To say that Outdoor Retailer is overwhelming would be an understatment. Twice a year, thousands of manufacturers from around the globe come together in Salt Lake City to showcase and debut new gear and product line updates. While we have already shared with you our Outdoor Retailer 2015 New Gear Preview, we wanted to recognize what we thought were the “Best in Show” from this year’s event. Below, in no specific order, are items that we thought stood out from the crowd.
Arc’teryx Atom SL
I first picked up an Arc’teryx Atom LT on a rainy, cold canyoneering trip with the LEAF team back in the fall of 2013. Since then it has taken almost two years of constant abuse and is still going strong. Think of the SL as the LT’s slimmed down little brother. Cutting out half of the insulation weight, it will be the perfect summer weight standalone for nights around a campfire, but what I’m really excited about is testing it as a layering piece winter hiking and backcountry skiing. No word on a version in LEAF colors yet, but the black and green were looking very appealing.
Helle of Norway Didi Galgalu
In October of 2014, Helle sent a small batch of prototype knives with hunters and documentary filmers from Voetspore, a South African adventure TV and film series. The team set off on an overlanding expedition in Africa’s Great Rift Valley and the unforgiving Didi Galgalu desert in Kenya. From its beefy, full tang Sandvik 12C27 steel, to the hand sanded Kiaat wood handle, the Didi Galgalu knife is purpose-built to handle a lifetime of hard use in the backcountry.
Grand Trunk & Kryptek Camo Hammocks
Hammock camping has seen a large revival in the last couple of years. It seems that every brand imaginable has jumped in with luxury hammocks and accessories designed for backpackers and casual campers. Imagine our surprise when we spotted Kryptek patterns on fabric in the Grand Trunk (not a brand known for its tactical or hunting gear) booth at the show. They have partnered with Kryptek to produce hammocks in every variation of the pattern. Now you don’t have to choose between neon bright colors. We snagged one in Typhon and will report back after sleeping in it for a few nights while bagging 12,000 foot peaks in Utah’s Uinta Mountains soon.
NEMO Equipment Concerto
The NEMO Equipment Concerto is a car camper’s dream bed. It featuring an integrated sheet liner for warm weather and a blanket top, making it comfortable from twenty to eighty degrees. The pad sleeve allows you to store a mattress with the sleeping bag when not in use, making it even more convenient for grab and go trips. Finally, the sleeping bag is filled with DownTek hydrophobic down, so you don’t need to worry about storm rolling in.
Palladium MultiCam Boots
I’ve been beating on my Arc’teryx Bora2’s for a few months now and absolutely love them. However, those overbuilt trekking boots aren’t built to handle light duty. I was stoked to find the MultiCam collection coming out from Palladium as the perfect alternative for days when I’m going to be around town or at the range. Built on their popular Pampa Hi ankle boot, the upper is a mix of Cordura and tough, 8 ounce cotton canvas. The soles are a dual rubber and EVA foam to give a soft impact while protecting your foot.
Fjallraven Keb Gaiter Trousers
Keb’s have been my pant of choice for steep climbs and long backpacking treks for years. The combination of heavy G-1000 fabric in high wear areas, and lighter stretch and wicking material in the seat, inner thigh, and back of the knees makes for an incredibly versatile trail pant. This year the Fjallraven Keb gets a redesign with a zip off function for shorts. The lower leg can stay on with a draw string to protect your skin when bushwhacking through thick undergrowth. As an alternative to the typical tactical pants we are all guilty of wearing everywhere, the Kebs can’t be beat.
Camelbak Recon Series
The Recon series is Camelbak’s answer for light duty EDC and travel. Everything about the Coronado and Quantico are designed to keep all your essential gear organized. From padded laptop and tablet pouches to integrated electronics organization and low profile water bottle holders (these two are the very first Camelbak products that are not designed around a bladder), the Recon packs are low-key gear haulers. If they would have let me, I’d have carried one around the show floor all week.
YETI Coolers Rambler Lowball
We got a sneak peek of the new YETI Coolers Rambler Lowball at the show, and can’t wait to get it out on the trail for some sunrise coffee and sunset bourbon. This ten ounce little tumbler is built of the same 18/8 stainless steel as its larger cousins, but is a little more portable due to its size. It will still accept an optional Rambler lid in case you’re worried about spilling any of your favorite drink, or just like to take your whiskey in a sippy cup.
Jetboil Genesis Stove
We love our Jetboil, but they’re really just built for trail use (unless all you do in base camp is boil water). The Jetboil Genesis changes all that. This clamshell two-burner runs off standard propane cylinders and can even be adapted to run off larger tanks. It’s ability to simmer is welcome for any backcountry chef, as is the included five liter flux ring pot for even heating. An add-on side burner accommodates your favorite older accessories, so you can still brew up decent coffee with the french press kit every morning.
MSR Guardian Purifier
The MSR Guardian is the result of six years of R&D on water filtration and purification for the US Military. Its hollow fiber technology is the first filter to clean bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and particulate matter from water, all while self-cleaning. With a 10,000 liter capacity, this purifier will be the only choice for discerning adventurers for years to come.