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Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2018: Carry Awards

by , August 3, 2018

The illustrious Outdoor Retailer Carry Awards. Three awards we hand out each year to recognize the best of the best at OR. The ‘Rising Star’ Award to a young brand we’re stoked to see on the scene, and even more stoked to see where they go. The ‘Most Innovative’ Award to the one bag/tech for a piece of carry innovation that got us really excited. And the ‘Best in Show’, for well, the carry company that was really on point with their range, top to bottom.

In true Carryology form, we decide these awards the final night of OR, deep in the back of a hazy bar. We discuss the merits of all the brands we saw, while simultaneously fending off bribes for our vote. It also took some last-minute production work to get this year’s awards ready for the show floor. It’s not easy work, but someone’s gotta do it.

This year we went big with our awards. Big in the sense of very large posters to adorn our Carryology favorites. This was in part because our nod (those of us at the show and our entire readership) carries some bonafide carry weight, and because the shop that made the award figurines from previous years is now closed. Carryology aficionado Taylor Weldon informed us that the same shop also made the figures for the Oscars. Talk about pedigree.

So without further adieu, here’s the Outdoor Retailer Summer 2018 Carry Awards winners.


Rising Star

Welcome to the show, Matador! Collectively we were very impressed with the design and functionality of the Matador line, which is even more impressive considering how young of a company they are.

In addition to their existing line of packable, lightweight travel bags, they’re now expanding into toiletries and other niche carry corners. Before the show I would have been surprised to have written that last bit, but seriously check out Matador’s newest gear. Cheers to the entire Matador crew, we’re excited to see what’s next.

Outdoor Retailer Summer 2018 Carry Awards


Best Innovation

This award was the easiest one for us – The North Face with their new Dyno Carry line. Not one but four packs from 75 liters to 20ish liters, that are all built with the same adjustable frame (which can be adjusted with one hand, while being worn) and a suspension that literally just picks the bag up.

We talked shop with the designers at The North Face for a solid two hours to really dissect how these bags work, which in the end blew our collective carry minds. Hats off to The North Face.

Outdoor Retailer Summer 2018 Carry Awards


Best In Show

This is a tough award to come home with because we’re judging a brand not just on their new releases, but how these new items fit into their existing line. It takes some serious design direction and a really good sense of the end user for not just one product, but the entire product line.

There were a couple of strong contenders this year but Peak Design put the icing on the cake when they dropped a new Kickstarter for their Travel Line on day 1 of the show, and subsequently had the thing funded by lunchtime. I mean, come on.

The Travel Line is a really solid addition to Peak Design’s much lauded backpacks, slings and pouches. All these bags are immediately recognizable and distinctly Peak Design, and as far as we’re concerned, are some of the best bags on the market. For that, we salute you, Peak Design.

Outdoor Retailer Summer 2018 Carry Awards

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