By Kris Parfitt
Photo at right: Carolyn Price, Jennifer McLaughlin and Kris Parfitt from OutdoorsNW celebrate a successful time in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Imagine standing in a Recreational Equipment, Incorporated (REI) store and looking at every bit of equipment, gear, shoes and clothing they offer. Many brands in any outdoor retail store are manufactured by a different company and some brands are manufactured by the same company.
Now imagine a booth for each brand stocked with product and representatives selling the product. What you are picturing is an accurate visual of the Outdoor Retailer (OR) show held in Salt Lake City, Utah, only with thousands of booths for thousands of products. The OR show happens twice a year and offers buyers, investors, sales and media the opportunity to see what products and apparel are new and trending in the outdoor industry.
OutdoorsNW magazine sent three staff members to the Outdoor Retailer Show with the intention to deepen existing relationships and build new ones with outdoor industry partners.
Our first day was spent at Pine View Reservoir, outside Ogden, Utah, test paddling inflatable stand up paddleboards (also known as SUPs) and kayaks. The following days spent at the show consisted of each of us walking approximately six miles a day among booths and meeting about 30 vendors daily. Whew and wow!
As the managing editor, I wanted to learn about new quality products and hear about existing and emerging outdoor brands that are also giving back to society and making a difference on the planet. I exceeded my goal and left the OR show full of great review content and fabulous stories!
My favorite “doing good for the planet” company was the award-winning water-filter product called LifeStraw®. The product converts contaminated water into clean and safe drinking water. Since the mid-1990s the parent company, Vestergard, has been providing LifeStraw® to over 780 million people who have not had access to safe drinking water due to disasters, geographical locations, or socio-economic situations.
They are also an outstanding source for converting water found in the backcountry into safe drinking water for outdoor enthusiasts. They have many products to choose from depending on your travel and adventure needs.
It was easy to fall in love with Strider Bikes who declare “We love riding bikes, and we love inspiring kids to ride. Our mission is to build lightweight, efficient, all-terrain bikes that develop two-wheeled balance, coordination, and confidence in children.” Not only are they building confidence in children, but they also provide free bikes to special needs kids and to the Special Olympics. Need we say more?
Meeting Greg McEvilly, the founder of Kammok, was a refreshing and inspiring experience. With a driving passion to make a difference on the planet through socially conscious outdoors enthusiasts, McEvilly’s business makes quality hammocks, sleeping bags, apparel and totes. The purchase of any Kammok product has a direct impact on helping people in need and improving our natural resources. Kammok is a 1% For the Planet member.
The following new products caught my eye too, as they were high in form, function and quality while also being unique and revolutionary.
While DiscoBed sounds like a fun dance party, it instead is a revolutionary design for sleeping cots used out in the field. Originally designed to provide beds for disaster victims and military personnel deployed overseas, it is now available to the public for camping, sleepovers, and extra house guests. Comfortable, mobile (comes with its own carrying bag) and easy to assemble, these cots can also be used as couches and sitting areas when not used as a bed. Sadly, a disco ball is not included.
Surfer and pool construction dude Chris Crawford invented the RinseKit because he was tired of going to work sandy after a morning of surfing. This award-winning portable shower is revolutionary! It doesn’t require electricity, batteries or even a motor to operate — it works off the pressure inside the box once it’s filled with water. Perfect for more than just surfing, it’s a winner with anything that combines dirt, water, humans and animals.
Rugged, strong and dependable, entrepreneur Jim Doan easily reflects the same qualities as his invention, the OXX COFFEEBOXX. Easily the most durable coffee maker in the world, this is Doan’s brilliant brainchild after watching construction workers and lumberjacks destroy conventional coffee makers with day-to-day use on-site. This one can be crushed, blown up and submerged and continue to brew a darn fine cup of joe.
The one I can’t wait to buy and give as Christmas gifts? Star Wars Growlers! They’ll be available in December.