Crazy Pod from Crazy CreekOutdoor Retailer 2018: Gear, gear, and more gear! Matt Chebatoris August 2, 2018 Editorials The first Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Denver, Colorado has come and gone. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsor Flagship Consulting I was able to make the trip from Los Angeles to the Mile High City where I did my best to log some additional miles as I crisscrossed the multiple levels of the Colorado Convention Center in search of new gear and products to highlight for readers. Trade shows like Outdoor Retailer are not open to the public. Their primary purpose it to provide a venue for companies operating in the outdoor space to showcase their products, particularly new offerings, to retailers. It is therefore incumbent on humble “working media” representatives as we are known in trade show parlance to open a window and pull back the curtain on what went down inside the hallowed convention center halls. Paddling, camping and more! The number of items on display throughout the entire Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show is simply massive. Even with the lane marker signage suspended from the ceiling throughout the cavernous hall in the upper level of the Colorado Convention Center it takes some practice navigating the space. A number of items are worth highlighting, particularly those in the base camping space that are sure to capture the attention of paddlers. The Eureka Boondocker Hotel 6 base camp tent. The Eureka Camping Boondocker Hotel six person tent is a base campers dream accommodation. As the name suggests, this tent is has a max capacity of six adults. Base camping with a smaller group? You’ll be doing it in style with plenty of room to stretch out and store gear with this tent, particularly when utilizing its generous gear vestibule. If you’re planning a weekend at the beach or an off the grid base camping excursion, the Eureka Boondocker tent is your ticket to adventure. Camping with a smaller footprint? I got a sneak peek at the new Crazy Pod from Crazy Creek. The Crazy Pod is a self-contained tent hammock for solo adventurers. Hammock camping is a popular way to go for outrigger paddlers. One of the several amazing features on the Crazy Pod is the ability to roll back the rain fly from inside the hammock! There is also an internal sleeping pad sleeve to keep your camp mattress in position. Definitely on the shortlist for best new gear of 2019! The Watershed McKenzie dry bag. Numerous dry bag options were on display and my favorite is a new design from the good folks at Watershed Drybags. There are a lot of options when it comes to sourcing drybags and after my review of the Watershed Ocoee earlier this year I’m convinced this North Carolina brand is the way to go. Unlike many manufactures, Watershed is committed to designing, testing and producing their products in the United States. Their gear is used by the U.S. military and NATO allies overseas and their latest offering is the McKenzie, a dry bag designed to attack to bicycle handlebars which will likely work well for the outrigger canoe community too! It’s not a handlebar bag, its an ama bag! Stay tuned for a complete product review of the Watershed McKenzie in the near future! Going solar at Outdoor Retailer! Two additional great base camping gear items are the SunSoaker flexible solar panel and the inflatable solar lights from MPOWERD. The SunSoaker flexible solar panel is a lightweight and compact solar panel perfect for camping or long days at the beach. It comes in a reusable storage tube which offers great protection for the solar panel when not in use. The SunSoaker does not store power. Think of it as a portable, solar-powered electrical outlet. It is currently available in a 5 Watt and 10 Watt configuration. I received a sample of the 10 Watt model and have a solid first impression of the device, based on initial testing at home. For readers who wish to purchase product for themselves or their family, SunSoaker is offering a 20% discount (one time discount per customer), using promo code: SunOR2018_20 The inflatable solar lights from MPOWERD are exactly that. Compact, lightweight and waterproof, these little bubble lights are sure to replace all battery-powered camping / outdoor lights in the near future. There is even a model with a USB port for charging your devices. Comments Matt ChebatorisMatt is a former national security professional and lifelong adventurer. He has published material on a variety of topics in the foreign policy arena and created PaddleXaminer™ as a platform to share his enjoyment of paddling with others. When not on the water, Matt can be found hiking along rugged mountain trails in the California wilderness. Matt resides in Los Angeles and is a member of the Lanakila Outrigger Canoe Club in Redondo Beach, California.