Every six months, the outdoor industry descends on Salt Lake City. For a few days of product tests and demos, major players and emerging brands alike pass along their stoke on top secret gear projects that will be launching soon. We were lucky enough to join in the on-snow madness at Alta Ski Resort before the show, and navigated to maze of the show floor to curate a list of the best new gear that will be hitting retailers this fall. Read on for the best of Outdoor Retailer, and join in the impatient waiting and drooling over new technology with us.
For us, the biggest story is the new technology launching from industry titan, GORE-TEX. The new C-KNIT is a significant improvement in the fabric backer used in the 3-layer GORE-TEX membrane. This backer is different weave and material than the previous iterations, and is lighter and more durable than previous GORE fabrics. The result? Manufacturers are able to use softer fabrics and still live up to the GORE always dry guarantee. Look for new C-KNIT pieces to appear in the fall lines of some of our favorite high end outdoor brands.
We got on the Chugach skis from Dynafit during an exclusive ski day with some of their best pro riders and product designers before the show started. We skied until the last chair and would have snuck our pair of Chugach’s home if it had been possible. Departing from Dynafit’s ski-mountaineering race heritage, the Chugach and it’s stiffer cousin, the Hokkaido, excelled in everything from ripping groomed turns to sussing out a few hidden powder stashes in the trees and chutes. If you’re looking to own one ski that can do it all, you’d be hard pressed to find one that compares.
The Backland series is Atomic’s first foray into true alpine touring boots. The tech-binding compatible soles and easy-to-use walk mode make these boots lightweight and comfortable on the ascent. What really sold us though, is the carbon reinforced upper that provides extremely fast power transfer, giving you performance like a much heavier resort boot.
We’ve been believers in Mountain Hardwear’s proprietary Dry.Q Elite line of serious mountaineering and trekking jackets and pants for a few seasons now. The all new Hellgate Jacket takes the lessons learned from serious alpine climbers and puts them in a fully featured backcountry ski jacket. By combining a 3-layer membrane with air permeable face fabric, the Hellgate is not just a bomb shelter when the snow starts falling, but breathes like a second skin when you are pushing uphill fast.
We first discovered Forsake last winter on our never ending quest to find truly waterproof apres ski boots. Their new Lockout continues the comfort and style that they are known for, and adds in some nice design touches born from a new partnership with Woolrich. Look for them this fall.
Our previous experiences with Super.Natural have included some serious winter trail time in their innovative base layers. We were pleasantly surprised to get a sneak peak at their Voyage Collection of lifestyle and outerwear pieces that will launch later this year. Combining technical fabrics with soft merino wool, the new jackets and shirts will be perfect for any outdoor endeavor. If you can’t wait until August to get your hands on some, they’ve got a full fitness line available now that is second to none.
Biolite is known for their innovative stoves that provide not just heat and a cooking base, but can power your favorite gadgets. This spring they are moving into the lighting category with a lantern and battery system dubbed the Nanogrid. Not only will it pump out 600 lumens of light around camp, but the main body will charge your phone, GoPro, or iPad with a little extra juice for that perfect flyfishing picture or an evening movie in the tent.
Night running in the winter can be a cold, and sometimes dangerous affair. Helly Hansen‘s new Norvis tops and pants will change all that. Reflective material is sewn into the chest and back in a brushstroke pattern, only lighting up with it is illuminated by oncoming headlights or streetlamps. The effect is jarring enough to keep drivers aware of you in the dark, but completely invisible during the day.
The Kingpin has been on the market with a small, select number of retailers since early in the ski season and is already making waves in the industry. Featuring a tech-style toe piece, it is perfect for dawn patrol ski touring when you want to get in some human powered vertical. The DIN style heel piece will give you a little extra peice of mind when you lock it down to send that 20-footer on the way back to the car. Just make sure you’ve got a ski buddy who can get photo proof of your skills in the powder.
The new Mountain Collection from Salomon features products from the snow up to help you travel in the winter. We loved the new lightweight skis and apparel, but the standout product was the Mountain Lab Helmet. It is the first helmet on the market to be certified both for skiing and rock climbing. The fact that it’s one of the lightest helmets we’ve ever tested, and has a removable (and washable) merino lining are perfect touches.
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