The hardgoods companies catering to the camping, hiking, and trekking markets at OR Summer Market 2006 provided a myriad of answers across brands and target market audiences. From the oldest, most established companies to entrepreneurial start-ups, retailers moving from booth to booth found 2007 lines that offered mainly incremental improvements with a few innovative new solutions. In addition to the many incremental technical innovations of the show, there was a large contingent of companies working in creative new dealer support programs. In addition to the mass movement towards more co-op dollars for retailers, some vendors are offering different resources, like ad design, merchandising, and even PR services to their key accounts.

Gregory celebrated its 30th anniversary with the introduction of the Jet Stream suspension system. The Jet Stream, installed on the three packs in the Fast & Light line, allows airflow to reach the user’s back. The system also transfers the load into the pack’s lumbar region. Many of the pack brands promoted solutions to prevent the “sweaty back” phenomenon.

GoLite streamlined and completely redesigned its pack line for 2007. The new offering includes three application specific pack collections called the Venture, Ultra, and Adrenaline. The line is entirely gender-specific, with separate men’s and women’s sizes across all three lines, with the exception of one stripped-down ultralight pack.

ARC’TERYX also addressed the women’s segment with new pack introductions. The new Maia series incorporates the successful Advanced Composite Construction, or AC², offered in 50, 65, and 75 liter options. The company redesigned the Bora line and added two new women’s specific models, the Briza 62 and the Briza 75.

Mountainsmith’s flagship Alpine collection introduces the new Load Dispersion Technology that distributes loads from the front of the pack, through the suspension and to the waist. Mountainsmith also updated the All Terrain and TrekLight collections. The All Terrain collection has expanded to 12 men’s, 12 women’s-specific, and two youth packs. Six each men’s and women’s are new for spring 2007.

Perhaps lost in the shuffle of news on the larger pack line, Mountainsmith is the first company to use recycled fabric technology in their designs. The fabrics used on the Recycled Day and Tour lumbar packs represent four plastic bottles that would have become landfill waste.

In the past, small companies with high hopes and great expectations were relegated to the tent pavilions outside the main convention hall. Retailers hoping to discover the “next big thing” had to explore the far reaches of the expanded Salt Palace convention center to find new companies. In the backpack arena, retailers found two new approaches to carrying backcountry necessities.

TrailFlex introduced the TF500 Harness System that allows users to customize their load. Using patent-pending Advanced Modular Technology, the system uses a separate harness and pack arrangement. Wearing the base harness, users can select from a hydration pack, backpack, and 20 other modular gear pouches to tailor carrying capacity to the intended application.

Syncpack is a front pack that mounts on the front of any waist-belted backpack. The syncpack system is a patent-pending, multi-adjustable, lightweight frame that transmits the weight of the front-carried load to the front of a backpack waist belt. The frame dynamically articulates to match the movement of the user’s upper-body. The syncpack frame snaps onto and off of the waist belt and shoulder straps of any backpack using patent-pending quick-release connectors. Syncpack made its debut at Summer Market.

Not all outdoor enthusiasts are interested in weeklong backcountry adventures. Outdoor companies have responded to the promotion of “Done in a Day” and “Park & Play” with base camp specific product offerings.

Prior to Summer Market, Coleman hosted a Global Outdoor Summit to encourage all people to get outdoors. More than 125 retailers were invited to learn about Coleman’s product introductions and marketing initiatives. In 2007, Coleman will launch a “Let’s Go Outside” television advertising campaign to entice people to explore outdoor recreation. The campaign will be supported with retail merchandising tools.

Coleman continued to expand its selection of products. Segmented into weekend, enthusiast, and expert segments, the company’s base camp offerings included the Weathermaster Elite tent with patent-pending hinged door and interior lighting system.

Eureka! brings all the comforts of home to the woods. The N!ergy tents have an E! Power wiring harness system integrated into each tent. The E! Power Pak is a portable, sealed, lead acid rechargeable battery that powers three 12v DC outlets.

Kelty, in addition to well thought-out selection of family-centric tents and sleeping bags, promoted a line of base camping storage units. The stackable Binto bar is a compactable storage bin with a folding tabletop workspace. The Binto line includes cubes, duffels, and insulated Fridge-a-Tote. Once the stars come out, sleeping bag introductions offer sweet dreams for women, kids, and couples.

Slumberjack is just one of many brands introducing women’s specific sleeping bags. Covering all temperature ranges from backyard to Everest base camp, the women’s bags feature anatomically designed shapes, soft fabrics, and graphic designs incorporated into the linings.

Big Agnes’ King Solomon sleeping bag is part of Big Agnes’ new Doublewide Series. Designed for friendly couples, the King Solomon used with Big Agnes’ integrated sleeping bag sleeve, can accommodate two standard sized sleeping pads.