Another January in the books and two major trade shows attended. Like last year, I attended SHOT Show in Las Vegas with the crew from the Loadout Room. And then flew directly to Denver for Outdoor Retailer the following week. Two weeks living out of a 5.11 suitcase and backpack in various AirBnb’s but I’m glad to be home. Now is when the shows pay off for this website. Following up the dozens of meetings with vendors to acquire the newest and most innovative products in the tactical and outdoor space. The face to face meetings with PR firms and manufacturers allow us as writers and editors to make a physical connection with them. Let them know who we are and what we do. And how we can help them.
Outdoor Retailer Snow Show focuses mainly on the winter sports market. Skis, snowshoes, winter apparel, footwear, etc. You get the picture. But making the mental switch from the beard’fest of SHOT Show to the manicured mustache’fest of OR takes some getting used to. Outdoor Retailer is a friendly meeting among enthusiast and doesn’t have that cut-throat competitive vibe that SHOT exudes. Each booth offers a healthy snack, cup of coffee or a craft brew later in the afternoon. The meetings with manufacturers and PR agents open with a genuine conversation about us as writers. They are as curious about the Loadout Room as we are about them. After all, we all have the same objective.
And that objective is to educate the purchasing public about their new products. As a gear junkie myself, you can imagine the opportunity to sit down with product specialists and engineers to discuss what they’ve come up with. And at the same time asking us for our thoughts and input. Below are just a few highlights from the show. Some of which we hope to get our hands on for in depth testing and review.
Yeti always offers a nice display for their new products. This year, telling stories with three fresh new color ways. A Sand color that offers a beach vibe. I thought it looked to be a tactical desert color. I guess it depends on your personal perspective. A new vibrant Blue was showcased with a nautical waterman display. Complete with a Blue Marlin. And finally, a Red Rock color displayed with matching climbing ropes and the Southwest landscape of Red Rock Canyon.
Boots and Pants
Winter apparel and footwear is a large part of the Snow Show. Xtratuf showcased a new Glacier Trek Pro sole for their bread and butter work boots. These high topped neoprene and rubber boots already kicked ass. Now they feature special sole lugs (colored blue) with embedded glass to help grip on slick icy surfaces. Right next door at Muck Boots were examples of their new waterproof leather line-up. Here is a review of the Freeman boot recently published. Swedish company Fjällräven had a huge display featuring their complete line of rugged hiking and climbing gear. I was drawn in by a few pairs of pants that might be the perfect Overlanding companion in the future.
Snowshoes and Celebrity
Mountain Safety Research makes some of the best snowshoes on the market. Featuring their 360 degree Traction Frames, these shoes have an edge to edge grip like no other. Perfect for those steep mountain accents as well as casual trail excursions. MSR went one step further by greatly improving on their tried and true binding system. Thinking outside of the box they came up with the new Paragon Snowshoe Binding. A binding offering no hot spots, ultralight durability, quick and secure adjustability and field maintainability. Stanley’s rich 100+ year history just keeps getting better and better. Further perfecting their vacuum bottle with the new Master Series. As a bonus, I spotted Olympic Gold Medalist Jonny Moseley reviewing a Black Diamond Jacket.
Adidas Terrex as always, featured several new pieces of footwear as well as revisions of existing pieces. Alongside some innovative insulation and waterproof jackets. I hope to get my hands on a few of these to showcase the Terrex line as a major player in the high-end outdoor clothing market. I thought I was having a SHOT Show flashback when I saw the Wild Things display out of the corner of my eye. The only Multicam seen for miles within the Colorado Convention Center.
The most revolutionary item I spotted was the DAHU ski boot. As an alpine skier of 44 years, I’ve experienced huge technological leaps in the ski industry. Mostly in soft goods and skis. While alpine ski boots have maintained the status quo for too long. Always jealous of the snowboarders and their warm comfy boots. DAHU is looking to bring some of that love to the alpine skier. With an unusual Corsair opening, the skeletonized exterior boot allows the skier to completely step out while wearing the liner as a stand alone boot. Complete with a rubber sole, this boot will change the way skiers get around the resort.
Below is a list of the manufacturers I sat down with at Outdoor Retailer in the hopes of testing upcoming gear. So stay tuned to the Loadout Room.
- Muck Boots
- Black Diamond
- Farm to Feet
- Mountain Safety Research
- FiveTen footwear
- Jack Wolfskin
- Costa Sunglasses
- DAHU Ski Boots
- Adidas Terrex
- Bogs Footwear
- Beyond Clothing
- Darn Tough Socks