- Buyer's Guide
Showstoppers: The Best Gear from Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2019
Outdoor Retailer is North America’s biggest outdoor industry tradeshow. A place where big names and up-and-comers alike showcase their best new offerings. And you can be sure Carryology wasn’t going to miss it. Summer Market 2019 delivered a host of top-notch gear but some offerings in particular stood out. Discover some of the best carry-related gear from OR that really captured our attention…
Osprey Archeon and Arcane Collections
For the first time in recent memory, urban carry was on the forefront of Osprey’s offering at OR. The Archeon and Arcane collections have an eye on sustainability (recycled materials and PFC-free DWR) and nod towards clean lines and a heritage look that we haven’t seen from the brand before. The Tote Pack in particular is stunning in person and something to keep an eye out for in the Spring.
Leatherman Free Series
We have already reviewed the Free P2 which is their new Free pliers based system but new for the show is the T series which, again, is comprised of two tools – the T2 and T4. This is the closest Leatherman has come to a Swiss Army Knife style of tool, removing the pliers altogether for a more compact package. You still get the same great magnetic opening but now you can choose between 8 and 12 tools for 3.3 or 4.3 oz. Also on display were their new Signal colorways which are available now.
Peak Design Travel Tripod
Currently sitting at over $7M on their Kickstarter campaign, Peak Design is back once again to disrupt the market. This time they have their sights set on the tripod industry, and their first offering is an exercise in elegance. They managed to get it to pack down compactly by redesigning the legs to fit together better and deploy quicker with fast deploy cam levers. They also designed their own ball head with quick camera attach and detach and a single ring for total head adjustment. And the whole thing is roughly the same circumference of a water bottle. Now, that’s cool.
Peak was also showing off their travel duffels which they developed by surveying their backers during the Travel Backpack campaign. The bags come in two sizes and two colorways and draw from the same inspiration as the Travel Backpack, sporting many of the same features.
CamelBak Pivot Collection
With a stronger focus on sustainability, CamelBak recently introduced a set of three bags made from recycled plastic bottles. The sling, tote, and backpack are lightweight, sleek-looking and reasonably priced.
MiiR Pourigami and Coffee Canister
Filed under the category of “why didn’t I think of that”, MiiR currently has two coffee-related products on Kickstarter. The first is a field-ready pourover coffee setup that consists of three pieces that flatpack and weigh just 4oz. Assembly takes seconds and with a disposable paper filter, you are ready for some fresh coffee on your next trail adventure. Accompanying the Pourigami is the Coffee Canister which employs a clever silicone interior lid that adjusts to the volume of remaining coffee and expands to seal off air, with a simple flick of a lever.
DUER Weightless Denim
Launched at the beginning of June 2019, DUER’s Weightless Denim is something that truly needs to be experienced to fully appreciate it. The 6oz model is available in a slim-fit chino silhouette or a straight leg silhouette. I wore a pair through the summer Florence heat and it was a blessing, keeping my legs cool and my load lightweight for quick day trips through the city.
Western Rise AirLight Shirts, Limitless Merino
The small but growing team from Telluride, CO has been coming out with hit after hit. Not one to stick to seasonal releases, Western Rise produces products they deem fit to fill a void or need in the market. Having recently completed their Limitless Merino travel shirt campaign, they released their AirLight shirts (short and long-sleeved versions available) just prior to Outdoor Retailer. These shirts are stainproof, ultra-lightweight, and stretchy. They performed wonderfully in the hot Denver heat and have the coolest pocket securing system I’ve ever seen.
Matador Packable Water Bottle and Quick Ties
From making packable packs and slowly pivoting to really simple but genius packable travel gear, Matador is going to come out strong in Spring 2020. First up is their packable water bottle that weighs just 70 grams and holds 1 liter. It also has a handle for on-the-move hydration and an extended spout for easy drinking and keeping the business end away from dirt. To complement the bottle they are also releasing their own hydration bladder, with a silicone hose.
Up next is a set of waterproof zip cases which promises to keep your gear dry, whether you’re caught in a downpour or going down some rapids in a raft. And for those wondering – yes you can still use your smartphone through the case!
Lastly, Matador came out with not one but two strap systems. First, their answer to zipties is their reusable Quick Ties which uses natural rubber and a toggle to get you the same one directional tightening you expect but is more sustainable. They’re also coming out with their Better Tether system which is a lashing system that allows you to pull from both sides to tighten and also have a pull to release tab to make loosening easy.
Gerber Lockdown Drive
While they might not be the first name you think of for EDC, Gerber has been really stretching their design chops recently and consider me a fan. First off, they have an amazing set of camping utilities in the Devour and ComplEAT but new for Spring 2020 is their Lockdown Drive which combines a 2.5″ blade with frame lock, a driver with replaceable 2-sided 1/4″ bits, an awl, a replaceable #11 utility hobby blade, file and chisel edge. What stands out here is it’s the first time I’ve seen a company bring a replaceable X-Acto style blade to a multitool.
The crew from Montana came with luggage in tow and man is the new collection inspired. The Spring 2020 Mission Duffels are offered in three sizes (40, 55, and 90L) and you can choose from a variety of finishes including TPU (new), Wood Waxed and others. The Mission Wheelies are also new and are a duffel on wheels with new, larger openings, laundry compartments, and burly off-road wheels to get you over any terrain.
We also saw the 2 Day Assault Pack (2DAP) which is new for Fall 2019 and Mystery Ranch flexing their creative muscles with their Mystery Pop line.
Fresh out of Mammoth, California, the team from Ridge Merino came packing a full wardrobe full of new Merino wool clothing. Both their men and women’s clothing lines are geared for the outdoors and feature high quality, lightweight merino blends that had us eagerly lining up to try them on. Keep an eye on Ridge Merino for a slew of new t-shirts, sun hoodies, base layers and even underwear and hats. This a brand scoring super high in ‘value’ points!
Yeti is always hard to miss at OR. From their hydration stations in the shape of giant wooden barrels dotting the trade show floor, to the long lines to get into their booth, Yeti is always a must see at OR. For this year’s show Yeti had two new carry items and a ton of new bottles.
On the carry front, Yeti debuted the Hopper M30, an update to their popular Hopper soft cooler line. While the bones of the cooler remain the same, Yeti replaced the zipper opening with very firm magnets to keep your beer cold for up to 20% longer.
Keeping the magnet love going, the second new piece of carry we saw was the Daytrip, a small insulated lunch box, also with a magnetic closure. Basically, it’s one of Yeti’s famous coolers but now in a smaller, day sized format.
Finally, because we all get thirsty, Yeti has a handful of new cups, mugs and ramblers for both you and your dog. Oh, and there’s also a new dog bed that would make for a very happy canine.
As if to say, “Welcome to our wonderful city of Denver,” Topo Designs had not only an impressive booth, but was the host to a number of awesome parties all throughout OR. In typical Topo fashion, their booth was also popping with color.
But perhaps the biggest Topo takeaway from the show was their new Premium Collection – in black. The Premium Collection is classic Topo style, but with a more updated, sophisticated feel. The bags are a very heavy duty, feature custom aluminum hardware, and (did I mention this already?) are totally blacked out. They’re super sleek and a totally different look for the typically colored Topo.
New as well was the Travel Bag Roller, a 35L bag, part of the Premium Collection, that is Topo’s first foray into wheeled luggage. Finally, their Rover collection features a couple of new designs aimed at the tech crowd and the more fashioned focus.
SAXX, synonymous with some of the most comfortable underwear anywhere showed us at OR that they can still innovate in the underwear game but are also pushing into more clothing lines. First the underwear.
New at OR is the Hyperdrive and the Kinetic HD. The Hyperdrive is a compression fit long legged boxer brief while the Kinetic HD is slightly looser fitting and features some insanely comfortable fabric. Both feature a new Ballpark Pouch design.
From the underwear, SAXX is also launching a new hiking short and t-shirt. The hiking shirt, dubbed the Frontier 2N1 short, features a pair of durable shorts with a built in liner and ballpark pouch. Basically going commando is now not only acceptable, but encouraged. On the t-shirt front there’s the Aerator Tee, an active t-shirt that will look good in most any situation.
The best booth at OR? Thule. Hands down. Instead of showing on the floor at OR, Thule rented out an a massive art gallery, brought in a bunch of very cool vehicles to feature their roof racks, parked a few food trucks inside for good measure, hung a ton of bags from floor to ceiling, and brought a DJ in for good measure.
New at OR was the Thule Chasm extension collection, a collections of bags meant for effortless travel featuring a carry on, a wheeled duffel, and a backpack. The entire line is brimming with thoughtful design points and very durable materials.
The next line we saw was Thule’s Crossover 2 Line. It’s an updated but expanding line that not only features updated luggage and duffels, but now tote bags, toiletry bags, and pouches, which include a ton of features even up to RFID shielding materials.
One of the bags that really caught our eye was the new Thule RoundTrip Bike Duffel 550L. Basically it’s a duffel (that can be worn with a shoulder strap), that features interior organization to hold a toolbox worth of bike tools, bike gear, helmets, and shoes. For anyone traveling often with a bike, this is an incredibly awesome piece of carry.