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Field Report No.1: Winter Outdoor Retailer 2016

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We’ve seen a big shift in culture in relation to how we experience the outdoors.  With glaciers shrinking and unpredictable weather conditions affecting all of us, the mass consumer seems to be rekindling their love affair with nature. This newly rekindled romance has got me thinking, why are people getting outside?

It might be a counter response to the current digital binging + couch potato culture, or it may be the fact that Generation Y and Z are ranking life experiences over jobs and material possessions. Regardless of the reason, the bustling winter Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City shows that this market is booming, meaning we as a consumer society are beginning to understand the importance of nature in our daily lives. 
We’ve compiled a list of the most interesting products and brands we saw from OR below.


1. If there is a brand in the room that sticks to its roots, it’s Patagonia. We read about their apparel philosophy in Yvon Chouinard’s book “Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of A Reluctant Businessman” in 2006. After spending some time at their booth we noticed that even 10 years later Patagonia is still locked on their sustainability mandate to minimize the world’s usage of raw materials.

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2. Have you ever needed a headlight to dig to the bottom of your bag? Northface has merged the doctor’s bag with the daypack and developed a new way to eject your laptop, deeming it “the easiest-access backpack they’ve ever made”.

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3. Now of course we had to include our latest product design collaborations into this mix; our work with SCOTT on the latest OTG Goggle. A goggle that truly addresses the challenges of wearing prescription glasses under your ski goggles.

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4. We had some not-so awesome freeze-dried morning coffee on a camping trip this summer, so it’s safe to say we know bad coffee when we taste it.  Barebones, a Utah-based coffee company provided us with an amazing coffee experience that has totally made us rethink our camping coffee game.

FR_Outdoor Retailer pouring tea

5. We have designed some pretty detailed outsole tread patterns in the past to help with attacking snow and ice. New rubber compounds from Global Tire Mfg’s and outsole experts like Vibram have engineered rubber compounds that stick to ice. Of course we had to try it ourselves to check if it worked, and it did!

FR_Outdoor Retailer walking on ice

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6. Finally we noticed our friends at Scott Sports are on point with the pursuit of ascending, descending, and the ever so popular beerscending!

FR_Outdoor Retailer Motor Bike with skies

FR_Outdoor Retailer Motor Bike

7. Under Armour is pushing an “aggressive minimalism” style with a trusted Gore-Tex partnership.

FR Outdoor Retailer under armour boot

8. Sole is a Vancouver based company that for the past 15 years has been taking care of our feet by creating anatomically correct insoles. Their current push is towards creating urban inspired footwear by combining a clear grip-y rubber, cork, and emphasizing the natural shape of your foot.

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9. Forsake shoes, doing a nice job of merging outdoor and urban into some new cuts for 2017.

FR Outdoor Retailer Shoe

FR Outdoor Retailer Shoe

10. Thermos Smart Lid.

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11. Princeton Tec, uses a collapsible silicone lens, folding legs and a swipe power interface to create a lighting product that we think stole the title for the “sharpest lighting product of the show”.

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