Editor’s Picks: Best Non-Auto Gear at 2019 Outdoor Retailer show

February 12, 2019 by Rick Stella, @RickStella

The 2019 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show featured global brands like Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear, yet still served as a haven for small companies to get their names out. The amount of gear on the floor was staggering.

Over three days, Trucks.com canvassed the Denver Convention Center to find the best the show had to offer. We saw electric mountain bikes capable of towing trailers and snowboard bindings that doubled as snowshoes. Here are five of our favorite non-vehicle products from the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show earlier this month

The North Face’s Futurelight Fabric

North Face Futurelight fabric

North Face’s Futurelight fabric debuted at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in this concept trailer. (Photo: The North Face)

The North Face’s innovative Futurelight fabric debuted at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but made a wider appearance at the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show. The fabric is more waterproof, durable and lighter than Gore-Tex, according to independent studies. Futurelight will be implemented into The North Face’s ski and snow gear next fall, and also into some of its rain jackets.

The company told Trucks.com that extensive testing had already occurred, citing ascents of Mount Everest and Cho Oyu by athletes wearing the fabric from head to toe. It has a wide variety of potential applications outside of ski or snow gear. At CES, The North Face partnered with BMW to show off a travel trailer concept constructed of the fabric.

QuietKat Apex

QuietKat Apex bike

QuietKat Apex bike (Photo: Rick Stella/Trucks.com)

QuietKat’s Apex appears to be a conventional electric mountain bike. It can go 25 mph unassisted. It has a Shimano Deore derailleur and 9-speed gearing, hydraulic disc brakes and a Mozo air suspension fork. However, it offers an extra feature: The ability to carry or tow up to 300 pounds.

The Apex is capable of riding with small trailers, pannier bags or bike-mounted rack systems attached, with its powerful Bafang motor providing the cargo-hauling power. Its fat tires are designed to traverse rocky backcountry terrain and the battery provides up to 18 unassisted miles of range before requiring a recharge. The Apex retails for $4,350.

AirMotion Helios Air Bandit

Air Motion Helios Air Bandit

AirMotion Helios Air Bandit (Photo: Rick Stella/Trucks.com)

The Helios Air Bandit is a mask that actively creates warm air for skiers and snowboarders to breathe, regardless of how cold it is. It does this by way of a Heat Exchange Module Filter that mixes warm exhaled air with cold inhaled air. This produces a more natural air temperature for the wearer to breathe.

According to AirMotion Helios Air Bandit, warmer air makes it easier to breathe in cold, dry conditions while helping to preserve core body temperature. The benefits are especially helpful for anyone who experiences exercise-induced breathing trouble or has asthma. The brand hasn’t shared pricing yet but said it will accept preorders soon.

Ross Snow Tech Convert Binding

Ross Snow Tech Convert binding

Ross Snow Tech Convert binding (Photo: Ross Snow Tech)

Ross Snow Tech’s Convert binding switches between a working snowboard binding and a versatile snowshoe, making it easier for snowboarders to navigate the backcountry. Unlike splitboards, which require several steps to switch between a snowboard and a pair of climbing skis, RST says the Convert changes back and forth in roughly 30 seconds.

Switching from binding to snowshoe requires releasing the highback of the binding and folding it flat behind the heel before pulling the toe extension from the base. Its integrated heel raisers provide sturdy support as a snowshoe, and the binding’s four-point mounting system is designed for increased response and strength on steep descents. Pricing was not disclosed. RST said the Convert will go on sale next fall.

Tecnica Forge S

Tecnica Forge S hiking boot

Tecnica Forge S hiking boot (Photo: Rick Stella/Trucks.com)

Any hiker will tell you the worst thing about hiking is breaking in a new pair of boots. Even boots from companies that advertise them as already broken in still have a grace period before they feel comfortable. This is exactly what Tecnica’s new Forge line of hiking boots aims to solve.

Using its Custom Adaptive Shape technology, Tecnica has developed a way to custom-fit the arch and heel cup, the forefoot, the heel shock areas and heel pocket, as well as the upper and ankle pads.

To do this, the brand created a machine that measures the size of a person’s foot before using heat to mold the boot’s inserts. The heated inserts then form exactly to the specifications of a wearer’s feet. Once formed, each insert keeps its shape for the life of the boot. Fittings need to be done in a participating store, however.

What makes the Forge S stand out is its full synthetic construction. Featuring abrasion-resistant fabric, a Gore-Tex liner and Vibram Forge outsole, the S is a durable hiking boot built for a variety of conditions. The boot comes in women’s and men’s sizes and costs $270.

Read Next: Editor’s Picks: Best Great From the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show

Editor’s note: Trucks.com compiles information about vehicles, gear and gadgets, often through testing and interviews with experts. Our recommendations are made independent of the advertising being sold by our business development team. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. 

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