We’ve already named five of the 15 Top ORSM products. In Part Two we continue the ranking…
For those cool enough to wear FlyLow outerwear in the winter, you might consider transferring some of that brand loyalty over to the company’s new Spring/Summer “campfire casual” line. Perhaps you wandered out to the land of oversized beards and sexy mom jeans, otherwise known as Venture Out, where hardcore winter outerwear brand FlyLow made its casual wear debut along with dozens of other hip apparel makers. Flylow has been making backcountry freeride ski apparel and accessories since 2005 and according to the Snow Industry Association (SIA), it was the fastest growing ski apparel brand in 2015. The new collection brought the “coast mountain lifestyle” to life with riding shirts, mountain windbreakers, after-dark hoodies, hot tub shorts and a couple pairs of pants that you’ll want to wear everywhere.
GU Energy Labs, creators of the first energy gel in 1993, expands its offerings for Spring/Summer 2016 with two additions to its performance nutrition product line. Most exciting is its first energy bar called GU Energy Stick. Available in Crispy Honey Peanut and Crispy Chocolate Almond, these whole-food sticks feature 200 calories crafted with natural ingredients, comprised of 70 percent organic, gluten-free nutrition. Roasted organic quinoa forms the basis of the first two flavors. The stick shape is designed to be stashed in hydration belts and bike jerseys.
“Creating a solid has been a long and deliberative process. We maintain that GU and Roctane Energy Gels, Chews and Roctane Energy Drink are best-in-class products for those conditions. However, we’ve always believed that solids have a place not only in the daily diets of athletes, but also specifically in lower intensity, longer duration activities when the body has time to reap the rewards of whole foods and when you want to mix it up,” said Brian Vaughan, co-founder and chief endurance officer of GU Energy Labs. Energy Sticks will sell at retail for $2.50, or $30 for a pack of 12. The other new offering from GU is the 15-serving GU Energy Flask, designed in collaboration with Hydrapak to reduce trash and packaging. At $30, the multi-serving package will debut for Energy Gel and Roctane in four flavors.
In what started as a small sub-category for the high-performance wool apparel brand, Icebreaker has turned casuals into a staple of its 2016 offerings, which still provide the wearer soft, high-performance use as consumers look for cross-over athleisure and travel/lifestyle options. Graphic designs dominate women’s apparel pieces for the coming season, with everything from astrological moons to play-on-words like “Flocking Awesome.” Geometric patterns and boxy floral sketches also make an appearance in its Art of Nature, nature-inspired prints. Furthermore, these are not sky-rocket price point items, so expect to add a couple different Icebreaker graphic staples to your Spring/Summer 2016 wardrobe.
France’s Julbo continues to make admirable waves in the U.S. eyewear market, introducing three key styles at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. The Aero, $180, is Julbo’s lightest model at only 25 grams with an amazing feel of softer rubber on the ear stems and a moldable nosepiece. It also boasts vents around the majority of the lens to combat fogging. It maximizes the technological advantages of Julbo’s lenses with a full photochromic lens. The Breeze, $180, is really where the innovation kicks in with “the most adjustable ear stems ever made,” designed to fit virtually any face. Built around Julbo’s category-leading photochromic lenses, the Breeze pairs moldable stems with a moldable nosepiece for versatility. Finally, the Carmel, $70/$100, (and similarly styled Wellington) are part of Julbo’s new latitude series, named after different towns on the same latitude. Styles bear Julbo’s high touch lenses with nice casual finishes, in-laid logos and sprung hinges, at an accessible price point.
Seemingly every top apparel brand at the show was introducing an ultra-light wind jacket. But Britain’s Montane showed up with quality and dedication to their market segment. Their version of “the world’s lightest windproof jacket to-date,” the Featherlite 7, $149, is designed strictly to maintain core temperatures in variable and windy weather during long distance runs or thru-hikes. The 7-denier ultra nylon rip-stop fabric is everything you’d expect from a technical windproof fabric, in the lightest form possible. Created with the added benefit of a DWR finish, engineered with strategic seam placement to minimize bulk and reduce weight. The jacket stuffs into its collar for compact storage. The jacket features a full-length front zip, pre-elasticated hem and cuffs and reflective details at 1.7 ounces.
We’re more than half-way through! Our final five ORSM picks are divulged in Part Three of the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Top 15 of 2015.