Innovation Awards, the second one ever held, with the winners announced the night of Day 2 at Outdoor + Snow Show 2020 during a raucous awards celebration in the 4 Seasons Ballroom.
“We only handed out 15 awards so it was super competitive,” says Outdoor Retailer brand development director Larry Harrison, who spearheaded the judging panel and contest criteria. “The margins separating everyone were razor sharp.”
Entries were awarded five points in four categories, including Spark, Desire, Function and Impact, with parameters for each. Evaluating them all was a panel of industry veterans, academics, scientists and even explorers such as Richard Bangs and Ed Viesturs. “We tried to make it pretty diverse, representing a broad spectrum,” Harrison says.
In case you missed the festivities (cue the drumroll, please), this year’s awards went to:
Product of the Year: Yakima Products Inc. — CBX SOLAR
Part of its all-new CBX cargo box collection, Yakima’s CBX SOLAR is the first mass-produced, premium-level cargo box with an integrated solar panel. The 36-watt panel produces a 5-volt (3-amp max.) output through two USB ports, making it a completely green way to power your campsite, accessories or favorite tailgate/trailgate activity.
ALLIED Feather & Down — OPTIX iMirror by ALLIED Feather & Down powered by Nobal Technologies
The iMirror (or Smart Mirror) provides multi-channel, real-time traceability for down insulation. Allied treats each cluster of down with a reflective coating that can be read with an infrared reader, producing unique signatures. Full-length in-store mirrors read the down inside a garment, letting customers trace it back to the exact region from which it was sourced.
ECCO — DriTan™
ECCO’s new DriTan™ breaks the traditional leather tanning paradigm with a process that saves 25 million gallons of water a year — enough to sustain 9,000 people annually. Saving 20 liters of water per hide, the process also uses less chemicals and emits less wastewater and sludge.
Ghosts Apparel Studio — G13LJ-X8/SR 3-Layer Shell Jacket
Ghosts Apparel Studio’s G13LJ-X8/SR 3-layer Shell Jacket uses a technical fabric made from recycled clothing, reducing water usage by 75%, chemical emissions by 90%, energy use by 50% and CO2 emissions by 60%. It also contains each stage of the supply chain to within 150km, reducing shipping impacts, and offers a lifetime repair/replace program.
Hustle Bike Labs — REM Pedal System
Why didn’t we think of that? Hustle’s magnetic bike pedal system captures the benefits of “clipless” pedals with the safety and ease-of-use of platforms. Neodymium magnets (the strongest in the world) give each pedal over 100 pounds of pull force, connecting with plates that work with any two-bolt (SPD) shoes. “It gives you all the benefits of clipless and flats with none of the worries,” says Hustle’s Craig Payne.
Ignik — Gas Growler
Through an insulated five-pound propane tank, the Gas Growler packs the heating power of five single-use green propane bottles and easily connects to existing propane-fueled devices. Each tank will last 12 years and can replace hundreds of disposable bottles that would end up in the landfill.
LifeStraw — LifeStraw Max
The LifeStraw Max instantly purifies source water at 200 liters per hour without the need for electricity, battery power or chemicals. Designed for emergency situations, humanitarian aid, and remote locations, it can also be continuously filled by any pressurized water system, providing safe drinking water for up to 1,000 people for several months.
mountainFLOW eco-wax — Plant-Based Ski Wax
With the recent FIS ban on fluorinated waxes and the industry’s trend towards sustainability, mountainFLOW is North America’s only plant-based ski wax. Its patent-pending formula is biodegradable and won three gold medals at this year’s X-Games. “It’s way better for the environment,” says founder Peter Arlein.
NEMO — Flyer Self-Inflating Baffled Air Pad
NEMO’s Flyer™ pad series combines the best aspects of air and self-inflating pads, utilizing sculpted foam and a new construction method. Each undulation, or baffle, is hollowed out to produce an air cell, with the valleys between left as solid foam to provide bottoming-out protection. The process removes 60% of the foam from the pad’s volume.
Oru Kayak — Inlet
Yes, it’s an origami kayak. Oru’s Inlet solves the most common barriers to kayak ownership: storage and transport. With a new folding pattern—the first redesign in the company’s history—Oru has created a stable, 10’ kayak that weighs 20 lbs., folds into a box the size of a guitar case (40”x19”x10”), and can be assembled in under three minutes.
PrimaLoft — PrimaLoft® P.U.R.E.™ Manufacturing Technology
PrimaLoft’s® proprietary P.U.R.E.™ technology is a new standard in manufacturing that allows the use of air, instead of heat from an oven, to produce its insulation, reducing carbon emissions by 48%. Hence the basis for its acronym: “Produced Using Reduced Emissions.”
RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector
Now operational in five locations in North America, the RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector makes it possible to execute high-speed searches from a helicopter for lost or injured persons equipped with a RECCO reflector. The helicopter flies at a height of about 100 meters and can search a 250-acre area within six minutes.
Salomon Recyclable Concept Shoe
Addressing Salomon’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, the Concept Shoe extends the lifecycle of its materials. It’s made from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which can be ground down at the end of its life and used to construct a ski boot shell.
SEED Peoples Market — Retail
SEED Peoples Market strips away the technicalities of the outdoor industry to reveal its core — a deep respect and appreciation for nature. Its service varies from community events and customer service to a diverse curation of outdoor brands and merchandising.
CrazyCap, also a winner of this year’s Media Award,
is a next-generation water bottle powered with deep UV LED sterilization technology. It purifies water on the go without using chemicals or replaceable filters an can fit your favorite bottle (i.e. from brands like S’Well, Chilly’s, Mira, Simple Modern, etc.). It recently received a “Best overall self-cleaning water bottle” title from an independent review by CNET, as well as an innovation award from Gadget Flow.