As a kid, the official kickoff to summer was always the last day of school. As an adult, the official start to summer is Outdoor Retailer, the largest trade show in the industry. Every June, the flannel-clad outdoor community rendezvous in Denver, Colorado, for the three-day event to share their latest and greatest products – many of which have yet to hit the shelves.
The tri-annual event attracts retail buyers, sellers, media, athletes, gear junkies, and activists alike, squeezing everyone into one maze-like convention center. Highlights include products launches, lavish booths, new connections, a whole lot of small talk, and a great way to see trends coming to life. I spent three days wandering the show floor, scoping out the most innovative new backpacking products. Here’s what I found.
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