Between old favorites, new products, and the constant innovation going on in the outdoor recreation industry, the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market show can be a bit overwhelming. So while we are sharing some of our favorites, don’t take this list as a “best of” in any way. It’s simply some of the companies and gear that we’re excited to see and share with our readers over the coming months. And there is plenty of variety across different categories.
“Made in America” means a lot to us. We’ll always go out of our way to showcase companies that feel the same way.
One of our first appointments was Crescent Moon snowshoes. Jake hit all the key points important to us – outstanding product design (their SPL single-pull loop binding), cutting-edge use of technology (carbon fiber is an option from Crescent Moon), and American manufacturing with plenty of care taken to minimize environmental impact. An exciting new option from Crescent Moon will be the ability to custom design your own snowshoes online, and have them shipped out the following day. That’s something that will never be available from companies that choose to send jobs overseas.
Although our visit at Frost River was a bit short, we learned quite a bit about their line of waxed canvas goods, with real leather trim, and solid brass hardware. Made in America, the while line can be summed up with two words – heritage and heirloom. Whether it’s a backpack, briefcase, or canoe packs, they all show the hallmarks of design and construction passed down from generation to generation. And the finished products will surely be passed down as well.
As a photographer, I was more than pleased to see accessories for amateurs and pros alike. Here are my top three in that category.
Mountainsmith has always been a favorite for backpacks and gear bags, but they have outdone themselves with their new line of camera bags and packs. Designed with input from Andy Mann, contributing photographer for National Geographic, they safely hold your cameras and other gear, and are packed with useful features. Best of all, they don’t scream “expensive photo gear”, which is nice when you’re traveling.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, it seems as though Peak Design is taking the photography world by storm. If you’re a photographer, you’ve got to check out their innovative line. From the Capture Camera Clips to smart camera straps – the Leash and Cuff, they make products that hold your camera secure and keep them accessible, so you don’t miss that decisive moment.
Great photographs frequently require the use of a tripod. MeFOTO offers tripods with pro-grade features at very reasonable prices. Their Backpacker weighs only 2.6 pounds, extends over 4 feet, and comes in 8 colors. For larger cameras and lenses, their Road Trip is only one pound more, has as many color option, exceeds 5 feet at the max height, and quickly converts to a tripod by removing one leg and attached the ball head to it. They also offer bigger and smaller options, with carbon fiber in the two largest tripods.
Three more that struck us with their new approach to existing products. They didn’t reinvent the wheel, they just made it better.
Previously, any attempt to combine a mountain bike with skis or a snowboard was an expensive failure. BikeBoards came up with a simple solution that can expand your riding season, and open up new winter opportunities.
With a keen understanding of the performance benefits that bamboo brings to textiles, tasc Performance offers clothing for working out or playing outdoors. Their bamboo and Merino wool blends were soft, yet made for playing hard. Visit their site to see awesome clothing for men and women, and learn why you should be wearing this incredible fiber.
Add some fun around the fire with Fire Fishing Poles and Crank-Eez from FireBuggz. Yes, they make other products for your fire pit and campfires, but kids of all ages will get a kick out of these unique hot dog and marshmallow cookers.