First up was the Camber Outdoors Breakfast with a panel: An Industry Reimagined: A Conversation with Donna Carpenter, CEO Burton, Sally McCoy, former CEO CamelBak, Jerry Stritzke, CEO REI, and Jim Weber, CEO Brooks Running. Interesting thoughts but even more interesting conversation with Tanya and Travis about the “requirement” to have women in company leadership and on the board in order to maximize profits. Devil’s Advocate: What if you’re already satisfied with your profits? Anyhoo….
Osprey was up first, with a specific agenda on my mind: finding a carry on backpack that would also work for 4-5 days of hut to hut trekking in Iceland. Turns out it’s not so easy – most brands focus either on the carry on size or the trekking aspect. I hung back and looked at a bunch of backpacks that may or may not work. I’ll need to make time to head to my local REI to do some fit testing and see where this goes. (Forgot to take photos yet again.)
Up next, the folks at Jam Collective walked us through new offerings from Sunski and Snowpeak.
Sunski is a company that is clearly having a good time, makes both standard and funky glasses, and is thinking big thoughts about sustainability. 100% recycled sunglasses – in the offing. Less wasteful packaging – coming soon to a store near you. If you’re a big-faced person like me, check out their Novarra glasses, cool looking and great fitting.
If I were a very seriously wealthy person, I think I’d have a lot of Snowpeak products in my house and in my backpack. Probably the coolest gear for home or car camping use, this is highly technical, forward thinking, and maybe out of your price range. Definitely in the covet column.
I definitely went to Olukai with a specific intention – checking out their slippers for end of day use for my upcoming Iceland trek with Missouri Howell. The slippers are a definite go, but I was also amazed at the breadth and depth that Kate of Groundswell PR showed me. Besides the amazing slippers, they also have super cool flip-flops, and shoes for men, women, and kids (maybe my faves).
Even though I didn’t have an appointment at Fjällräven (or Fjallraven for ‘Muricans), I walked through and ended up meeting one of their marketing folks, who promised to forward my contact info to their PR company, Rygr. While they have many, many, many cool products, my eye is squarely on the KEB Touring trousers for, you guessed it, my upcoming Iceland trek. (Some days I’m so obvious.) (Also, these pants may or not be the KEB touring trousers, as those are shown insulated on their website…)
A chance encounter (a salesperson literally reached out to me and dragged me into the booth, THAT’s how companies should be doing business at the ORShow) introduced me to Outdoor Element, an up and coming Colorado company. They have a survival bracelet as a product, but even cooler was their new Firebiner. An Every Day Carry, this is a carabiner with a lighter, knife, flat head screwdriver, key fob, and a bottle opener. I grabbed a sample in their Aurora colorway, gorgeous piece of gear.
Connecting again with Missouri Howell, we met up with Free Country, a brand you’ve probably seen but haven’t heard of. Their mission is to provide technical gear at affordable prices, and they sell through stores like JCP, Walmart, and Costco (if I remember correctly). they’ve decided to lift up the covers of anonymity and come out into the light. If you are interested in saving money by not buying brand name gear but still getting good performance, check them out, especially if you have children.
Last but not least, I met with Pacsafe. Due to a miscommunication with July of Jam Collective (sorry!), the guys in the booth walked me through their products, which focus on protecting your things while on travel. My main focus was (you guessed it, Iceland!) a carry on sized bag that looked like it would be comfortable for a few days of trekking, the Venturesafe X40 Plus Anti-Theft 40L Multi-Purpose Backpack. It looks like it could be a real contender, but only testing and time will tell.
I think I met with a few other brands, but the facts escape me at the moment. I do know that, even though my choices often get pooh-poohed, we ended up at Henry’s Tavern for dinner, adding Kami of Osprey to our group. The highlight of the evening wasn’t the food or drink (though both were very good), but Mike Off The Map getting carded. Hahahahahahahahaha! Our young friend.
And thus ended another fine day at ORShow. Sunday, funday coming up.