For the outdoor industry, the Outdoor Retailer convention – held three times a year in Denver, Colorado – is the biggest event of the year. In a sense, this is the CES of camping, hiking, backpacking, and adventure travel, with every major brand revealing the latest and greatest products designed to keep us safe and comfortable while outside.
This past week, the summer edition of OR went down in the Mile High City, and as expected there were plenty of new products on display. We went to the show to check out the everything that was unveiled. These are the items that you’ll want to have on your radar for your next outdoor adventure.
Goal Zero Sherpa 100 PD Battery Pack
Goal Zero has been at the forefront of making durable, efficient, and reliable power options for use in the outdoors for more than a decade. The latest edition to their line-up is the Sherpa 100 PD, a battery pack that offers 25,600 mAh of power in a compact and lightweight design. The new device comes equipped with two standard USB-A ports, as well as Qi wireless charging. But best of all, the Sherpa 100 PD includes a 60-watt USB-C power delivery port as well, which means you can recharge gadgets such as cameras or an iPad Pro while on the go. It will even power a MacBook, or any other laptop that supports USB-C charging. As you would expect from Goal Zero, this battery pack can be charged via a solar panel as well, making it perfect for backpacking, camping, and travel. The Sherpa 100 PD goes on sale on July 2 for $169.95.
Tecnica Origin Custom Trail Running Shoes
Two years ago, Tecnica redefined outdoor footwear when it introduced a quick and easy way to make hiking boots that were customized for individual hikers. This year, the company brought that same technology to its new Origin trail running shoes. With Tecnica’s proprietary shoe molding system, retailers can create custom running shoes that are fitted directly from the contours of a runner’s own feet. The process takes just 15 minutes and results in comfortable and form-fitting shoes that feel more natural on your feet. The Tecnica Origin trail running shoes are priced at $170.
Peak Designs Travel Tripod
Peak Designs has been making outstanding gear for photographers for a long time now, so it should come as no surprise that its new Travel Tripod is a fantastic product. The tripod, which brought in more than $7 million on Kickstarter, somehow manages to meld durability, stability, and precision craftsmanship into a single product that shrinks down to a surprisingly small size. The Tripod weighs just 2.8 pounds and is 15.5 inches in length when packed down for transport. But when deployed in the field, it expands to a height of 5 feet and can support a payload of 20 pounds. Built to support DSLR cameras, this is the tripod that adventure travel and outdoor photographers have been waiting for. An aluminum version will sell for $399 while the carbon fiber model will retail for $599. Both go on sale in December.
Zero Breeze Portable Air Conditioner
If you love camping but hate the summer heat, then the Zero Breeze portable air conditioner may be exactly what you’re looking for. The device is powered by a portable power station or an optional add-on battery and is capable of putting out 2300 BTUs of cooling power to help lower the temperature inside a tent, van, or RV. The AC unit is surprisingly quick and efficient, reducing the temperature inside a small space by 30ºF in less than 10 minutes. It’s also extremely quiet, ensuring you can get a good night’s sleep even while it’s cooling the interior of your tent. The Zero Breeze portable air conditioner will launch on Kickstarter on July 2 and will sell for around $800 when it’s released.
Eagle Creek Caldera Collection Luggage
It takes something special for a set of luggage to grab our attention, but that’s exactly what you get from the new Caldera Collection from Eagle Creek. The entire line of products is made from 100% recycled Cordura and comes with a PFC-free durable water resistant coating. The larger pieces also feature a crush-proof back and handles to keep fragile items safe. But the most impressive feature of all is the integrated NFC technology that allows a traveler to use their smartphone to scan their luggage prior to setting off on a trip and after reaching their destination. That data is then uploaded to a specially designed website that will “gamify” travel by creating a leaderboard listing those who have traveled most often and furthest. The system will also create a rewards program that will give globe-trotters the opportunity to earn prizes as well as carbon offsets to help nullify the impact of their travels. The Eagle Creek Caldera Collection will be available January 1.
Primus Firestick Stove
Ultralight backpackers and backcountry campers may have found the Holy Grail of camp stoves in the form of the new Primus Firestick. Weighing in at just 3.1 ounces and measuring 4 inches in length, this new stove connects directly to the top of a fuel canister, delivering more than 8500 BTUs of heat. The stove’s unique design allows it to remain stable even with large cooking pots in place and yet when packed down it takes up almost no room in a pack. The Firestick also manages to provide excellent wind protection and has an impressive level of efficiency, stretching the life of that fuel canister to its limits. Primus says the new stove will ship in the spring of 2020 in two models, a $90 steel version and $120 titanium edition. The latter of which adds durability and cuts a half-ounce from the overall weight.
Kathmandu Connect Smart Pack
It takes a lot for a backpack to stand out from the crowd at Outdoor Retailer, but the Kathmandu Connect Smart Pack uses some exciting tech features to rise above the competition. It comes equipped with a built-in 6200 mAh battery pack that can be used to charge smartphones, tablets, and other devices. It also features LED lights that illuminate the interior and an anti-theft system that sounds an alarm when the bag is moved too far away from its owner. Other perks include both laptop and tablet sleeves, a spacious main compartment, and plenty of organizational pockets too. The pack just started shipping in Australia and New Zealand and will arrive in the U.S. soon.
Merrell Whisper Rain Jacket
Modern rain jackets are very good at keeping you warm and dry, even in a torrential downpour. But the technical fabrics used in the construction of those jackets can be surprisingly noisy, which isn’t really a good thing when you’re looking to enjoy the great outdoors. Merrell is looking to change that with the new Whisper Rain jacket, which uses soft fabrics that offer outstanding performance without all of the sounds that are typically associated with a rain shell. The Whisper Rain is extremely quiet while still providing the wearer the ability to move freely and comfortably. The jacket is scheduled for release in the spring of 2020.
Knog Battery Packs and Modular Accessories
A newcomer to the OR show, Knog nevertheless left a good impression. The company has developed a modular system of battery packs and accessories that provide a lot of functionality for travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. The power banks, which come in small, medium, and large sizes, don’t just provide a charge for your smartphone, but also power flashlights, camp lanterns, a Bluetooth speaker, and other useful items. There’s even a super-bright headlamp made for mountain bikers that can produce as much as 900 lumens of light. The Australian gear manufacturer intends to bring the entire line-up stateside in a few months time, along with its lightweight and versatile Bandicoot headlamp too.
HydraCell Lantern and Charger
Camping lanterns with USB ports for charging our devices in the backcountry were a common sight at this year’s Outdoor Retailer, although HydraCell still managed to catch our attention. This device uses a small amount of water to create an electrical charge that can be used to power the lantern itself. That same energy can also power up a smartphone as well. This eco-friendly process is nontoxic, has a longer shelf life than regular batteries, and provides a steady stream of power. The lantern comes with 12 LED lights and is bright, lightweight, and easy to operate.