I just returned from three days in the world's largest winter outdoor trade show and I am exhausted! From apparel to hard goods, footwear to manufacturing textiles, Winter Outdoor Retailer offers everything that the winter outdoor enthusiast is eager for. The trade show is so large and overwhelming, I'm still not positive that I even saw it all. What I did see though is TONS of color! For those of you riding the bright neon color train, good news: it's back for another year. Winter 2013-14 will still feature those same bright neon colors with tons of pop! that we've been seeing for the past two seasons. Here's a rundown of some of the best and brightest for the 2013 season.
1. Arc'teryx continues to be the industry forerunner in technical winter shells, though a number of other manufacturers are clearly following in their footsteps in terms of innovations and technical features. Still, the Arc'teryx Sidewinder remains my choice in ski jackets with its tough, durable and highly breathable shell, front zipper that curves away from your face, and slim fit.
2. There wasn't one moment in my days at OR when I walked past the spacious, glittering Mountain Hardware booth and it wasn't packed with buyers. The brand, in the process of reinventing itself, has much to offer to the outdoor enthusiast now and my personal pick is the Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket. The lightest full-featured down jacket on the market weighs in at 7 oz despite its features: 850-fill goose down, zip-pockets and a cinch hem.
3. Even your travel essentials are getting bursts of color: Sea to Summit packing cells will get a burst of color for the 2013-14 season, making it easier to find what you need in the depth of your luggage.
4. Deck yourself out like the local pros in the Salomon Shadow Jacket, which is getting a heavy dose of neon purple and flash green trim for winter 2014. Your friends won't miss you when you go flying by. Salmon was one of the only retailers to offer a freeski shell in this colorway and paired with the matching green pants, it makes a serious statement.
5. Outdoor Research, which I've always associated with accessories, has quite a gorgeous line of technical ski shells and down jackets. Their line, which focuses on the backcountry enthusiast, also includes a category called "Sidecountry" for those lovers of both resort and backcountry. I was impressed with the technical features like media ports for your iPhone/headphones and use of GORE-TEX® as their breathable membrane. Not to mention, the colors!
6. Marmot's winter 2014 line reminds me of creamsicles and popsicles for those of you who want to wear the loudest of loud colors.
7. The "Close to Nature" fashion show featured colors that had nothing nature-like about them, but represented the latest technical and lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories the outdoor industry has to offer.
For those of you not eager to wear such bright colors, there were a handful of technical apparel manufacturers bucking the trend. Check out the offerings from Flylow, Trew and Patagonia next fall for a more subdued color palette.
These products will be released in the fall of 2014. Local Tahoe Retailers that carry these brands include:
Coming up next in the Outdoor Retailer Wrap-Up: Hard Goods
Lauren is one of our regular blog contributors. Read about her crazy fun adventures as a passionate photographer, athlete and traveler on her personal blog.