The annual winter Outdoor Retailer Trade Show is “the place” to check out all the new toys and gadgets our favorite gear companies have in store for us in 2012-2013. Held in Salt Lake City, UT “OR” as it’s generally referred to can be a bit overwhelming. There are literally hundreds of different vendors set up all throughout the Salt Palace Convention Center previewing their lines for next year. Each booth has something new and innovative they want to show you, and while there are a few randoms here and there, if you’re into winter recreation, generally every few feet there’s something that’ll grab your attention.
I visited with a number of top companies throughout the course of the event, and found a few new companies and new products I thought were really impressive as well. Since there’s so many vendors and booths at OR I tried to keep it simple with most companies by asking them, “What are you most excited to share with the public for next year?” Here’s what they told and showed me:
-Deuter Backcountry Ski Packs
Specifically I was shown the Descenter 22 that features a new back protector system made out of memory foam to help cushion a potential fall or trauma event out in the field. The pack also features Deuter’s well regarded carrying system that features highlights like, “Load adjustor straps on the shoulder straps and hip fins serve to fine-tune the load according to the terrain: loose > more ventilation and mobility; tight > more control and a more compact fit. Two padded foam stripes that provide carrying stability and comfort with “chimney” effect ventilation between the stripes. The breathable 3D AirMesh is used on all points of contact, and is very durable”.
-Mammut’s Airbag Ski Pack
Mammut has partnered with industry leader Snowpulse to offer an airbag pack that showcases less volume and will have a removable airbag system that will allow for the airbag components to be removed from the pack if the user wishes. The newer “models and compressed air cartridge are compatible with the Snowpulse RAS range. This gives the customer the option of purchasing a base model and then fitting the airbag system in other backpack models or sizes.”
-Cloudveil’s Neoshell softshell jacket and trifecta of Gloves
The softshell jacket has a companion softshell pant, features polartec fabric, has twice the breathability of competing softshells,
and features non-stitched, wielded seams.
The glove line also looked solid with a tiered offering of a light, medium, and heavy offering.
-Geigerrig Hydration Systems
Is this the new winter bladder system that won’t freeze and/or fail like other products on the market? I’m not not sure yet, but I’m very much looking forward to testing some of their products after talking with a few of the reps and the owner. Designed and developed with backcountry athletes in mind there’s several different packs,
that are compatible with a tube garage
and insulated tube.
Now upon first glance these products don’t look all that different from other competitors, but after pushing them based on critiques of other similar brands and products I’m pretty interested to give Geigerrig a go. Check out this blurb from their website: “GEIGERRIG Pressurized Hydration Packs produces only the highest quality hydration packs, hydration engines, in-line filters and other hydration pack accessories. We will stand behind our products. (Click Here to watch our 100 MPH Gear Test. We throw a GEIGERRIG out of a truck onto a gravel specked asphalt road twice to show just how tough and well-built our hydration packs and hydration engines truly are.) (Click Here to watch our Contained Bomb Gear Test. We put a bomb in one of our hydration packs and zipped it shut in order to show just how bomb-proof GEIGERRIGhydration engines truly are.)”
-Black Diamond (BD)
The BD booth had a lot of action going on throughout the course of OR. Their gear offerings were impressive, as was the amount of attention convention goers gave their booth. When I asked my one question I was told the new carbon fiber Megawatt ski was the one thing they were most excited about.
This shot shows off some of BD’s other skis with the noncarbon MW seen in orange.
The new carbon fiber Megawatt is designed to be just as playful as the regular Megawatt, but now because of the new design it’s even lighter. It’s actually two pounds lighter than the older version. It’s also a reasonably big ski with 152-125-130 as its dimensions, but is specifically made with touring in mind. There’s a rockered tip and slightly rockered tail, and it comes in at 9 pounds 5 ounces in the 188 size. If you didn’t like what BD did with this ski last year next year’s design will be closer to the model from two years ago.
Personally I was pretty impressed with the newly designed avalung packs BD has ready to roll for 2012-2013. I hope to get my hands on one for testing soon, but in the meantime the newer packs which were built with freedom of motion in mind look to be a pretty solid addition to any backcountry skier’s quiver, unless you’re planning on skiing solely with an airbag system.
There are so many other companies and products to highlight. If anyone out there has something or some company they’d especially like to hear about let me know and if I had the chance to meet with them I’ll certainly make sure they’re included in a future OR post. Stay tuned for Volume 2 dropping soon…