In Utah, outdoor retailers realize that their market is now for everyone. Even those that have focused on professional gear in the past are finding innovative ways to provide for the leisure athlete and keep equipment cutting edge.
And for many new local products showcased at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, these seemingly opposite elements are actually all rolled up into one.
Co-founders Swan and Robert Workman developed the Barebones idea while globetrotting for humanitarian reasons. They saw an urgent need for sustainable products that could provide basic human needs. Based in Bluffdale, their line of safari tents have already been used as homes, schools and offices in the field. The tent has an expandable floor plan, so you can add extra panels to accommodate larger groups or growing families. The weatherproof Cordura shell covering and the heavy-duty aluminum and nylon frame can withstand harsh conditions. The tent also has built-in power ports for their Pendant Light, or you could use their Forest Light rechargeable lanterns.
An avid outdoorsman who skis “frozen water” in the winter and rafts “melted water” in the summer, Greg Sherry patented an idea for a new outdoor grill over 15 years ago. He says that all eight of his patent claims were accepted within just six months; that’s when he really knew he had something worthwhile. Adjust-A-Grill sounds simple enough: A stake is stuck into the ground with a grill rack that can slide up and down it. The beauty is that this adjustment allows you to control your frying, simmering and boiling temperature in the outdoors. An added bonus is you can burn wood or coal on a catch tray and leave no trace of the fire itself. Sherry plans to expand his market at family events such as Dutch-oven cooking contests and grilling burgers at tailgating parties.
In 1972, Phil Augason came up with a milk alternative named “Morning Moo’s” that tasted just like two-percent milk, with a long shelf-life. This was just the beginning of a long list of products Augason Farms has become known for.
Grizzly Ridge is the outdoor extension of his original idea. Five to nine servings are generously packed into one easy-to-carry pouch, which takes up less space while providing more energy. They even have a 72-hour pail that provides 60 servings worth of food in a container smaller than the traditional five-gallon food storage bucket. This kit includes other survival items such as a fire starter, water filtration bottle, pocket knife and pop-up tent.
Salt Lake City’s Wise Company launched three years ago and claim a shelf-life of up to 25 years for their food. That might sound stale to you, but the taste of peaches, bananas, strawberries, corn and green beans taste almost as good as they do fresh. The texture and nutritional value are also preserved. The quality of their food matches the quality of their research, since they figured out which foods are better freeze dried and which are better dehydrated. They sell meal packets or individual buckets (vegetable, fruit or meat only).
Gregory Mountain Products, an outdoor industry leader in backpacks, moved to Utah two years ago. The company has integrated with Black Diamond but will retain the iconic innovation and design unique to Gregory products. This is apparent in their new line of backpacks. While known for their multi-day packs, Gregory has just come out with smaller versions for the day hiker or weekend warrior. The Targhee emphasizes comfort and fit in four different sizes. For the larger Targhee packs, from 26 liters on, the main access is in the back panel. Another addition is a “raptor stabilizer” with two points of contact that ensure the packs fit snugly on backs. If you want to pack some pounds, you can still get the 105-liter Denali Pro, but for a day tripper, it is a bit excessive.
Rossignol has been making skis for more than 100 years. Utah boasts “the greatest snow on earth,” so it was only a matter of time before they opened up a store in Park City in 2008. “Hot, new and sexy” were the first words from Nick Catagnoli, who was pitching the products at Outdoor Retailer, about Rossignol’s new ski line. They have redesigned their Free Ride series to make them lighter and keep the quality downhill performance. The S7 now incorporates new air tip technology that maintains a free air channel in the honeycomb-patterned tip. Paulownia wood is used because it regenerates quickly and is light and strong.
Petzl is a company dedicated to exploration, and there is plenty to explore in Utah. Clearfield has been the company's American base since 1994. One of their best products is the Tikka headlamp. And would you know it, it just got even better. The new Tikka RXP incorporates reactive technology that allows the headlamp to get brighter on its own as it gets darker outside. You can also program it for the number of hours you need, and an internal control will manage the lumen output. A new rechargeable power system means you can recharge it through a normal USB connection. And best thing is, it is still practically the same size as the original.
Black Diamond is a Utah-based, worldwide leader in outdoor performance products. At the market, they had winter products in full display, from skis to ski boots and bindings to beacons. New products this year are avalanche beacons they acquired from Pieps, an Austrian company specializing in snow safety. The beacons are small and worn across the chest. The beacon is set on a “send” radio frequency, so if an avalanche does occur (and you are in it) another beacon can act like a GPS to help find you. It tells rescuers how far, how deep and in which direction you are. The innovations for skis, boots and bindings were reinventions with safety in mind as well, but the beacon seems to be the final touch to their extensive product line.
Click here for more info on the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.