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Demo Day: Wild Animals, Fire, Gear!

by Seth Levy
January 18, 2012
INSTAFIRE Burns on Snow.
A pile of Insta-Fire burns on snow.

Of all the days at Outdoor Retailer, Demo Day is by far the least structured. It's a time to cut loose and see new things in the environment they're meant to be used in.

This year's Demo Day didn't disappoint in the "new things" category.


Many fire-starters are potent chemical mixtures designed for one purpose — to burst into flame. Insta-Fire is different in that it's a benign mixture of volcanic rock, wood, and paraffin. These relatively safe, non-volatile materials mean that this product can be stored and transported safely. 

Though there is a strong wax aroma when it burns, the company assured us that it's safe to cook over. I have to admit, the pillars of fire leaping from the logo-ed buckets and the lump of Insta-Fire burning atop a pile of snow made for a compelling demo. 

Insta-Fire can be used as a fire-starter for wood fires or briquettes or it can be burned alone as fuel.

Derek Christensen, VP of Sales at Insta-Fire, showed us the product at Demo Day:


Conserving Our Natural Resources

Conservation Crew
The Leave No Trace Bigfoot, the Alaska Wilderness League polar bear, and the Save Our Wild Salmon salmon.

The many nonprofit organizations that protect our natural resources are a welcome presence at OR. Representatives from Leave No Trace (Bigfoot), the Alaska Wilderness League (polar bear), and Save Our Wild Salmon (salmon, naturally), were out in force at Demo Day, all rocking Osprey packs.

And, yes, the polar bear costume is as warm as it seems.


Randal Crone's years as a smokejumper (for the uninitiated, smokejumpers are a blend of firefighters and paratroopers who jump out of airplanes to battle backcountry fires) taught him the virtues of "no fail" gear. Years surfing in Hawaii and snowboarding in Alaska taught him the virtues of versatility.

So, he combined "no fail" construction with versatile features in his Nargear double-stitched packs. 

At Demo Day, Crone shared an entirely new Nargear pack with me called the Tool Box. Crone described the Tool Box as "a multifunctional pack for ski patrol and ski touring." And multifunctional it is, with straps for tools, two mounting configurations for skis, and straps for snowboard mounts.

The Tool Box debuted at Demo Day and will be available for $180.

The amazing, multifunctional NARGEAR Tool Box (Photo: NARGEAR)

 Tool Box:

  •  Volume: 2600 cu in
  • Overall height: 24 inches
  • 1000 denier fabric
  • Double stitched to military-specifications
Kahuna Creations
Steve McBride, CEO of Kahuna Creations

Kahuna Creations

As a snowboarder, I've spent more than a few frustrated hours  futilely hopping, swearing, and "skateboarding" in an attempt to move my board along a level surface before beginning my descent.

Steve McBride, CEO of Kahuna Creations, had the brilliant idea to apply his company's stand up paddle board paddles to this common snowboarders' dilemma.

The Kahuna Big Stick Snow SUP is an adjustable aluminum shaft with a ballistic polycarbonate grip, tipped with a serrated Snow Grip. With the Snow SUP, novice snowboarders gain stability, and incompetent snowboarders like me gain the ability to move on the flats without flailing about.

The Kahuna Snow Stick will let you ride faster on the flats and get deeper carves, according to Kahuna Creations.

Kahuna Snow Stick
  • MSRP: $119