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Credit: David Webb

Interested in discovering what new products will be on store shelves next year?

We spent a week at Outdoor Retailer, a biannual gathering of the world’s outdoor gear manufacturers, and had a sneak peak at Spring/Summer 2015’s best stash. Here are a few highlights — look to future issues of explore for in-depth reviews of some of these and other new products:

Joby’s Action Clamps get a lot of use at explore offices — see the review HERE — and the new Suction Cup models look equally interesting.

Lowepro’s Pro Tactical 450 and 350 DSLR backpacks look bomber — holding all your lenses, accessories and even a laptop (15- and 13-inch, respectively), these units are custom tailored to the action photographer.

Vibram
Credit: Vibram

Vibram’s FiveFingers have always stood alone in their segment, but the upcoming Trek Ascent hiking line is a casual hiking shoe that truly has no parallel.

Ruffwear is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. To commemorate, the canine-gear manufacturer is rolling out a line of quality travel gear for dog owners: bags, seat covers and harnesses.

Merrell’s Capra speed-hiking line is on-trend — falling between trail running and conventional hikes, speed hiking is big right now. With Gore-Tex availability and a sole modelled after a goat’s hoof, these low- and mid-height hikers look up to the task of tackling aggressive trails.

Eagle Creek has exactly what the adventure traveller needs. From their innovative EC Lync system — a collapsible carry-on bag that converts from a rolling suitcase to a daypack and stores in small sack — to their waterproof duffel bags with the no-fault warranty, it’s all-good.

The North Face
Credit: The North Face

No one has more products than The North Face. From their advanced technical mountaineering gear to their new lightweight story — of which the Shadow backpacks were key — picking one favourite is a daunting task. We really liked the new O2 tent, a super lightweight two-person backpacking tent that is roomy and, setting up with one tent pole and two trekking poles, insanely lightweight.

Hydroflask is makes products that we love. Their insulated stainless steel waterbottles keep drinks cold for 24 hours, and hot for 12, yet remain lightweight and rugged. (They also make insulated beer growlers and pint cups, if that’s your thing.)

FITS is the oldest sock maker in the USA — founded in 1902. For most of their history, they’ve been making private label socks. Today, they specialize in merino performance socks that offer unparalleled fit. Contoured to the foot, these socks lock in like none we’ve ever worn.

Canada Goose
Credit: Canada Goose

Canada Goose is a company on the rise. This spring, look for their impressive line of waterproof-breathable soft shells. Ranging from the technical Trenton, which could double as a ski-jacket (pictured), to the sporty Moncton, to the lifestyle Bracebridge (which could be your everyday coat), these products will blur the lines of what a soft shell can do. (And the company is really into bright colours.)

Icebreaker has made a name for themselves with some of the best merino base layers on the market. Now, they’re stepping into he world of blends — from apparel with just four per cent synthetic to 50/50 merino-cellulose blends.

Granite Gear is constantly earning awards for their packs and bags — this year we loved their Cross-Trek “sneaky carry on,” which is a rolling case with a detachable backpack, as well as their packable duffels — cavernous duffle bags that pack into a tiny stuff sack — and the lightweight Virga collapsible backpack (it only weights one pound).

Adidas Outdoors
Credit: Adidas Outdoors

Adidas Outdoors is taking “lightweight” to a new level with their Agravic line of running apparel — how does a three-ounce shell and a one-ounce vest sound? And, they’re busting price barriers with a $99 waterproof-breathable Wandertag shell. I also liked the Boost technology in their new runners and trail runners — it adds an immediately noticeable spring to your step. 

OGIO is best known in the golf and motorsports world, but their Endurance bags — specially made for the needs of triathletes — and the “Ruck” line of commuting gear that features an old-school look but uses modern materials, caught our attention.

Mountainsmith’s Cooler Tube is one of those inventions that makes you wonder where it’s been all this time: a cylindrical soft cooler than holds six cans. (It looks like a fly-rod case!) They also have a line of rugged, and well priced, sleeping bags ($130 for a -18 bag).

ECCO
Credit: ECCO

As one of the world’s largest manufacturers of footwear, ECCO had a lot of product to show. Their BIOM Trail was of particular interest. This is a trail runner for the everyday runner — not gear towards extreme racing, but more towards the day-to-day dirt jogger. The Ulterra light-hiker also looked well-executed, tying in nicely with the trend towards fastpacking.

L.L. Bean is not always the easiest stuff for Canadians to get their hands on, and, frankly, that’s a shame. The classically styled Wool-Tech blended-wool hiking shirts combine a handsome look with technical chops. And the Katydid sleeping bag, with heat reflective ceramic-infused liner, also looks of interest.

Vasque's new Inhaler collection of lightweight hikers looks awesome. Available in mid and low, with Gore-Tex protection and Vibram Megagrip rubber, these boots are primed to tackle fast, aggressive trails.

We really liked GoMotion’s FUSION — read the review HERE — and for the upcoming year, the company is slimming down their battery packs, upping LED output and increasing battery life.

KEEN
Credit: KEEN

KEEN’s big story was the funky UNEEK — reviewed HERE — but their upcoming Zambezi water sandal (sporty white-water shoe with soft microfiber lining) and the Gorgeous boot (like the Zambezi, but with a neoprene sock — perfect for SUP) really caught our attention.

Kammock is a company with a conscience. Their camping hammocks, sleeping bags and trail quilts look to be top-quality and well-priced, but it was the fact that they use a portion of their profits to provide life-saving treatments to people suffering from malaria that really impressed.

And there was so much more! Keep posted to explore magazine for in-depth gear reviews.

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