Outdoor Retailer is a great opportunity to meet the people behind the brands that design and make the outdoor gear we all use and on which we depend. It's especially interesting to meet new brands and people, the ones hoping to find a place for their own unique products in the outdoor world.
Here are two new outdoor brands I met today.
It's a bold move to graduate college, believe you can make better, more innovative backpacking packs than the "earth-tone open sacks" you see on store shelves (despite no design or sewing experience), go out and hire designers to work on those ideas (despite no industry experience), and after a year of testing launch your own pack company at Outdoor Retailer at the age of 24.
Best friends Jeff Popp, president, and Jordan Vecchiarelli, vice-president, of Mile High Mountaineering (MHM) did that. And thanks to that initiative, and three new packs, they've generated some buzz and notice at OR for Mile High Mountaineering.
The three packs in the MHM lineup, are all made from 315 denier ripstop Cordura Plus and have some interesting features, like dual-pivoting/fully adjustable hipbelts, deployable accessory pockets, hydration sleeves in the lid for easy access, and an integrated (but detachable) pack fly. Packs can be accessed through the top or front panel, and on the larger two packs the bottom sleeping-bag compartment has a side, stuff sack opening.
- The Flatiron: 2,320 cubic inches (38+ liters), 3 lbs 6 oz (1.5 Kg)
- The Divide: 3,350 cubic inches (55 liters), 4 lbs 9 oz (2.1 Kg)
- The Fifty-Two 80: 4,881 cubic inches (80 liters), 5 lbs 5 oz (2.4 kg)
In addition to the three packs, MHM will offer Pack Stacker compression sacks shaped to fit in a pack, waterproof DryLoc stash bags, and stuff-sack pillows.
A couple of years ago Teresa Delfín was a pregnant rock climber, kayaker, and mountain biker who couldn't find any decent outdoor clothing to wear, not even a pair of long underwear. Frustrated, the anthropology professor decided to make some herself and found herself a new career.
Outdoorsy pregnant women can thank Delfín for Mountain Mama's line of clothing for active pregnant and nursing women. The first pieces will be available this fall.
As a fellow active mom, I had to search pretty hard to find a few technical pieces to carry me through a winter and spring of running, cross-country skiing, and hiking while pregnant. What I found appealing about Mountain Mama's clothes is that they look and feel comfortable, stretchy, and flattering ("We work hard on making butts look really great," said Delfín.) without screaming "baby on board!"
Pieces are cut to fit a growing belly (and other body parts) and can transition to post-partum and nursing use for versatility.
Mountain Mama garments are made in America and include:
- The Clouds Rest Baselayer, the world’s first and only long underwear for maternity.
- The Trinity Pant convertible pants, which can be worn as a trekking pant, capri, or shorts.
- The Shasta Vest and Monterey Jacket in Polartec PowerDry fleece.
The casual Fairview Wrap Jacket won a 2010 Polartec APEX Award for design excellence and innovation.
- Spring 2011 items include shorts, technical tees, tanks, and hoodies, with several tops sporting a crossover front for convenient nursing. They're also adding a bathing suit, because women kept asking for one.
"Where were you when I was pregnant?" I asked Delfín. She gets that a lot.
Stay posted for more coverage of new and established outdoor brands and products at Outdoor Retailer.