Best Gear from Summer Outdoor Retailer 2015

MountainHardwear Ghost2UL

As many of you know, last week the 2015 Summer Outdoor Retailer convention was held in Salt Lake City, with many gear manufacturers unveiling their latest and greatest products there. Most of those items won’t go on sale for weeks – or even months – yet, but as usual OR gave us a glimpse of what to expect in terms of gear trends and new products that will make our outdoor adventures and travel experiences much better.

This year, there was a focus on expanding what defines an outdoor adventure, with many companies debuting products that were designed for both fashion and function. There is definitely a trend in pursuing urban adventure as well, with a lot of products transitioning nicely from trail to town. The outdoor industry is finding that many younger people don’t want to spend their days hiking and backpacking a rugged trail, but instead they like to spend time with their friends outdoors at an event such as a concert or festival. Products designed for this market are very different from what we traditionally think of in terms of tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags.

Of course, many of the online gear sites put together their picks for the best new items on display at Outdoor Retailer, not the lest of which was “Best New Gear Awards” that we handed out over at the Gear Institute. I serve as the news editor for the site, and helped in the selection process. Amongst the products that we honored were an amazing water purifier from MSR, a lightweight tent from Mountain Hardwear, and the lightest waterproof jacket available today (3.5 oz) from Berghaus.

We weren’t the only site handing out awards however. The Gear Junkie selected his favorite products from Summer OR as well, with several items making a repeat appearance from the Gear Institute list. Outside magazine also weighed in with their thoughts, honoring other impressive gear items from the show as well.

All in all, it was another good Outdoor Retailer, with plenty of gear for us to covet. That said, there were very few items that were revolutionary, but plenty that made incremental improvements that will certainly be welcomed by the outdoor community.

Kraig Becker