This year’s summer show was a bit different for us. Instead of booking four solid days of appointments spaced 30 minutes apart, we kept our afternoons open to meet with as many new exhibitors as we could. This strategy was somewhat hit and miss for us. Since we had a family wedding to attend on the last day of the show, that only left us three days. With a quarter of our time already cut out, we had to make some hard choices, which included passing up on appointments with some of our favorite brands. We’ll still be able to write about them, but it’s not the same as getting that hands-on time with their newest gear.
Of course, the upside is that we’ll get to share with our readers some really exciting new products. We saw advances in solar and portable power, including creating electricity via hydrogen. Backpacks continue to evolve in two directions – either lighter, or more feature-laden. Both are good, depending on your goals. For through-hikers and anyone covering a lot of distance, low weight means everything. If you’re out with the family for a long weekend, staying organized is key, especially if you’re the one carrying gear for not just yourself, but the kids too. We brought home a Scrubba sample, which is a portable washing machine for campers and travelers. At one booth, an informative video demonstrated a system for brewing beer in about three minutes in a bottle sized perfectly for camping and backpacking. The Braven rep poured water into a portable speaker, then tossed it into the air to demonstrate durability. Industrial Revolution showed us so much new stuff, we’ll need a few days to cover it all. Chia seeds have been incorporated into more nutritious and tasty products. Or how about a protein bar with bison and cranberries?
As the Pavilion area continues to grow, we’re seeing more companies new to the industry, as well as established brands expanding into outdoor gear. Forsake Shoes made it into production, and had a full line on display. Zippo has long been known for their lighters, but also presented some great products for camping. Back on the main floor, we saw Jetboil’s new Joule, capable of bring a liter or water to boil in under three minutes. There was no shortage of knives and tools either. And in an effort to appeal to our female readers, Mrs. Outsider visited with Overland, Ahnu, and Aventura. Pelican showed us their powerful yet compact LED lights, durable cases for everything, and their new backpack series that includes some outstanding models for carrying photo gear plus a laptop. STM bags and Geigerrig didn’t disappoint either – watch for new products from them as well. Pacsafe stepped up their security even more, keeping your belongings safe whether going to work and back, or backpacking across Europe.
Even though we only had three days, we saw plenty. So keep checking back for the latest on the greatest. And if an image is still worth a thousand words, search Instagram for Industry_outsider to see all of our show photos (some are displayed to the left of this article), which should hold you over until the articles get written.