The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, known affectionately as Winter OR, is the outdoor industry’s largest trade show. Twice a year retailers, distributors and members of the media gather in Salt Lake City to check out the brands, gear and emerging industry trends for the year ahead. Our team spent four days scouring the show room floor seeking out the best gear for the year ahead. Following is our list of the very best gear from Winter OR 2014.
Tubbs Flex VRT Snowshoe
When we strap on a pair of snowshoes and head into the great white abyss of winter, there are a few mandatory requirements with durability, comfort and performance being topping the list. Enter the new FLEX VRT (Vertical) from Tubbs. DynamicFit™ binding with the Boa® Closure System produces evenly distributed tension around your boot for ultimate precision. The FLEX Tail™ design eases stress on your joints, while an exceptional traction system keeps you upright on everything from steep grades and sketchy traverses to mellow hills and crusty flats.
Available Fall 2014. MSRP: $249.95
Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access
A lot of packs boast high volume and low weight. Few can make these claims in a full-featured, well organized pack. The new Nimbus Trace Access not only offers huge capacity and stellar storage, but features the very first 3D molded, maple-core composite laminate frame sheet. Add, since it tips the scales at just a hair over four pounds you’ve got an ideal expedition pack for longer, unsupported treks that is lightweight and highly functional.
Available Spring 2014; MSRP $349.95
The newest trend in outdoor apparel is the blending of goose down and synthetic fill to attain a higher level of performance. Icebreaker has taken a different approach with the introduction of MerinoLOFT. This new lightweight insulation is created from premium, ethically-sourced wool fibers and will debut for Fall 2014 in Icebreaker’s line of technical and lifestyle jackets. Ten percent of the loft comes from recycled merino offcuts salvaged from the factory floor, while the jackets’ water repellent shell is made from recycled polyester. The result is Icebreaker’s warmest-ever jackets.
Available Fall 2014; MSRP Dependent Upon Garment
Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed
Sierra Designs has been busy challenging the conventional wisdom of traditional outdoor gear, and the new Backcountry Bed is a prime example. Say so long to zippers, patches of velcro and the rest of traditional sleeping bag features that can poke and prod in your night under the stars. Say hello to the best outdoor sleeping experience of your trail traipsing career.
Available Spring 2014; MSRP: 2-season $349 and 3-season $399
Helly Hansen Odin Randonee CIS Jacket
The Odin series from Helly Hansen is named after the chief divinity of the Norse pantheon for a reason, it has consistently proven to be top shelf mountain apparel. New for Fall/Winter 2014/15, Helly Hansen reinvents their Component Insulation System (CIS) technology with a versatile collection of interchangeable three-in-one outdoor jackets. The Odin Randonee CIS Jacket was our favorite featuring a waterproof breathable shell with a PrimaLoft® Black-insulated, zip-in midlayer. Even better, a price point that makes it accessible for almost every outdoor enthusiast.
Available Fall 2014; MSRP $350.
Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp
The traditional design paradigm of tent manufacturing is changing. Convention is being replaced with versatility and leading the evolution of change is the Escapist Tarp from Sea to Summit. Offering an array of super-light shelter options for minimalists’ adventurers, the Escapists Tarp is made from the same seam-sealed waterproof 15D Ultra-Sil Nano fabric as the brand’s dry-bags. For basic cover, pitch the Escapist tarp with your trekking poles. For greater protection, pair with the Escapist mesh inner. Minimum weight, maximum versatility.
Available Spring 2014. MSRP: $199
Salomon S-Lab Hybrid Jacket
Running isn’t a walk in the park. It’s a life journey that forces you to push your limits and challenge the elements, so you need a jacket that’s as tough as nails and as light as helium on a diet. Salomon’s new S-Lab Hybrid jacket is a feather-light 120 grams, with a close-fitting hood, a ‘Quick Stash’ waist and 360 degree stretch panel that allows you to take off the jacket and wear it like a belt, without stopping. And since weather can change from great to miserable in the blink of an eye, especially if you’re near the mountains, the S-Lab has waterproof panels. If you love running the trail, this jacket is the total package. Ready, set RUN.
Available Fall 2014. MSRP: $275
STANLEY Classic Vacuum Pint (16oz).
From our perspective, few things are worse than a warm beer. Enter the goodness of the new vacuum insulated stainless steel pint from STANLEY. It keeps your nectar of the gods cold for 4.5 hours. True, it won’t take you that long to finish your beer, but it’s nice to know that your beer will be ice-cold however long it takes you to finish. Pint includes a press fit lid with a built-in removable bottle opener.
Available Fall 2014. MSRP: $23
Incognito Flexible Flask from Vapur
Vapur is bringing their flexible philosophy to the spirits category, and the beneficiary is you. As any outdoor enthusiast will tell you, the only thing better than making the summit, is celebrating that accomplishment with a splash of finely aged American whisky. Now, thanks to the Vapur 300ml Incognito Flask, you don’t have to lug the traditional bulky flask up the hill for your post summit celebration. Coming in at under $10, it’s also the best bargain around.
Available Spring 2014; MSRP: $6.99
KEEN Durand WP
KEEN has well-established itself as an adventure ready brand with a line of comfortable and durable shoes ready for a life on the trail. This Fall, KEEN adds to their line with the new Durand. Featuring a unique direct-inject construction technique that attaches a waterproof Nubuck leather and breathable mesh upper directly to the midsole, the Durand offers unprecedented durability with traditional KEEN comfort and protection. But what truly sets this boot apart for our team is that it’s built right here in the USA just five miles from KEEN’s headquarters in Portland, Oregon.
Available Fall 2014; MSRP $180 mid/ $160 low
Altra Olympus Trail Running Shoe
There’s a fine line between too much and too little protection when you’re grinding out a long run on the trail. The new Olympus Trail Running Shoe from Altra strikes an excellent balance of comfort and performance as the only trail shoe with a foot-shaped toe box and max-cushioned Zero Drop platform.
Available now; MSRP $130
Sugoi’s Zap Bike Collection
With the Zap Bike Jacket, SUGOI opens the door to a new era of visual technology. Sugoi utilizes a new Pixel Woven fabric, which provides explosive visibility and water protection when conditions get ugly. Gone are the days of small hits of reflectivity, or reflective highlights. Entirely constructed of the Pixel fabric, the entire garment becomes a source of visibility, via micro-glass beads applied to the woven fabric shell.
Available Fall 2014. MSRP: $150