Part Three of our ORSM Top 15 closes the list of most memorable innovations brought to Salt Lake City. Did we forget your favorite piece of gear? Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and plead your case…we might make an exception and add it to the list…
Patagonia came forward with its usual laundry list of product innovations not the least of which are two new apparel launches – a new denim collection and a new Merino baselayer. Much like it did with cotton, Patagonia took a hard look at denim production and decided to do things differently. Their new Patagonia Denim collection features 100-percent organic cotton, Fair Trade Certified sewing practices and an environmentally friendlier dye. The company said it is using 84 percent less water, 30 percent less energy and emitting 25 percent less CO2 than conventional synthetic indigo denim dyeing processes. The Fair Trade program’s market-based approach helps workers receive fair compensation for their labor, while creating better working conditions and safeguarding against the use of child labor. In addition to the six denim styles, Patagonia has grown its Fair Trade clothing styles from 33 in Spring 2015 to 192 this Fall. The brand’s new Merino Air baselayers, launched directly to consumers this summer with a bottom, crew and hoody version in limited colors, combines sustainably sourced wool with Capilene fibers into a stretchy, warm and breathable next to skin layer. The proprietary fabric features a spun knit-like lofted yarn, is seamless, and softened (super washed) without chlorine. Patagonia is calling this a new baselayer, and our early testing is proving that to be true.
Gaining notoriety for its piece-apart kayaks, Point65 brought a small selection of high-end hard-shell backpacks to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. These packs are reminiscent of something James Bond might wear, or as Point65 Co-founder Richard Öhman said, “These are for the Ferrari driver who also needs a backpack.” The Vortex pack shines as one the most innovative pack offerings, made with the action sports photographer or moto enthusiast in mind. The Vortex wraps around the wearer’s waist so it can be opened without taking the pack off: swing the pack to your front and unzip the back panel for easy and safe access. The protective outer shell was created to cushion both gear and user’s spine. Plus the camera gear insert can be removed if your load changes.
UCO, a division of Industrial Revolution and makers of the Original Candle Lantern, kept things hot out in the hallway with its new Titan Stormproof Match: stomp-proof, wind-proof and water-proof, $10.
Peter Pontano, UCO product development manager said, “Having instant access to heat and light, no matter what conditions you are in, provides peace of mind.” These matches act as mini road flares – SGB tested, and yes, they burn super hot and bright. Another UCO hit was the mega-portable Grilliput Quattro, $50, a lightweight highly-collapsible camping grill weighing two pounds and providing 220-square-inches of cook surface. UCO began by addressing emergency preparedness needs designed to make the outdoors safer back in 1971, but this compact grill has the potential of moving the brand into a whole new camping category.
Hike, run and performance footwear maker Vasque has broken a lot of hearts. Enthusiasts have praised its Skywalk boots, no longer offered by the brand, as their first and favorite hiking shoe. In a comeback play, Vasque will bring back the old favorite in 2016 with a new edition of the classic Skywalk – offered in the heritage colors of the originals. Vasque even got its Skywalk partner, Gore-Tex, to use its vintage label on the comeback classic. Vasque saw the need to bring back the Skywalk after noting it was the third most searched item on their official website.
In case you missed it, Yeti Coolers brought the $300 Yeti Hopper 20, a soft-sided cooler bag made from 840denier DryHide with RF-welded seams, resembling the toughness and water proof-ness of a whitewater raft. The Hopper 20 takes the recreation world by storm, building on the brand’s Hopper line. Its HydroLok Zipper is waterproof and airtight, just like you’d find on a hazmat suit. Yeti’s renowned ColdCell Insulation is an inch thick on the sides and 1.5 inches on the bottom, leaving you with a 4.6-gallon capacity for food and beverages. The new Colster, $30, is a koozie on steroids. Featuring double-wall vacuum insulation in kitchen grade stainless steel, and a ThermoLock gasket that secures your beverage while keeping it cold. It fits a standard 12-ounce bottle or can in a no sweat design.
That concludes our Top 15 of 2015 ORSM list. This year’s ORSM broke the mold with design and tech innovation, which leaves us with one question for the outdoor enthusiast…Ready to get outside?