Outdoor Retailer: Industrial Revolution, Coghlan's
It's hard to imagine a walk in the woods without a few gadgets from Coghlan's catalog. Industrial Revolution Inc., which markets the UCO Candle Lanterns and Light My Fire Sporks, is not nearly so ubiquitous, but it's still a reliable source of clever outdoor accessories.
Coghlan's was on my list of must-visit booths at Winter Market '10 — I've put so many of their products in the Trailspace Gear Guide that I felt like an unofficial employee of the company. Same with Industrial Revolution. Between them, these companies represent a wealth of ingenuity across hundreds of small companies creating thousands of products that will never enjoy the same glory lavished on the major gear companies.
Here's a video with Steven Llorente of Industrial Revolution demonstrating UCO's new Storm-Proof Matches (these are already in stores).
Also new for 2010: Child-sized Light My Fire Sporks.
Products in the 2010 pipeline include a flint striker, a pamphlet introducing families to camping, lightweight tent stakes, and a two-shell egg carrier (due to hit stores in March). And there are the tarp clips demonstrated here:
I asked Wayne Tegeler, national sales manager for Coghlan's, where the company comes up with the ideas for the 400-plus products in its catalog. He told me the company rarely invents products on its own; it doesn't have to. A stream of inventors bring their ideas to Coghlan's because it has clout with retailers and can get products sold that might otherwise get ignored.
That explains the homespun charm of Coghlan's products, which all seem like they spring from a tinkerer's garage.