The show floor at Outdoor Retailer Winter this November offered an array of new and innovative products.
From blender caps designed by ex-Apple engineers that screw on water bottles to colorful backpacks made from discarded materials, OR exhibitors displayed a wide range of creative and thoughtful merchandise.
The Daily walked the floor to see what was on offer and to highlight a few of the more exciting pieces of gear and apparel at the show, stopping by BlenderCap, Pingora, Mainers, Ortovox, Grivel, OOSC, Cardo, Alpaka, and Goorin Bros.
Cruz BlenderCap Portable Blender
The Cruz BlenderCap is a cordless blender in a cap designed to fit wide mouth bottles such as Nalgenes or Hydroflasks.The founders of BlenderCap spent 10 years working at Apple as engineers, and tout that experience as informing the design of the product.
The user screws the cap onto the bottle and has an instant blender. Matthew Moore, co-founder of BlenderCap, said it’s good for protein shakes, smoothies, and frozen daiquiris, among other drinks.
“We’ve tried to think through the user experience,” he said. “It’s a full-blown blender on the go wherever you need it.”
The founders are looking for outdoor retailers to partner with because many of their customers have been using the blender when out camping.
The product launched in January 2023 and started shipping in the summer.
Available now. Retails for $129.
Pingora Vivid Backpacks
Pingora’s Vivid 27- and 35-liter backpacks are intended as backcountry ski and splitboard packs that were designed around safety and ergonomics, according to CEO CJ Whittaker.
The brand consulted with avalanche experts to create a bag that was reliable in a rescue scenario. That means easy access to zippers that won’t be torn off in a moment of panic, for example.
Pingora uses a rugged zipper that doesn’t break or kink and a durable liner that holds up to multiple uses.
“Durability and reliability for safety is what we prioritized in design,” Whittaker said. The pack is also splitboard compatible and skis can be worn with it in two ways.
Another feature that Whittaker highlighted was Pingora’s use of “deadstock” fabric. The brand works with factories and fabric vendors to incorporate the leftover materials other companies aren’t going to use.
“Often that stuff is incinerated,” Whittaker said. “We’re cleaning up after the over-forecasting in the industry.”
That’s also why Pingora’s packs are very colorful. Whittaker, who was previously VP of product at Cotopaxi, has strict performance standards for the fabrics, but he can’t be as choosey with the colors.
Available now. The 27-liter pack retails for $189 and the 35-liter pack for $199.
Mainers Caribou Mitts
Mainers’ Caribou Mitts are manufactured in the U.S. and made of 100% leather and 100% recycled insulation.
The outer layer is cow leather, and the interior is made up of featherless 3M Thinsulate, polyolefin and polyester.
Mainers is able to use Gore materials even though the company is relatively small because it also makes cryogenic gloves for NASA, according to Ponch Membreno, commercial director.
The leather breaks in “like your favorite baseball mitt,” according to Membreno.
“The Caribou is a super-warm mitt that someone could use if they were going to see the penguins in South America,” he said. “It’s a serious glove.”
Available now. $269 at retail.
Ortovox Diract Voice
Ortovox’s Diract Voice avalanche transceiver offers voice command support through all stages of an avalanche rescue, from signal search to core search to find search.
“Those are the three stages a searcher goes through when they’re rescuing the victim,” said Tom Mason, brand manager at Ortovox.
The Diract Voice is marketed as providing clear and simple instructions to help someone stay calm and level-headed when their partner is in trouble.
Ortovox’s goal with this transceiver, after more than nine years of research and product development, was to make the best rescue tool on the market, Mason added.
Overall rescue time is lessened by supporting searchers through voice commands at every stage, according to Mason, “because they’re able to make faster, better decisions.”
“We felt like that was a major breakthrough,” he added.
It comes equipped with antenna technology that ensures the best available antenna is used and its range is doubled in transmitting mode.
Available now. $450 at retail.
Grivel Dark Machine Ice Axe
Liberty Mountain had several of the outdoor brands it distributes on display at OR.
One product it was featuring, Grivel’s Dark Machine ice axe, is an ice climbing tool that has many advanced features, according to Cy Lindberg, sales representative for Liberty Mountain.
Lindberg highlighted the carbon composite shaft and full carbon handle that make the tool light, tough, and durable.
“It’s going to create the lightness for your ice climber, but it’s still going to have a big, weighted head on it to give it that full power to stick inside of ice,” he added.
The blades are also interchangeable based on whether the climber wants to do some dry tooling or hammer on frozen waterfalls on a mountain, Lindberg said.
Available now. $294 at retail.
OOSC First Lines 3-Layer Shell Suit
The First Lines 3-layer ski suit by OOSC is designed for the backcountry but also can be worn on the front side of the mountain. It’s made with fully taped, bonded seams and 100% recycled polyester.
Aaron McLaughlin, co-founder of OOSC clothing, said the primary market for the suit is someone in the backcountry who is hiking in to get fresh tracks.
“It’s really comfortable. Keeps you warm when it’s cold,” he said. “There’s also loads of ventilation and it’s obviously very breathable, so it’s good in the heat as well.”
Available now. Retails at $649.
Cardo Packtalk Communication System
The Cardo Packtalk system is designed to allow for communication between friends or family on the slopes, biking, or anything else on the mountain. It’s also waterproof and works on a raft or wakeboard.
The device is engineered to fit into a helmet and can also work outside of a headpiece. Once connected, up to 15 people can communicate on the network. It’s voice-activated and noise-cancelling. The Packtalk ranges up to one mile in perfect conditions, but the range is closer to about half a mile in “real life conditions.”
“But as soon as you add more people, each unit acts as a transmitter and receiver,” said Jess Long, director of business development for Cardo.
Available now. Retails at $249.95 for one unit, two for $449.95.
Alpaka Elements Travel Backpack
The 35-liter travel backpack from Alpaka comes in a carry-on size with a clamshell main compartment and organization pockets with webbing straps for Alpaka’s pouches that are designed to customize organization.
The front compartment has pockets for organizing electronics, notepads, and battery banks. It also comes with a separate laptop compartment that fits a 16-inch MacBook. The pack includes a side quick-access compartment and has a pocket for a water bottle or a tripod.
Kaihl Fransen, marketing manager for Alpaka, said the Australia-based company is looking at moving into more stores in the U.S.
“Probably 60%-70% of our online sales are in the U.S.,” he said.
Available now. Retails at $259.
Goorin Bros Hats
Goorin Bros debuted its Fall/Winter 2024 line, which is a deep dive into the outdoor space, according to Joyce Sidon, international accounts manager.
The new hat line harkens back to the company’s start in 1895 when it made hats for fishing, boating, and tennis.
These new hats, including beanies, use more nylon and other technical materials for outdoor pursuits than Goorin’s traditional lifestyle line.
“We did something that was designed to feel already worn into, inspired by the outdoors,” Sidon said.
One of the hats includes duck canvas that offers more water resistance.
“It’s not just the fashion hats you can wear to look good,” Sidon said. “It’s hats that you can also wear outside.”
Available for Fall/Winter 2024. $40 and up at retail.