By Brand Ambassadors Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
The twice-annual Outdoor Retailer Trade Show showcases outdoor gear that will hit the market in about six months, so gear shown at the summer 2017 show will be available in spring 2018, and some of it even earlier.
Janet and I have been covering the Outdoor Retailer trade show since 2006, so the summer 2017 show was about our 22nd. Our show coverage is one of the few that focuses on lightweight and ultralight backpacking gear, as well as new technologies that are driving change in the industry. The Show is huge, including gear for the full range of outdoor activities, so the challenge is finding the select few gear items of greatest interest to our readers.
Nowadays, ultralight gear is not just for backpacking – think bikepacking, UL mountaineering, canoepacking, motorcycle travel, and UL adventure travel. Whatever your endeavor, lightweight/ultralight compact versions are available for every component needed for camping. A lighter load is much easier on the body and enhances the enjoyment of what we do.
Most of the improvements in the gear we use are evolutionary; it improves one step at a time, making it lighter, stronger, warmer, more comfortable, more durable, more functional, more weatherproof, environmentally sustainable, etc. New technologies from materials suppliers are incorporated into new products by manufacturers. New products with appealing new features entice buyers, who in turn enjoy and benefit from the improvements. The evolutionary cycle goes on year after year.
We would like to thank Gossamer Gear for providing housing for us when we travel to Salt Lake City to cover the show. Without their support it would be difficult for us to continue our coverage.
Our show coverage is organized into several articles for reader convenience- Ultralight Gear, Lightweight Gear, Technology, Footwear, and Food and Nutrition and is published on our own website Ultralight Insights for impartiality. Comments on individual gear items are those of the authors and do not constitute any opinion or recommendation from Gossamer Gear.