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A Sneak Peek at New Gear: What Do You Want to Know?

Interested to know what clever new wrinkles will appear in next year's outdoor gear? Me, too. Got a few questions you'd like to ask? Great; send them my way and I'll add the best of them to my own list.

Next week I'm zooming to Salt Lake City for a popular trade show known as the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, an annual preview party for outdoor gear due to arrive this fall, winter or in 2011. I have not previously attended OR (those 2 letters serve as the event's hipster shorthand), but with more than 1,100 exhibitors on hand I'm told the whole hootenanny comes pretty close to Gearhead Heaven for outdoor wingnuts. I expect to fit right in.

Based on tips from REI product managers, here are a few items on my must-see list:

• The Antidote reservoir from CamelBak and a host of changes to other CamelBak reservoirs, the first significant changes in the line since 2001.

• Innovative trekking poles, Z-Poles, from Black Diamond.

• A new stove from Jetboil and something called the "Crunchit" tool.

• A rechargeable headlamp battery from Petzl.

• The Synmat UL sleeping pad from Exped, which won an award at the Euro OutDoor trade show in Germany in early July.

• New 900-fill down Plasma sleeping bags from Marmot.

• More -- lots more -- "natural motion" footwear styles, rooted in the phenomenon generated by Vibram Five Fingers. Shoemakers jumping on the bandwagon include Merrell, Saucony, Brooks, Nike and Teva.

• Interesting new tents from the imaginative folks at Big Agnes. I plan to get better acquainted with the free thinkers behind the Big Agnes label during the event. Tune in next week for a nontraditional interview in an unconventional setting.

Got a question about a favorite gear item? A product trend? A particular brand? Pass it along. I can't promise to ask every one, but I'll do my best as I wander my way around 1,100 exhibits on display.

Posted on at 6:34 PM

Tagged: Big Agnes, Black Diamond. Jetboil, Brooks, Exped, Marmot, Merrell, Nike, Outdoor Retailer, Petzl, Saucony, Teva, Vibram Five Fingers and camelbak

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If you need another pair of eyes to wander around and ask questions with you, I'd love to, since I'm already in the area.

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