The Wonk: Outdoor Retailer Wrap-Up
Today is the last day of this summer's Outdoor Retailer show. Stand-up paddle-boarding continues to be the hot new sport, while the major theme in footwear is still less is more: Partly driven by the barefoot running trend, all the major running shoe companies are bringing increasingly designing more pared-down and minimally-padded shoes. But more on all that later. For the time being, here are a few cool products I saw. —Sam Moulton
Platypus Origin 5 Hydration Pack $90
I've always liked Platypus's reservoirs, and their new line of ultralight and streamlined hydration packs looks promising. I've been testing a few new hydration packs from other companies, and while they're generally great, and brimming with user-friendly features, they're also a bit heavy and overbuilt. The Origin, on the other hand, weighs just over a pound, has enough space for a 4-hour ride, and a couple of handy pockets. Plus, as it's made with watertight zippers, waterproof fabric, and the seams are taped, it's, for all intensive purposes, waterproof.
MSR Fast Stash $300
This is a pretty cool ultralight tent. It has tons of room for 2 plus gear, lots of headroom, and an inviting front porch. You can use the included poles (it's not freestanding) or just use trekking poles and get the weight under 3 pounds. The other feature I like is that you can adjust the side flaps to increase ventilation or, if it starts coming at you, close them up tight for added weather protection and warmth. Available in January.
Sierra Designs Jive $279
The Jive might look like your average hard shell. But it's got a special liner made with a fabric from Cocona, a fabric made from the activated carbon of recycled coconut shells. It adds a negligible amount of weight, and is supposed to make the jacket even more breathable. We've got a few test jackets in the office now and will let you know if it works.
Core Concepts Whiskey River $90
This is my new favorite midlayer. It's a western-styled shirt, with snap buttons and everything, but it's also functional. The outer is DWR-coated and abrasion resistant, while the inner is soft and fleecy. I've been wearing it as a midlayer when resort skiing or by itself hiking and cruising around town in cool weather. Available in September.