Outdoor gear has decidedly transformed from the days of itchy wool and bulky, pole-frame backpacks to a hip, high-fashion, multi-billion dollar industry.
It's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of outdoor outfitters crammed into the Salt Lake City Convention Center for the Outdoor Retailer show. There are all the brands you would expect: Marmot, Osprey, Columbia, The North Face, Keen etc.
Then there are the thousands of smaller booths packed with fresh gear and passionate people.
Trend #1: Sustainability
Every company seems to be making their products out of something sustainable. In some cases, they're creating shirts, packs and more out of straight up trash (Adidas is launching a line called Parley which uses plastic waste from our oceans to turn into textiles and gear). Backpack and gear-maker Cotopaxi not only designates a percentage of sales to fight poverty, but have launched a line made from all their unused parts and pieces as well. These brands are far from the only who choose to advocate as well as sell. The brands here must have all done the same market research and discovered their consumers like feeling good about what they buy. Nearly everything has a sustainable, recyclable or 'green' peg to it. Those companies like PrAna, which claim to have been doing sustainable before it was hip, are also making that message clear.
Trend #2: The Comforts of Home
Backpacking, camping, kayaking, sitting at your kid's soccer game: the outdoors are not only for the diehard mountain climbers anymore. Nearly every major brand is taking advantage of the booming lifestyle side of the outdoor business. Tents, sleeping bags, clothes and other gear essentials are now bringing the comforts of home to both the casual and hardcore outdoor user.
Trend #3: Apres Adventure and Hipster Functionality
So much of the outdoor retail industry now acknowledges the before and after of the adventure instead of the adventure itself. That's why Boulder-based Kelty designs much of their new product with the technology and features of high-end backpacking and camping gear - but with the look and feel of something you'd use in every day life. They call it 'built to wander.'
Trend #4: Women’s Specific Gear (finally!)
At the show this year, chicks rule. Not only is this message a strong part of the marketing from the show, but you can see it reflected in many major brands on the showroom floor. Photos of women climbing mountains and tackling obstacles are a part of nearly every retailer's marketing - including Cortez, Colorado-based backpacking manufacturer Osprey.
Trend #5: Color and Pattern
Especially if you live in Colorado, you know that outdoor gear also doubles as 'going out' gear. That's perhaps why many retailers of clothes, backpacks, shoes, even tents and other gear, are ramping up the colors and patterns of their designs.
Trend #6: Multifunction and Technology
With so many brands and products on the market, functionality still rules (although it seems fashion is a close second). At OR this year, it's all about multitasking (but doing it well). Backpacks can also be used as totes, and any tool that does fewer than seven tasks is essentially useless. The race is on to incorporate the best tech into gear - and not just electronic gadgets - but fabric, zippers, and design, too.
This article comes from http://www.9news.com Author: Kelly Jensen