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SALT LAKE CITY — Twice a year, outdoor industry professionals flock to Salt Lake City to show off their latest innovative products, and now in its 20th year, the 2016 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market did not disappoint.
About 29,000 people are expected in Salt Lake City this week at the world's largest outdoor retail show, according to the Associated Press. The large crowds bring with them an overwhelming amount of really cool, new outdoors gear.
Three products in particular caught my eye that were part of the expo’s “New Product Showcase.” Here they are:
Goal Zero is well-known for its innovative, outdoors solar products and the company unveiled its latest gear at the expo: “The world’s first solar-ready phone case system.”
Goal Zero partnered with OtterBox to create a phone case system that not only protects your phone, but can also self-charge with a built-in solar panel attachment. The case has a unique, rail system with a built-in slide battery that can be easily be removed and allows for other attachments —like the solar panel —to be added to the case.
“Goal Zero solved one of the biggest issues of solar-powered phone cases by creating a unique separate charge system,” Goal Zero said in a statement. “The Slide and Nomad Folio slip off and charge up in the sun, keeping your phone safe and sound in the uniVERSE case and right where you need it — in your hands.”
Along with the ability to be charged with the solar panel attachment, the phone case battery can also be charged via a mini USB. It takes four to five hours to charge the slide battery using the solar panel, and the battery provides one full charge for your phone. The case also includes a magnetic metal kickstand to prop up your phone.
The modular system composed of the OtterBox uniVERSE case, Goal Zero Slide Battery and Nomad Folio Solar Panel are currently only available for the iPhone 6 and 6 plus. It will hit the market in February 2017 and will be sold on the Goal Zero website and at various retailers.
Price: $55-$60 for slide battery, $60 for case, $40-$50 for solar panel attachment
While this product isn’t entirely new (the first version launched in 2014), the Deeper Smart Sonar unveiled several new features in the updated models at the expo. Rather than being installed on a boat, this fish finder is housed in a small, waterproof ball and can be cast from a fishing line into the water. The wireless, castable sonar connects to a smartphone and can be paired with an app to send sonar maps of the fishing conditions in any body of water.
Some of the new features include being able to use it ice fishing, from a boat, kayak or the shore. The Deeper Smart Sonar uses Bluetooth to connect to any smartphone and can now also use Wi-Fi. The maps have also been upgraded to show more details such as water depth, temperature and topography of the lake bottom.
The Deeper Smart Sonar can be used in fresh or salt water and has an accessory available that allows it to be attached to a kayak. It pairs with a smartphone up to 300 feet away in the water and can submerge up to 260 feet under water.
The battery lasts six hours and the Deeper Smart Sonar automatically shuts off when it is removed from the water. It can be recharged with a USB.
Despite being small, this product is making quite a splash in the fishing and technology market and has won several awards at various industry conferences around the world.
The Survivolts power bank was also unveiled at the expo. The 5000 mAh battery not only can be used to charge your phone, but it also has several attachments that turn it into a multi-use survival tool. You can charge your phone twice with the battery supply and the attachments all connect via USB.
The attachments include a flashlight that also has an SOS strobe setting for emergencies. A separate attachment has a focus beam flashlight. There is also a laser pointer attachment, but probably the coolest one is the fire starter attachment.
It creates an electric arc with the press of a button that can be used to start fires. This attachment is the only one that is battery powered so it can also be used separate from the power bank.
Survivolts will hit the market in February 2017.
The expo runs from Wednesday to Saturday at the Salt Palace Convention Center and is not open to the public.