OR Summer Show welcome banner
OR Summer Show welcome banner

In August I got to attend the Outdoor Retail show for the first time. The show is a convention for the Outdoor industry to show off their newest and/or up and coming products, it occurred from August 4-7 this year and attendance was approximately 25,000 retailers, exhibitors and media. The OR Show also happens to be a fun time for the industry to get together in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I left my schedule pretty much wide open for the show but I was also checking out the first ever Outdoor Photography Expo, put on by the same people and held in a hotel walking distance from the OR Show. Additionally, K and I were staying with friends of ours who we hadn’t seen in person in years so we wanted to spend time with them as well.

Rather than give you a blow by blow of the experience (which I can sum up by saying I had a blast at both shows, at the parties and with my friends) I thought I’d list some of the highlights and companies and products I checked out.

Outdoor Demo Day – Jordanelle Reservoir

The highlight of this day activity wise was trying stand up paddle board for the first time. While some may groan about SUP seemingly taking over the human powered water sports world, I have to say that after trying it, I can definitely see why. I found it challenging (though that could be a factor of the windy conditions I went out in) but also satisfying and pleasant. It reminded me of ocean kayaking but involved my whole body and demanded a lot of more from my sense of balance. Thanks to _ for providing SUP boards and instructors!

Going around the tents. I stopped by:

Chaco: they showed off some funky toe enclosing colorful shoes which were for water sports.

GoPro: they showed off a 3D camera set up (you enclose two GoPros into it and use software to process).
GoPro 3D Hero Video System

BugBand.net: You can read a bit about my experience with their product here (basically it works but not for very long, however it’s a natural alternative to deet).

Brooks-Range Mountaineering Orienteering Race: They provided a navigation class which I enjoyed, and they let us keep the map tool afterwards. It was supposed to be a race, but it was more for learning than for competition.

SweatyBands: Non slip headbands, they gave away product and I snagged an extra to giveaway to you guys! (watch for the upcoming give away post).

I also spent some time looking for my sunglasses which had slipped off of my head… luckily after some time I found them.

Convention Days

Tweetup – I had a great time meeting up with fellow Twitter folks even though I had forgotten my id and had to go back for it.

Honey Stinger – Loved their mint chocolate flavor

Klymit – I’ve heard about their Inertia X sleeping pads before but they’ve expanded their offerings and this was my first time seeing them in person. I have a review coming up on one of them. First impression made on the OR Show floor: they are thicker than I thought and comfortable. I’m amazed how small and light they pack up, even with the pump included.

Climbing Specific

Black Diamond's magnetic locking carabiner
Black Diamond's magnetic locking carabiner

Black Diamond – Sat down and talked to the magnetic carabiner engineer. This little guy comes out in Spring. My initial concerns about the magnet affecting a compass and grit sticking to the carabiner were put some what to rest. The magnet is only strong enough to affect a compass if it is right next to it. And should any grit stick to the magnet it is more easily cleaned than a normal locking carabiner (they buried the carabiners in dirt to test).

The action on the carabiner is pretty darn smooth I must admit. It is easy to open and close and the weight (another initial concern of mine) is not noticeably different than a normal locker. I am not sure if I’ll really like them in real usage, but I am more favorably inclined towards them than before, particularly since they do indeed seem less likely to get “sticky” from dirt like some of present older locking carabiners that I own.

Kong – Their alternative to the BigBro was demoed to me. It’s called the Gipsy and it looked pretty slick and can be

Kong crack gear
Kong crack gear

deployed one handed (so they said, I had a bit of trouble with it, though of course I didn’t have any practice time with it). I still found it quite intriguing though.

Five Ten Coyote Canvas shoe
Five Ten Coyote Canvas shoe

FiveTen – The new shoe coming in Spring of 2012 is a canvas version of the Coyote shoe. It’s washable. Maybe they read my stinky climbing shoes post? 😉 Other differences from the regular Coyote show is a lower ankle and slight padding.

Treadwall – This is just what it sounds like, a climbing wall that rotates. I climbed it a bit while at the Sierra Nevada party it was fun even though the motor wasn’t running so it just was being pulled down by my weight.

Me "leading" on a Treadwall
Me "leading" on a Treadwall


80’s Dance Party by Teva – Just plain fun. Though a bit crowded.

Tweetup at the Red Door – Great to meet Twitter folks from #climb and from the outdoor industry. Unfortunately I had arrived late and many folks had already left.

Google+ Photographer Meetup – Had dinner with a few “strangers”. I’m finding Google+ pretty darn fun and already connected with some photographers in time to arrange this meetup.

Free Concert at Snowbird – This was not part of the ORShow or Outdoor Photography Expo but I went with my Utah friends. Quite cool to have a free outdoor concert in a pretty venue!

Outdoor Photography Expo – This deserves a separate post but I’ll at least mention it here… highlights were meeting Jimmy Chin, seeing some vendor stuff in person (for example the Spider holster system) and getting general inspiration. K won a free seat to the two day video workshop and learned a lot.

Saw Lynn Hill and Chris Sharma close enough to say “Hi” if I had known what to say (and I hadn’t been rushing around).

Photos and More

Be sure to check out my photos which tell more of the OR Show tale. There were a lot of vendors I didn’t mention in this quick write up but that you will see get a post of their own once my reviews are done on products I got from my Utah trip. Next time I go I’ll try and blog each day of the show so I can keep on top of it all!

Full set of photos from my OR Show trip (check out the high heeled bike commuter shoes!).