5 newer outdoor products on display as Outdoor Retailer returns to Utah

An Outdoor Retailer sign is pictured outside of the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday. The event will continue in Utah through Wednesday.

An Outdoor Retailer sign is pictured outside of the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday. The event will continue in Utah through Wednesday. (Carter Williams, KSL.com)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Lukas Liedtke learned that heat can help treat the pain or itchiness associated with bug bites and stings while out on a kitesurfing trip a few years ago.

As an engineering student at the time, he remembers wondering if there was a way to combine what he just learned with a smartphone.

This led to the creation of Heat It, which first hit the markets in Germany — Liedtke's native country — in 2020. His is one of the many outdoor-related companies in Utah this week as Outdoor Retailer returns.

The tradeshow brings together new or familiar companies from around the world, which gets new products into stores. This year's show started with a preview event on Sunday featuring various newer names and items such as Heat It.

Liedtke's brainchild looks like a small USB drive that plugs right into a phone's charging port. Plugging in the device instantly opens up an accompanying phone app and heats the device so it can be applied to the big bite. Relief is a minute or two away after that, Liedtke says as he demonstrates his product.

It entered the U.S. market within the past year after hitting 1 million sales in Germany, even landing a deal to sell in REI stores. Liedtke explained the company plans to target outdoor consumers first before expanding to a wider audience who might be interested.

Heat It inventor Lukas Liedtke demonstrates his product during an Outdoor Retailer event in Salt Lake City on Sunday.
Heat It inventor Lukas Liedtke demonstrates his product during an Outdoor Retailer event in Salt Lake City on Sunday. (Photo: Carter Williams, KSL.com)

All of this success has blown his own expectations out of the water.

"It's funny. I thought I'd end up doing it for one or two years and then move on, maybe find a couple thousand people who like using it," he said. "I still feel like we're at the very beginning, even if 1 million units sold, and now I get to see the world."

These are four other newer products or brands also on display this week:

A Utah startup takes on Spikeball

Liedtke isn't alone in being surprised by how quickly an idea can turn into a global product. That's exactly how Taylor Sanford, founder of Lehi-based Premier Spike, feels about his company.

He describes Premier Spike as a high-quality product in the world of roundnet, a fast-growing outdoor game most people associate with the brand Spikeball. He began designing a more durable version of a net in 2022. The final product, designed not to bend or break, went out into the world last year. It has since garnered sales in 36 countries with very little marketing to date.

A section of a Premier Spike net is displayed during an Outdoor Retailer event in Salt Lake City on Sunday.
A section of a Premier Spike net is displayed during an Outdoor Retailer event in Salt Lake City on Sunday. (Photo: Carter Williams, KSL.com)

"We get a lot of people playing on it in tournaments, a lot of kids playing on it in P.E. (physical education) class (and) summer camps. That's sort of how we're getting into the market and getting some brand awareness," Sanford said.

The Premier Spike set — available on its website or Amazon — costs about $129, compared to about $99 for the primary competitor.

Adjusting with trends

Salt Lake City-based Teton Sports has plenty of outdoor gear already available, from backpacks to sleeping bags, but it's always trying to match the needs of consumers as outdoor trends change.

Adventure travel — either an outdoor adventure or a global excursion — is one of the rebounding and growing trends in the outdoor community, and it's a market that Teton hasn't tapped into until now, said J.P. Paulsen, the company's vice president of sales. This week, the company is showcasing its new line called Nanda, which doubles as a backpack and duffle bag and features a section dedicated to dirty clothes.

A Teton Sports Nanda bag is displayed during an Outdoor Retailer event in Salt Lake City on Sunday. It's set to enter the market next spring.
A Teton Sports Nanda bag is displayed during an Outdoor Retailer event in Salt Lake City on Sunday. It's set to enter the market next spring. (Photo: Carter Williams, KSL.com)

Paulsen said the new line isn't available just yet, as it continues through the product development process, but it's set to retail at about $129 when released next spring. That's also when the company will release a new eight-person family tent model to meet market demands.

From solar to power stations

While Teton looked at consumer trends for new products, consumers looked at Anker to take on the power bank industry, said Edwin Ragadio, an account manager for the company. After over a decade of producing solar charging equipment, customers asked them to take on power banks and power stations.

"They wrote to us and said, 'Hey, we're seeing other brands creating portable power stations. You've been selling this for some time that we'd love to see you go there,'" he said.

An Anker Solix F3800 power station is displayed during an Outdoor Retailer event in Salt Lake City on Sunday. It's the largest and most expensive power station the company has produced so far.
An Anker Solix F3800 power station is displayed during an Outdoor Retailer event in Salt Lake City on Sunday. It's the largest and most expensive power station the company has produced so far. (Photo: Carter Williams, KSL.com)

This led to the Solix brand that launched within the past two years. Its three primary models range in size and cost, all of which can be recharged through solar energy and plug-in charging.

The largest — priced at about $4,000 — can power the average home for about 24 hours in an emergency. The smallest size on display — priced at about $450 — is geared more toward camping or off-grid areas. People can recharge their phones or other important devices about 30 times.

A new portable toilet

Nature calls for everyone, but it can be difficult to answer that call while outdoors or living the "van life." That inspired the launch of Compo Closet, a family business that produces urine-diverting composting toilets. Their initial product hit the market around the start of 2023 after netting over $300,000 through crowdfunding campaigns.

Erica Pugh, the company's co-founder and head of marketing, says customers have also used their product for tiny homes, boats and recreation vehicles. She believes their toilets, which cost $650-$780 on its website, can help recreation enthusiasts follow Leave No Trace principles. That includes relieving oneself without creating environmental concerns.

A Compo Closet portable toilet is displayed during an Outdoor Retailer event in Salt Lake City on Sunday.
A Compo Closet portable toilet is displayed during an Outdoor Retailer event in Salt Lake City on Sunday. (Photo: Carter Williams, KSL.com)

But there are also some areas, including in Utah, where having a portable toilet is required.

"Pooping and everything is not so bad, but you just need to take care of it properly," Pugh said.

She adds that the company plans to launch a new product later this year.

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Carter Williams is a reporter who covers general news, local government, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.

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