Summer 2023 Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City was smaller than previous summer shows I’ve attended. Here’s what I saw in one day of focusing on brands specializing in safety, having high sustainable practices, or lesser known.
Satellite communication devices have become more mainstream in recent years partly because the price points have become more reasonable for the hardware and monthly subscriptions. Spot pioneered personal locator/messenger devices. I checked out their 3 main products – Spot X with Bluetooth, Spot Gen4, and Spot Trace. The Spot X and Spot Gen4 are great options for hikers, trekkers, boaters, and travelers. The Spot Trace is great to put on a snowmobile, car, UTV, or any recreational asset you might want to track. The SpotX is a 2-way communication device with an unique identifier (US based phone number). It connects to Bluetooth and works through your phone. It can embed GPS coordinates and altitude in messages with a 10-14 day battery life. It has a keyboard so you can send and receive messages even if phone dies. Comparing the monthly subscription to other brands, Spot’s is cheaper. The also have a Tracker for $99 you can put on a car, boat, or UTV. Spot has a partnership with Apple with connectivity going through Spot’s satellite of the global star network.
Utu is an advanced skincare brand for outdoor lovers. Their products have either 30 and 50 SPF. They are water resistant, reef safe, bio based, and zinc based. All packaging is aluminum so they’re plastic free. The SPF 50 stick is made with no water, fragrance free, and water resistant so it is great for altitude. A little goes a long way with these products.
Swhood eyewear independently owned and based in Seattle. They are the innovators of wooden sunglasses. Their Camp line comes at a lower price point ($89), has polarized lens, and includes a sleeping bag case. The ACTV is their performance line with a price point of $149. The Wood originals run $149. My favorites are in their Stabilized Series using natural elements and turning them into one-of-a-kind wearable art. They are pricey at $395 but the shades are made with crushed shells, cactus, and flowers.
I’m a huge fan of Sawyer. The company fulfilled some military needs before expanding to the outdoor industry. Their products solve problems of bad water, mosquitos, and sun exposure. They give away 90% of their profits for clean water initiatives around the world. I got to witness the impact of their international bucket system, or “Miracle Bucket,” in the Marshall Islands. Their squeeze water filters are very popular among backpackers and trekkers. It’s also a great idea to have one in your home emergency kit if there’s a water emergency in your town or in your hurricane kit if you live along the Atlantic or Gulf Coasts. The filters have thicker fiber walls than typical fiber membranes other brands use. Each filter is tested 3 times before leaving the factory and they have a less than 1% failure rate. As a mosquito magnet, I love their permethrin fabric treatment. It’s easy to use. Spray on preferably damp clothes outside and let them dry. The spray is effective for up to 6 weeks and 6 washes. I now won’t travel to a tropical destination without using the spray on my clothes before packing. You can treat gear and tents too. It’s also safe for dogs, but not cats. I also really like their 14-hour picaridin lotion. Layer this lotion over sunscreen after waiting at least 10 minutes for extra protection. It’s effective against mosquitos, ticks, those nasty biting flies, and other insects. They have a 4 oz. travel size, but I put some in a smaller reusable travel pouch since I typically carry on when traveling. the SPF 30 sunscreen is a bonding base formula, which means you need to put it on first thing in the morning to let it absorb. Most sunscreens only protect the top two layers of skin while Sawyer’s Stay-Put Sunscreen goes deeper into the skin. Like the picaridin lotion, it comes in a 4 oz. bottle making it great for travel or throwing in your pack. Like the insect repellent, I transfer some to a reusable 3 oz. pouch to meet TSA carry on standards. You don’t have to use a lot of the picaridin or sunscreen lotions.
I was intrigued with Oru Kayay’s lightweight, innovative, and packable kayaks. They fold up in origami style into their own carry cases. The Lake version weighs 18 pounds. These are great for flat water paddling and take 3 minutes are less to set up. The biggest bonus is you don’t need a roof rack. Starting price is $499 for the Lake version. In the fall they are rolling out a line of camp furniture ranging from $70-220 including a cube, chair, and table/bench box. It’s really cool!
As a frequent solo hiker, safety is a big priority for me. I haven’t tried any of the SABRE products but that’s changing. They’re known for their pepper sprays and bear spray products. I really like are the pepper gels because they can travel 20% farther than sprays and don’t blow in the wind. They have options for a snap clip key chain, holster, belt clip and hand strap. The Safe Escape Automotive Tool with seat belt cutter and window breaker is a great gift for a college students or single female. They also have a new glow in the dark series for pepper spray and bear spray. If you’re heading into bear country like Wyoming or Montana, you need bear spray. Plus it could easily take down an attacker on the trail. Know how to use bear spray before adventuring in bear country.
The guy who I was supposed to meet with at Wrangler booth decided to take off to lunch instead of being there for our pre-arranged meeting. Not cool! They have some new UPF protection and water repellent clothes made of sleeker tech fabrics. Wish I could tell you more about them. I did really like their new yoga pants.
Rev Tent by c6 Outdoors
This is a small brand I wasn’t familiar with and it focuses on making car and tent camping more comfortable with real mattress in the tent. The tent can be places on the ground, back of a pickup truck or on the rooftop of a vehicle. The mattress is 4” thick. The 2-person tent with mattress is really cool. They also sell accessories to make camp sleeping cozier including fitted sheet and pillow case set, pillows and slooze, which are their sleep shoes.
That’s how I spent 1 day of meetings at Summer Outdoor Retailer 2023!
Author Jennifer Broome has attended multiple Outdoor Retailer trade shows to see trends in the outdoor industry. She’s always in search of multifunctional gear, innovative and sustainable products, and brands with high sustainability practices and initiatives. For more check out Snow Show 2023, A Day at Sumer Outdoor Retailer 2022, and 3 Up and Coming Brands posts.