This year, Outdoor Retailer Winter Market was a mixed bag of unique innovations and iterations of existing technologies. Breathable insulation was an overarching trend that carried on from the past two shows, as was fashion-forward technical gear built to transition seamlessly between urban and outdoor. In total, we met with and saw new gear from over 100 of the best brands in the outdoor industry. Below are the items that caught our eyes the most, giving us good reason to be excited for the outdoor industry and the year ahead.
While a select few pieces below are available for purchase now, most of the gear featured here will be available for purchase fall 2017.
The North Face Mission Kit
Historically, The North Face has made fairly middle-of-the-road ski and snowboard gear — particularly in the backcountry department. The Mission Kit, part of the Steep Series, is poised to change that. The pieces are the most technically advanced ski and snowboard apparel that the brand has ever made. Among the innovations is a radio comms pocket near the shoulder to allow for easy communication in the backcountry.
Arc’teryx Alpha IS Jacket
Building on the success of last year’s Firebee AR parka, Arc’teryx built another advanced winter jacket for serious outdoor adventurers. By design, the jacket is a foul-weather belay parka, but any trip that requires a fully waterproof Gore-Tex shell paired with gratuitous amounts of synthetic insulation is a perfect testing ground for the Alpha IS.
BLACKYAK Hybrid Jacket
Few companies at OR were producing garments as unique as BLACKYAK. The hybrid jacket features a host of different materials and technologies including traceable goose down, PrimaLoft Gold, Polartec Alpha, Cordura Ripstop, Cordura 4-Way Stretch and Polartec Grid. This is the brand’s second global collection and its first big push into the US market. BLACKYAK is based in South Korea and is well known in Asian markets, but it remains to be seen whether that success will translate to the US market. It definitely will if we have anything to say about it.
Goal Zero Yeti Fuel and Yeti 1400
For 2017, Goal Zero is launching its first gas generator. The goal is to create a complete ecosystem of power consisting of the gas generator, an electric power bank and solar panels. All together, they work as a comprehensive power unit designed to get you further into the backcountry, as long as you have a vehicle to do it. The units are bulky and heavy — not exactly backpacking material, but overlander and off-roader enthusiasts will be lining up with their wallets open.
Julbo Vermont Classic
Ah, yes. The Julbo Vermont Classic. You may know these as the black glacier glasses that have adorned the faces of mountaineers for over 125 years. For 2017, Julbo has released the Vermonts in three new colorways. While they serve a specific purpose when climbing the Hillary Step, they can easily transition into the urban outdoor fashion world.
Fimbulvetr Tankr Snowshoe
Fimbulvetr’s previous snowshoe, the Hikr, was a 2016 GP100 Award winner. The latest shoe, the Tankr, follows the same revolutionary characteristics and materials with a larger shape designed for even more float. In addition to looking like something the Empire would use to attack the Rebels in the snow, the Tankr looks like it could make light of even the deepest snow.
Adidas Outdoor Urban Collection
Adidas Terrex has launched an urban-inspired collection for city-dwellers and weekend warriors. The collection features minimal branding and tonal accents paired with technical fabrics designed to stand up to a host of weather conditions.
Helly Hansen Icon Jacket
Helly Hansen’s new Icon jacket features an air-channeling system called H2Flow that’s modeled after high-performance race cars. Two zippers on the front open up and allow air to flow in. Air chambers then direct the air to your back to help ventilate areas that get warm during aerobic activities.
Goldwin Travel Shirt
Japanese brand Goldwin was one of our favorites at this year’s show. Goldwin’s take on the travel shirt was particularly impressive. A passport pocket, Cordura fabric, minimal branding — it’s enough to make a jet-setter weak at the knees. Whether you’re headed into the outdoors or boarding a plane to the other side of the globe, you’re guaranteed to be equally as wooed by Goldwin.
Keen Targhee EXP Boot
After roughly 11 years in the line the Keen Targhee finally gets a new model. The EXP will feature the same last and fit that the Keen Targhee is known for, so Targhee die-hards will know exactly what to expect. It also gets an upgrade outsole, a more minimal aesthetic and a sleeker profile.
Black Diamond Boundary Pro 107
Built in Austria and designed for the advanced skier, BD’s new Boundary Pro 107 is equally suited to sending big lines in bounds and out. The rockered tip and tail help to float in deep snow while the traditional camber under foot help with edge hold in choppier conditions. The skis will be available in September 2017 and will retail for $730.
Salomon S Lab X-Alp Boot
Salomon’s parent company Amer Sports also owns Arc’teryx, so it’s no wonder that the new SLabs XAlp ski boot looks a lot like the Arc’teryx Procline. As Salomon describes it, the Procline is geared more towards ski mountaineers, so it keeps weight down. The XAlp, while still being an extremely lightweight boot, trades some of the weight savings for a beefier construction more suited to aggressive backcountry skiers.
Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
The new Spartan Sport Wrist HR is Suunto’s first entry into wrist-based heart rate monitoring. The brand shied away from the technology in the early iterations because it was notoriously inaccurate. Now however, the heart rate tech has gotten to the point where Suunto feels comfortable applying it to the Spartan, one of the best all-around fitness-tracking GPS smart watches out there.
Patagonia Descentionist Backpack
The new Patagnia Descentionist backpack is essentially a downhill-oriented Ascentionist pack. The Patagonia Ascentionist is the brand’s technical, lightweight climbing pack built for alpine and rock climbers. Cordura nylon makes for an incredibly durable pack; ski and snowboard straps add functionality; compression straps on the sides help to manage different load sizes. The pack will retail for $199.