As always, I get asked, “What was your favorite piece of gear at Outdoor Retailer?” Often times it’s hard to say right there on the spot. But, once I sift through my notes and press the rewind button in my mind, some things start to stand out. So, of the myriad of products that I was able to check out, these are my top 5 picks from Outdoor Retailer 2011 Winter Market.
1) Outdoor Research Sensor and Ambit Gloves
Touchscreen, meet all-weather glove. Huh? Yup, you heard me right… the new Sensor ($70) and Ambit ($99) gloves feature TouchTec Leather that allows for touchscreen use without glove removal. Instead of turning your finger into a frozen hot dog on your way up the chairlift, these gloves will quickly prove they are worth every penny (heck, they are reasonably-priced too!).
2) Salomon XR Crossmax Trail Running Shoes
While waterproof membrane booties do have their limited place in trail running, what we need more of is the XR Crossmax. Realizing that if the waterproof membrane was strategically placed in the forefoot, lower tongue and sides, Salomon has created a hybrid shoe that will keep your feet dry while still allowing your feet to breathe. Additionally, should water get inside, it can expel itself through the rear of the shoe and not puddle up due to the waterproof membrane. The loud looks will make quite the fashion statement off the trail, but for long-distance wet-weather runs, these shoes really look awesome.
3) Teva Mush Frio
I’m a HUGE fan of the Teva Mush sandals. Their squishy comfort is unrivaled in flip-flop land. So, what could be better than an ultralight Mush-based shoe? Oh yes they did! The new Mush Frio is an ultralight shoe that uses the same mush foam, but in a shoe. I love my Patagonia Maui Moc’s for lounging, but I think the new Mush Frio’s will be my new kickin’ it shoe of choice.
4) Salomon XT Zip Off Vest
While I hate to have such a love-fest, it’s impossible not to give the nod to the new XT Zip Off Vest. The versatility of this jacket is unrivaled. Instead of placing the zips around the perimeter of the arms, it’s strategically placed in the front from the collarbone to the armpit. Zip, Zip… then pull your arms out of the sleeves and the snap on the back collar keeps everything from falling to the ground. A quick unsnap and it all slips into the easy-to-reach backside pocket. For variable weather and temperatures, I’m seeing this as a must-have piece.
5) Dynafit Radical FT
It’s hard not to give the nod to the new Dynafit toepiece design. The Radical FT is really, really cool. A step-in Dynafit binding will soon be coming to a skintrack near you. No more looking back at your buddy as he’s fiddling with his toepiece… simply step-in and you’re golden. Add on top of that the new climbing bars and beefier construction and this one is hard to beat.