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Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015 Wrap-up


For a buyer from a local outdoor store, the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show is serious work; they may place orders for $500K of new merchandise for their store, so they need to choose carefully. For media folks, like us, it’s a big treasure hunt to find gear of interest for lightweight and ultralight outdoor pursuits. For a gear-head, it’s nirvana being emerged in the latest and greatest gear for four days. And it’s also very social; we get to meet up with all of our friends in the industry we have known for 10 years.

In previous years we put in 18-hour days, roaming the show during the day and writing late into the night. Amazingly, we put out some good coverage, in spite of limited time and consciousness. Now we write our coverage after we get home; it may be delayed a few days, but hopefully the organization and depth will be better.

Most of the gear we report on are evolutionary improvements on existing gear, where gear is made better by incorporating new designs, technologies, and materials. Revolutionary new gear only turns up once in awhile. The outdoor industry is really driving hard to develop new and better products, and weight reduction is part of the equation. They never fail to impress us. We continue to find lighter sleeping bags, packs, shelters, footwear, and apparel - everything just keeps getting lighter and better.

Following, in no particular order, are our findings from Summer OR, held August 4-8, 2015. Items featured will be available in spring 2016 unless stated otherwise. Weights are for men’s size Medium apparel or size 9 footwear. Note: for more information on any of the items featured, simply Google the name and experience the wonders of the internet.

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By Will Rietveld

Will Rietveld Ph.D, Senior Editor for Gear and Apparel, joined the BPL staff in April 2004. In his former career, Will was a research scientist, project manager, and R&D program administrator. Now retired, he lives in southern Colorado where he takes up a new career of backpacking year-round in the mountains and canyon country of the Southwest. During the summer months Will and his wife Janet are volunteer wilderness rangers in the Weminuche Wilderness. He has been a lightweight backpacker for 52 years and an ultralight backpacker for 13 years.

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