- Buyer's Guide
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014 :: Part 1
Outdoor Retailer is an industry behemoth; a huge trade show covering the many corners of the outdoor world, from apparel and sporting equipment to adventure travel and pet products. Materializing twice a year with a Summer Market and a Winter Market, it draws exhibitors to the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, in great masses, all with the fixed intention of boosting their brands’ reach and locking down contacts and sales with retailers all over the world.
Was Carryology going to miss an opportunity to explore the delights of the latest carry developments at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014? Not a chance! So we set John Canfield and Taylor Welden the task of giving our carry-hungry readers, who couldn’t make it to OR, a personalized tour…
Our mission each season is to discover the best of what is on display at OR, fondle the newest-of-the-new and generally plumb the depths of the show to come back with a look at the carry of tomorrow. Please understand there were only two of us cruising the interminable halls of OR, so we couldn’t possibly visit every booth and go deep into product development with everyone. Since we know we’ve missed some awesome carry, do let us know about it!
Coffee is the fuel to get you through a tough day on the floor of OR. I remembered STM’s visionary espresso stand from last year, and it was the linchpin that was near solely responsible for my getting anything done before 10AM. Thanks, STM!
I found this awesome 36-liter Vargo Ti-Arc Titanium frame with a new cuben pack fitted to it. How light? Their stock bag is 2lbs, 13 oz, and this one felt MUCH lighter.
New Dry Cases from Filson are pretty exciting, right?!
Some other new stuff from the legendary brand includes this sweet rucksack that I was tempted to nick, but logic prevailed.
Also, photo bags! Including the “Harvey” Photo Bag, pictured.
The North Face
Design counts for a lot these days. People traveling deep into the lonely places of this world expect more features and less weight. Running into Carryology contributor Douglas Davidson, he immediately said “I’ve got to show you this new bag”. So off we went to The North Face.
While I didn’t have a great opportunity to wear the 2 lb 4 oz Shadow 30+10, its spirit was evident immediately. Everything pulled dual duty, and it was tricked with features you’d see on a heavier pack, with some clever patternmaking to boot. Expect to see this “summit ninja” on the backs of many an alpine climber this winter.
Greg Bass, Timbuk2’s Director of Product and Design, is one of my favorite people to run into at OR. Always upbeat, he talks about product like he cares, and it turns out he really does.
Some discoveries include a quick-release seat pack, bikepacking seat bag, professional briefcase, and a new Women’s line, capturing the soul of Timbuk2. I appreciate that for every product they release, the intention is clear and well executed. Keep up the good work!
The Stone 45 and Pipe Dream 45 caught our eye at the Black Diamond booth but I didn’t have a chance to get into ideal uses for the radical Pipe Dream 45, so I’ll make some up: A sleeping mat for sleeping while on belay duty. A dog funnel. Padded stick carrier. That’s all I’ve got.
Here is the “Trust” camo messenger bag. I’m digging the smaller patterned camouflage, this bag had a nice hand for nylon. I also like the metal buckles which prove that simple details can make a big difference. STM, let me remind you, is where you find espresso at OR. Thanks again, guys!
Cordura seems to be excited these days, and their massive yellow-tornado booth space was buzzing. We were excited to find a couple of master-piece bags from the Japanese carry producer.
We were introduced to a few new materials and walked away with a hundred ideas and as many swatches. I am personally excited to see high-tenacity materials making a comeback.
The owners of Mile High Mountaineering have successfully funded on Kickstarter (making over 300% of their goal!) a sleek new pack called the Colfax PHD, which is integrated with a Joey and mobile wireless hard drive.
All the new tech coming out that’s integrated into carry has me reading up on it in order to not sound like a dunce, but I’ll do the best I can. It had different tiers of storage capacity, from 500GB to 2TB. This backpack sported clever cable routing, understated branding, and nice-looking materials. Well done, friends.
Walking through the makeshift forest to our meeting with Fjällräven, we discovered little pins and wax bars (Free! Also inedible, as it turns out!) and dozens of bags, including a new and interesting-looking interpretation of their Kanken backpack utilizing leather details instead of their standard nylon. I totally blew it and missed taking a decent shot of a new product of theirs.
Eagle Creek dropped their new Lync System packable rolling luggage at OR, and we immediately thought of them as candidates for a Carryology award.
A fully featured rolling luggage system, the bag separates from a semi-rigid frame and packs away to nothing, or alternatively can be carried as a backpack. Perhaps the perfect travel bag for those of us who don’t have much extra room to keep bags. I for one am glad I don’t have that problem, as I want two of these.
We didn’t dive deep into lake Kelty, though knowing their PK 50 rocked OR last year we should have stopped in! During our endless walking to and from meetings, we noticed this innovative take on the POV camera. Using your phone for easy access and recording, smart idea!
Getting a tour around Pacsafe can make you feel vulnerable. A whole room full of carry focused on personal security made me question my travel methodology. Fortunately, there are not many people slashing packs where I seem to be hanging out, but for the people who wind up in the more hard-knock areas of the world this kit has you covered.
Everyone knows a good defense is a good offence, so they made packs available in Storm Trooper grey, guaranteed to scare the pants off a would-be thief. My favorite pack (and car) is the Z-28, complete with swagged security cable and “bugger-off” visual aesthetic.
Taking a trip to Dakine, we discovered brightly-colored bags to dominate the summer festival scene. Fun new products featuring contrasting colors and patterns, a great-looking travel bag and a new suspension design for their mountain bike packs.
Allett makes quality, lightweight leather wallets/products that are made at their own factory in the US. Great detailing and thoughtful design make this company a prospect for a road test. We are excited to take it for a spin and see how they get on.
Product Underground went off without a hitch again this year, and put together some of the finest product design, development and engineering talent in the world.
The event’s founder, Tae Kim, traded off the introductions of speakers with Julie Atherton. Tae repeatedly affirmed “I really love you guys, I want you to know that”.
The theme this summer was “International Design”. Speakers from around the world spoke on design in relation to their homeland and included the likes of Jan Loschinski of Tatonka, Hikari Mori the GM of Black Diamond Japan, Joachim Fiedler- the creator of the now ubiquitous Fidlock buckles, Alexei (Lyosha) Tcherepanov of Boreas, and many more!
After the last speaker, Tae took to the stage and said something to the effect of “Thanks for coming, hang out and drink, we’re going to now play 90’s hip-hop”.
Then he did.
OR Carry Awards
We are proud to announce the inaugural Outdoor Retailer Carry Awards. We will be giving out three awards including the “Best Carry Innovation”, given to a company whose product demonstrates a unique perspective into the future of carry while being cemented in the reality of today’s needs. Not simply a new perspective, this product will be truly innovative, merging a widespread need with innovative construction and smart layout in a crowded market space.
The “Rising Star Award” will be given to a new or smaller company who is making strides in the carry world with a new and pioneering product or series of products. The winner of this award will stand out at the show as a pioneer, worthy of our collective respect. We fully expect the winner of the Rising Star Award to be growing their “booth footprint” at future shows, and will be keeping close tabs on them as they do. Their product needs to be more than socially relevant. It needs to be constructed with deliberate attention to detail. We’ll be picking at stitches and talking denier!
The “Best in Show” award will be awarded to the company with the best product as determined by Carryology reporters John Canfield and Taylor Welden. The product needs to set us on our heels, make our hearts skip a beat and make us fall in love. We expect this product to be under lock and key after hours and during the show, as its admirers will be many; all will be hatching capers to covertly attain it. Whispers will be heard in the halls between designers and attendees alike about its glory; sinister sizzling to copy it will rumble deep in the recesses of the Salt Palace and after hours at the bar.
So stay tuned for part 2 to find out more about the great creations on display at OR Summer Market 2014 and who the winners of our Outdoor Retailer Carry Awards will be!