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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. www.whispbar.comNext Page >
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