As an avid outdoorsman, I look forward to attending the Outdoor Retailer Show (OR Show) every year as it is THE place for all outdoor brands to unveil their latest and greatest products. The 2016 OR Winter show was held in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Salt Palace Convention Center where over 1,000 companies exhibited in the roughly 700,000 square feet of space.
- The Wacaco Minipresso espresso maker - If you’re like me, then I think we'll agree that coffee is an essential part of any outdoor adventure. Enter the Wacaco Minipresso espresso maker, a lightweight (0.8lb/360g), compact (6.89in/17.5cm), and easy to use portable espresso maker. The Minipresso is the ideal backcountry coffee companion for the coffee snob, like me, who enjoys a frothy cup of espresso. And the best part, it makes a pretty good cup of joe!
I wasn't the only one that took a liking to the this Minipresso, the folks over at Gear Junkie did too and nominated it as one of their "Best In Show" Top Gear 2016 picks (read more here).
- Vibram's Arctic Grip sole - The new Arctic Grip™ sole technology released by Vibram® may very well have been the most groundbreaking new technology that I was able to experience during the OR Show . This new rubber compound provides traction on ice without the addition of any type of spike or traction device. During a quick test at the Vibram booth, I was blown away by how much traction the Arctic Grip provided compared to an identical shoe with a regular sole. It's truly one of those products that you really need to experience for yourself. This new rubber compound will be available in exclusive shoe models from Merrell, Hush Puppies, Wolverine and Saucony in the fall of 2016 with other brands to follow in the future.
- Good To-Go dehydrated meals - If you've spent time in the backcountry, then chances are pretty good that you've tried some ready to eat meals and may not have been impressed. Unlike those other ready to eat meals, the Good To-Go meals use real food in their recipes and no additives or preservatives. They also dehydrate the meals rather than freeze drying them. The four different meals are all gluten-free with vegetarian and pescatarian options, and are sold in single serving sizes and two serving sizes (unlike some of their competitors). I tried the Thai Curry option at the show, loved it, and am looking forward to taking some of these with me on my next adventure!
- Arbor Snowboards - With many options to consider when looking at snowboards, none compare to the beauty of the boards from Arbor. With natural woodgrain decks, Arbor Snowboards are a work of art. Seriously though, you'll want to hang these boards on your wall when you’re not using them to plow through the freshy pow-pow in the backcountry. The Abacus model, in particular, stood out to me as being one of the best crafted split boards that I've seen.
- Topo Designs - Functional and aesthetically pleasing is the best way to describe the packs and apparel from Topo Designs. In particular, I really liked the durable materials used, variety of colors, and simple design of the packs that Topo offers. If you're looking for pack that will last you a lifetime, while still being stylish, then check out the packs from Topo Designs.
- GlowStreak LED Ball by Nite Ize - It’s true. I love our new LED ball, the GlowStreak! The GlowStreak is a motion activated LED ball with auto-shut off feature that will keep you and your pooch playing outside long into the night. And, unlike its predecessor the MeteorLight, the GlowStreak is not only easier to turn on but also features a threaded plug that completely seals the ball making it waterproof (it floats too!).
One feature that I found particularly helpful about the ball during the show was the rugged, durable material that the ball is made of. The material is strong enough to stand-up to any abuse from your dog, but also worked great for rolling out the knots in my leg and back muscles (using trigger point techniques) when I was back in my hotel room after the long days of standing on my feet at the show.
While I couldn’t cover everything that I saw during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Show in this short post, I’d love to hear what new products are catching your eye. If you discovered something that was released at the OR Winter Show, and that you thought was noteworthy, then please share it with us in the comments below. We love learning more about our supporter’s interests.
*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. I was not compensated in any way for this review, and have used images provided by the retailers to help compile this review. You should also know that my personal interests skew towards backpacking, snowboarding, climbing, hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. These are the types of outdoor products that I focused on in this review, and as a result I may have missed something that you may have found exceptionally “cool” or innovative at the OR Winter Show.