Editors Note: This article was scheduled for early July and got lost between one site update and the next. The good news is that the information is just as relevant today as it was in July.
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is North America’s largest tradeshow in the outdoor industry. This show draws people from around the world and is the ideal place for face time with the people and products in the outdoor arena. New and upcoming products and projects are introduced, meetings are conducted to spread the good news, buyers and influencers look at, handle, and test out all kinds of gear – from climbing rope to trail runners to tents.
While many products are of the larger variety (car top tents, high-tech climbing equipment, etc.), I took some time to notice some of the smaller items such as socks and underwear and waxed paper.
Here are some of my nice, little finds:
Socks by Fits
I picked up two pairs of socks at the Fits boot: a light hiker crew and an ultra-light runner no-show. Each pair is available in five sizes ranging from small (men’s 3 ½ to 5 ½ and women’s 5-7) to xx-large (men’s 13 to 15 ½ and women’s 14 ½ to 16 ½). I appreciate the tremendous size range. I wear a size 9 in women’s, and prefer a sock on the larger size; I just can’t stand having my toes smashed for hours on end. When I look for socks at any big-box store, even outdoor retailers, I find that they stock mediums for the most part. That counts me out. And it counts many other women out, as well. Kuddos to Fits!
In addition to the range of sizes, Fits provides socks for a wide range of activities: hiking, lifestyle, running, skiing, sporting, tactical, cycling, and compression. Their socks come in a huge range of cuts: invisible, no show, low, quarter, mid-crew, crew, boot, and OTC.
What I love: The hiking socks are 65% merino wool making them naturally flame resistant, breathable, odor resistant and antimicrobial, moisture wicking, and quick drying. They have what is called a “full contact fit.” This means they mold to the shape of your foot, ankle, and calf. The sock gets wider at the top of the sock where it sits on my lower calf. And this means that when I take my socks off after a long day, I do not have a deep impression all the way around my calf as if I was trying to cut off the circulation to my foot. Yippee! Almost forgot to mention: each size is color-coded. For me, large is green on their size chart. This green corresponds with the hanger tab on the product packaging and on the toe-stripe. This makes finding your size simple and matching socks (if you wash for multiple people with various sized feet) a snap.
Overall: Versatility is outstanding and comfort is much appreciated.
Collapsible Water Bottles by Hydaway
I also came away with two 18-oz. collapsible water bottles. Hydaway builds these collapsible, ultra-stashable, planet-friendly containers to help us stay hydrated while we enjoy whatever it is that takes us outdoors. The containers collapse down to a 1.5-inch profile, are dishwasher safe and wide-mouthed if you prefer hand washing, and are made of food grade silicone and BPA-free plastic in the lid. The lid offers a hook so you can attach it to the outside of your day-pack. In addition to the regular water bottle, Hydaway offers a carbon filter and lid pack which eliminates foul odor and taste in your water and a travel pack with spout lid perfect for taking on to an airplane.
What I love: Hydaway has partnered with no2plastic.org to reduce single-use plastics. I can attach the collapsed container to my gym bag, a carry-on, or my kids’ backpacks and fill it when I arrive at the destination, whether that’s the YMCA or the water fountain past airport security.
Overall: There are a million water bottles on the market. Hydaway stands out in the fact that their water bottles collapse, making them way more portable and storable than your average bottle.
Food Storage Options by Bee’s Wrap
We walked by the Bee’s Wrap booth during some down time at the show, and we got our hands on a couple of samples of this waxy fabric. As most of the show tended towards, Bee’s Wrap is focused on environmentally friendly materials, specifically designed to eliminate plastics in the kitchen. Bee’s Wrap works like your typical plastic wrap, but instead uses cotton which has been infused with beeswax, organic jojobo oil, and tree resin. This material is washable, reusable, and compostable. The team at Bee’s Wrap continues to make their products in Vermont, which again keeps the transportation footprint smaller.
Bee’s Wrap offers several sizes for a variety of uses. A small might wrap the end of a cucumber and a large might wrap up a half of a butternut squash. There is a wrap for a baguette, bread, sandwiches, and cheese.
What I love: Bee’s Wrap is so versatile and easy to use. We use a small square to cover up the pets’ canned food in the refrigerator. When the can is finished, I recycle the can and then wash the Bee’s Wrap off for the next use. I also love that Bee’s Wrap is locally sourced and made. Their team photo is posted on their website – they are real people!
Overall: I use this product in the kitchen, no doubt. It takes the place of plastic wrap, and I feel good about that. In addition, Bee’s Wrap really does work. The heat of your hand warms up the waxy fabric just enough to become pliable, and this pliability Is what seals itself around your food items.
Sustainable Activewear by GoLite
GoLite was another booth we stopped at between other meetings, just to see what they were all about. And sustainability is what GoLite is all about. GoLite is sustainable performance activewear for fitness and travel. Their products are earth-friendly, they pack tight and light and they are comfortable.
Products are made for women and men, and are divided into tops, bottom, and more (hats and underwear). In addition, you can look for products based on activity – travel, hiking, running, and yoga.
GoLite is proud to say that over 80% of the introductory GoLite product line is developed from environmentally preferred, recycled, and low energy production materials and processes.
GoLite’s GoAid humanitarian and GoResponsibly environmental initiatives focus on making a positive impact on people and the planet. GoAid looks to empower people and communities around the world. One example: repurposing fabric. GoLite works with communities to create small, sustainable businesses by putting excess fabric into their hands. This ensures less fabric ends up in a landfill and more people have an opportunity to create more products for their own use and growth.
What I love: Each product on their site provides a “Recycled Bottle Count” which shows how many bottles were recycled to make that product. For example, the ReLite Run Hat has a recycled bottle count of 2. The men’s ReBound Hoody has a recycled bottle count of 20.
Overall: Light weight, environmentally friendly products from a problem-solving company.
Sandals by Sole
Sole makes footwear and footbeds with a nod to pain relief. The design of the Sole footwear and footbeds looks to minimize pain by positioning your feet in the proper way. This can help with foot, ankle, shin, knee, hip, and back pain. Sole footbeds or insoles come in thin, medium, and thick for a variety of uses: performance, active, casual, lifestyle, sport, and work.
What I love: The flips are comfortable and durable.
Overall: Great flip flops for the summer. Slip them on, out you go.
Sandals by Oofos
Oofos offers footwear for men and women designed to enable more natural motion by cradling the arches, thus reducing stress on feet, knees, and back. The OOfoam technology absorbs 37% more impact than traditional footwear foam materials. This is noticeable the moment you take your first step in an Oofos shoe. I tried the Women’s Oolala Luxe Sandal in Jet Blue. They are perfect for slipping on to take the dog into the backyard for a bit and are equally nice at the campground. Easy to slip on, carefree – no problem if they get muddy or sandy at the shore. Just hose them off.
What I love: So FREAKING SOFT AND COMFORTABLE, like walking on a cloud. Only complaint I have is the dog ate my pair of Oofos
Overall: Great camp shoes, great for the yard, would make great dorm shower shoes.