August 10, 2016

When I first started working at the Coop, I thought attending OR would be a part of the gig. Turns out, accountants have absolutely no reason to go to a buyers trade show. It also turns out that if you suck up to the right people , they can make shit happen. So Gear Coop sent me, the accountant professional blogger, to Outdoor Retailer to party capture content.

The night before the show, some of us got the opportunity to attend Outsiders Ball.

outdoor retailerLadies of the Coop comin’ for the Mormon husbands of Salt Lake City.

It’s not really a ball, but apparently all you need to do is call an event a “ball” and you get every dirtbag to show up in a button-down collared shirt. I guess our standards are pretty low.

outdoor retailer Virtual Reality is a thing. How does VR fit in the outdoors industry again?
outdoor retailerCornhole. So classic, yet so hot right now.

What was cool about the ball was the vibe; no one was trying to be cooler than you and everyone was more than willing to strike up a random friendly conversation.  Throw in a few easy and fun ways to donate to charity and you have yourself a good ol’ fashioned yuppie love-in.

outdoor retailerHayley skipped out on tipping the bartender and donated a couple bucks to Parks 4 Kids so she could send in her flippy floppies.
outdoor retailerProtect Bears Ears
outdoor retailer If everyone hit 100 miles between running, rowing, and biking, Thule would donate $10k to help get youth outside. Slightly intoxicated, I decided to bike 15 miles which would equal $1500, I’m practically Gandhi.

As a trade show virgin, I was more than stoked to see what  the hoopla surrounding OR is  about, check out all the crazy vendor booths, latest and greatest gear, and party network with some of the industries raddest people, and hopefully get to fan out on Alex Honnold.  I had no clue what to expect about the show but as soon as we walked in I was completely overwhelmed just by the sheer size of the place. It was at least twice as big as the Coop.  Straight away we get into some pretty boring heavy business meetings with Deuter, Black Diamond, and Mountain Hardwear.


outdoor retailerDeuter hopping in to the climbing bag game.

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed Mountain Hardwear has been doing some big baller shit lately. In my opinion, their booth was best in show. Equipped with a semi-highline, futuristic 3D models of all their tents, and hipster-fridges full of refreshments, including Mexican bottled Coke. They were super stoked on Rally the Tribe so we decided we’re going to do it bigger and better next time. It’s happening so keep your eyes and ears open!

outdoor retailerWhats in the fridge, Jeff?
outdoor retailerRobison ruptured his spleen  in a high line accident last month. No big deal.

Black Diamond’s booth looked like a scene out of Men in Black, with black and white promo photos, clean design, and perfectly spaced product placement. Some notable BD gear news:  they’re making ropes again, and some crazy powerful badass headlamps. Also, if you remember a while back we mistakenly leaked a photo of the ATC Pilot on our Instagram. Well, it went somewhat viral and the dudes at BD were cool with it and took us on the sickest private night tour of their factory. It was so epic it deserves its own blog post.

outdoor retailerThe making of the Pilot. It’s an ergonomic braking-enhanced belay device that has only gotten positive feedback from everyone at the Coop that’s played with it.
outdoor retailerIcon 500. Yeah, 500.
outdoor retailerPilots, Ultralights, Ropes. What’s BD gonna do next?! Whatever the fuck they want.

After being in serious meetings for far too long, I ditched the crew and went exploring on my own. A lot of the new gear was mostly improved past season items; better designs, better material, lighter weight.

outdoor retailerAlien came out with their 3rd generation cam. Almost a full lobe narrower and an improved thumb loop; might be a game changer.
outdoor retailerDMM with 4 new harnesses. 2 of which have adjustable leg loops, including the Eon and 2 lightweight harnesses which are fixed leg loops (not pictured).
outdoor retailerDMM also redesigned their screw gate carabiners. This is really important stuff.
outdoor retailer Ran into this guy. I’m obviously upset he’s not Alex Honnold.
outdoor retailerTrend watch: Crosses/X designs are so hot right now.
outdoor retailer Sherpa proving how core they are.
outdoor retailerDakine has their beeriorities straight.
outdoor retailerNot even sure what brand this is but I’m sure you can appreciate this as much as I did. “Don’t climb with me or my son, ever again.”

After getting bored of being bored, I linked back up with the crew to join them for our last meeting at Arc’teryx. I was able to focus long enough to help plan another trip contest but it was a pleasant surprise to learn they were having happy hour right after the meeting.

outdoor retailerArc’teryx pouring a good one into the new HydroFlask “Rocks” cup.
outdoor retailerPsh.
outdoor retailerRule breaking since 1991.

In summary, OR was business, business, business, hungry, drunk, tired, blur. Tune in tomorrow for an even better Day 2!