The Outdoor Retailer trade show is a twice-annual gathering in Salt Lake City where journalists and buyers preview the latest in outdoors gear, gadgets and apparel. I just returned from Utah, spending three days trekking the show floor. Here are a few items that caught my eye, a preview of what's to come in outdoors shops circa 2009.
Big Agnes Slide Mountain Series
Campers tired of tightening rain-fly guy lines gone loose might be intrigued with Big Agnes' incorporation of the Boa Lacing System into a new series of three-season tents. The company has added Boa knob-based tensioning--a feature often found on footwear the likes of snowboarding boots--to enable campers to create a taut rain fly from inside the tent. Just reach up from your sleeping bag and twist. Tiny cables connected to the fly pull the fabric tight as you reel the line back onto a spool. Slide Mountain tents start at $499.95; available in spring 2009; www.bigagnes.com
The closed-toe and clipless-pedal-compatible Springwater is among a line of cycling products to come from KEEN next spring. The company touts the shoe as having "the same comfort and performance on the bike and off." Features include a cleat cap plate, a non-marking rubber outsole and a removable footbed. $130; available in January; www.keenfootwear.com
Mammut Verglas jacket
The Swiss-designed Verglas jacket, a soft shell made for all-around use, is one of several new pieces to feature a finishing treatment from Schoeller Textiles purported to make dark colors feel lighter than wearing white. Called Coldblack, the treatment reduces heat build up and keeps the wearer cool while offering protection from the sun's harmful rays, according to Schoeller. Price and availability to be announced; www.mammutusa.com
Brunton calls BrewFire "the world's first portable, duel-fuel coffee maker." It's just like your coffee maker at home, but this one is fueled by the same propane or butane cartridges used in camping stoves. Just put your coffee grounds of choice in the filter, add water, turn the knob and flip a switch. In 10 minutes you have eight cups of steaming hot java. The double-walled, vacuum-sealed stainless steel carafe keeps your coffee hot for 2.5 hours, the company says. $99; available in February 2009; www.brunton.com
Injinji Rainbow Toe-Socks
Reviving the classic rainbow toesock, Injini touts these COOLMAX-fabric toe huggers as "retro fun in a smart, high-performance sock, ideal for active outdoor adventures." The Rainbow toesock incorporates Injinji's patented construction, which recently received the American Podiatric Medical Association's Seal of Acceptance. $14; available in February 2009; www.injinji.com
Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for eight U.S. newspapers; visit thegearjunkie.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog and an archive of Regenold's work.