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Outdoor Retailer is a semi-annual tradeshow held in Salt Lake City where brands display their current product lines and reveal their latest-and-greatest. Most new products are evolutionary, but there is an occasional ground-breaking one, too.

My coverage of OR is inherently brief. There is only so much to say about a product that I have not worn, slept in, carried, or operated in its intended conditions. I may sound skeptical of its purported benefits (especially for the price) but generally I’ll reserve criticism for an actual review.

Outdoor Retailer: Top 4 to-be-released products from Sierra Designs in 2016

By Andrew Skurka / August 10, 2015 /

For a few days last week I was in in Salt Lake City for the semi-annual Outdoor Retailer tradeshow, where there were a dizzying number of new, updated, and proven old products for hiking, camping, running, climbing, and paddling. The focus of the summer show are items that will hit store shelves in Spring 2016. For show-wide news coverage, consult Backpacker, Gear Junkie,…

Preview: Altra Lone Peak 3.5, Timp & King Mountain

By Andrew Skurka / January 11, 2017 /

On display at the Altra booth was the next iteration of its best-selling trail shoe, the Lone Peak 3.5, plus two new trail shoes, the Timp and King Mountain. Preview: Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Expect minor changes from the current Lone Peak 3.0 (my review). The 3.5 will retain the same voluminous last and fit,…

Preview: Garmin Fenix 5, 5S, and 5X (with maps!) GPS sport watches

By Andrew Skurka / January 12, 2017 /

The fourth generation of Garmin’s Fenix GPS sport watch will replace the current Garmin Fenix 3 and Fenix 3 HR. Release date is March 2017. The three models vary in both size and features: Fenix 5S Fenix 5 Fenix 5X You might be asking, What happened to the Fenix 4? The rep did not go into details, but…

Preview: Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR, plus Ambit development plans

By Andrew Skurka / January 13, 2017 /

Suunto had one major product release, the Spartan Sport Wrist HR. And I learned of future development plans (or, more accurately, non-plans) for the Ambit collection. Spartan Sport Wrist HR The first GPS sport watch with a wrist-based heart rate monitor was the Garmin Fenix 3 HR, which was announced 12 months ago. But according…

Preview: new Black Diamond 300-lumen Spot headlamp

By Andrew Skurka / January 14, 2017 /

The new Black Diamond Spot headlamp will produce 300 lumens, which is a 50 percent increase over the current version (read my review). Its weight and size appeared unchanged, as does its single control button, unfortunately. The current Spot will become the new Cosmos, which represents a 25 percent increase in light output (to 200…

Lust: Black Diamond Vapor Carbon 1 Poles

By Andrew Skurka / January 14, 2017 /

I generally recommend telescopic poles like the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork (long-term review) and Cascade Mountain Tech Quick Lock (long-term review) because they are: Convenient for air-travel; Easily stow-able on the outside of a backpack, for extended talus scrambles; and, Adjustable, and therefore can fit different family members, can be used for different outdoor activities (e.g.…

Preview: New Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+

By Andrew Skurka / January 15, 2017 /

Garmin announced two new inReach devices shortly after the New Year, immediately prior to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES): inReach SE+ inReach Explorer+ Last week I was able to inspect them first-hand and discuss them with representatives at Outdoor Retailer (OR). The original manufacturer of the inReach, DeLorme, was purchased by Garmin a year ago. So the inReach+…

Preview: Sierra Designs 2018 tents || High Side, Studio, Sweet Suite & Meteor

By Andrew Skurka / July 27, 2017 /

My coverage of Outdoor Retailer starts at the Sierra Designs booth (naturally, since they’re paying for me to be here). For 2018 SD has largely revamped its shelter line-up. Only three current models are being carried forward — the Summer Moon, Clip Flashlight, and my High Route. The remainder will be discontinued and closed out.…

Preview: Vargo Pocket Cleats v3 || Sub-3 oz traction for early-season backpacking

By Andrew Skurka / July 28, 2017 /

The third-generation Pocket Cleats from Vargo have undergone significant revisions since v2, which was tweaked from v1. They will be available in October or November in stainless steel ($40, 2.9 oz) and titanium ($60, 2.1 oz), each in just one size that will fit most running shoes, hiking shoes, and hiking boots. Problems with v1 and…

Preview: Sierra Designs 2018 sleeping bags || Highlight: “Zipperless mummy”

By Andrew Skurka / July 30, 2017 /

The Sierra Designs 2018 sleeping bag program includes four distinct models, each with several temperature rating options and in a male and female version: an updated Backcountry Bed and Zissou mummy, and an entirely new Nitro and Cloud, which are an ultralight mummy and “zipperless mummy,” respectively. The Backcountry Bed and Nitro will be available…