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Industry

Outdoor Retailer Summer 2016 :: Recap Part I

by , August 10, 2016

It was 102 degrees when we landed in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, but no conditions could keep the faithful away.  This was Outdoor Retailer - the pilgrimage must be made.  Tens of thousands came, and media members watched as the titans and trailblazers of our industry duked it out unveiling the newest developments in technologies, materials, and construction.

The Carryology crew had a front row seat to robots weaving Keens, CamelBak laser etching bottles, and Gerber’s live bald eagle.  Happy hours abound, and through all the noise and excitement and drama of it all, the annual resetting of the precedent rang clear.  New standards were brought to light by designers who never stopped asking, “How can we make this better?”  We got to witness all this AND the long reach of the performance/heritage movement, as well as the race to reinvent the traditional backpack suspension system. It’s a shame everyone couldn’t be there - so we’re here to walk you through the best of what we saw day by day.

Gregory

CamelBak

New pack offerings from CamelBak for the S17 season are built around a new reservoir system they’ve developed: The Crux line delivers 20% more water per sip, due largely in part to an increased hose diameter and a decreased exit angle of the water from the tubing to the bite valve.  By dropping the angle from 90 degrees on previous models to a 45-degree angle on the Crux, CamelBak is able to deliver more hydration with less effort.  CamelBak also ditched the thread line up system on the cap and added a really intuitive handle making opening, filling, and closing much more efficient and ergonomic. 

CamelBak Crux

"New pack offerings from CamelBak for the S17 season are built around a new reservoir system they’ve developed: The Crux line delivers 20% more water per sip, due largely in part to an increased hose diameter and a decreased exit angle of the water from the tubing to the bite valve."

CamelBak Crux

The Low Rider series of ventilated hiking/biking bags utilizes the new Crux 3L lumbar bladders in the really sharp Franconia 24.  The Franconia (Sundowner 22 for ladies) is a rugged 240D Robic nylon bag designed for highly aerobic customers who are going to be pushing hard in their sports.  With the new Crux in mind, the design team isolated the hydration compartment from the main storage rather than throwing it on the back wall, avoiding the dead space that tends to exist beneath a full reservoir.  This keeps the dense water weight as close to your body as possible, increasing stability and comfort.  Other nice-to-haves on the Franconia are a generous J-zip to the main compartment, tool attachment points, stretch mesh side pockets, and the classic beavertail-style stash pocket. 

"The Franconia (Sundowner 22 for ladies) is a rugged 240D Robic nylon bag designed for highly aerobic customers who are going to be pushing hard in their sports."

CamelBak Franconia and Sundowner

In the running department, CamelBak has several really competitive offerings in race vests and hand-helds utilizing some great 3D mesh and the first ever insulated soft bottle. Their new bottle, the Quick Stow Chill Flask, uses the same foam insulation as their Podium collection and will keep your water cold for twice as long as other non-insulated versions.

CamelBak Quick Stow Chill Flask

"In the running department, CamelBak has several really competitive offerings in race vests and hand-helds utilizing some great 3D mesh and the first ever insulated soft bottle."

CamelBak Quick Stow Chill Flask

Eagle Creek

New in luggage from Eagle Creek is the Gear Warrior series, a ruggedized, two-wheeled check-in bag available in 29" and 32".  The Gear Warrior features an innovative 210D Exo Skeleton that is as much form as function and acts as a cage for the rest of the 450D Ripstop body.  The oversized wheels and anodized aluminum handle round out the feature set for this durable adventure traveler.

"New in luggage from Eagle Creek is the Gear Warrior series, a ruggedized, two-wheeled check-in bag available in 29" and 32"."

Eagle Creek Gear Warrior

The ORV Trunk is an even burlier version of your adventure roller with crazy features like a fully taped wet/dry compartment for beverages/dirty clothes, a deployable webbing system for holding extra gear, and a cargo net that can be used as internal compression or extra gear carriage on the outside of the bag.

"The ORV Trunk is an even burlier version of your adventure roller..."

Eagle Creek

Gregory

Gregory’s new fully adjustable suspension line, the Paragon, aims to bring the majesty of the Baltoro to all in a lighter weight and more versatile package.  With a full feature set including sunglasses retainer, sidekick day bag, a sleeping bag divider that doubles as an ultra-light top cover, and in volumes of 38/48/58/68 liters, this is a collection that is sure to fit every adventurer on some level.

Gregory Paragon

Gregory’s kitchen also came up with a really neat reservoir for S17 called the 3D Hydro.  Addressing the challenges of cleaning and drying traditional system bladders, Gregory designers engineered a three-dimensional bladder that will air dry like a water bottle.  By using two thicknesses of polypropylene and heat forming, they were able to achieve a semi-rigid reservoir that will cut down on mold growth and make cleaning/drying easier.

"Addressing the challenges of cleaning and drying traditional system bladders, Gregory designers engineered a three-dimensional bladder that will air dry like a water bottle."

Gregory 3D Hydro

Gregory

The 3D Hydro 3L will be offered in the Citro 20/25/30 (Juno for ladies) which features an updated ventilated suspension, the Vapor Span, in a compact package aimed at day hikers.  The mesh panels over the suspension are designed to absorb moisture and spread it over a larger surface area to assist in evaporation and cooling. The real killer feature of the Vapor Span suspension is the shape of the aluminum frame that utilizes a leaf spring design to keep everything very low profile unlike traditional trampoline suspensions.  Features include niceties like the sunglasses retainer, tool attachment, magnetic sternum strap and 3D Hydro valve retainer, and some 3D mesh-lined pockets for your valuables.

Gregory Citro

"The real killer feature of the Vapor Span suspension is the shape of the aluminum frame that utilizes a leaf spring design to keep everything very low profile unlike traditional trampoline suspensions."

Gregory Vapor Span

Gregory

Lastly from Gregory (we could have stayed there all day) was the Shift RS line, with RS for Ride Stability. Designed specifically for mountain biking, the hip belt is adjustable for height depending on your body type and riding style.  A killer hydration tube routing system integrates the hydration compartment and the tube track on either shoulder strap.  Unzip once to fill, place, and choose which side you want to drink from.  Then zip her up and ride.  How has this not been done yet?

Gregory Shift RS

"Designed specifically for mountain biking, the hip belt is adjustable for height depending on your body type and riding style."

Gregory

Boreas

Boreas rounded out its travel line with a lightweight stowable range in 30D ripstop. The Taurus day pack, the Polaris shoulder sling, and the Lynx necessities belt.  Pretty stoked on the Taurus, which holds the silhouette of a traditional roll-top bag, but uses a top zip for security rather than a buckle closure.  Other features including a single strap over the top that offers a little compression, the internal stow pocket for your smaller items, and a total weight of 6.4oz make this a really versatile adventure pack.

Boreas Taurus

"Boreas rounded out its travel line with a lightweight stowable range in 30D ripstop."

Boreas Taurus and Polaris

The Tamarack series is really what I got fired up about though.  A clean, lightweight backcountry bag in 40 and 48 with double stretch mesh side pockets for whatever, a super slick deployable water bottle holder on the hip belt for 12oz plastic bottles or similar, and a “Spinnaker” deployable beavertail-style compression panel for hauling extras.  A few zip pockets on the top and interior give you just enough organization, and the full length U-zip gives you great access to all your stuff.  A smaller version, the Tokopah 32, with similar features and aesthetics is also available. Total weight 2 lbs. 10oz.

Boreas

On the more urban side of the spectrum, Boreas is crushing it with the Bernal and Van Ness.  The Bernal is a larger 35L roll-top with no organization. Uninhibited stuffing of goods...mmm. The Van Ness is very reminiscent of the Kezar but comes with integrated suspension.  Both are covered in Boreas’s hidden daisy chain and are MOLLE-compatible for add-ons.

"On the more urban side of the spectrum, Boreas is crushing it with the Bernal and Van Ness."

Boreas Bernal and Van Ness

Alite

Alite came through with an all-new pack line for the upcoming season still focusing on the park/beach and hike/camp categories.  Fresh new details to the line include material updates like stretch mesh pockets and updated hardware.  The hike-specific bags have ventilated foam back panels and Z-compression straps.  

Alite Designs

Alite Designs

"Alite came through with an all-new pack line for the upcoming season still focusing on the park/beach and hike/camp categories."

Alite Designs

Once you’re finished up with your day of adventure, you can take a seat in their Meadow Rest Lounger or a Mantis Chair.

Alite Designs Meadow Rest Lounger

Bergans

A few new urban bags (and a really great brand story for another time) were introduced out of the Bergans booth. 

Bergans

Bergans

The Knekken II is a simple city bag with two compartments and a top flap pocket.  Knekken means “kink” and is meant to denote the break in the back paneling which will kink when the user is wearing it.  This design feature provides a better fit to more body types than the standard continuous back panel one would expect from such a seemingly simple bag. 

Bergans Knekken II

The Oslo again features very muted lines and minimal styling but also includes a deployable reflective strip for low-light riding. The classic silhouettes and brushed finished nylons in this range really prove that less is more. Available S17.

"Knekken means “kink” and is meant to denote the break in the back paneling which will kink when the user is wearing it.  This design feature provides a better fit to more body types than the standard continuous back panel one would expect from such a seemingly simple bag."

Bergans Oslo

Arc’teryx (Carry Award winners for Best Innovation)

New for S17 is Bora AR with RotoGlide.  Not only did this bag win our Best Innovation but it also won Gear of the Show.  The RotoGlide seems to be the real deal.  Now I didn’t get to take the bad boy for a real ride *cough cough*, but I did try it on and got a sense of what the suspension accomplishes. 

Arc'teryx Bora AR

"New for S17 is Bora AR with RotoGlide.  Not only did this bag win our Best Innovation but it also won Gear of the Show."

Arc'teryx Bora AR

By creating a track for the hip belt to move vertically, even just a few centimeters, it allows your spine to stretch and compress as you bend forward and backward: read, hiking uphill and downhill.  Bending over to tie your shoe? No problemo.  Leaning a little back while taking huge steps down big grades? Easy. I walked up a flight of stairs with the bag and tried to max out the RotoGlide (think like loose hips in a kayak kind of shaking). I couldn’t do it. They also used a really stiff polypropylene back panel to attach all this to. And it only gets better from here: adjustable shoulder harness, 400D AC² fabric, seam sealed, huge front stash pocket, stretch mesh side pockets, two pockets on the lid, and the finish is fantastic as usual.  Currently saving my pennies.

"By creating a track for the hip belt to move vertically, even just a few centimeters, it allows your spine to stretch and compress as you bend forward and backward: read, hiking uphill and downhill."

Arc'teryx Bora AR

Arc'teryx

Arc’teryx also introduced a new messenger to its line, the FYX 13.  This messenger has a wonderfully clean exterior, extremely water-resistant AC² material on the flap, and pockets-a-plenty.  It holds a 15" laptop and also comes in a smaller version designed to hold a 13" laptop.

"This messenger has a wonderfully clean exterior, extremely water-resistant AC² material on the flap, and pockets-a-plenty."

Arc'teryx Fyx 13 Messenger

Goal Zero

Collaborating with OtterBox, Goal Zero was able to create the Slide Battery that works in conjunction with OtterBox’s uniVERSE phone case. The guiding design feature behind the uniVERSE is a clip-in system that allows some modularity in aftermarket accessories. By building a uniVERSE-compatible clip on the back of the Slide Battery, Goal Zero has developed the world’s first solar panel phone case: the Nomad Folio.   

Goal Zero

"By building a uniVERSE-compatible clip on the back of the Slide Battery, Goal Zero has developed the world’s first solar panel phone case: the Nomad Folio."

Goal Zero

But wait! How will I use my phone if it’s charging? The whole thing is modular, so take off your solar charger and battery component add-on, place them in direct sunlight, and then attach them later to charge your phone.

Goal Zero

Goal Zero

The idea is that the solar panel will connect to the battery add-on that will connect to the uniVERSE phone case.  So a little bulky, but still really cool to see this technology make it all the way to the portable phone level. 

Goal Zero

Other cool stuff from Goal Zero are the Nomad 7 and 13 panels that you can now attach to many bags via integrated toggles and clip-in points, and the new Nomad 7 Plus that is lighter and more durable.  The real selling feature of the Nomad 7 Plus though is its simple four LED display that will tell you how much energy it is collecting from the sun.  Only showing one LED? Move the device into more direct sunlight for the most effective charging.

"The real selling feature of the Nomad 7 Plus though is its simple four LED display that will tell you how much energy it is collecting from the sun."

Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus

SOG

Long-time production knife company SOG makes its debut into the bag market with a range of military-inspired bags (and a sling) from 12-35 liters in volume.

SOG

All of the bags are made from 500D PU-coated nylon and include a rigid shell top pocket to protect your digital devices and sunnies.  The Hypalon MOLLE fields vary in size, but are included in every bag and sling in some fashion. 

"Long-time production knife company SOG makes its debut into the bag market with a range of military-inspired bags (and a sling) from 12-35 liters in volume."

SOG

The larger bags in the range - the Seraphim 35, Prophet 33, and Scout 25 - all have SOG’s quad zip entry to the main compartment that allows the user to open the full U-Zip any way he or she chooses and splay the bag nearly flat if needed. More info here.

SOG

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