Well, Charley survived her 19th state and 2nd Trade Show. Brew and I also tagged along to attend the summer 2013 Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City.

Outdoor Retailer is like any other trade show... BIG. It is also overwhelming and a bit hectic, but unlike other trade shows Outdoor Retailer is cool. I mean really cool. Everyone there looks like they just stepped out of a Patagonia catalogue. I don't know how many folks there really are outdoorsy, but they all look it and they can certainly talk the talk. In my opinion, however, O.R. is a little too cool. I would be up for a little more dorkiness and diversity in the outdoor world. (Props to Brian King, author and publisher at the A.T.C, who stood out more than any of the cool kids in his trademark suit and tie.)

Amid the large convention hall, where image is important and marketing masks quality. I was fortunate to find some people and products that stood out.

Zamberlan - I love this shoe and the company. Their presence  at O.R. was understated, but in my opinion they had the best footwear there. And it's not just me, their Crossers won Backpacker's Magazine Editor's Choice Award. It offers the durability, traction and support of a traditional boot, but it is lightweight and breathable like a trail runner.


Jake Norton - This guy has every right to act as cool as cool can be. He is an insane mountain climber and has been up Everest THREE times. He was even a part of the expedition that found Mallory's body. He is a incredibly talented photographer to boot, with pictures that have been published in National Geographic. But Jake spends most of his time seeing how he can help others. He and his wife are passionate about clean water in developing countries. And he would rather talk about his kids than his most epic mountain adventures.


Sawyer Products - Speaking of clean water. Sawyer created my favorite water filter, the Sawyer Squeeze a few years back, and now they are at it again with the Sawyer Mini. The product only weighs two ounces and can filter 100,000 gallons of water. You can screw it directly on a water bottle or bring the straw attachment and drink directly from a stream. I may even be able to convince Warren Doyle (who never filters his water) to do that!? Sawyer is also passionate about providing clean water around the world and they are constantly supporting sanitation projects and mission trips.



Scott Jurek - Ask any ultra runner and they can tell you who Scott Jurek is. A legend among legends, Scott is faster in a 100-mile race than I am in a mile and he is healthier than I could ever hope to be. But still, when I reached out to Scott to write a review for Called Again, he eagerly and promptly agreed to help. And at O.R. where he had throngs of fans surrounding him, he made time to seek us out and wish us well. I don't know many people who are that are as successful as Scott, and who are still so genuinely helpful and kind.


FITS  Socks- I used to love Smartwool Socks, but now they always wear out and wear out quickly. That's why I switched to FITS. They are more durable, and more comfortable than Smart Wool, plus they are made in the southeast. At O.R. I discovered that the folks who own FITS actually used to make Smartwool back when they were still my favorite sock - and before Smartwool decided to produce their product abroad. Now, FITS is producing the same high quality socks that they always have under their own brand.


On a final note, I wish that companies represented at O.R. would stop bringing in scantily clad female models to promote their products. I am not against models, but I am for gender equality - especially in the outdoors! So if you have a female in a bikini wearing your footwear, then I expect to see a male in a banana hammock beside her!!!