Stuff I Liked at Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show 2018

 

Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show 2018 was the first of (hopefully) many experiences I have with the Outdoor Industry at large. It was incredible to see the sheer scale of the industry, learn from some of its most forward thinkers, meet people who were truly passionate about their companies and the outdoors, and see some of the most cutting edge products that will be on the shelves and in our digital shopping carts over the coming months. In this show roundup, I’ll share some of the products that I was most excited about coming away from the show.

LOWA Renegade GTX Mid
I found my next pair of hiking boots. Lowa has been making boots for nearly 100 years, and they’ve perfected the craft. This particular style, the Renegade GTX Mid is their most popular boot and it’s been iterated on five times over the past couple decades. It’s built for both weekend strolls and Kilimanjaro Summits, so I’m excited to replace my old trail shoes with these for a few upcoming backpacking trips I’ve got on the horizon for this Spring.

Aftershokz Bone Conduction Headphones
These “Bone Conduction Headphones” were by far the most innovative product that I encountered at the show. Essentially the headphones don’t block your eardrums, so you’re still equipped with your sense of hearing, but you’re listening to music via these headphones sending vibrations through your bones… It was explained to me like this (I’ll paraphrase) “Bone conduction isn’t new – that’s how Beethoven heard his piano through putting a medal rod in his mouth even though he was deaf. There were military uses in the Vietnam War, but it wasn’t commercialized until recently.” Apparently, we can hear both air conducted sounds (with our eardrums) and through bone conduction which bypasses the eardrum, and is one of the ways we hear our own voice. Pretty neat – this little article helped explain it to me further.

Turtle Fur 5 in 1 Balaclava 
You can’t tell from the photo, but I had a big smile underneath the mask. Turtlefur had really fun headwear – and an additional perk of this ski mask is that it makes the wearer feel like Spider Man! Turtlefur headquartered in Vermont, knows a thing or two about the cold. They’ve been making headwear for 35 years and have every type imaginable. My favorite thing about their balaclava is that it is moisture eliminating, so when you’re out in the cold for hours breathing through this fabric it won’t hold the cold moisture right against your face.

Xero Shoes TerraFlex
I spent an afternoon with the team at Xero Shoes, and even had the chance to spend some time with their Founder and CEO – Steven Sasha. Xero makes zero-drop shoes, which essentially means there is no drop in the height of the shoe from the heel to the balls of your feet in the shoe. I was already interested and excited about the idea after having read Born to Run (highly recommended!), and was hooked after talking to the team. The pictured pair, the TerraFlex is the newest edition of their runners, and after learning these three facts from Steven I decided to give his shoes a try for my next trail run.

  • In the last 45 years not one study has shown a modern running shoe improves performance and reduces injuries.
  • All performance running shoes before 1972 looked like Xeros with thin, flexible soles.
  • Irene Davis who is a Harvard Professor with a PhD in Biomechanics uses Xeros for her studies, and says that most minimalist running shoes aren’t minimalist enough.

Lems Shoes Boulder Boot
The Boulder Boot, named after the home town of Lems Shoes struck me for it’s simplicity, which goes right along with the brand’s ethos of “Live easy & minimal.” Each one of their products echoed this energy, which drew me into their booth. The Boulder Boot is also zero-drop, which has a slew of benefits for more than just runners, so this flexible, foot friendly boot is another one I’m excited to add to the collection.

Kijaro Kubie
We were excited to run into Kijaro, a company located in my home town. It’s funny how we had to travel twelve hours just to meet them for the first time! Kijaro recently launched a new product, the Kubie which is an 8-in-1 product that’s all you really need for your next trip to the outdoors. Its uses vary from a poncho to a pillow, hammock to sleeping bag, and can also just be used as a cozy blanket.

Patagonia Capilene and
Patagonia Provisions

My colleague Ellen skipped over to Patagonia to check out what new projects they’ve been up to. They’re pushing their Capilene baselayers, as well as their new food brand, Provisions. The Capiline baselayers are pretty interesting, in that they are made from Patagonia’s recycled polyester. The polyester is made from old soda bottles, plastic shavings from manufacturing, and old garments, keeping them out of landfills and the ocean.

The cool thing about Provisions is it uses regenerative organic agriculture to make sustainably sourced food, packaged to be optimal for backpacking, camping and outdoor adventure in general. Their method of farming, also known as intensive gardening, keeps nutrients as well as carbon in the soil, all while using smaller plots of land which preserves water as well. 

All in all it was a fantastic trip to Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, and I couldn’t leave Colorado without putting some gear to the test. A day of snowboarding at Loveland and Copper Mountain had me properly exhausted for the long ride home.

Cheers,

Michael

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