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Outdoor Retailer Summer 2017: The Overland Connection

The overland industry continues to influence the outdoor industry, and vise versa. This year marks the last year the annual gathering of the outdoor industry will be held in Salt Lake City, with both the summer and winter industry shows moving to Denver next year. We will miss the quality mountain biking, good food, and friendly people around SLC, but look forward to playing with the latest outdoor gear in the Colorado mountains in the future.

The overland influence around OR this year was undeniable. At the pre-show demo day Tepui and ARB both had fully built vehicles showing off their latest products, while Dometic had a full display of their latest 12-volt fridges. At the show itself there was a number of roof top tent companies on hand, including Tepui, James Baroud, and a number of random Chinese manufacturers looking for distributors. Sportsmobile had their latest 4×4 Sprinter build at the event with Mercedes, and URAL had their sidecar motorcycle in the “Venture Out” area of the show. Smaller new brands that have been making the overland show circuit as of late, like Tire Table, were also in attendance.

The following are some of the hottest new products at Summer OR 2017, all of them sure to elevate your overland life, or at least make you smile.


One of the most talked about new products at the show this year was the Nemo Stargaze Chair. This fully suspended camp chair is crazy comfortable, packs pretty small, and comes in three styles: Luxury $219/Standard $179/Lite $169.  Take your campfire lounging and stargazing to new levels of comfort.


Tepui had a great booth display this year featuring their latest iteration of the White Lighting hard shell RTT, their full line of gear bags, an expanded line of bedding, and the new Skycamp. The White Lighting can now be ordered with a variety of canopy color options, can be wrapped in whatever color or graphic you desire, is sold directly from Tepui only, and retails for about $4,000, depending on options. The new Tepui Skycamp integrates a Kukenam Ruggedized XL Tepui tent into a basecamp structure made of a wood frame, and comes complete with picnic table and full Tepui bedding. For $3,000 it is an impressive camp shelter that is great for Air B&B, Hipcamp, fishing lodges, etcetera.


5.11 has a ton of impressive active lifestyle pieces, which feature high-end fabrics, and will be hitting the market soon. They also have a few price point pieces that are durable and comfortable, while offering less material tech and features. The highlight of the new offerings from 5.11 is the new Defender-Flex Jean, which takes jeans comfort, style, functionality, and durability to all-new heights. The four-way stretch material, two fit options (slim or straight), and impressive $70 price tag are enough to get our attention, but the details are what really elevate this garment. The 1.75-inch waist loops accommodate serious belts and are individually reinforced with bar tacks. The front pocket is reinforced with Cordura to handle the EDC demands of a pocketknife or multi-tool. There are even two hidden drop pockets just below the belt line, which can accommodate a 30-round magazine or large cell phone.


ENO has been at the forefront of the hammock popularity explosion in North America and continues to offer new and exciting products each and every year. While they had some bright new prints and an impressive new hammock shelter system (Nomad Shelter System/$250/available January 2018), the new product that impressed us was the ENO Fuse Hammock Spreader System. While simple in design, it is executed perfectly and offers great advantages. The system enables two hammocks to be strung from the same anchors, right next to each other, enabling a much more social hammock experience. Each system is comprised of two three-section DAC aluminum poles with small clips on the ends. The system will be available in early 2018 for $30 and only weigh in at 9.8 ounces.


Sure, Zippo still offers their classic lighter design, but in recent years they have also come out with a full line of outdoor products that are meant to make a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts happy around camp. Their latest must-have gadget is a line of rechargeable hand warmers, which are also 12-volt power banks. Warm hands and charged cell phones in the backcountry are sure to keep many people smiling, especially at only $30-$50. Available in October.


Danner continues to capitalize on the classic quality style they’re known for, while bringing new technology and features into their boots. The new Danner Southrim 600 is a lowcut, lightweight, breathable hiking boot that will look just as good around town as out in the wilderness. The Vibram Mega-Grip sole should also perform in a wide range of environments. The Southrim 600 will be available February 2018 for $150, initially for men only.


Lifesaver makes a full line of water filtration systems that remove both bacteria and viruses from water. Their new Explorer is a small handheld unit that will be released in October. It can be filled by scooping or using the included hose with pre-filter, can screw onto a Nalgene, or used to fill a hydration bladder. The Explorer will retail for $99, with replacement filters running about $35. The unit is failsafe and stops when the filter is clogged. Lifesaver’s larger jerry can system is currently available, offers the same great filtration technology, and their largest size offers 20,000 liters of filtration and costs about $275.


Watershed has already established itself as the go-to dry bag system for discerning paddlesports enthusiasts, and is also pretty well known in the travel and overland world for making durable, dust and waterproof gear bags that can withstand the rigors of international travel. Their latest foray is into the bike-packing world with the Watershed McKenzie Bag, a new handle bar bag based on the company’s popular Ocoee Bag. The McKenzie is designed to securely mount to your bicycle handlebar and stem, while providing 900 cubic inches (9 x 16 x 8) of waterproof storage. Weighing in at only 15 ounces, the bag offers reflective surfaces and a full wrap compression design.


Revel Gear makes a bunch of cool gadgets for your camping adventures, but they are getting well known in the overland and van life worlds for their awesome lighting solutions. They have upgraded their popular Trail Hound 30-inch USB light strand with a fully insulated wire, improving durability greatly on this already fun product. The light strands are $25 for a solid color, or $30 for the color changing option.


The Gnarbox has only been on the market for 2 months and is already getting rave reviews. This little 128-gram, waterproof, shockproof, SSD hard-drive makes backing up, editing, and sharing your digital content in the field that much easier and secure. The device connects via its own Wi-Fi to your mobile device and offers up simple and effective photo and video editing tools, allowing you to quickly polish and upload drone, video camera, and still photography content to social media and the like. Available now for $299, with a double capacity version expected this fall.


The Dreamwave Survivor is an awesome weather-resistant 30-watt Bluetooth speaker, but it is also quite a bit more. The killer feature is that it is also a 400A jump start pack for your vehicle, which should be enough juice to jump up to a 5.7-liter V8. The speaker also has an integrated LED flashlight and offers an impressive 14 hours of play time. For $279 this gadget will keep the party going all night long, and make sure your vehicle starts in the morning.


Sierra Designs continues to innovate and expand on their line of packs, tents, jackets, and sleeping bags. The product that truly jumped out at us this year was their new sleeping bag offerings: the Nitro and Cloud. These are PFC-free products that utilize SD’s quality DriDown technology. The key to these bags is that they keep you warm even when wet, while also being crazy lightweight and packing down small. The zippered Nitro will be available in September for $300-$400, depending on configuration ordered and the zipperless Cloud will be available Spring 2018 for $270-$320.


Big Agnes continues to bring us lightweight and durable products to elevate life around camp. This year they debuted a new line of Big Joe gear haul duffels ($109-$159) that will hit the market this winter. They also showed off the new Insulated AXL Air camp mattress line, which features an all in one valve, Mylar inside for great heat retention, packs really small, and is insanely light for its R value. The mattress will come in a variety of ratings, be offered in both mummy and rectangle shapes, be available in the spring, and be priced from $159 to $249. Big Agnes is also the North American distributor for the Helinox line of camp furniture. Helinox will expand their Chair One line of camp chairs in the spring with 3 new models: Mini $70/L $120/XL $150.


Sea To Summit continues to elevate all aspects of camp and travel life. Their latest killer product is the Alpha Series of pots and pans. These hard anodized aluminum pots and pans are super lightweight and designed to please even the most gourmet camp chefs around. The 50-micron anodizing, which is really thick, disperses your camp stove heat evenly, allowing a quality camp chef to do way more than just boil water or fry an egg. Elevate your camp cooking experience this spring with the new Sea To Summit Alpha Series, from $35 for the smallest pan to $119 for a full two pot cook set with tableware.


Bryon Dorr likes to see travel through an adventure sports lens. He has lived on the road less traveled since late 2011, by way of both 4 & 2 wheeled overland adventure vehicles. Searching out varied experiences in new locations, many times based around high energy outdoor activities like ww kayaking, mountain biking and skiing, are what fuels his passion for life. Bryon is a photographer and journalist that strives to capture the intersection of overland travel and adventure sports. He is a frequent contributor to Expedition Portal and founder of Exploring Elements. Follow his adventures at: www.ExploringElements.com.