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Outdoor Retailer: The hottest (and coolest) gear for 2013

Published September 17, 2012 3:18 pm

Review • From an out-of-this-world camp stove to lightweight bags, these products shined at recent trade show.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I have been asked more than a few times throughout the years of covering the Outdoor Retailer convention in Salt Lake City, and often by complete strangers, if they could borrow my badge that allows admission to the massive show "just for an hour two."

Like that would be long enough to see even a little bit of what the show with its more than 1,000 exhibitors is all about. But it's that occasional offer of cold cash for I.D. that illustrates how eager the general public is to get into the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center.

With that in mind, theTribune for years has offered short reviews of gear that caught our attention at the Summer and Winter Market Outdoor Retailer conventions. This is the Summer Market 2012 version of that preview. Remember that many of the items on display at the show will not be available for purchase until spring 2013. There are many more items that we couldn't include here. Look for them to be posted on the Tribune's Hiking Utah or Fishing Utah blogs.

CampStove from BioLite • There are always at least a few things that stand out at the Outdoor Retailer show. This year, one of them definitely was this stove. Although it is cool that backpackers and other outdoors enthusiasts can cook on it and charge electronics with the CampStove, I'm much more excited about the possibilities the company is exploring in using similar technologies in Third World countries to help people produce electricity while cooking their meals with the BioLite HomeStove model. Awesome stuff. The BioLite goes for $130 and is available now. Visit the BioLite website for more info. biolitestove.com/

ReVolt Headlamp from Black Diamond • The Salt Lake-based company has been producing notable lighting gear in recent years and this headlamp is no exception. The 110-lumen device runs on three AAA rechargeable batteries or regular batteries. Recharge them with a USB cable plugged into the headlamp. Settings allow for full strength in proximity and at a distance, dimming, strobe, red night vision and a lock mode. The ReVolt weighs in at 3.4 ounces, but the real wow factor here is the $59.95 price tag. It will be available spring 2013. http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com

Ultra Raptor trail runner from La Sportiva • The company released nine new footwear styles at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, but it was the Ultra Raptor that caught my attention. The model has been around for a while, but it's designed for additional forefront protection for longer runs on technical terrain. It will be available in spring 2013 for $130. Minimalist runners may find the 8-ounce Helios attractive. http://www.sportiva.com

Helios 2 fly rod from Orvis • What's that old saying, if something ain't broke don't fix it? That's what many people were thinking after learning that Orvis was working on the Helios 2. But fly fishing guru and Orvis employee Tom Rosenbauer responds that, "Believe it or not," there was room for improvement. Rosenbauer says the Helios 2 is more precise than its predecessor when in experienced hands, and that the mix of fibers and resins in the Helios 2 created a taper that made it worth releasing a sequel to one of the most-talked about fly rods of all time. Orvis will release 5-weight ($795), 8-weight ($850) and 9-weight ($850) Helios 2 rods in November, with the bulk of the line arriving in January and a final portion in April. http://www.orvis.com

Mountain Shelter LT • When a bivy bag isn't quite enough and a tent is more than is needed, this product from Mountainsmith may fit the bill. Touted as a three-season "roof over your head," the two-person shelter can be set up with two trekking poles or be hung from a tree. There is no floor, but it has a zippered single door, rear ventilation window and reflective guy lines. Out in spring 2013 for $130. http://www.mountainsmith.com

Gear bags from Fishpond • Fishpond launched an impressive line of lightweight, durable and reasonably priced fly-fishing and travel gear bags at the Summer Market. The 11-product Westwater line features welded construction and water-resistant zippers. Given the price of overweight luggage on airlines and the weight of typical fishing gear, anglers will appreciate the lightweight travel bags. That's also a bonus when carrying fishing bags all day. The line ranges from a 1,400-cubic-inch boat bag ($219.95) to a sling ($149.95) to a large rolling duffel bag ($389.95) and a pouch for cameras, wallets or mobile phones. The Westwater line includes the signature color swaths and style of all Fishpond products. http://www.fishpondusa.com

AirPitch tent from Kelty • Twenty-four point nine seconds. That's how long it took Salt Lake local Laurel Sorensen to set up the new Kelty AirPitch tent during the Summer Market. It was the quickest $1,000 she ever made, having won the contest to see who was the fastest contestant to pump up the AirPitch. Kelty has done away with tent poles and replaced them with air chambers, at least for this tent. Company officials say the product probably will not develop a leak under normal circumstances. The Mach 4 ($389) and Mach 6 ($499) come with the air pump. They will be available in spring 2013. http://www.kelty.com

Boat fly box and decals from Montana Fly Co. •This outfit continues to produce not only functional and innovative equipment, but also cool gear that screams "I am an angler." The intense art on the gear is to fishing what camouflage is to hunting. The boat box, already available for $65, is capable of holding up to 1,700 flies. Yes, 1,700. It seems only fitting that a masterpiece, via one of the MFC Artist Series works, should decorate the box. It's coming this fall in a saltwater version. The decals, also available this fall, will run $9.99. http://www.montanafly.com

Whispbar roof mounts from Yakima • Roof racks have become a symbol of the adventurous lifestyle as much as a way to get your favorite outdoor toys to the playgrounds, but maybe not everyone wants their vehicle to be such a status symbol. From Yakima comes the Whispbar, a new sleek and stylish system that leaves big and clunky racks behind. According to company officials, the new system produces 40 percent to 70 percent less drag than existing bars and increases fuel efficiency by about 1 percent. A QuickDock allows mounts to be installed, or removed, in a flash. There will be a full offering of specialized racks, but the Snow Mount and Bike Fork Mount will be available this fall. Bases for vehicles without existing roof racks range from $389 to $489. The mounts coming out this fall will run $249. Visit the website for a video on how it all works. http://www.whispbar.com

Sun protection gear from Buff • Most fly fishers are quite familiar with the bandit look being displayed by their fellow anglers, thanks to the sun protection offered by Buff. The company is going "all in" for spring 2013 with new lines in standup paddle boarding, surfing, yoga, motorcycling, insect shields and a new Infinity Buff designed for wear around town — think silk scarves and such. Buff is also launching a plethora of distinctive prints, including three new state-themed designs — Utah, Oregon and Florida ($27). The Buff glove line also continues to grow with the Sport Series MXS ($27), which covers from the forearm to the tips of every finger and thumb. http://www.buffusa.com

DAS parka and pants from Patagonia • The company broke with its norm by showing a winter item during the Summer Market. Recognizing that outdoor adventurers often travel to different hemispheres with the opposite season, Patagonia decided to highlight the DAS parka and pants. Designers worked for a better fit of the alpinists' gear. Company representatives say the DAS line is the first to mix Primaloft Synergy and Primaloft One for warmth and compressibility. The parka ($299) is available in men's and women's models. The pants run $199. http://www.patagonia.com

Pro Angler 12 fishing kayak from Hobie • I've been eyeing fishing kayaks for years, and chances are if I were more of a flatwater angler I'd probably have picked up a Hobie. The kayaks are built by anglers for anglers, and the Hobie Pro Angler 12 is a good example. Weighing in at 120 pounds, 12 feet long and with a 36-inch-wide hull, the kayak can handle 500 pounds. That should be enough for any angler and his or her catch. The patented Hobie MirageDrive pedal system allows for hands-free fishing. There are spots for six rods and all kinds of gadgets. The Pro Angler 12 is available for $2,549. http://www.hobiecat.com

Turn your iPhone into a sport camera • There are several extreme sport camera companies out there, with GoPro obviously leading the way, but mophie entered the fray by releasing the OUTRIDE at the Summer Market. OUTRIDE allows iPhone owners to turn their devices into big-time video cameras. Mounts for the hardware allow iPhones to be used on a wide range of terrain. Users can then share their video or pictures with a free application that posts to the OUTRIDE community via the Web. OUTRIDE will be available in mid-September and runs $129.95 to $149.95, depending on the package. http://www.mophie.com

Fishhook zipper-free tent from Big Agnes • Zipperless tents are not new to the outdoor community. Remember the super-sized tents from Coleman with the hinged doors? The difference in the Fishhook SL 2 is that it's a lightweight backpacking tent. Zippers are replaced with magnets. The system is quiet, easy to use and seemingly increases the life of a tent because it is zippers that often are their demise. The magnets, however, may not provide the sealing most folks are accustomed to with zippers. The tent, which weighs 3 pounds, 10 ounces, and has 37 square feet of floor, runs $399.95 and will show up on shelves in January. http://www.bigagnes.com

Vapor helmet from Black Diamond • Protection for your head does not have to be heavy. The Vapor helmet will be released in spring 2013. Tipping the scales at 186 grams, or 6.5 ounces, it truly is lightweight. Company officials are calling it "the lightest, most comfortable and most breathable climbing helmet ever made." Kevlar and carbon rods rest between EPS foam and ventilation ports to keep climbers cool in hot situations. The Vapor will run $139.95. http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com

Sense Hydro S-Lab Set from Salomon • Sometimes simple items prevail over the plethora of technical gear found at the Outdoor Retailer show. The Sense Hydro S-Lab Set is a big name for a small thing that means a lot. A SensiFit wrap holds a soft PVC-free flask — ranging from 150ml to 1,000ml. The wraps come in small, medium and large sizes, cost $40 and will be available spring 2013. http://www.salomon.com