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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.

Preview: Primus PrimeTech Stove || Stable, efficient group & winter system

By Andrew Skurka / January 31, 2018 /

Two years ago I shared my five go-to backpacking stove systems, including what I use in the winter and when in a group. These systems are proven, but they’re less efficient than integrated kits, and the a la carte components are less convenient to obtain (and perhaps more expensive) than multi-piece sets. Last week at…

Preview: Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 & 3 || Best of Fly Creek + Copper Spur

By Andrew Skurka / February 6, 2018 /

New from Big Agnes for Spring 2018 is the Tiger Wall UL tent. Through May 31 the Tiger Wall is available exclusively from REI, and is available in two sizes: Tiger Wall UL 2 ($400, 2 lbs 3 oz) Tiger Wall UL 3 ($450, 2 lbs 11 oz) The Tiger Wall UL sits between BA’s extraordinarily…

Preview: Big Agnes AXL Air Pads || Finally, competition for the NeoAir

By Andrew Skurka / February 6, 2018 /

In addition to the new Tiger Wall UL tent, the other Big Agnes product that caught my attention at Outdoor Retailer was the AXL Air Pad. It’s new for spring 2018, and like the Tiger Wall is available exclusively from REI through May 31. It comes in two versions: AXL Air ($140, 9.6 oz), for…

Preview: Big Agnes Carbon Tents || Dyneema for the (rich) masses

By Andrew Skurka / July 30, 2018 /

Update: Read my long-term review of the Big Agnes Tiger Wall Carbon. My coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2018 begins with Big Agnes, which revealed new editions of three existing tent geometries: Fly Creek 1 Carbon ($800, 1 lb) and Fly Creek 2 Carbon ($850, 1 lb 2 oz) Tiger Wall 2 Carbon ($1000,…

Preview: Black Diamond Distant Tent || Got ventilation?

By Andrew Skurka / July 31, 2018 /

Nearly all backpacking shelters from cottage manufacturers use trekking poles for support, e.g. MLD SoloMid, TarpTent Notch, and ZPacks Duplex. The explanation is simple: This saves weight over geometries that require dedicated pole sets, e.g. Big Agnes Copper Spur, REI Quarter Dome. Some of the weight must be given back to achieve a minimum of…

Preview: Sierra Designs High Route 2.0 || Smaller, but now just 27 oz for fly + inner

By Andrew Skurka / August 1, 2018 /

The Sierra Designs High Route 1FL was launched in fall 2016, and a second-generation will arrive in spring 2019. Its name will not change (i.e. not High Route 2.0 or High Route II), and the existing design will be phased out. MSRP remains $300. Most notably, the updated High Route is smaller than the original. Instead of being…

Preview: La Sportiva Bushido II || Go-to “high route shoe” gets better

By Andrew Skurka / August 8, 2018 /

Update: I have posted a long-term review of the Bushido II based on my experience with it in Alaska and Yosemite. The La Sportiva Bushido is designed for running on rugged mountain trails, but I’ve found it to be best suited for backpacking high routes. Most notably, it: Sits low to the ground, for stability…

Preview: Salomon Odyssey Triple Crown || Altra Lone Peak alternative

By Andrew Skurka / August 8, 2018 /

The Salomon Odyssey Pro (my review) is somewhat unique: instead of being a trail running shoe that has been adopted by hikers, it’s a hiking shoe that has the comfort, breathability, and weight of a trail runner. In spring 2019 Salomon will release the second generation Odyssey, the Odyssey Triple Crown. The target market is not…

Preview: Altra Tusher || Hiking boot with zero drop & foot shape

By Andrew Skurka / November 11, 2018 /

My coverage of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2018 starts with Altra, which has developed a cult-like following among hikers and runners for its zero drop shoes, wide lasts, and gender-specific fits. Altra revealed three new shoes at the show: the Tusher, Grafton, and Wahweap. They will be available in July 2019. Availability is uncertain at this…

Preview: Salomon X Alpine Pro || For scrambly runs, maybe high routes

By Andrew Skurka / November 12, 2018 /

Update (October 19, 2019: Read my full review of the Salomon X Alpine Pro. When running and racing on trails, I normally wear Salomon Sense or Salomon Ultra shoes. But for hiking and backpacking, I currently have to look elsewhere. For two years my go-to has been the La Sportiva Bushido (my review; and my preview…