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One of the really cool components of the Outdoor Retailer Show is Outdoor Demo Days, which this year was two days at a mountain lake near Salt Lake City, where we had a chance to try out (demo) all kinds of watercraft. There were lots of hard and soft shell kayaks, inflatable boats, canoes, pedal boats, pack boats, paddle boards – you name it. We tested some Kevlar canoes from Confluence and Bell that weighed just forty-seven pounds for an eighteen-foot boat – I guess we can always dream!
At winter Outdoor Demo, we get to test gear for snow sports at a nearby ski area – skis (downhill, cross-country, and everything in between), snowboards, snowshoes, and some insulated footwear, etc.
In addition to giving us (the media and retailers) the opportunity for some hands-on testing, there are quite a few other booths at Demo Days showcasing accessories for water sports in summer and snow sports in winter, and then there’s a bunch of vendors who simply want to get more visibility for their latest products. Manufacturers normally feature new or updated gear to attract attention and hopefully get more people to visit their booth at the Outdoor Retailer Show.
Speaking of the OR Show, this summer there are about 4,000 vendors displaying their products to nearly 40,000 attendees. That’s huge, and obviously it’s hard to see everything. The Show is a lot like a competition among birds of paradise: flashy. Exhibitors do some amazing things to attract attention to their booths, like signs and banners high in the air and every other attention-getting device you can think of. Overall, it’s the show of shows for kindred souls who derive pure joy from perusing what’s new in the outdoor industry. Check out the accompanying photos for more details.
Vendor booths at Open Air Demo feature everything from footwear to electronics. Activities included a GPS treasure hunt and a fun run.
Vendors in the watercraft demo area rolled out the red carpet for testers. It was located on a boat ramp leading down to the lake.
Boat testers ply the water while others look over the latest craft.
Nearly every boat manufacturer was there with endless types and variations of watercraft.
As the day moved on, the water became crowded with boat testers. The standing paddle boards were popular.