Faith Heaton Jolley, KSL

Summer 2019 Outdoor Retailer market to showcase gear, sustainability and recreation in Denver

By Cara MacDonald, KSL.com | Posted - Jun 16th, 2019 @ 7:21am



DENVER — Outdoor Retailer’s June event is getting ready to kick off the summer outdoor recreation season in Denver from June 18-20, and companies are gearing up to show off their latest advancements.

The Outdoor Retailer summer market is considered the launch of the summer season and the home of the Inspiration Awards, making it the epicenter of the outdoor community, according to the attendee toolkit.

“For the first time, Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is in June,” Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer vice president and show director, told KSL.com. “It now sits at the front of the buying season and right when products are being launched, which allows retailers and buyers to get an early view of what's available across the marketplace.”

This year’s event will showcase more than 1,300 gear companies and highlight softgoods, footwear, summer hardgoods, paddle activities, climbing and the demo experience. They will also emphasize sustainability.

“From a brand perspective, we are seeing an increased emphasis on sustainability,” Nicholson said. “The outdoor industry has always been a leader in sustainability, and we will undoubtedly find more organic materials in apparel, footwear and gear offered by exhibitors.”

What to expect

This year’s Outdoor Retailer is located in Denver’s Colorado Convention Center, which has been hosting all three of the organization’s yearly events since it moved from Salt Lake City. The convention will focus on rock climbing, summer sports, new trends and innovations in outdoor gear and environmental sustainability, according to the attendee toolkit. Here are some main events to look forward to, drawn from Outdoor Retailer’s pre-show schedule:

  • The Demo Experience: A highlight unique to the summer Outdoor Retailer program, the Demo Experience allows guests to try a variety of both land and water-based gear from showcasing companies at the event. It’s a great way to physically experience new items rather than just seeing them.

  • Textile Repurposing Station: Student designers at Utah State University will be out from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday demonstrating how they convert scrap textiles to beautiful designs. Pick out some textiles and they’ll make you a chalk bag on the spot.

  • Cotton Incorporated: Activewear Trend Forecast 2021-2022: Cotton Incorporated will deliver its annual forecast of cutting-edge style and innovations for the 2021-2022 season.

  • Outdoor Retailer Inspiration Awards presented by Adidas Outdoor: Champions of the outdoor community will be honored at The Inspiration Awards on Tuesday evening. “The awards ceremony takes place on the first night of Summer Market and it's our industry's chance to recognize the people and organizations who are making an impact and truly encouraging outdoor participation,” Nicholson said.

  • The Power of Storytelling: This meeting will teach attendees how to harness the power of storytelling in their businesses. New techniques are emerging to set businesses apart by creating engaging content which brings value to consumers both young and old.

  • Amazon Major Changes — Are you ready? Amazon is making huge changes in 2019 to how it buys and sells products, which could have a major impact on businesses. The company will explain what the changes are and why they are happening.

  • Plastic Pollution: We Are the Problem and the Solution: Ocean cleanup company “4ocean” will lead a discussion on marine debris as a global issue. They will address ways to change, from reducing single-use plastic to recycling.

  • Night of Stoke Presented by 5Point Film Festival: On the last night of Outdoor Retailer, Night of Stoke will present adventure films showcasing perseverance, passion and joy in outdoor recreation.

Company highlight

One company showcasing at Outdoor Retailer, Peak Design, will be rolling out three new products during the event as well as a new climate initiative. The company was born in 2011 and has since become a leader in designing elegant solutions for carrying life’s “stuff,” according to Matt Heron, spokesman for Peak Design.

“This includes everything from cameras to laptops to travel gear,” Heron told KSL.com. “It’s a company comprised of modern adventurers and this is instantly recognizable in the functionality, quality and aesthetics of the products. “

Peak Design will distribute three new products at this year’s Outdoor Retailer:

  • Travel Tripod: “The Travel Tripod was released May 21 on Kickstarter and raised over $3.1 million in less than 24 hours,” Heron said. “To date, the campaign has raised $6.4 million. What’s all the fuss about? A complete ground-up reexamination of standard tripod design prioritizing spatial efficiency, ease of use and portability above all else.”

Peak Design Travel Tripod set up; Photo courtesy of Peak Design
Peak Design Travel Tripod in its condensed mode; Photo courtesy of Peak Design

  • Travel Duffel 35L: Peak Design is also releasing a carry-on size duffel bag with a 35-liter capacity. “The Travel Duffle is a perfect weekender, overnighter, gym bag, or sidekick to one of Peak Design’s larger travel bags,” Heron explained. “The bag features removable padded top handles, a removable padded shoulder strap, weatherproof nylon canvas construction, and all-custom aluminum hardware.”

  • Travel Duffelpack 65L: The Travel Duffelpack, which is 65 liters, maximizes carrying capacity without compromising comfort or versatility. “Ergonomic padded backpack-style shoulder and waist straps support the heaviest of loads, yet stow instantly beneath magnetically-sealed back panels,” Heron said. “A unique main opening features a burly #10 weatherproof zip and ultra-long zip path that gives you more access and visibility than traditional duffels.”

Peak Design’s CEO, Peter Dering, and Biolite CEO, Jonathan Cedar, also will debut their climate initiative named Climate Neutral on day one of Outdoor Retailer. They will kick off with a panel discussion moderated by Alex Honnold, recent Academy Award winner and big wall free solo climber.

“Climate Neutral facilitates a four-step process to enable all companies to measure their carbon footprint, identify ways to reduce, purchase offsets for un-reduced emissions and finally market their commitment to climate action to consumers through the use of a Certified Neutral label,” Heron told KSL.com.

Gear picks

Thousands of new gear items will be announced from around 1,300 companies during the summer 2019 Outdoor Retailer. Here are some items that have been highlighted in the conventions’ pre-show:

  • The Republic of Durable Goods’ Mock One: The Mock One is a hammock which sets up without the use of trees and is completely self-standing, according to their website. It has a compact footprint and can be transported just about anywhere, while simultaneously boasting a streamlined and simple setup. The company also offers additions to make it more useful, including a tent setup to convert the hammock into a comfortable, covered bed during camping excursions.

    The Mock One; Photo from The Republic of Durable Goods

  • Peak Sherpa Energy Bites: These energy snacks come in four different flavors and are the first energy food in the U.S. to come with resealable packaging so you can eat as you go. They are made with Tsampa, a type of barley relied on by Sherpa mountaineers for centuries. This certified B-Corp donates 2% of its revenue each year to the families of fallen Sherpas.

  • PowerWatch: This full-featured smartwatch doesn’t need charging because it powers itself using a thermoelectric engine charged by body heat. It has a full onboard GPS, calorie counting, sleep tracking, movement tracking, water resistance and more, making it on par or better than most alternatives.

  • Sprayzee: This company, based out of Midway, Utah, makes the most powerful, naturally-sourced odor eliminator in the world. Sprayzee utilizes essential oils and natural odor-killing enzymes rather than chemicals to kill odors on a molecular level and smell amazing.

  • Rivian R1T Pickup and R1S SUV: The Rivian adventure vehicles are the first outdoor recreation-compatible vehicles powered entirely by electricity. They can travel up to 400+ miles on a single charge and can accelerate from zero to 60 in three seconds.

The Rivian R1T; Photo from Rivian via Outdoor Retailer

All things climbing

Outdoor Retailer will also focus on climbing this summer, organizing the event to not only discuss climbing and sell climbing gear, but also to provide opportunities to enjoy the sport while there.

An “Open Climb” is held each day at the “High Altitude Den,” in which a climbing wall has been constructed, according to the Outdoor Retailer schedule. They also will host educational sessions throughout the week, including educational seminars on belaying and setting anchors.

On Tuesday evening a climbing competition called “The Hang” will be held at a local climbing gym called Earth Treks Englewood, according to the schedule. Visitors will compete for a $5,000 purse. Additionally, a “Mini Climbing Olympics” and a “Dyno Comp” will occur at the High Altitude Den. Both of these will present climbers with an opportunity to strut their stuff in front of other climbers.

Why go to Outdoor Retailer?

Businesses and individuals alike attend Outdoor Retailer for a variety of reasons, whether they are focusing their efforts on sales or attending for an educational experience.

“Attending OR goes beyond just an important outlet for the sales team,” Heron told KSL.com. “It’s an opportunity for all departments to connect with peers, keep a finger on the pulse of the outdoor industry and to have fun.”

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