gloves to use your phone. Inside they are lined with fleece, which feels amazing on my frigid hands when paired with the WINDSTOPPER® fabric. I’m emotionally attached to these gloves. MSRP $79
As I’ve written before, if you live in a place that still has winter and you haven’t added a pair of traction devices to your hiking gear, you are missing out. Venturing out when the trails get covered in ice and hard pack snow used to be slow-going or no-going. With a good traction device on your boots it’s like the snow and ice become your friction friends. Last year, I touted the virtues of Kahtoola – their MicroSpikes are among the best when it came to fit, durability, and unsurpassed traction…if you are on a trail.
But what if your ventures are running or walking on ice covered sidewalks, flat or gently rolling terrain, where paved surfaces will be a significant part of your jaunt? Kahtoola’s NANOspikes™ turn terror firma back into terra firma. Run or walk on black ice with absolute confidence. Transition to rock, dirt or sidewalks without missing a beat. It simply feels like your running shoes have grip, not like you’ve got a set of tire chains strapped to your feet. A great innovation that gives you a feelingof control when the world gets icy. MSRP $50
Hiking, climbing, skiing – in fact, anytime you’re out pounding out the miles and the calories you need to refuel with food that is tasty, lightweight, calorie and nutrient dense. Last year, I reported on how these “enduro” foods are moving from sweet to savory and how the Strong And Kind series were not only tasty, but also healthy and oh so satisfying. Well, they still rock and are an essential take-a-long item every time I go out.
New on the market from CLIF is their line of organic energy foods. Fully organic,vegan and made from whole-food ingredients. These squeeze-tube pouches come in sweet and savory recipes like Sweet Potato with Sea Salt; Banana Beet with Ginger; Pizza Margherita; Banana Mango with Coconut. I was reluctant at first, but once I tried them I was sold. Day hikes, trail runs, backcountry skiing, backpacking – these will probably be my new staple. Try them and I think you’ll agree. Available soon.
I am a cyborg. You probably are too. Our smartphones go with us everywhere – the craig, the canyon, the river, and everywhere else where water and sand are just waiting to destroy our touchscreen interface. Now that I’m using my phone to take the majority of my outdoor photos and videos, I needed a way to protect my precious and yet still have it easily accessible (no more sandwich bags!).
While there are a few very good choices out there, my top pick was Sea to Summit’sTPU Guide Waterproof cases. Available to fit any phone, tablet, or camera (if you still carry one) they are waterproof to 10 meters. Touchscreen compatible means thatyou can make calls, text, take photos, even play games – without ever exposing your device to the elements. The TPU (plastic) is ultra clear, very flexible, super strong,and remains so even in very cold temperatures. The closure is so secure (Ziploc, triple roll, and Velcro) that I would trust my most expensive equipment without any worry. Also available is a built in audio jack so that you can use your headphones oran external mike without opening the case. Fore and aft lash points allow you to keep your device securely tethered to your pack, boat or lanyard. Priced between $30-40 depending on the size.
There are a lot of great dry bags out there. If, however, you are ever in a situationvwhere you need to haul gear for long distances most dry bags/dry packs either don’t have a waist belt or they use thin 1” webbing. My shoulders have felt the pain.
Canyoneering? Canoe camping with long portages? Hiking in extreme wet conditions? For years I’ve been waiting for someone to come out with a superdurable dry pack with a comfortable suspension. The Flow 35L Dry Pack is theperfect meld of super durable dry bag, full suspension, hydration compartment, side compression straps and lash points. If you need something larger, their HydraulicDry Pack also sports a full suspension and is available in 65, 90, and 120-literversions. Available for $200.
11. New MSR Windboiler Stove System
Are you a gourmet backpacker? If so, stop reading now. If, however, your idea of camp cooking is: boil water fast, add to dry stuff, stir, eat, this might be your next stove. This stove boils water fast with minimal fuel. But that’s not the best part. This stove is virtually windproof. It will boil water in less than 3 minutes in wind that cripples other stoves. So if you camp or backpack in windy places and want a stovethat simply gets water hot fast – check this puppy out. MSRP $130