Leading up to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, SNEWS is previewing new trends and products you’ll see at the trade show in Salt Lake City, July 30-Aug. 3. Today, we take a peek at accessories. You can access all these articles and more in our digital edition of the O.R. Daily Day 0.
There are hundreds of outdoor product categories at Summer Market — too many to preview here. But we’ve picked out some trending accessory sectors where you can expect to find innovation, changes and significant growth.
Hydrogen fuel cells take charge in portable power
The battery finally may be meeting its match.Welcome to the future, where hydrogen fuel cells take over the portable power scene in the quest to bring clean, renewable energy to the outdoors.
The technology, which we first saw in Horizon Fuel Cells at last summer’s show, not only has the potential to overtake solar for recharging devices — with advantages of efficiency and on-demand power — but also, eventually, to replace batteries altogether as the fuel cells get smaller and lighter.
“Already hydrogen allows us to put a tremendous amount of energy in a small, light package,” said Erron Sorensen, president of Brunton Outdoor Group. Brunton’s new Hydrogen Reactor (MSRP $150) weighs in at 5.5 ounces, and each extra fuel cell (MSRP $15) comes in at a mere ounce. Assembled, it’s about the size of your hand and can fully charge a cell phone five to six times within an hour.
Industrial Revolution enters the hydrogen world at Summer Market, partnering with Swedish company myFC to introduce the myFC PowerTrekk (MSRP $230), which includes a lithium-ion battery in case the fuel cell runs out.
The fuel cells can be recharged with water and energy (solar, if you’re gunning for zero emissions), and have the advantage of holding their recharge over time, so they’re always ready to go. They can be recharged 500 to 1,000 times, and when finished can be recycled like any other piece of metal.
The devices are TSA-approved with up to two fuel cells allowed in carry-on luggage and operate better than batteries over a wide spectrum of hot and cold temperatures.
GPS watches get smaller, more personal
Running is on the rise and, according to Timex, about 54 percent of runners wear a fitness GPS watch.
“This market is 50 percent smaller than it could be and that’s been the nugget we’ve been after,” said Sam Martin, senior brand manager for Timex. To target that group Timex has added another entry-level product to its line-up with the Iron Man Easy Run Trainer GPS (MSRP $100).
The latest running watches are multi-taskers, such as Magellan’s Echo (MSRPs $149/$199 with heart-rate monitor), which relies on GPS tracking in the runner’s phone to stream fitness app data in real-time and allows users to control a phone’s music from the wrist.
Smaller watch sizes and weights are convincing current first-generation users to upgrade. Timex launches its Run Trainer 2.0 (MSRPs $225/$275 with heart-rate monitor). The watch is intuitive and easy-to-use, and is small enough to look like an everyday watch without compromising the 8-hour battery life.
While Garmin wasn’t ready to reveal what it has up its sleeve, it has partnered with RuggedApparel.com to offer personalized paracord wristbands that double as survivor bracelets on its fitness watches and its high-end ABC GPS, the Fenix.
For the past three years researchers have referred to the rising cases of skin cancer in the United States as an “epidemic.”
As a result, consumers have become increasingly interested in protecting themselves from harmful UV rays. The first line of defense is a hat, and for spring 2014 outdoor brands are unleashing new styles with wider brims, more advanced materials and fashionable styles.
David Kappele, director at Tilley Endurables, said the company’s Orbit Hat (MSRP N/A) features an intermediate brim made of its new organic cotton and hemp blend fabric.
Headsweats has added a new fabric called Eventure Grid, which it plans to utilize in its collegiate line and eventually its best-selling items. The fabric is a mesh, lightweight, polyester wicking material that looks as though it has grids stamped onto it; really it’s just the way the fabric is woven together.
“It gives it a look and feel that’s different in the marketplace,” Headsweats President Mike McQueeney said.
Outdoor Research brings a diverse line of hats, including the Gore-Tex Ghost Rain Hat (MSRP N/A) in a traditional silhouette that combats both rain and sun.
The goal: Look good before, during and after yoga practice.
Yoga continues to increase its footprint at Outdoor Retailer, and brands are offering flattering, sexy silhouettes for spring 2014 with soft heather and space dye fabrics, and fancy back-strap designs.
“We need to make sure consumers can go through different activities and go out afterward,” said Andy The-Anh, a designer with Lolë.
Lolë debuts several A-line, baby doll silhouettes. Three pieces in particular are meant to work together: the Betty Cami, the Keirin short-sleeved top and the Talitha Jacket, which looks like a cardigan (MSRPs N/A).
Patagonia brings a heathery fabric layering system in its Layering Racerback Tank (MSRP N/A) and Gloria Wrap (MSRP N/A). Both pieces are blended polyester spandex with a cotton hand.
Though Stonewear Designs is expanding beyond yoga products, it’s still one to watch, releasing the Tango Tank (MSRP N/A) with a fitted band at the bottom and a loose, airy fit around the abdomen. The top was in the line a long time ago, but the fitted band at the bottom makes it so the hem doesn’t ride up during a woman’s practice.
Fly-fishing gets hip and ladylike
Traditionally fly-fishing has been a sport for the older male generation. But that seems to be changing, as fly fishing companies are offering products to address a surge in interest among the millennial demographic and women.
“What’s happened is [fly-fishing] has become cool and more action-oriented,” explained Tom Rosenbauer, marketing director for Orvis.
Vintage is in among millennials, said Kara Armano, Redington’s spokesperson, and a fly-fisher herself. “The millennial generation likes to do new things, but with an old style added into it,” she said.
As a result, Redington offers a throwback fiberglass rod that would have fit into the market 15 or 20 years ago, but at a lower price point to speak to this generation.
To reach the serious fly-fisher woman — currently about 20 percent of the market — Patagonia releases its technical women’s line with seven styles, including a pair of breathable, durable waders that can be converted into pants with a quick release buckle to allow fly fishing women to pee in the backcountry without undressing completely.
Waders are getting more technical at Orvis, with seam sealing technology (no stitch holes whatsoever) and rubber soles that feature a new proprietary sticky rubber to eliminate the metal studs other companies use for increased grip on slippery rocks — the sound studs make scare the fish.
High-end cooler sales
Outdoor enthusiasts are demanding coolers that match their appetite for spending a week on the river or car camping with the Jeep.High-end cooler unit sales — those boasting 7-day ice retention and ruggedness — are hot, with $100-plus models up 139 percent and $200-plus models up 137 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to Leisure Trends Group’s RetailTRAK data. The share of coolers selling for $200 or more as a percentage of all coolers sold at outdoor retail has increased from 1 percent in 2010 to 8 percent in 2013 through April.
Yeti led the way a few years ago, borrowing roto-molded technologies from kayak manufacturing to create a better cooler — and a darn expensive one, too. Prices for its top-of-the-line Tundra coolers start at $280 and go up to $1,300. But consumers are buying and competitors are emerging.
Last year, Igloo introduced its Yukon roto-molded coolers and this year will bring a wheeled version to the show. Not to be outdone, Yeti expands its lineup with its new roto-molded open Tank (MSRP $200) that can insulate tons of ice and cans or an entire keg.
Stanley enters the cooler craze this year, but is focusing on mid-market personal coolers (7 and 15 quarts; MSRPs $40-$75) that appeal in looks and function to the outdoorsman. Igloo sees the same middle-ground opportunity in its new SuperTough STX line of family coolers (54-165 quarts; MSPRs $90-$220), which aren’t roto-molded but feature durable stainless steel at stress points, such as at the hinges and latches. Look for new high-end coolers from Pelican Products as well.
These are just a few of the new products to debut at the show. Be sure to check out many more new products and trends in the O.R. Daily, Days 1-4, published live at the show, and available digital format each following day of print on SNEWS.