Welcome to the first part of the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show 2019 series. From goggles to outerwear, skis, snowboards, and beyond, this year’s show had something to offer for anyone who appreciates the great outdoors.
In comparison to the November show, the OR Snow Show was a packed house!
On the first day, parking was hard to find, and I found myself weaving in and out of people while walking through the aisles. By day three the show had somewhat empty, but with plenty of booths to see, it was non-stop action for me.
In my coverage of the show below, you’ll find a great blend of everything I found either interesting, innovative or merely well-constructed.
Let’s get started with part one!
Wigwam and Darn Tough: Wow, I had no idea socks could be so technical! After going over all the different variations in the collections from the two brands, I was amazed at just how much attention to detail goes into each pair of socks. From breathability for comfort to reinforcements for durability, every section of Wigwam and Darn Tough socks is crafted with a careful eye.
Wigwam’s peak to the pub concept left me really impressed, and I can’t wait to try on my first pair! When it comes to Darn Tough, I found it interesting to learn that their light hiker sock was the result of 31 porotypes. Darn Tough went through the entire alphabet and around again with the prototype names including prototype A, B, C and so on.
Their new light hiker features a revised 1×1 weave, raise back, double mesh top panels, a flex window and reinforced arch among other features. It’s those sorts of technical details that made me realize just how much effort goes into designing the perfect pair of socks.
One other neat mention is Darn Tough’s tactical socks, which beyond the 100% Berry compliant materials, feature a rather unique mesh back panel. The military requested this design feature after extensive field testing and feedback.
Dewalt: Appearing for the first time at Outdoor Retailer Snow Show was Dewalt. At the booth, I had a chance to look over their new Newman and Grunder boots, alongside their men’s work Kevlar pants. When it came to quality and durability, Dewalt’s latest collection was just as rock-solid as their power tools.
POC: POC’s new ORB goggles featured a fingerprint-free lens design while their Phobia googles came included with some really sharp Carl Zeiss lenses. For helmets, their new OBEX spin felt exceptional to try on.
United By Blue: When I first came across United By Blue, I thought they had some really admirable menswear and packs, but after hearing the story in full detail I was rather amazed. The story starts with bison fiber, which is commonly known as a “waste fiber” in the ranching industry. When working with the hide, these unwanted fibers are either landfilled or burned off.
Realizing that the bison was the epitome of endurance, with its ability to survive in the hot Texas heat and freezing -40 Alaska winters, the fiber was far more desirable than most first thought. While the fiber is coarse and short, United By Blue has managed to patent the process of turning it into useable, soft insulation. The result is a product called, “Prime.” I had a chance to take some home, and it’s incredibly satisfying to look at. In the photos below, you’ll see it appearing next to their incredibly comfortable Bison socks.
ECCO: With the success of their Exostrike boot, Ecco has gone onto to incorporate an improved midsole and 200g of PrimaLoft insulation. They’ve also introduced another book featuring a GORE-TEX construction alongside 200g and 400g Primaloft options.
At the booth, their Dynema Exostrike boot as proudly on display as were their collection of various stunning leathers. Speaking of leathers, since Ecco owns their own tannery, they’ve managed to engineer some remarkably exciting innovations. They had a boot inside of an ice cooler that was black on the outside. Once exposed to the heat from the fingers it started to turn grey! It was incredible. Another version was solid grey, but once it was heated with a hairdryer, it began to turn into camo pattern. Super cool!
Shot Show 2019 Part One
ZEAL: Zeal’s latest Automatic+ lenses offer polarized and photochromic technology in one ensemble. With lenses that can automatically adjust their tint based on changing light conditions, you’ll only need one lens for every condition. In addition to their goggles, Zeal has also rolled out their unprecedented 100% plant-based sunglasses.
Beyond Clothing: With a military-focused design background and plenty of field testing under their belt, I was amazed at Beyond Clothing’s innovative garment details. Just about every piece I picked, from the baselayers to mid layers, shells and so on was not only exceptionally well-crafted but made with a mission in mind.
Best of all, the style found across all the Beyond Clothing pieces were remarkably unique; combining tactical functionality and contemporary charm into one.
Descente: Over at the Descente booth I found a jacket with four BOA components on the front of the shell. That’s right, not one or two, but four! Seeing even just one these on the exterior of a ski/snowboard jacket was a first for me. Is this the future for outwear? It could be, as we’re seeing BOA takeover footwear like wildfire.
Duluth Pack: At the Duluth Pack booth I found a striking leather duffel called the “Sportsman’s.” Upon closer inspection, I discovered the leather was actually premium North Dakota bison. Paired with it were decorative rivets alongside leather details offered in both black and brown variations.
Leather gear aside, Duluth Pack also had some extraordinarily rugged 15oz canvas bags in all sorts of shapes and sizes. From totes to backpacks, they have an enormous selection of gear to choose from. Not to mention, most of it, comes in an extensive assortment of colors from your classic olive drab to hunter’s orange, black, mossy oak bottomland, and beyond.