Outdoor Retailer 2015: Gear, Beer and Some Serious Good Cheer

Written by Terry Gardner

At Outdoor Retailer 2015, I might have had a bit too much fun. Sure, I checked out gear. But I also took in a ton of cheer. Never fear, though. It was all for a good cause …

aNewDomain — Outdoor Retailer is a trade show that brings outdoor gear manufacturers, buyers and reporters together to see what’s next in clothes, backpacks and the outdoor lifestyle. So I headed out to Salt Lake City and made myself at home at Outdoor Retailer 2015. It wasn’t just gear and more gear, though. Not by a long shot. There were fun events, wine and even daily beer happy hours. And it was all for good causes, really.

See? That’s me drinking for a good cause, below.


First, I sampled some Prosecco at the Vibram booth.

Then I headed over to the Keen Happy Hour. Manufacturers like Keen and Klean Kanteen, the reusable bottle company, were selling signature beer cups to raise money for good causes. A $5 donation gets a donor a souvenir cup and free beer at various happy hours inside the Salt Palace, Salt Lake City’s Convention Center.

Like I said, it’s all for a good cause. I can raise a glass to that, for sure.

1-TG-w-LiveMonumental cup

Anyway, I donated $5 to Keen to support its Live Monumental campaign. And I signed a petition for US President Barack Obama to designate five wilderness areas as monuments to protect wild areas for future generations. Attaining monument status is the first step in getting land set aside to be a national park. (For more on that, check out Keen Wants to Keep it Wild.)

At the show, several companies were raising money for causes they cared about.


Among Klean Kanteen‘s causes were NatureBridge and 5 Gyres. NatureBridge works with the National Park Service to present environmental science programs at Yosemite, Golden Gate and other big parks. And protecting our oceans from plastic waste is what the 5 Gyres non-profit is all about.

Patagonia spent a night at the show raising funds to support the Bears Ears Coalition, a group that’s trying to make the Bears Ears region in southeastern Utah a conservation area. It also raised funds to support the book, “Going Out Is Going In.

Backpack maker Osprey put on a Packs to Parks Happy Hour at its booth to raise money for the National Park Foundation, a non-profit organization created by Congress in 1967 to allow private citizens to make contributions that directly support the National Park Service.

Osprey also sold Spring 2016 Skarab/Skimmer Men’s & Women’s Hydration Daypacks for $40 to raise additional funds for the National Park Foundation.

Liberty Bottleworks, an eco-friendly company that makes its reusable bottles in the US with recycled materials, had a happy hour to help the National Parks Conservation Association protect the Grand Canyon.

1-Keen-LiveMonumentalsignsMountain Hardwear, Goal Zero, Park City Brewing and others partnered to present a concert at The Depot to raise money for Protect our Winters, a non-profit devoted to fighting climate change.

And Goal Zero, the solar panel pioneer, provided complimentary YETI charging stations all over the place.

Something for every occasion

From luggage and backpacks to Biffy bags to help you create your own personal toilet when there’s no toilet for miles, I saw a bit of everything. The images below will give you an idea.

Biffy Bags create a portable toilet for times when nature calls and no bathroom is around.


Then there’s Granite Gear. This is an adventure gear company known for making durable gear that’s hardy enough to handle the elements — any elements, really — from Mt. Everest to the North and South Pole.

1-GraniteGear duffles

The VSNMobil V.360 is a video camera that captures everything around you. It’s really cool-looking.


1-Altera smart running shoesAnd Altra was showing off its IQ smart running shoe, which pairs with an app to coach and improve your running. The shoes, shown at right, are expected to debut next spring.

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All images: Terry Gardner