Outdoor Retail Gear Trends: 2016 hydration / filters

From filters to bottles, hydration looks to fit seamlessly with the user’s activity. Take a look at what's ahead for retail shelves in 2016.
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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Aug. 5 – 8

A portable water purifier now exists that cleans water so well it can physically block viruses from existing in even the dirtiest of drinking water.

The MSR Guardian (MSRP $350), which debuts at Summer Market, has been in the works for the past five years as a project for the U.S. military. The military-grade microbiological purifier, which has been tested for more than 10,000 liters, uses tiny holofiber straws to physically block all contaminants from entering the water. Even better: It’s self-cleaning.

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MSR is one of many hydration companies working to make products that are more portable, versatile and user-friendly. KOR Water, for instance, is debuting a countertop filtration device, Waterfall (MSRP $99), that uses a carbon-activated coconut filter to make bottled water on the go. The system combines the pitcher and filter in an all-in-one device that’s easy to transport. Portable Aqua has the Pure Electrolytic Water Purifier (MSRP $100), which is similarly small, cost-effective and easy to use. LifeStraw is featuring its ultra-light, high-volume LifeStraw Mission in two sizes (MSRPs $120-$130/5-12 liters).

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This trend of versatility and ease is not unique to filters and purifiers — it also extends to bottles. As Joanne Anderson, director of global marketing at Stanley explained, “People are looking for a really functional, easy-to-use item that will allow for clean drinking and clean using” — not just in filters and purifiers but also in bottles.

In response to this demand, Stanley has created bottles with a two-stage opening, one of which opens the entire lid to allow for easy cleaning or a quick fill up with ice and a second opening that serves as an easy-flowing drinking spout that has a folding handle to lock it into place. Both Stanley’s Adventure Steel Water Bottles (MSRPs $13-$15/21-27 ounces) and its Classic Vacuum Water Bottles (MSRPs $20-$30/18-36 ounces) feature this easy-use opening function. Polar Bottle has jumped in on the versatility trend with the new Ergo Line (MSRP $16) that offers a reformulated outer material so the bottle works for both hot and cold beverages.

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Vacuum insulation continues to run hot, or cold, depending on the beverage. According to Stanley's figures, while growth for non-vacuum products has been at about 7.5 percent, the vacuum insulated sector has grown by 100.3 percent.

Hydro Flask introduces its insulated Sport Cap (MSRP $6.99) that features Honey Comb Insulation to lock in temperatures even longer. Avex redid its Capacity Series to be stainless steel and vacuum insulated and also to feature a 360-degree pour lid. And CamelBak has a brand new line called Chute Insulated (MSRP $28-$38/0.75-1 liters) that’s double walled, vacuum insulated and stainless steel.

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Hydration, as much of its gear brethren, is also going more lifestyle, with increased focus on design and colors. Polar Bottle is offering the Team USA Flame Bottle, which will simultaneously get into the hands of both athletes competing in the 2016 Olympic Games as well as consumers. Polar Bottle also has the 24-ounce Sport Spin range (MSRP $13) that it offers in four colors based off of researched color trends, and the 20-ounce Tie Dye range in fun colors for kids headed back to school.

Hydro Flask has launched an entire new line of colors across its product lines, broken up into three different color categories: core colors (stainless, onyx, arctic, cobalt, lava, graphite and forest), the energy series (plum, pacific, mango and kiwi, and Pop (tangelo, citron and mint).

--Becca Stanek

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