Criss-crossing the convention center at Outdoor Retailer

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.

Food and beverages for the outdoor adventurer

Mighty Organic, jerky, organic, paddlexaminer, outdoor retailer

Yours truly with the founder of Mighty Organic

Enjoying good food is a key component of being outdoors and Outdoor Retailer is a great venue to experience new vendors and stay abreast of new innovations coming down the pike. Mighty Organic was by far my favorite new jerky vendor. The flavor is clean and does not leave you with the nasty wax taste in your mouth common to low-grade jerky, sausage sticks and bars. The Wisconsin company’s jerky, bars and sticks are made with certified organic, humanely-raised, 100% grass-fed beef. No antibiotics. No artificial hormones. No GMOs. No nitrates, nitrites or other chemicals. Mighty Organic supplemented my lunch each day at Outdoor Retailer. Their products are very, very good.

Cold brew was readily available at Outdoor Retailer. Cold brew is the latest trend to sweep the coffee world and there were easily half a dozen companies flogging their recipes at the trade show. Which one was the best? Well, that depends on personal taste. My favorite was the range offered by High Brew.

Coffee not your thing? How about something with a different type of kick? Introducing Pocket Cocktails! We’ve all mixed our favorite spirit with a packet of Crystal Light at one time or another. Now there is a more sophisticated option for discerning outdoorsmen and women. Just mix with the appropriate spirit and voilà! Can you say “Rack’em”? I think you can!

Moving into meals

Not wanting to focus solely on snacks and spirits, there were some notable new editions in the camping food space alongside new recipes from industry stalwarts such as Mountain House.

One standout was OMeals. Instead of the typical freeze-dried camping food which requires you to add boiling water, OMeals are self-heating meals in a packet. If you’ve ever eaten a U.S. military MRE, you’ll likely recognize the technology. They come in a range of flavors such as cheese tortellini in tomato sauce and are a nice option for paddlers on base camping trips or an easy to prepare meal for a day paddling at your favorite spot in the great outdoors. Use any liquid to heat it up – Just add a few ounces, such as water from the ocean, coffee, or cola to activate the heating element. Everything else you need for a homestyle meal is already in the bag.

Are you interested in a more conventional method of cooking your food? Jetboil’s MightyMoe stove paired with their newly designed frying pan is capable of whipping up a mean grilled cheese sandwich. The ability to control your heat output, think beyond rapidly boiling water as was the limited utility of the original Jetboil, and the new for 2019 non-stick frying pan can easily cook pretty much anything you’d put in a skillet back home.

 

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Matt Chebatoris

Matt 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.