Outdoor Retailer Day 2 started with the annual Conservation Alliance Breakfast, with Tanya of Dirty Yellow Shorts (subscribe to her newsletter!) for company until some creeper came and sat on the empty chair between us, which we were using as food storage. Congratulations to all for supporting land conservation, dam removals, and other environmental victories, with much, much more work to do. Keynote speakers were Kevin Fedarko and Pete McBride, who detailed their year-long (I think?) hike the length of the Grand Canyon. Their talk really made people think about indigenous rights, whether all people should have equal rights to nature (even if they want to ride a tram to see it), and how the length of the Grand Canyon is one hell of a hike. Parts of it even sounded appealing, haha.
Day 2 also marked the appearance of Missouri Howell, always great to hang out with him.
Outdoor Retailer Day 2 appointments started off with a bang as Logan of Groundswell PR took us through the new lines of Mountainsmith camera backpacks. Well designed and apparently crazy functional, my eyes were drawn to the T.A.N. series designed with input from crazy cool photog Chris Burkard, nice blend of military toughness and outdoor chic.
Up next, Carl from Backbone Media forgave me a scheduling snafu and gave me a quick look at Big Agnes‘ Farrington (filled with compressible PrimaLoft Silver insulation) and McKinnis (filled with highly compressible DownTek insulation) sleeping bag liners. These lightly insulated liners will be the perfect thing to bring on this Fall’s Iceland hut to hut trek in lieu of a sleeping bag or quilt. Hurrying as we were, I totally forgot to take photos (this was to become a theme for this year’s ORShow.)
Up next was an annual fave, the Jam Collective Lunch, this year with Otterbox and Vasque. Besides amazing Mexican food from Tamayo, updates to classic hiking boots were served up by Vasque. Otterbox premiered one of the big hits at the Show, softsided coolers that people lined up en masse for a chance to take one home.
Outdoor writer Shawnté Salabert signed copies of her Pacific Crest Trail section hiking book, Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Southern California: Section Hiking From Campo To Tuolumne Meadows. With Mountaineers Books, you certainly get your money’s worth on the title alone. I’m not sure when or if I’ll hike the PCT, but I’ve been pushing her to write a guidebook for the Ice Age Trail, so that’s something to look forward to if it were to happen.
Up next was a grouping of Darby Comm clients and Isaac did a great job walking me through them.
Starting with Industrial Rev, cool new lightweight headlamps and nifty car camping lanterns are on tap from Uco, and also a super sexy Garberg Black Carbon full tang knife from Morakniv. Want.it.all.
Ecōths is a town more than trail brand that is doing great things with organic cotton. I can easily see myself wearing these clothes for errands, maybe a hike in the local preserve, or hanging out with friends. We can’t always wear trekking pants and flannel shirts, right?
Astral was a brand I was super excited about seeing. They are doing fun things with paddling footwear and I love the Rasta colors they bring to some of their shoes. For the Iceland trek, I thought their kickass flip flop, the Filipe, would be perfect, as it has an optional heel strap which would keep me from losing them during icy stream crossings.
It’s been many years since I thought about Headsweats, but they are still doing lightweight and technical headwear, only on a much bigger scale now. I’m a fan of Sasquatch, and they’ve brought that image into a bunch of their items, so that makes me a fan of theirs now.
Smartwool has long been a go-to sock for me, I think that merino is an awesome material and they do a great job with it. Big for them this year is an expanded selection of apparel of mixed materials. My favorites were their Echo Lake (?), in a cool motorcycle jacket design, and what I call their Onesie Baselayer, a merino Union suit that will probably end up in every one’s gear closet.
At some point during the day, I happened across O Meals, a MRE for the outdoor tribe. Great flavors, self-heating (just add liquid), these may be the perfect solution for the Iceland trek. No need to bring to a stove or carry fuel. I got to taste their new proposed flavors, all (if I remember correctly) in the Indian vein and all delicious. A company to watch and support.
I also got to hang out with our buddy Landon, who provided us with Honeyville samples. While the company has long been popular with preppers and survivalists (is there a difference?), they are poised to make a move into the outdoors industry. A new packaging design, varying sizes, and a re-brand should give them a strong presence once launched. They are also working on some cool grain and flour products that sound promising.
After giggling over the Tinkle Belle (a female stand up urinating device), we headed over to the Denver Diner, a strangely empty classic diner right behind the Convention Center. I bet if they were out the front door they’d be mobbed. Good basic food, reasonable prices, the meal was marred only by Missouri Howell’s insistence that taking photos of food is ridiculous. Well, maybe.
And that, as they say, was that.