Last summer Scott Witner and I attended Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City. Outdoor Retailer is a huge convention for the outdoor sports manufacturers to show off their latest creations to potential buyers, industry experts and relevant media. The Loadout Room writers have been attending SHOT Show for several years now. But broadening our product reviews to include the outdoor sports market is essential. We know our demographic and what you’re into. Because it’s in-line with our own interests outside of the tactical world. With a successful visit to OR Summer, I just attended OR Winter for the first time. Below are a few of the highlights.
Flying directly from SHOT Show in Vegas to the new location for OR in Denver required a serious mental gear change. Dial back the testosterone and intensity for a more chill vibe found in Denver and the Outdoor Retailer crowd. I’ll admit, it’s a nice change. Because I missed the first day of OR due to travel, I crammed meetings with manufacturers from 9-4 Friday and Saturday. Although I found myself stepping out at road march pace between the 3 floors of the Colorado Convention Center, it was a very productive time.
Yeti | Tin Cup Whiskey | Rumpl | XtraTuf
Yeti was on point as always with a few innovative items. A backpack cooler made from the same material as the Panga Duffel, a new coral colorway and yes, a $300 lawn chair. Rumpl is another company we met at Summer Market. We’ve reviewed a couple of their products such as the Down Puffy and Fleece Puffy. Two new items from Rumpl are a ground cover blanket with a reinforced bottom. And a really thin and packable travel towel in various sizes. With epic absorption capabilities from what I’m told. A new brand to the Loadout Room is XtraTuf footwear. It’s the most accepted footwear in the Alaska outdoor crowd. They’re built like Muck boots but the new styles have some interesting patterns and colors as well as a mid top design pictured above.
adidas | Hydro Flask | Kari Traa | K2 Skis
adidas Terrex has several new items including a few pairs of boots that look to be an option in a tactical environment. I’ve owned adidas for years and I’m interested to see how these boots hold up. Hydro Flask has entered the soft cooler market with a couple of backpack options along with a traditional version with a shoulder strap. Kari Traa is a Norwegian freestyle skier that’s producing stylish, high end Long Johns for women. And yes, the meeting went well. Norwegian models in Long Johns wasn’t a waste of time. We’ll get the low down with upcoming female reviews shortly. And for those that ski with cold feet. K2 has introduced a ski boot with integrated heaters built into the liner. Something I’ve been waiting for forever.
Mountainsmith | Olukai
Mountainsmith had a few interesting backpack models on display. Including some camera specific models. As well as a few conventional everyday packs that we’ll be reviewing shortly. For those adventure photogs, the camera specific models were designed by guys that shoot in the harshest of environments. More to come on those. Olukai is one of my new favorite footwear companies. And they’ve got too many new styles that will roll out in 2018 to mention in this article. Olukai has a uniquely Hawaiian vibe and they are deeply involved with the islands and their preservation. Definitely worth a look at their offerings.
Chronic | Faction Skis
Although I didn’t have a meeting with Chronic, It was hard to walk past these all white skis with the 10th Mountain Division logo. After chatting with their founder, I was told that they won a contract to supply them with skis. Beating out several big guns in the ski industry for the honors. Also in the ski department is the “Dictator” line from Faction Skis. And yes, they have an image of actual dictators under the boot on each pair of skis. This company gives no [email protected]#$! I mean, who does that? The model I would ski has Pablo Escobar’s fat face right on the ski. Awesome!
In the next few months, the Loadout Room should be receiving samples for review from several of these manufacturers. So stay tuned for more in-depth reviews.