The first ever Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2018 just wrapped up here in Denver.
Engearment was there to cover the event with a full crew of writers. From Allied Feathers and BUFF to Wigwam and Woolmark, and everything in-between. Soft goods, eco-friendly technology, and innovation was the focus of this show. With no hard goods (skis, snowboard, splitboards) we were able to spend more time interviewing companies. Learning about their missions and seeing what they are working on for 2019. Below are some of our favorite meetings. Grab a coffee and enjoy!
Mammut – Backcountry Safety
Mammut is a Swiss company (founded in 1862) that has really impressed us with their dedication to backcountry safety. Personally, I use the Barryvox beacon when splitboarding. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the new firmware updates can be shared between beacons now. Check out the video below as Dave from Mammut shows us how to update the firmware on two Barryvox beacons. This is really impressive to me. Instead of sending the beacon into Mammut (or authorized Mammut service shop) to get updated, we can now share the updated, wirelessly. So, I brought my personal avalanche beacon for this video. Note – anyone else in the Denver area with a Barryvoox beacon, let’s link up and update your firmware!
Mammut Alugator Pro Shovel and Probe
New for 2019, Mammut offers some new colors for the Alugaror shovel. They also meet a more strict standard for shovels. Good news if you ever have to use it in firm snow and ice. The new probe will be an update and feature a cam mechanism. Carbon Probe 280 and 320 as well as 240 and 280 aluminum probes.
Mammut RAS and PAS Airbag overview
Norrona – Trollveggen 950 Down Jacket
Norrona makes high-end jackets, pants, bibs, and clothes for those who really get after it. In the first video, Brian of Norrona goes over the Trollveggen ACE line 950 fill belay jacket and introduces recycled Gore-Tex in the line-up. Featuring some technology from NASA as well. This jacket might not be on your radar, but it helps introduce the technology to the market and allows other companies to see what is possible. Entering the Earth’s atmosphere in Fall 2019.
Norrona Insulation and Recycled Gore-Tex preview for 2019
Salomon Shoes – SpeedCross 5, Supercross X Alpine Pro, and other grippy trail runners
Emily from Salomon shoes us some upcoming shoes from Salomon. Speedcross gets a wider platform and some new models to look forward to in 2019. Supercross enters the market as a mid-priced trail runner and the X Alpine enters for the summit baggers. Outblast TS CS waterproof has you covered with 200 grams of Thinsulate insualtion.
Big Agnes Axl Trail Boss sleeping pad – Winter Ready
I have ripped many sleeping pads over the years, mainly due to my dogs or rocks getting under the pad. The Axl Trail Boss from Big Agnes eliminates this issue. They took the Axl sleeping pad and beefed it up. Made of the same material used in airline escape slides, it can handle some major abuse. Plus, it is rated to 0 degrees. Perfect for winter camping.
Pakems – Packable apres shoes
We were really impressed with Colorado company Pakems. This former lawyer designed the coolest packable shoes. Insulated, packable and functional. These are at the top of our holiday wish list.
Cotopaxi – Gear for Good
Jess and Mass go over what is new for 2019 from Cotopaxi. Known for using materials from all over, to create funky and functional clothes. Cotopaxi makes some really fun gear.
Matador – Super packable and super functional gear
This company really impressed us with the thoughtfulness of their designs. Somehow, Matador is able to create packable backpacks, duffle bags and essential kit that actually works well and looks good. Made of Cordura fabric so it will last.
This was like “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” meets gear. Mind-blowing. Look for many of these items in the upcoming Holiday Gear Guide.
Theragun – Percussive Therapy Fitness Device
All the fun activities we do outside would not be possible without fitness and recovery. The Theragun is a percussive therapy fitness device to help keep tissues and muscles operating well. It looks a bit like a jigsaw, but the function and effect are legit. If people like Jeremy Jones and Johny Collinson use it, then you know it is good. I had a chance to deep dive into the science with Alicia from Theragun. Then get a double back massage. Ahhh, it felt good 🙂
Mystery Ranch – Assault, Sceptor, Mission Rover and more
We saved one of our favorites last. Mystery Ranch always impresses us with their load carrying systems and clever designs for backpacks. We really liked the Patrol splitboard and backcountry ski backpack last year. They take that idea and improve upon it for 2019. Introducing the Gallatin Peak 40 backcountry backpack. Check it out below. Alex, the vice president of Mystery Ranch goes over the features.
Sceptor ice climbing pack
New for 2019, the Sceptor comes in two sizes and is ready for going up. Lighter weight fabrics – 330L Cordura – and removable frame stays make this a versatile pack.
Mission Rover Travel Bag
The Mission Rover is a stellar travel bag that plays nicely in the airplane overhead compartment. This is actually going to be featured in our Holiday Gear Guide as well. I have been using it for the last few months and am impressed. Alex goes over some of the features in the video below.
Everyday carry bag – Urban Assault 24 liter
The Assault line gets some updates for next year. In addition to the best-selling Assault 21, they are adding a 24 liter every day carry backpack (looks awesome too) and a military-inspired 2-day version. The triple zipper design is really amazing as well. Allowing the user to open the bag with ease. I love the Robo Flip every day carry backpack (see review here) so I think I will fall in love with the Assault 24.
Woolmark – Aussie Wool Group
One of the most fascinating meetings we had at OR was with Woolmark. They are responsible for finding new ways for using Aussie wool and creating best practices. I had no idea that 90% of the worlds merino wool came from Australia. I had assumed it came from New Zealand.
Woolmark works with a lot of major brands to develop great gear. This next season features Black Diamond, Pearl Izumi, Tracksmith and Burton (among many others). Aaron and I have been testing out the Black Diamond Rythym Tee and loving it. Look for a full write up on Woolmark in the coming weeks, here on Engearment.com. More to wool than grandma’s itchy sweater!
Drift snowshoe solution
Aaron and I met with Drift to see what they are all about. Turns out, they are much like us and love snowboarding in powder. We are currently deep testing the Drift setup out, so look for a detailed review very soon. Initial impressions have been very good. Drift is a carbon fiber “snowshoe” with built-in skins. This allows for glide. If you are a backcountry skier or splitboarder, you know how much more efficient gliding is over snowshoes.
Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2018 Summary
The first ever Winter Market was a success. It was not as frenzied as the Summer and Winter shows can be. We talked to many vendors who actually placed more orders at this show, than others. So that should count as a win/win for the show. Engearment benefited from the slower pace by having more time to interview companies. Enjoying the conversations instead of rushing all over the place.