Rounding Up the Best New Gear of Summer Outdoor Retailer 2019

Last week, the Outdoor Retailer Summer 2019 convention was held in Denver, Colorado. The now three-times a year show brings the biggest names in the outdoor industry together to show off their latest products, most of which won’t be available until sometime next year. As usual, the Colorado Convention Center was packed with people who were all eager to get a look at the latest and created boots, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, and other items that were on display. Even with three days completely dedicated to the task, it is simply impossible to get around to every booth to see what each company is offering, although those of us in the media on are on hand like to give it our best try. Thankfully, there are more than a few of us there and the post-show wraps are always worth a read. So, with that in mind, here’s the best new gear from OR summer 2019 based on the reports of those of us in attendance.

Our friends over at GearJunkie got things started with a rundown of some of the best “future” gear that they saw at the show, but then followed up a few days later with their picks of the best new products that they saw there. Some of the items that made he cut include a sleek new stove from Primus called the FireStick –– which was a favorite amongst many attendees –– and a technical new sleeping bag from Rab that promises to be warmer and more comfortable than in the past. GJ also gave out a “Best of Show” award to the Rivian R1T electric pick-up truck, which was at Outdoor Retailer for the first time.

The GearJunkie team wasn’t the only ones handing out awards. Outside magazine was on hand as well, and like many others the editors were impressed with new travel tripod from Peak Design. They were also impressed with the Black Diamond’s AirNet Harness, which tips the scales at a mere 8.3 ounces (235 grams), although they weren’t especially impressed with much of anything else. The Popular Mechanics staff were also at the show and gave out their “best of” awards to the new lightweight headlamp coming from BioLite and a lightweight solar panel from Goal Zero. They were also impressed by the Oru Kayak Lake, a new addition to the folding-kayak line-up, and The North Face’s Activist boot, which is the first to include its innovative Futurelight fabrics. That’s just a fraction of what the Pop Mech team liked at the show however, as they had one of the largest selection fo favorite gear.

The Gear Institute took an in-depth look at everything was revealed at the show and offered up not one, but two lists of their favorite gear. The Peak Design Travel Tripod made yet another list, as did the Primus FireStick. But other items included a new three-person tent from Nemo, a sleeping bag from Big Agnes, and a custom running shoe from Tecnica. The GI squad was also impressed by a new running shoe from Altra and a rain jacket for runners from Patagonia, amongst other things.

Finally, yours truly put together a couple of lists of my own. The first was released as part of the Adventure Podcast, which you can listen to right here. I also wrote a round-up for Digital Trends with a slant towards some of the more techie items I found at the show. That list includes several of the items already mentioned above, but also a new portable battery pack from Goal Zero, a portable air conditioner to keep your tent cool in the summer, and a high-tech set of luggage coming our way from Eagle Creek.

This is just a very small taste of the new gear that is heading our way in the near future. After checking out everything there was to see, it is safe to say that we are living in a great time for those of us who enjoy the outdoors and adventure travel. The gear that now accompanies us on our excursions is better than ever and it’s better for the environment too.

Kraig Becker