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Well I’m doing things a little cattywampus. James and I have just engaged in two consecutive, but completely different exciting weeks, and I’m about to tell you about the LAST week first. Can’t help it; it’s more fresh in my head…PLUS! My parents always used to tell me my timing on everything in life always opposes nature. So, recapping out of order is part of my legacy. Just go with it.
Last week was the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City! It’s our favorite trade show of the year, and we oh-so look forward to it every August and January. It’s only open to people in the outdoor industry…so, sorry gang! Not open to the public. As “working media” (ha! yeah right), they actually let me and James in. We talk about the Outdoor Retailer show all the time around the website here, but have never really explained it. So! Thought this time around I’d share some photos.
The first day of the show is called Demo Day. In the summer, that involves demo-ing people-powered watercrafts, so Demo Day happens on a lake.
And as the name implies, you can try out all the water toys you’d like. It’s a tough life, this “working media” gig.
But other super cool exhibits are along the lake shore on Demo Day, too. Yep, Winnebago was there! If you didn’t see James’ video of the new concept 4×4 that was at the show, check it out HERE. Since we’re friends with the Winnebago crew, we made this our home base between the very serious business of testing out paddle boards and kayaks.
And then from Day 2 on, the show moves to downtown Salt Lake City inside a giant convention center.
But, the show is so huge, it actually spills outside the convention center, and across the street inside giant tents (AKA pavilions) set up in a downtown parking lot that takes up an entire city block. Winnebago was set up out front of Pavilion #2….here’s half their booth:
We’re so glad the Winnebagans come to the show each year because they bring snacks and a cooler filled with an endless supply of icy cold drinks and we know where they stash it.
When we’re not mooching off the Winnebago booth, James and I spend our time scouting out cool products for RVers. Here are a few of the booths we stopped at:
Smith Optics. They make high quality cycling helmets and sunglasses. James had a pretty scary finish line crash once. Flipped over the front of his handlebars and landed on his head. It left him unconscious and in an ambulance 30 miles from the nearest hospital with me driving like such a maniac behind the ambulance that they actually stopped the ambulance and very nicely told me to back off. I don’t want to ever go through that again. (The crash part, not the being-chastised-by-the-ambulance-driver part…well ok not that either.) So we don’t mess around when it comes to our helmets, and we hope you won’t either. Please, friends, always wear them, and don’t skimp on the cheap ones. Smith uses MIPS technology; look it up. James is ordering their “Overtake” helmet and I’m getting their “Route.” Plus this new helmet won’t allow any bees to fly in and sting him. Seriously, he’s a bee magnet, they think he’s a flower or something. And hey look! They have a photo of James on the Smith counter!
Feetures. I spotted their booth strolling by, and had to run in and tell them, “Guys! You’re my most favorite running socks ever!” I’m so glad I did because we each got a free pair for stopping by! SCORE!
Aero Lounger. Oh my I loved this. This blowup chair packs down to nothing. You simply open it up, let it catch the breeze and it fills itself up! You roll up the end, and there you go! A lounger OR a water float!
Bernzomatic Camping Blow Torch. As “Working Media,” we get hundreds of emails from Outdoor Retailer exhibitors before the show, letting us know about their products. This is one that unleashed James’ inner-15-year-old immediately. The email started, “Stop by our booth and see all the 100’s of things you can do with a blow torch at your campsite!” James forwarded it to me and in all caps said “OMG WE MUST STOP AT THIS BOOTH CAN WE PLEASE CAN WE PLEASE!!!” So, here he is, on Day 1, visiting the blow torch booth, pretty much our first stop. They even gave him one to take home. Speaking of, he’s been quiet the past couple hours….hopefully he didn’t find where I hid it.
Ecoths. James and I are brand ambassadors for Ecoths Clothing (the men’s line) and Aventura (the women’s stuff). We’re pretty proud to represent these brands, and love that they attend Outdoor Retailer each year. The clothes are geared for outdoorsy types and are perfect for travel, too. They’re eco-friendly, ridiculously comfy, high-quality, and the best part: they give a huge chunk of the proceeds back to charity. Pretty much anything James wears that isn’t a t-shirt with a stupid joke on it is from Ecoths. And y’all know how persnickety he is about things.
Over in the Pavilions area of the show, there’s a pool set up where manufacturers can do demonstrations of their products throughout the show.
I was SO thrilled to be invited to participate in a yoga demonstration using FitFloats by Glide. Sort of a paddle board made for pools and geared for fitness instead of actual paddling.
I’m putting a bunch of photos in here because I’m hoping to convince the Program Manager, Warren, at the amazing rec center where I’m a personal trainer, that we need these boards for one of our 5 beautiful pools! Ahem, Warren:
And if anyone wants to HELP me convince Warren we need these, feel free to leave him a comment below, and I’ll make sure he sees them.
I’ve been in the market for some good paddle boards for us personally for over a year now. I just love stand-up paddleboarding. The show was a great venue for me to narrow down my options, meet the manufacturers, and actually test drive a bazillion different brands. I’ll keep you posted on what we end up choosing…but I’m SOOO close!
So, there you are! A little glimpse at our week at the super-awesome Outdoor Retailer show. The show wrapped up on Saturday, and we celebrated by having a bunch of our industry friends over at our house that evening where we collectively solved all the world’s problems, designed new concept RVs, and bonded over the best grilled chicken in all of Salt Lake. Sometimes, I just have to marvel at the places this little Fit RV website takes us and the people we get to meet along the way….and it makes me feel so lucky. See you in January, Outdoor Retailer!
Somewhere you guys posted a bike lock cable with a ball on the end to lock in a car…..I cant find the reference and a search isnt finding it either. Can you share again? Thanks
You betcha! It’s here: https://www.thefitrv.com/fitness-tips/cycling-products-for-rvers-at-outdoor-retailer/
Sorry about those Minnesota bees, James! Glad you got a new helmet to confound them!!
I’d like a photocopy of the napkin on which you “designed new concept RVs”…
You’d REALLY like mine. IT HOVERED!!!
Great article! You make me feel so bad for you being in the working media – free snacks, drinks, socks, blow torches……. what a tough life you and James lead!!! And oh yeah, so cool that Smith had a photo of James at their booth lol!
Yeah, that photo…right?!? James as “The Thinker.” I guess he’s thinking hard about which color helmet to get…
I’m imagining each demonstrator on those floats was thinking: “Please don’t let me be the 1st to fall in” … except for the one on the end… she could blame the dog.
LOL! Well if one went in, we all probably would have. Our boats were bungee-corded together to keep us in that aesthetically-pleasing line. But maybe you’re on to a new SUP yoga class…”Last Yogi Standing!”
Hey Warren, I’ll bet your “Working Media” friends can get you a good deal on those boards…
Curious to know if the Red Paddle brand I recommended were present. Don’t forget to get some folding soft “stadium seats” as well to use the board in “sit on kayak mode” for those days or situations (like small river rapids) where standing is less of an option. Accent Transformer Pro paddles that have both kayak and SUP functionality are also a good idea. I find the inflatable SUP’s are a real compact “jack of all trades” sporting equipment for class B’s. The new generation inflatable boards are well designed and really solid (and really expensive).
LOL! Hi Alain! Yes, Red Paddle was there with their inflatables! And what a great idea…those stadium seats, I will most definitely do that! I agree, inflatable is going to be the way to go for us, too…especially with ease of transport. Wish I was out on the water right now!
One other factor to consider in your choice. If you plan on using it in very shallow water (going in small streams, in areas of repetitive sand bars, etc), the boards can go in incredibly shallow water, but most models have what they call a standard single removable box fin, that is the lowest point. My first SUP (RED Paddle Ride 10.8) has 3 small shorter permanent fins that you can kind of forget and drop the board any which way and not damage them. My second board, a Lokahi Water Explorer has the single longer box fin. When paddling in a marsh the other day, I was constantly dragging a long bunch of vegetation caught on my Lokahi fin and my wife had none on her Ride. Since we will be using them going down small rivers, with stretches of shallow rocky water, in the end, decided to buy another Ride and we’ll give the Lokahi to our daughter.
If you decide to buy some with the single box fin, I’ll send James an email with pictures of a simple modification I did to the fin box to facilitate quick installation and removal of the fin.
These are all good things to think about, I really appreciate it. It’s like buying a first RV! So much to consider that you don’t even realize you SHOULD be considering!!!