2018 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market

2018 started on a bittersweet note for many of us in the in the outdoor industry. Marred by the State’s stance on the shrinking of Bear’s Ears National Monument, and the broader approach toward public land, Outdoor Retailer moved their Summer and Winter shows from Utah’s Salt Palace Convention Center to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

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Photo courtesy of Outdoor Retailer
As I explained in my Winter 2018 Outdoor Retailer article for Toyota Cruisers and Trucks Magazine, the move wasn’t without controversy. Many, including myself, believe the show organizers used the State’s position as an excuse to exit out of their contracts early and move to a new venue. Show organizers had been battling with the Salt Palace’s lack of space for years, and Salt Lake’s lack of downtown hotels. Utah’s position on public lands, right or wrong, was the avenue through which the organizers could make an early withdrawal.

I lamented in my Winter article, how I was sad on a personal level about the show moving to Denver. Krista and I have fond memories from our OR Shows in Salt Lake, including the annual customer appreciation picnics hosted by the fine folks at Cruiser Outfitters and Equipt Expedition Outfitters. I remember meeting up with fellow 4Runner owners and heading out on an evening run into the Wasatch Front. We would leave the show early to try and beat the crowds to the City's amazing restaurants like Red Iguana and Squatter’s Pub.

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Photo courtesy of Outdoor Retailer

Although I may not agree with the pretext of the Outdoor Retailer’s decision to move out of Utah early, I look forward to spending time with the phenomenal overland-oriented companies that call Colorado home. I do not know Denver as well as Salt Lake so I would love to hear about your favorite dive bars, food trucks, and breakfast joints.

My favorite part of the Outdoor Retailer shows is checking out all of the new gear on display. I am, for better or worse, a gear junkie and I love seeing all of the fresh and unique product gear manufacturers are bringing to market. Here is a selection of my favorite gear from this summer's show.

Best In Show

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1. Wolf and Grizzly M1 Grill Kit

Introducing the WG Grill: a compact, stainless steel grill that you can set up in seconds with infinite height possibilities. Two parts. That's it. Just pull apart the frame, unroll the grill surface and lock it in place. The WG Grill features three different configurations: 8" for larger campfires, 6" for charcoal grilling, and a stay-flat mode so that you can use the objects around you to grill at new heights. Your food remains secure, even with minor hits and bumps as you add fuel to your fire. MSRP: $129.00

2. BOTE Rover Aero

It's a skiff. It's a dinghy. It's a tender. It's a paddleboard. It's a BOTE ... in a bag. - Meet the Rover AeroBOTE, the most portable paddleskiff on the market. Inflating the Rover Aero for a day out on the water and then packing it up makes for easy storage, can tag along on any adventure, and stands up to the toughest conditions, hell ... even baggage claim. So as you're paddling, fishing, or motoring your way across the globe, Rover AERO's got your back. It's your board and boat, in one ... in a bag. MSRP: $2,499

3. Midland Radio MXT275

The new MXT275 from Midland Radio combines the features and benefits of the popular MXT115 GMRS MicroMobile, into an even more versatile package with a fully integrated control microphone for vehicles with limited dash or console space. The high-power base unit can be mounted out-of-site in the vehicle, allowing easy access to functions through the corded mic. With 15 watts of transmitting over 15 GMRS channels, the MXT275 offers excellent range and clarity with the ease-of-use and simple installation that Midland GMRS products are known for. For those looking to boost their range and performance even further, the MXT275 can be used on 8 repeater channels with 142 privacy codes. MSRP: $149.99

4. GRIP6 Men’s Wyoming Flag Belt

Let’s be honest. Most products we buy today are designed to last through a single fashion cycle. If we’re lucky, that's a year, maybe two. As a society, we’ve become conditioned to expect very little from our clothing. When it fails, we throw it out and buy another one. When GRIP6 was founded, we had one goal - make the best belt that’s ever been made. We define success a little differently than most companies. We want our belts to look good, function better, and last longer, than any belt you’ve ever worn before. Though we’re getting close, we are still working to improve every aspect of our design, and that process will never stop. MSRP: $39.00

5. VSSL Flask

Our VSSL Flasks have been infused/lined with glass; because it's the best material to preserve the taste & quality of your beverage. Holds your beverage of choice plus a flashlight to help guide you in the dark. While VSSL Flask pays tribute to the end of prohibition, its compact form was created with portability (not concealment) in mind. It was designed to be easy to take on your adventures, like our other VSSL products. Available August 31, Pre-Order Here: $72.50

6. CampMaid Complete Outdoor Cooking System

Quite possibly the Swiss Army Knife of Dutch oven cooking. Outfit your Overland vehicles with the CampMaid cooking tools pack - the ultimate compact outdoor camp kitchen that transforms into multiple uses - a smoker, pizza oven, grill, griddle, steamer, baking, & more! The 12” Outdoor Cookout Grill Set includes CampMaid’s patented 12' Lid Holder & Serving Stand, Flip Grill, Charcoal/Wood Holder Heat Source, KickStand, Charcoal Chimney, pre-seasoned Dutch oven and carry bags. MSRP: $189.99

7. LOCKRACK Universal X Water Craft Carrier

Engineered for all weather conditions, it shortens the time it takes to load and unload boards or craft. LOCKRACK does away with the hassles and headaches of straps and tie-downs and snugly secures the craft using rubberized lockable bars that readily adjust and snap into place. Its patented theft-prevention system ensures no one pinches your valuable board, ski or kayak. It also enables one person to quickly and simply remove or load any type of watercraft or board, even in strong winds. The all-new LOCKRACKTM Universal X is designed to hold 1-2 stand up paddle boards, kayak, or canoe and features a base with an adjustable width of 50-65cm. Manufactured to the highest standards using rust-resistant materials. MSRP: $350.00

8. Otto Design Works OTTOLOCK

OTTOLOCK is designed for short-stop security and protecting against theft opportunists. It’s more secure than a cable lock and much lighter than a U-Lock. Starting weight at just 140g and coiling to a compact 3-inch diameter, OTTOLOCK is truly portable and always there when you need it. Security is addressed with a patent-pending, multi-layer steel and Kevlar® band design, making it extremely cut-resistant. Conventional theft tools like wire or bolt cutters will have a hard time against OTTOLOCK. It is not a replacement for a U-Lock. For maximum security, use a redundant locking method with both a U-Lock and a secondary lock. MSRP: Starting at $55.00

9. Growler Werks uKit 64

Our original uKeg 64 is a mini keg in the size of a half-gallon growler, keeps beer cold, fresh and carbonated for two weeks. On the go or at home. Durable, double-wall vacuum insulated stainless steel. CO2 regulator cap with customizable tap handle and gauge. The uKit bundle includes one uKeg 64 pressurized growler for fresh beer, two uPint vacuum-insulated stainless steel pints, a handy carrying bag with CO2 holders, and a 10-pack box of 8g CO2 cartridges. MSRP: $251.00

10. GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless 10in Frypan

In the realm of rugged outdoor kitchenware, nothing comes close to the reliability of Glacier Stainless™ premium 18/8 stainless steel construction. With a brilliant, rust-proof finish and the strength that only steel can provide, Glacier Stainless is the material of choice for decades of use. And with a heavy-gauge, clad aluminum core, these frypans remain lightweight and quick heating over any heat source, just like the finest gourmet pans. And the laser-etched nonstick surface offers excellent food release and easy cleanup. Of course, our premium 304 (18/8) stainless steel construction is still non-reactive, free of BPA, PFOA, and Phthalates- what could be better than that? MSRP: $34.95


Overland Expo, Living Overland, ToyotaBeau Johnston is an engineer, writer, and photographer who is dedicated to proving you can find a balance between work and life. He is the Co-Founder and Publisher of Living Overland and a member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. When he isn't working, you can find him exploring National Parks, fly fishing, and camping with his wife (Krista) and their two dogs.


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