The twice-annual Outdoor Retailer trade show held in Salt Lake City is an exhibition of to-be-released outdoors equipment from manufacturers around the world. After six days in Utah last week – demoing new gear, skiing powder, walking the trade show floor – a few items began to surface as the best new products from the show. Here are five of my top picks.
Kid helmet/goggle package – Smith’s Cosmos/Galaxy helmet and goggle package costs $80. What you get for that is a youth ski helmet and goggles made to work together.
Instead of an elastic strap on the back of the helmet, the system uses a magnet-and-buckle design to let the goggles snap into place. The Smith promise: “Even the youngest of rippers can now put on and adjust goggles by themselves.” Info: smithoptics.com
Bike tool – Forged out of titanium and weighing an unnoticeable 19 grams, the MAKO Bike Tool, $69. is a simple and ultra-light solution for ad hoc bike repair on the road or singletrack trail. It has neoprene inserts that hold four driver bits. On the tool’s body are slots and cut-outs to create metric box wrench sizes, spoke wrenches and other crucial tools to fix your bike. Info: pockettoolx.com
Speed climber knife – Take one of the top alpinists on the planet and give him free rein to design an ultimate knife for his job. That’s the liberty Wenger gave to climber Ueli Steck, whose signature knife – the Ueli Steck Special Edition Swiss Army Knife, $200 – offers a large blade with bolt-head wrenches, titanium handles and a file to hone an ice pick in the field. Info: www.wengerna.com
Tarahumara sandal shoe – GoLite Footwear’s Tara Lite running shoe, $115, is said to have been inspired by the Tarahumara tribes of Mexico, a native group known for their distance running skills who wear minimal thong-style sandals. The GoLite shoe has a unique flexible sole and a soft upper.
The kicker: Inside the shoe, separating your big toe from the rest, there’s an internal sandal post that keeps your foot from moving too much and helps the flexible shoe fit snugly. Info: golite-footwear.com
Backcountry vest – Made to replace a backpack, the Powder Guide Vest, $189, from The North Face has pockets, zippers, straps and holsters to hold a litany of gear. It was built specifically for backcountry skiing and snowboarding.
The vest includes a shovel slot, avalanche probe pockets, a media pocket and straps for carrying skis or a snowboard on back. Info: thenorthface.com
On the Net: gearjunkie.com