With the economic tunnel beginning to show some light, consumers are reported to be suffering from “savings fatigue” and may be releasing their pent-up desires to spend a little green, especially if the merchandise really catches their fancy. That’s one reason retailers ventured to the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, of course, to search for off-best, interesting, fun, unique, odd and eye-catching products. And a few vendors we saw showcased those very items.
In the four SNEWS® Morning Reports from OR Winter Market, we highlighted five eye-catchers each day as our “Gear of the Day,” plus we highlighted key trends. In those reports you found for example, the buffalo-cranberry Tanka snack bar from South Dakota (Day 2), the Quiver from Dew’s that holds your iPod tight to you in stretchy fabric to eliminate annoying flop (Day 3) and Baladeo’s new cutlery set distributed here by Pacific Outdoors that has a removable fork and spoon, as well as an attached knife, bottle opener, screw and corkscrew (Day 4).
To see all our daily trends and gear in those reports, go to www.snewsnet.com/morningreport.
Here are a few other picks that caught our eyes:
For women seeking a bit more warmth on cold and windy days, Skhoop offers a collection of insulated overskirts. The Skhoop Original Skirt (MSRP $119) is made of 100-percent polyester with 80 grams of insulation. An open-ended zip on the right side is for easy on and off, with an additional zip on the left side up to the hip. Elastic at the back of the waistband provides for a better fit, and two zippered pockets on the front are aimed at more convenience. The Skhoop Mini Skirt (MSRP $89) is shorter and is made of 100-percent nylon with 60 grams of insulation. It also has a dual-zipper front, single-zip back, and two zippered front pockets. www.skhoop.com
Still feeling chilly? Check out the BruntonFlip N’ Drip Coffee Maker (MSRP $60), which combines the joys of camping with the satisfaction of drip coffee. It weighs just 16 ounces, has a 16-ounce capacity, and can also be used to make tea or other warm “adult” (or non-adult) beverages. Just fire up the camp stove and heat water in the stainless steel carafe. Twist on the reusable mesh coffee filter and drinking mug. Yup, Flip N’ Drip. Then twist off the double-walled, insulated mug and enjoy a hot beverage. www.brunton.com
How about a little music at the campsite? Assuming you aren’t going to make your neighbors call the rangers for all that loud ruckus at all hours, Eagles Nest Outfitters makes it easy to transport drums and guitars with its new Music Line packs. Pictured is the Session for drums (MSRP $149.95). Look for a padded harness system, thick padding throughout with a reinforced bottom and lid for impact protection, four external pockets, a center compression strap to secure the drum in place, and a detachable carry case. It fits the largest of djembes or similar styles of drums. Of course, this assumes your iPod with some sticks on a rock or log won’t keep you happy in the backcountry. www.eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com
For those in warmer climes who prefer the surf scene -- and who like to start the day before dawn -- Teva has just the thing to light the path to the water: the Illum sandal (MSRP $50/synthetic version; $60/LTR leather version). It offers what the company calls “The Glow From Below.” The key feature is a detachable LED Pedlamp that is waterproof up to three feet and lasts for 30 minutes. A cover plate and keychain allow for multiple Pedlamp uses. The flip-flop styling includes a contoured, compression-molded footbed; straps lined with Trek Dry microfiber and backed with closed cell foam; and a Spider365 rubber outsole. The LTR model has a micro-suede topsole cover for added comfort. So light the way to those pre-dawn surfs-up calls! www.Deckers.com
At The North Face, we found an introduction of the epitome of grandma bait -- the highest-tech, expedition-worthy apparel for your toddler. No matter, they’ll just pee in it like anything else. Try $99 for the Infants’ Insulated Toasty Toes Bunting with 100 g Heatseeker Aero insulation in the body and 120 g Heatseeker Aero insulation in the sleeves, a 100-percent polyester quilted body with DWR finish, and fold-over mitts and booties for extra protection from chilly weather. An asymmetrical full zip front and an EZ Zip zipper at center front provide easy entry and exit. The new grandma-bait toddler collection also features insulated weather protection, snow bibs, fleeces and down jackets. www.TheNorthFace.com
With all these goodies, and with so much ground to cover, a Cricket Trailer (MSRP $15,000 to $18,000, depending on options and how deep your pockets are) would certainly come in handy. The camp trailer made its commercial debut at ORWM and is being billed by the company as “an updated covered wagon for the modern frontier.” Whoa, so much for going light and roughing it. The NASA-inspired, green, lightweight (well, 1,300 pounds) trailer was designed by space architect Garrett Finney. It is garage-able and can accommodate up to four users/sleepers. The Cricket is suitable for off-grid or full hook-up camping, and available options include AC, furnace, several storage solutions and roof racks. Who wants to leave home without all the gear and comforts…. www.crickettrailer.com
When a company’s marketing plan includes the term “shelf-stable” and “no refrigeration needed” to describe a product, it does pique interest. Bridgford’s rep proudly told us the company combined its resources and experience -- meat and bread -- to whip up the Ready to Eat pocket sandwiches, available in five flavors with a shelf life of up to three years. While he suggested we steer away from pepperoni to avoid potential heartburn (ooo, now that’s a way to sell a product!), we nibbled the bacon and cheese. The bread was soft and flavorful and the filling didn’t have us, well, running for the latrine. A passing burp a few hours later did remind us of our earlier snack, but for a trail alternative, they could…be… handy…. (MSRP $15.99 for a boxed four pack) www.bridgford.com
--Judy Leand and Wendy Geister