Outdoor Retailer Winter Market "Best in Show Awards" - Part 1

I just returned from Salt Lake City after four days of traversing the ginormous Outdoor Retailer Trade Show.  With over 1000 brands, 20000 attendees and literally millions of products, it's hard to find more gear under one roof anywhere else on the planet. This is part one of our "Best in Show Awards"

Sierra Designs launched a new line featuring what they call DriDown.  The thought of taking down sleeping bags and jackets into canoe country has long been one that evokes nightmares.  There was lots of talk of "nano-technology" and "change on a molecular level", that made my head hurt, but based on their demonstrations this stuff really works.  SD stopped short of calling it "waterproof", but for the first time ever I dare to bring a down bag into the BWCA.

Petzl makes a wide range of headlamps for a variety of different uses.  Their newest are brighter and more efficient than ever, some throwing out well over 200 lumens of blinding light.  The one that caught my eye however was designed as an emergency light.  Tiny, waterproof and bright enough (about 40 lumens), it makes the larger, more cumbersome headlamps seem silly for around camp.

How many times have you had to remove your gloves to answer your phone or operate your touch screen device? Well, not any more.  A number of brands are touting gloves utilizing TouchTec leather that will work on touch screens.  My personal favorites from the show were from Dakine.  They were the most comfortable and least limiting in range of motion, and I was able to operate my iPhone without issue.

Continuing the Barefoot trend, but ready for amphibious use are the Merrell Water Current Gloves.  Minimalist, uber-light and at home in and out of the water, these could be my new BWCA shoe of choice.  Now if I could just find a lake that isn't frozen solid...

Garmont's Momentum IceLock boots are a blend of hiking boot and bomber winter boot.  Good looking and incredibly warm, these boots are light and fast and grip ice like Spider-man.  The outsole is embedded with tiny fiber glass shards to improve grip as much as 600% on icy surfaces.  Say goodbye to spikes.

Winter Sandals?  Yup!  Sanuk will be delivering a line of boots for winter 2012/13 that are guaranteed to keep your feet happy.  As if I needed any more reasons to love this brand, they just keep the goods coming. I'm just sad we have to wait until fall to get our hands on a pair...

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  More OR Show highlights to come, so stay tuned...

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