The Trailspace crew is now in (or on its way to) Salt Lake City and preparing for a very full week at Outdoor Retailer.
Tomorrow starts it all off with the Open Air Demo at Jordanelle State Park. The outdoor format gives attendees the opportunity to actually use certain gear (brilliant idea!), and not just look at it on display in a booth.
While we'll keep our eyes primarily on the new backcountry gear, there will be many on-water demos, with stand-up paddling at the forefront.
What's on tap for Trailspace, besides walking from hither to yon, exploring booths from new and old brands?
Since backcountry communications is always a hot topic among our members, my first stop will be a hike with the Spot-DeLorme crew and their newest device, the Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator.
That will be followed by visiting many of the 100 brands in attendance: headlamps, GPSR's, stoves, packs, tents, and more. Also tomorrow night is a short sneak peak of 127 Hours, director Danny Boyle's (Slumdog Millionaire) movie about Aron Ralston's Utah canyon survival story.
I think Demo Day's more relaxed format can help ease outdoorsy folks into the reality of four straight days inside a gargantuan trade show hall. Walking the miles of the OR show floor, fueled only by little samples of energy bars, could count as its own endurance sport.
On a personal note, for my family, this pre-OR weekend included a visit to the Museum of Ancient Life, which boasts the world's largest display of mounted dinosaurs. You don't need to be 6 to learn something or to be impressed by this place. While there were larger and showier dinos on display, Archaeopteryx (below) seemed the most appropriate to share on Trailspace. We also saw some of the gear used by original dinosaur hunters. We followed that today with a very hot, but worthwhile, hike on Grandeur Peak.
Check back tomorrow to discover what we uncovered at Open Air Demo.