Best of Outdoor Retailer Show: Winter 2014

Best of the Outdoor Retailer Show

I have been going to the Outdoor Retailer show for over 15 years now and I am always on the look out for some innovative and new products. A couple years ago we decided to start giving out awards to the companies that have produced great gear. One of the hardest things about giving out awards is trying to decide what makes it and what doesn't. And this year was no exception. We have pick 14 new products that are either currently available or will be available later this year.

Ortovox Pocket SpikeOrtovox Shovel POCKET SPIKE

Saving weight and space is key in most outdoor activities. The Pocket Spike is a perfect example of a great product that does both. The POCKET SPIKE is at home on the fine ridge between ski mountaineering with an ice pick and free hillwalking in steep terrain. Although usually tucked away in your backpack or pants pocket (hence the name), the emergency axe can quickly be retrieved in dicey situations. In just two steps, you can mount it onto Ortovox’s metal-reinforced PRO ALU III shovel handle for added protection. The POCKET SPIKE has two parts: The sharp forged axe head made of anodized AL 7075 T6 and the shaft spike, which replaces the shovel blade. The two parts can be folded together with no sharp edges for stowing in the carrying bag and weight just 95 grams. ORTOVOX offers the POCKET SPIKE either separately or as a set in combination with the PRO ALU III shovel. Suitable for all tours where a little additional support is needed over the last few meters. 

• Available fall 2014

• MSRP: $50.00


Big Agnes Shield 2 TentBig Agnes Shield 2 Tent 

The winter show isn’t usually full of tents but the Shield 2 has some unique features that surely deserve an award. First thing that I noticed was the fabric that is used. Big Agnes choose 37.5 (Cocona) breathable, waterproof fabric. This fabric provides exceptional moisture management and will help move moisture out of the tent to keep the inside dry and less stuffy. Another one of the features that caught my eye was the vents. They have created pass-throughs in the vents to give you the ability to secure yourself to a wall or anchor. 


• Single door 

• Heavy duty reflective guylines and reflective webbing 

• 37.5 (Cocona) breathable, waterproof fabric that vents moisture directly to the outside, keeping you and your bag dry inside 

• Durable nylon laminated floor fabric 

• All seams taped with waterproof, solvent-free polyurethane tape

• DAC Featherlite NSL pole system with press fit connectors 

• DAC Twist Clips and sleeves attach tent body to pole frame 

• 8 lightweight Mega X stakes 

• Over-sized, reinforced stake out loops - to be used with skis, ice axe, ski poles, etc. 

• Trail weight: 3lb 15oz 

• Packed weight: 4lb 12oz 

• Packed size: 5" x 17.5" 

• Floor size: 28 sq ft 

• Head height: 40" 

Salomon S-Lab Hybrid Jacket• MSRP: $599


Salomon S-LAB Hybrid Jacket M 

At first glance you will not see anything super special about this jacket. But I think that is why I have given it one of the best of show awards. This ultra-light hybrid jacket is perfect for those who love to move fast in the mountains. It has waterproof panels to protect you when the weather turns south. But what makes this jacket stand out is the innovative Quick Stash waist. The Quick Stash waist is a stretch panel around the waist that allows you to remove and store your jacket without stopping, just like a waist belt. Now, you don’t have to try to tie the jacket around your waist or stuff it in a bag. It also features laser cut ventilation for breathability and an elastic band to keep the hood in place. 


• Ultra-light jacket integrating waterproof panels 

• Innovative Quick Stash waist

• MotionFit technology

• AdvancedSkin Dry

• Skin fit hood SKIN FIT HOOD

• Active fit

• 3/4 front zip

• Reflective branding on front and back

• Weight: 4.23 oz.

New Balance Chameleon Jacket

• MSRP: $275


New Balance Chameleon Jacket

For fall 2014, New Balance will expand its winter weather collection made for dedicated athletes who brave the frigid conditions for a great workout. The New Balance Chameleon Jacket features Polartec’s Alpha fill technology providing down-like warmth in front and back heathered mélange panels, extended hems in the back and reflectivity set this jacket apart from any other running jacket on the market. Polertec Alpha technology uses an open-construction weave to create airflow that pulls moisture away from the body and holds in warmth for a unique and versatile running jacket perfect for extreme winter weather workouts. The new Chameleon Jacket provides insulated warmth while remaining remarkably lightweight and extremely breathable. 

• MSRP: $150.00


Columbia 890 Diamond TurboDown 

Columbia TurboDown JacketColumbia has once again taken their technology one step further with the creation of TurboDown. By taking their Omni-Heat thermal insulation and layering it with premium down, Columbia has created a new line of jackets. TurboDown is also enhanced with Omni-Heat thermal reflective which reflects body heat while maintaining a high level of breathability. Columbia has created three different levels in this jacket series. First they have Gold, that has 550 down fill with 100 grams of Omni-Heat thermal insulation. Next is Platinum, with 800 down fill and 60 grams of Omni-Heat insulation. The premium is Diamond which had 850 down fill with 40 grams of Omni-Heat insulation.  

Features of the 890 TurboDown:

• Omni-Heat reflective lining

• Water resistant fabric

• Draw cord adjustable hem

• Zippered hand pockets

• Hood

• MSRP: $325

adidas Climaheat ice Jacketadidas Terrex Climaheat Ice Jacket

The Terrex Climaheat Ice Jacket is a high-end insulation jacket that will be available for winter 2014. What is different with this jacket is the new PrimaLoft Down blend filling which provides exceptional climate comfort. A known problem of box-wall down jackets is the fact that between the single insulation boxes, heat escapes through the seams. In its Climaheat Ice Jacket, adidas puts an end to this by employing a new, innovative concept: The insulation boxes have different sizes and overlap, thus covering the seams completely and trapping the heat. The jacket is elongated and has elastic stretch panels filled with PrimaLoft® on the sides and the upper back, providing additional insulation. This guarantees ideal fit and total freedom of movement whilst keeping the heat where it belongs: close to the body.


• PrimaLoft® Down Blend Gold: 30% PrimaLoft® and 70% goose down

• Water repellent ripstop outer fabric

• Insulating, breathable stretch panels

• 3-point adjustable hood

• Two zipped side pockets

• One chest pocket

• Elasticated cuffs

• Cocona® lining for moisture management

Icebreaker Halo Jacket

• Available in both men’s and women’s styles

• MSRP: $350

Icebreaker Helix/Halo Jackets

Icebreaker’s 2014 Fall/Winter collection debuts technical and lifestyle jackets made from MerinoLOFT, a new lightweight insulation created from premium, ethically-sourced wool fibers. Ten percent of the loft comes from recycled merino offcuts salvaged from the factory floor, while the jackets’ water repellent shell is made from recycled polyester. MerinoLOFT garments are Icebreaker’s warmest-ever jackets, and are ideal for lightweight layering.   Unlike puffer jackets made from down or a synthetic fill, MerinoLOFT jackets are warm when wet – great for adverse weather conditions. A durable woven merino lining next to the skin regulates temperature and breathes to prevent overheating and clamminess. Built for the outdoors and styled for the city, the Halo Hood and Halo 3Q Jacket for women and the Helix Hood for men which have a shaped hood and an internal storm flap for extra warmth and protection. The Halo Hood has a tapered construction to give it an even sleeker, more slimmed-down look and comes with a drawcord to keep out the cold for even more warmth.

• Available for men (Helix) and women (Halo) 

• MSRP: $349

FlyLow Jody Down JacketFlyLow Jody Down

The Betty Down Hoody from FlyLow has been one of my wife’s favorite jackets. The only downside to it is that it is not waterproof. But that is where the Jody Down Jacket comes in. It is perfect for those days when you want to ski in a down jacket. It has a waterproof/breathable membrane to keep snow and water out. The Jody Down is a 600-fill down jacket with a removable powder skirt, a helmet-compatible hood, and a long length for sitting on cold chairlifts. Also when you are working up a sweat the waterproof membrane is also breathable.


• 10K/10K waterproof breathable membrane

• Fully seam taped

• 4 pckets

• Helmet-compatible hood

• Powder guard snaps

• High performance DWR

• 600 fill down

• MSRP: $350

Keen Durand MidKeen Durand Mid

For Fall 2014 KEEN adds the Durand collection to its hiking selection. The Durand collection offers hikers looking to log serious miles a full-featured, durable option from KEEN. It is also made in KEEN’s factory in Portland, Oregon. The Durand features a unique direct-inject construction technique that attaches a water-proof Nubuck leather and breathable mesh upper directly to the midsole resulting in unprecedented durability. Designed to offer the wearer underfoot support, cushioning and protection on long hikes, the Durand employs a PU blended midsole and integrated heel cushion that rebound step after step. In a compression test conducted to demonstrate how the Durand resists compacting overtime, results showed after one million steps, the KEEN PU midsole compressed 3 percent vs. more than 50 percent compression of a traditional EVA midsole.

• MSRP: $180


Lowa X-boulder climbing shoeLowa X-Boulder

Lowa has been making some great boots for years and they have even been making climbing shoes in Europe for a few years. 2014 will be the first year that they bring climbing shoes to the US. The X-Boulder is a top performance climbing shoe with a moderately aggressive downturn and extra stiff midsole that excels at steep and overhanging technical bouldering and sport climbing. The X-style Velcro closure system provides a custom fit for different foot types. Out of the box, very comfortable, with little to no break-in required. High toe box allows for powerful toe position without discomfort.


• Microfiber upper.

• X-style Velcro™ closure system, for great foot hold, with a wide, comfortable last.

• Anti-bacterial Bio-Active lining, provides excellent temperature regulation, while inhibiting odors.

• Extra-stiff midsole

• VIBRAM® XS-Grip outsole with great 'stickiness.'

• MSRP: $175.00

Nite Ize STS HeadlampNite Ize STS headlamp

New for 2014, Nite Ize introduces the INOVA STS Headlamp, the first ever multi-mode, dual color LED headlamp with Swipe-to-Shine™ Technology. The INOVA STS multi mode headlamp makes brilliant hands-free illumination simple, versatile and comfortable. The advanced engineering in the Swipe-to-Shine™ interface allows simple access to multiple modes in both white and red LED color. By swiping your finger on the swipe-to-shine panel on the top of the lamp’s housing, you can easily turn the lamp off/on, change LED color and switch between high, variable dim, low, strobe and lockout mode. Lightweight body, high quality woven strap and waterproof construction makes the INOVA Radiant STS Headlamp an indispensable high-performance lighting tool anywhere hands-free illumination is needed.


• Red and White LED

• Both light colors available in high, low, variable dim, strobe and lockout mode

• Waterproof up to 1 meter

• 3 AAA batteries (alkaline or lithium) Fully O-ring sealed battery box with solid latch

• Available in 3 colors: black, blue and orange

• MSRP: $34.99

Snow Peak Mola HeadlampSnow Peak Mola headlamp

What makes this headlamp stand out from other headlamps is its ability to automatically adjust the beam of light to where your eyes are looking. When your head moves up or down your eyes add to the angle resulting in the line of sight not catching the beam of light. Traditionally headlamps have tilt adjuster to compensate for this, but Snow Peak designed this light to eliminate the need of manually adjusting the light. Snow Peak's new Mola Headlamp, with Optic Motility technology enables the angle of the light to follow the vertical angle of your eyes. By employing a counter balance to dynamically adjust the beam direction by using the movement of your head to approximate angle your eyes move at. 


• Weight 2.5 oz.

• Material: PMMA, poly carbonate, elastromer

• Output 11o lumnes

• 2 AAA alkaline batteries

Garneau Black Everest Snowshoe

• MSRP: $59.95 

Currently available at REI 

Louis Garneau Black Everest

What made this snowshoe stand out for me was the BOA mechanism on the foot harness. This provides a great fit that is easy to adjust and holds the foot evenly. The Black Everest is designed for backcountry hiking, and perfect for steep ascents and access to summits. The light and sturdy deck has a sharp front edge that provides great snow shedding, and high carbon steel crampons ensure maximum traction on any terrain and condition. The free foot rotation on axle ensures an efficient stride and the heel raiser reduces calf fatigue while climbing.


• Single BOA mechanism

• Sharp edge on the frontal area

• U-shaped profile reinforcing the deck structure

• Crampons and V-rail

• Free foot rotation on axle for an efficient stride

• Contact harness system with EVA padding

• MSRP: $189.99

Vapur ShakeFilter

Vapur ShakeFilter

I choose the ShakeFilter because of how simple it is. You simply fill your waterbottle, drop in the ShakeFilter and shake your bottle for 30 seconds. The activated carbon filter with reduce unwanted odor and taste from tap water. NOw no matter where you are you can have great tasting water without buying bottled water. You can use it up to 50 times and when you are done it is biodegradable. 

• MSRP: $4.99