As a farewell to Denver, the brands came together for an Outdoor Retailer Expo that felt like the good old days. And the equipment did not disappoint.
The era of trade fairs may have been permanently changed as a result of the pandemic. But damn if that didn’t look a lot like Outdoor Retailer’s heyday last week at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.
Of course, that still wasn’t pre-pandemic attendance numbers, and it may never be the case again. But for the first time in a few years, the aisles were full and the stands overflowing with brand new equipment of all kinds.
We walked the aisles for 2 full days, zigzagging through miles of bustle to see everything there was to see. And we were rewarded with an exceptional array of suitors. We’ve narrowed down the best of the best to five unique, innovative and boundary-pushing products – some from brands you know and some from exciting newcomers.
Without further ado, check out GearJunkie’s editors’ picks for Best In Show gear, from the 2022 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.
GearJunkie Best in Show Summer 2022
Kokopelli Packraft Chasm UL SUP
Real innovations are not easy. If every brand could make something faster, tougher, or first-of-its-kind, they would. So every time we hear a brand tell us they have the most anything in the world, our ears perk up.
Kokopelli proudly unveiled the world’s lightest, most packable stand-up paddle board, and it looks sharp! Weighing less than 13 pounds and shrinking down to the size of a sleeping bag, the Chasm UL sets a new standard for inflatable SUPs. (For context, most inflatable paddleboards run between 17 and 26 pounds.)
The 10-foot board can hold up to 250 pounds, and with all the bells and whistles packed – tracking fin, pump, repair kit, paddle and leash – it still weighs under 18 pounds. Kokopelli offers a lifetime warranty on the Chasm UL and the $999 price tag, calling it “by far the best value for money in lightweight inflatable SUPs.”
Look for the Chasm UL SUP from Kokopelli which will be launched in spring 2023.
Five Ten Breast Cancer Awareness Release
We promise you’ve never seen a shoe quite like this special edition line from adidas. Five Ten Freerider Pro Canvas Flat Pedal Shoeslaunched around Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
The eponymous adidas BCA (Breast Cancer Awareness) collection includes four of the brand’s popular shoes: the Freerider Pro Canvas mountain bike shoe (with an upper made partly from reclaimed plastic), as well as the TERREX Freehiker trail shoes and Agravic, and the adidas shoe Ultraboost Running Shoe.
Despite how well the shoes perform, the designs adorning them are sure to stop you in your tracks. The creative work of Five Ten cyclist Veronique Sandler, each shoe boldly but gracefully bears “poignant and eye-catching graphics” to raise awareness and support for women battling and surviving breast cancer.
Sandler spoke with breast cancer survivors to find out how they found inspiration. The stories Sandler heard brought to life shoes depicting women’s breasts and scars, as well as images of trees, campfires and music – it’s both startling and heartening.
And as fearless as the designs seem to us, seeing them go from concept to finished product was even more of a surprise to the man who first dreamed them up, Luke Hontz, senior director of product and brand communications. The son of a breast cancer survivor, Hontz wanted to do something to honor his mother. But he said he never expected the concept to lead to a final product, let alone a full line.
Look for the adidas BCA collection which will be launched at the end of September 2022 on adidas.com and through select retailers throughout October.
The brand will donate a fixed percentage of proceeds from each shoe sold to support both the National Breast Cancer Foundation in North America and Breast Cancer Now in the UK. Stay tuned for more information on the rollout.
Lume Six Alta and Cirra Sports Bras
“You deserve a better sports bra.” Full stop. This is the mission of Lume Six.
Lume Six Company Founder and Principal Designer, Margaux Elliott, has over a decade of experience developing technical and performance apparel for cycling and snow brands like Giro, Pearl Izumi and Sessions and is a accomplished cyclist – who in 2020 became the first woman to climb a million feet on a mountain bike in a year.
Throughout her personal experience and working with other brands, she quickly realized that something was missing from the sports bra offerings on the market today. So she created her own line to redefine the experience of women. Since 2021, we have discovered Elliott and his brand and started testing the product, and now his sports bras have hit the market.
One of the first things Elliott told us about was his goal of offering support and durability – free of thick, bulky materials, removable pads, strong stitching and standard bra sizing. Basically, she set out to solve the conundrum of sports bras for women who want to run, hike, mountain bike, horseback ride and anything else – without feeling uncomfortable and bored. by their bras.
Lume Six bras are super lightweight – and they come in unlined and lightly lined versions and in medium and high impact styles. The sports bras are soft, made with Italian fabric and the brand’s FeatherAir single-layer fabric on the back for breathability. Elliott has thought of everything: flat straps, a flat band and a design that would quickly make this bra one of the fastest drying bras on the market.
The best part is the extended size to fit all body types: the size isn’t just S, M, L – you can get a small band with a large chest size, or vice versa. Based on its size, one of our testers chose this option to fine-tune the fit and was blown away. Other amazing things about Lume Six: Its sizing is inclusive and should have sizes XS-3XL in its first year on the market.
Mountain Tech Col Mountain Stick
This hiking pole does more than just give you support. Thanks to an innovative design that nests two smaller poles inside a larger telescopic pole, the Mountain Stick turns into a very stable tripod suitable for multiple uses.
Interchangeable heads allow you to use them to mount camera gear, spotting scopes or rifles. And when set up as a tripod, this device is rock solid.
While there are other tripod solutions built with trekking poles, the Mountain Stick is a sleek design that also performs extremely well as a trekking pole. It only takes about 30 seconds to switch from pole mode to tripod mode, and it should be a wonderful solution for those who hike, photograph, and hunt in the wild.
We believe this product will evolve over time, but as the brand’s first entry into the outdoor market, it’s a big statement and worth considering even though it costs over $350. .
Every year, millions of bandages end up in landfills, sidewalks, rivers and the ocean. And the vast majority of them are plastic.
Today, Wool+Aid offers a biodegradable and planet-friendly alternative. Wool+Aid manufactures dressings with ‘hyperfine’ merino wool, which is both sustainable and biodegradable. It adds medical grade adhesive for a strong, yet soft and comfortable bandage.
Another advantage is that merino wool is both breathable and naturally antimicrobial. As Wool+Aid is also latex-free, it is an option for some people with latex allergies or certain skin sensitivities.
Wool+Aid also offers a range of options: a 15-piece multipack for outdoor use, and another pack for “emergency” use (store in your glove box or first aid kit). There are also a variety of sizes and shapes for all your wound needs.
With the global medical bandages and tapes market at $9.5 billion per yearit’s nice to see a sustainability-conscious brand make a difference in an industry dominated by big corporations.