Timex, the watchmaker, will go to the very heart of the outdoor market next year, while the makers of the Swiss Army knife will touch on the very sole of recreationists. Black Diamond, the climbing company, will shed more light in the outdoors, while National Geographic, the magazine giant and mapmaker, will lead travelers across the arid reaches of southern Utah with greater confidence.
New and more comfortable environmentally friendly clothing, roomier backpacks, lighter tents, easier to use locators and an even greater selection of footwear are among thousands of new products exhibited last week at the annual Outdoor Retailers Summer Market in the Salt Palace.
The show is, as one retailer suggested, an outdoor enthusiasts' candy store, with no end to the tasty treats soon to appear on retailers shelves.
This year it was reported there were 3,300 exhibitor booths taking up every usable space in the Salt Palace. Organizers were able to make extra space available for 100 new exhibitors, but even then some companies were turned away. About 20,000 retailers attended the show.
The show is, to the casual observer, overwhelming. There were thousands of items shown, many for the first time. Listed alphabetically, there were nearly 70 companies falling in the A column. And, as expected, there were companies known worldwide and others very few, if anyone, knew about.
Timex, for example, known worldwide for its timepieces, introduced two new digital heart-rate monitors at the show.
The Ironman will have a 50-lap memory with average heart rate per lap, a chrono or interval workout review and automatic heart rate recover with multiple preset durations. But better still, information from the monitors Ironman and Road Trainer collection can be downloaded by way of a USB device to provide online training logs.
Where, said Ken Mandelkern, "individual training tips can be given to the user. What we're looking for is a long-term relationship by offering a greater range of functions."
The Ironman, expected to be available by September, will retail for $219.95 and the Road Trainer for $99.95.
The company will also introduce a series of new watches E-Instruments. Official reports say the watches feature "multimotor, multihand, microprocessor-controlled Quartz analog movement."
Suunto will introduce its X10 model with one of the "smallest and lightest wrist-mounted GPS devices."
Wenger Swiss Army, owner of the familiar white cross on the red background introduced on its multipurpose army knives first introduced 100 years ago this September, presented attendees with their first look at its two new shoe designs, named, as always, after Swiss landmarks or products Alps and Chocolate.
The Alps collection, with 18 styles, is for the performance buyer, while the Chocolate, with 13 styles, is more stylish oriented. One shoe, the Eiger, features a shoe that hardens in the cold and softens in the heat.
The shoe line will include such features as molded insoles that adjust to the foot, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial liners and insoles and anatomically designed foot bed.
The shoes are intended to be "functional and affordable" and are expected to be available in February.
Wenger is also getting into other outdoor lines, including sleeping bags, backpacks, tents and, of course, knives, including a limited edition 100-year model designed after the company's first knife.
Garmin, the leader in hand-held GPS navigators, will put on the market the one and only touch-screen unit the Oregon series.
GPS hand-held navigators have gotten easier to use over the years, and this new unit is expected to make finding routes even easier and faster. Among other things, it can exchange information with other devices. Retail is $599. Along with becoming easier to use, they've also become less expensive. Michele Annaldo, sales manager, said the first units produced 20 years ago sold for between $1,200 and $1,400 and did little more than give speed, distance and bearings no maps, no directions, no details.
Among other things, the Oregon 400t offers sunrise/sunset times and a hunting and fishing calendar for sportsmen. Worldwide maps show elevations, trails and points of interest.
It is also introducing a new hand-held, auto-all-terrain device intended for the individual who enjoys backcountry excursions.
National Geographic has overhauled its Utah and Colorado national park and recreation maps, more specifically for Utah Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Zion and Glen Canyon, which Mike Dyer, product manager, called among the company's "bread and butter maps ... Utah and Colorado are among the core recreation areas in the United States."
The new maps around Moab will have far more detail than current maps. And, instead of one map for Canyonlands, there will be three for each of the three regions Needles, Island in the Sky and the Maze.
The company currently produces about 170 different maps covering the entire world.
Black Diamond, noted for its climbing equipment, will introduce a 1-Watt LED lantern about the size of a man's fist. It will sell for $29.99.
Among the other items that will hit the market:
• SmartShield Suncare will have an all-natural insect repellent with a sun protection rating of SPF 30. It will be available in either spray-on or towelette application.
• Buzz Off, the makers of clothing with an insect repellent shield, announced more companies have signed on to introduce the shield, and there will also be some new products, including insect-repellent shelters, hammocks and travel accessories.
• Eureka, known for its tents, said it will introduce a dual-valve camping pad with nonskid fabric for greater comfort and less chance of going flat.
• Natural clothing will be, once again, a big item for next year.
• Cotton Incorporated will have a cotton that is able to wick moisture, will dry faster and will have less cling while maintaining its cottonlike softness.
• Naturally Bamboo is the maker of eco-friendly clothing made from bamboo fibers. Bamboo, it notes, is 100 percent biodegradable, is grown without pesticides, is "naturally anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic, breathable and absorbent."
• Cocona has fabrics and yarns made from coconut shells. This year it will introduce its Minerale, which is derived from naturally occurring volcanic minerals. The fabrics offer evaporative cooling, UV protection and odor management.
• In Fashion International has a bamboo/charcoal knit and woven fabric that also offers deodorant and UV protection, as well as wicking capabilities.
E-mail: [email protected]