The Gear Junkie: Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2008 (part II)

The Selk Sleepwear System offers campers the freedom of movement coupled with the warmth of a sleeping bag.

Click here for Part I of the 2008 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market .

From wearable sleeping bags to Swiss Army Knife backpacks, new gear at this year's Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show in Salt Lake City took the cake in its innovation and good ol' red-blooded American resourcefulness. Here are five items that stood out:


Lippi USA Selk Sleep Wear System
Essentially a sleeping bag that you wear, Lippi USA's Selk Sleep Wear System was made for comfort, warmth and mobility. While wearing this "bag," you can walk around camp, prepare food, use a restroom and lie down to sleep wherever you choose. The sleeping bag suit will come in three warmth levels and two sizes, fitting large and small campers in temps down to about 15 degrees Fahrenheit. ($149 to $349, depending on warmth level; www.lippioutdoor.com; available in March)

Ibex Wool S
Ibex Wool Sports Bra
Utter the words "wool sports bra" in an outdoors shop 10 years back and you might have been thrown out the door. But wool today from companies like Ibex Outdoor Clothing is silky and soft. It wicks sweat well, doesn't stink even after much use, and is less harmful than most synthetics on the environment. Thus, Ibex has designed the Woman's Balance Sports Bra, a machine-washable and seamless wool bra with a hint of spandex for stretch. It is made to fit A, B and C cups during medium- to low-impact activities like paddling, hiking and biking. ($49; www.ibexwear.com; available now)

Wenger Zernez Backpack
Wenger Zernez Backpack
Wenger, the company that makes the Swiss Army Knife, has a new pack that reflects the multi-functional nature of its knives: The Wenger Zernez backpack is made for activities from skiing to backpacking to mountaineering. Features include a removable lid that converts into a lumbar pack; a water bottle pocket that can be secured on one of four receptors on the pack; multiple attachment points for skis, snowboards, trekking poles, sleeping bags and climbing equipment; and specialty pockets, including a fleece-lined pouch for electronics, a first aid kit pocket and a small pocket on the waist belt for a Swiss Army Knife. The Zernez pack comes in two sizes, with 3,000 or 3,600 cubic inches of capacity. ($249 to $269, depending on model; www.wengerna.com; available this spring)

REI eVent Jacket
REI eVent Jackets
REI took the Outdoor Retailer Show to unveil an apparel line that is the first nationally distributed brand to feature eVent fabric technology. (eVent is a waterproof and breathable laminate made by a subsidiary of the General Electric Company; it competes with Gore-Tex.) When it comes out next fall, the REI Gear & Apparel line will include the men's REI Shuksan eVent jacket and pant, and the women's REI Kulshan eVent jacket and pant, all waterproof and breathable pieces made to handle rain, snow, sleet, wind, and any type of weather. (jackets are $289, pants, $229; www.rei.com; available in the fall)

Zoot Sports Triathlon Shoe
Zoot Sports Triathlon Shoe
The ULTRA Footwear Collection of running shoes were made for the sport of triathlon, where quick transitions are essential in the battle against the clock. As such, these shoes have a quick-lace system to go on fast. They do not require socks, allowing athletes to jump off a bike and get into their running shoes with minimal fuss. There are several models in Zoot Sports' line, including the Men's ULTRA Race (pictured) and Women's ULTRA Race, top-end models that are lightweight and made for speed: The men's ULTRA Race, for example, in a size 9, weighs a mere 8.4 ounces. (Price: Men's and Women's ULTRA Race, $130; www.zootsports.com; available in March)

Part I of the 2008 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.
Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for eight U.S. newspapers; visit www.thegearjunkie.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog and an archive of Regenold's work.

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