Your Outdoor Retailer Questions Answered

Pulling back the curtain on the industry’s biggest product launches


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Outdoor Retailer can seem like a secretive business-insider event. So we asked readers to send in their questions about the show to our Instagram account. Here, we lay out answers to queries about cool new gear, trends for 2019, and the story behind the Big Blue Bear.

What’s the best new gear you’ve seen so far?
Our annual Gear of the Show picks for Summer OR are here. In short, an ultralight tent, a miniaturized sat-comms device, a through-hiker’s dream sleeping pad, and a koozie that lights up.

What’s the best approach shoe?
Five Ten is bringing back the Five Tennie!

What’s the best tent or shelter for an AT through-hike attempt?
If you’re into shaving ounces, Big Agnes’s new Fly Creek HV1 Carbon with Dynema is about as light as you can get without resorting to a bivy sack. For the rest of us, the updated MSR Hubba Hubba looks promising. It is getting lighter, stronger, more flexible poles that won’t snap under high wind.

Are there any off-roading products there?
We saw a LifeSaver jug with a water filter and showerhead built in, so you can travel with large quantities of water for bathing and drinking. Plus, overlanding is becoming a big part of the show, with a bunch of tents from brands like Tepui dedicated to the pursuit.

Any major new textiles being released or featured?
Gore-Tex is coming out with a new Pro fabric, shown here on a jacket from Mammut. It’s completely reflective so you can be seen clearly at night.

Who has the best booth?
Well we couldn’t pick just one, so here are six.

Any previews of trail-running gear?
Dynafit is coming out with a shoe designed specifically for uphill running. The VK (for “vertical kilometer”) has a new, super-thin outsole from Vibram called LiteBase.

What about new climbing shoes?
The new Scarpa Instinct combines the comfort and flexibility of a moccasin with the support of a technical edging shoe, which means (in theory) that it’s at home on both vertical faces and slabs. We’re pretty excited to try it out.

Do you see more brands addressing diversity and inclusion this year?
It’s increasingly becoming a focus of the industry. For example, on day one the American Alpine Club held a panel to discuss its upcoming report on sexual harassment in the outdoors.

What’s up with the bear statue outside the convention center?
It’s a work by Denver artist Lawrence Argent. Bone up on your giant blue bear knowledge here.