With literally thousands of brands showing off their latest products at 2013 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, it is hard to come up with a best of list but I'll discuss some of the cool new products in this two part series. Many of Sierra Trading Posts' top brands are redesigning their products to make them lighter, stronger, warmer or higher performing.
I visited with brands from all outdoor categories to discuss new shoes, boots, skis, snowboards, crampons, ice axes, base layers, jackets, ski pants, sleeping bags, backpacks and luggage. There is a lot of cool new innovations but also a lot of tried and true products that haven't changed very much.
Down vs. Synthetic
It has been cold in Salt Lake City so staying warm is on everybody's mind at the Outdoor Retailer Show. The age-old question of down versus synthetic is still alive and well and things are even more complicated. Sierra Designs is promoting a Dri-Down technology which actually applies a coating on down that does not increase the weight or decrease the loft of the down but it does make the down water resistant. By making down up to 10 times more water resistant, you can enjoy the light weight warmth of down without stressing about keeping it dry.
On the other hand, The North Face is producing a jacket that's insulation is a synthetic fiber that is sewn in small baffles and synthetic insulation balls up to create loft similar to down. It is all of the advantages of synthetic with a loft similar to 600 fill down. The insulation is water resistant, easy to care for and less expensive than down but has similar warming capabilities.
Black Diamond is always advancing their products with an extensive product testing program that has hard core athletes giving their products a beating to find ways to improve upon the smallest details. They are proud of their advances in ski boots which makes their boots not only a top performing boot on the snow but also makes it easy to walk in.
Climbers can be assured that Black Diamond has been improving its climbing line. They've got a super light climbing helmet weighing in at just 163 grams and flexible device cams that offer more flexibility for odd placements but the biggest buzz at Winter OR is about Black Diamond's new apparel line. Unfortunately, the new apparel line was not available at the show, so we'll have to wait and see what Black Diamond has been working on.
For the adventure travel folks, Kelty is introducing a travel bag that has an external chassis for rolling your luggage. This is better than a one-size-fits-all bag, you can actually use multiple sized bags on the same chassis. The chassis slides to adjust to a larger sized bag. The bag system allows you to use the same system for different trips.
You can use the smaller bag for weekend or business travel or the larger bag for your week-long adventure trips. The bags also adjust in size so you can expand the bag for any additional items you pick up on the trip. With well thought-out pockets and backpack straps, this bag is a multi-use travel bag for any occasion.
These are just a couple of the cool things we spotted at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City. In Part II we'll talk about a tent company who introduced their first down jacket, advances in ice climbing screws and other outdoor gear that caught our eye.
Check out Part 2 of this series for more awesome new gear from Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2013. Or this article about to find out more about Outdoor Retailer.
Hot New Products at Outdoor Retailer Part I
By Andy Hawbaker
February 11, 2013
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