3 Favorite Finds from Outdoor Retailer 2018
At the time of writing this, my bags are still packed from the whirlwind of Outdoor Retailer this past weekend. This time around I spent roughly 40 hours at the show’s brand new location… versus the usual 3-5 days that I’ve stayed during previous years when it was up in Salt Lake City. I wish I had more time. Though I could only squeeze in less than two days due to my schedule, my quick trip was absolutely necessary, as I met with a few brands we’re working on some exciting projects with (in our underground carry laboratories). More on that later this year. Spoiler alert: you’re gunna love them.
First and foremost, the new venue in Denver is perfect for Outdoor Retailer. Though slightly confusing to relearn the floor layout for navigating from meeting to meeting, as I more or less had it memorized from previous years, it appeared as if OR has always been right here at the Colorado Convention Center among the skyscrapers of downtown. From my perspective, there didn’t seem to be any hiccups… only some cold sweats and high fevers, as this year’s insane flu kept many friendly faces sick in bed at home instead of attending. Bummer.
So in the few waking hours that I had between my meetings and my sanity, I whittled a long list of “cool stuff I saw” down to the three favorite things I spotted while twisting through the familiar but foreign hallways of Outdoor Retailer. Here they are, in no particular order.
We geek out over Icebreaker here at Carryology like we do about Snow Peak. We love
nearly everything they make. While their designs have always been super clean and absolutely function and material driven for the outdoor adventurer in mind, this new apparel collection for men and women focuses heavily on design and aesthetics. There’s good reason for this too, as the Icebreaker folks have teamed up with Japanese apparel design house, GOLDWIN (Nice!)
Their goal was to “harnesses the natural performance qualities of merino with a refined aesthetic” to create a “timeless aesthetic and modern lifestyle in a line that resonates with the urban adventurer.” Nailed it. These seem like the absolute perfect travel clothing no matter what type of adventure you have planned. It transitions well from a mountain top, to fancy dinner, to a concert, or whatever else you’ve got up your merino wool sleeves.
Headed by the two bad asses Michelle Rose and Liana Delucca Johnson, both heavy hitting designers who met each other whilst working at the HQ of a small brand called The North Face. Michelle is also 1/2 of the brains behind a Carryology favorite, Struktur Event. Honestly, I was really looking forward to checking out their brand new products that were being unveiled at OR at the Cordura booth (in conjunction with their Kickstarter campaign) and to hanging out with both of these two stars. That being said, these products aren’t even designed for me. I knew that going into it. And I still didn’t care.
These two came together to design products specifically for strong bad ass women. Specifically a cross-body bag and messenger bag. Full transparency, I actually saw teaser photos a few months ago, but getting to handle them in person was real delight. The blend of Cordura fabrics, super buttery leather, smart organization, and magnetic closures is super trick. Definitely a future powerhouse in the making, so keep an eye on them.
Sure, it’s not technically “new”. But it’s cool. The story of Leatherman kind of embodies the whole pioneering spirit of the outdoor industry as a whole. Typing that sentence legitimately gave me goosebumps. Mr. Yvon Chouinard started making climbing gear because everything else he used, well, sucked. And that is exactly what Tim Leatherman (yes, that’s his last name, cool, eh?) did over 40 years ago in the basement of his house in Bend, Oregon. He was sick of products sucking and did what any insane genius would do… he picked up a hacksaw and started tinkering.
It took him 3 years to perfect his first tool titled “Mr. Crunch”, then he tirelessly pitched his product to brands for the next 4 years, getting turned down nearly before he walked in the door to pitch it. Then 1983 came around and Cabela’s ordered the first 500 units ever. History was made. To commemorate Tim’s legacy, Leatherman is re-releasing the Mr. Crunch as the “Collector’s Edition PST (Pocket Survival Tool)”, which will be completely hand crafted at their headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Even if just for the history of it, I’ll be picking one up.