A heated winter jacket. Avoid-grip trekking poles. Gummy athletic gel. These are a few of the innovative products coming to market later in 2009 in the outdoors industry. Last week, at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show in Salt Lake City, I got a peek into this future of outdoors gear and apparel. Here’s the rundown on five items that caught my eye.
Mountain Hardwear Refugium Trifecta jacket — Stay dry. Heat your core. Charge your electronics. Those are the features Mountain Hardwear promises with its new “jacket system,” a waterproof shell jacket with a battery-powered, heated liner. Plug in the Ardica battery pack and the liner pumps heat via receptors embedded in the fabric. Or, use a cable connector to charge your cell phone or music player as it sits cozy in warmth in the Trifecta’s inside pocket. All these tricks don’t come cheap, however. The jacket, available later this year, will cost $550.
Leki AERGON Grip — A rounded grip atop a trekking pole that sits nice in the palm, especially for descents, was the big new from Leki. The AERGON grip incorporates an ovoid shape that can be palmed or held traditionally for several grip options. Its handle has a rubberized and dimpled top for texture, and the company’s proprietary strap-adjustment system for quick tweaks for fit. The AERGON will be come on 11 new trekking poles, including women-specific designs.
TREW outerwear — This small outfit from Hood River, Ore., adds the performance of top-end outerwear to a line of ski and snowboarding jackets and pants that look most at home in a terrain park. But take the company’s jackets, pants, and bibs into the backcountry for some ski touring and the products perform with waterproof-breathable fabric, high collars (no neck gaiter required), expandable chest pockets that can accommodate climbing skins, and other neat design touches.
Adventure Medical Kits Women’s Edition Travel kit — As its name implies, this is a first-aid kit for women, and it includes all the usual medical supplies — wound care implements, medications, instructional materials — plus components for women-only like tampons and meds for menstrual cramps. For international trips, a “visual card tool” can help you communicate a medical issue when a language barrier is present by simply pointing to diagrams and pictures on a card. Available in March for $60.
GU Chomps Performance Energy Chews — GU Energy Labs’ latest athletic enhancer comes in the form of a gummy chew. GU Chomps cost $2.20 per packet and are made to address an athlete’s craving for solid food during training or racing while delivering nutrients and electrolytes. The company will ship Chomps in March in Blueberry Pomegranate, Orange, Cran Apple, and Strawberry flavors. Nutritionally, the chews contain complex carbohydrates from maltodextrin and simple carbs from tapioca syrup and cane sugar, as well as antioxidants in the form of vitamins C and E (to accelerate recovery from hard workouts, according to the company).
— Stephen Regenold writes a daily blog on outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.