Every year, outdoor gear manufacturers from around the globe show off their latest and greatest at the Outdoor Retailer summer market in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Our gear experts spent the last few days combing the floor to find the coolest gear to update your wish lists for your next Scouting outing.
In the next year, you’ll find full-length features in Boys’ Life and Scouting magazines on trends and products unearthed at OR, including topics like: sustainable materials, solar-powered equipment, gear that transforms, camp-in-comfort items and much more.
Plus, we’ll also be covering classic gear categories (such as backpacks, water filtration, footwear) updated with the latest releases from some of your favorite brands.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to wait until the next issue of Boys’ Life or Scouting to get your gear fix. Here are eight products that stood out among the masses at the show:Ingenious partnerships between brands that do it best
Otterbox + Goal Zero = A solar-ready phone case system (Bundled price to be announced)
Protect and charge your iPhone6/6s and 6/6s Plus using a three-piece system, including the Otterbox uniVERSE case (available now, starting at $49.95), Goal Zero’s SLIDE battery (available now, starting at $54.99) and GZ’s Nomad Folio phone-sized solar charging panel (photographed above; available December; starting at $39.99). For those who can’t miss a Poké stop, put this on your holiday list this year. Photo courtesy of Goal Zero.Sustainable gear
Columbia Sportswear OutDry Extreme ECO jacket ($199; available spring 2017)
This year, the mega-brand is back with an update to its popular 2016 jacket release, including improved technology that eliminates PFCs — a synthetic compound used to make fabrics waterproof with the caveat that they don’t break down in the environment. Without getting too geeky, know that the jacket is made from 21 recycled water bottles, contains zero dyes and all packaging and shipping utilizes as little waste possible. Stay tuned for much more gear in the sustainable category highlighted in future 2017 issues of Boys’ Life and Scouting. Photo courtesy of Columbia Sportswear. Nap-worthy lounge equipment
ENO Billow Air Lounge Inflatable Couch ($79.95; pre-order it today at rei.com)
We lost count of the number of inflatable hammocks we saw at OR this summer. We particularly liked ENO’s version of the popular item, which comes with a super simple carrying bag that can be strapped onto a pack or tossed in the back of your car for on-the-go lounging. Inflate with a couple twirls, twist and snap the end and you’re good to go. It’s super comfy and, admittedly, a lot of fun. Photo courtesy of ENO.Gear that transforms
Cotopaxi Inti 2 ($350; available April 2017)
This crowd-funded tent transforms from a 2-person abode to accommodate four people total using a specially designed alcove. We can’t help but think of the applications for Scout outings that often fluctuate in attendance. The price is high, but the flexibility is appealing. We’ll be bringing you even more transformative gear in upcoming issues. Photo courtesy of Cotopaxi.Collapsible water bottle + filter
Katadyn BeFree ($39; available Sept. 1)
Collapsible water bottles are popping up across many hydration-storage brands, including Camelbak, Platypus, Ultimate Direction and more. The Katadyn BeFree takes collapsible water bottles to the next level with a built-in filter. Scoop up H20 on the go, squeeze to filter and sip, and roll up the bottle when your thirst is quenched. Photo courtesy of Katadyn.Feel-good gear
BioLite’s Base Lantern XL (99.95; available November 2016)
Plenty of brands in the outdoor-gear space marry philanthropic missions with cutting-edge equipment. BioLite’s Base Lantern XL impressed us with its fold-flat design, Bluetooth capabilities (making it super easy — not to mention fun — to control brightness, color and more) and incredible battery life. What’s even better? BioLite’s mission to provide its HomeStove to areas of the world still cooking over wood fires — reducing more than 35,000 tons of Co2 emissions and generating more than 30 million watts of electricity to these once electricity-free households. Photo courtesy of BioLite.Bug-free zone — on the go
ThermaCELL’s Backpacker Repeller ($34 without butane fuel; available January 2017)
We’ve tested ThermaCELL products and, while we’ve confirmed their effectiveness, our editors warn readers about how cumbersome they might be on a pack-it-light trip. The new Backpacker Repeller (a mere 4 ounces) lets you take mosquito-repelling capabilities on the go. Simply connect the ThermaCELL device to your backpacking stove’s butane fuel canister to heat the repellant-treated mat, creating a 15 foot by 15 foot bug-free zone.
Unexpected trail snacks
AlpineAire Instant Smoothies (Available January 2017)
… Yes, a trail smoothie. We tried it and it’s surprisingly tasty and refreshing. The mix packs 200 healthy calories using a specialized blend of dehydrated fruit and more. Better hope you’re close to a snowmelt stream for the crisp, cool water. (Or add a handful of snow!) Otherwise, we can’t vouch for the tastiness of a room-temperature smoothie.