It’s All About Color! – Outdoor Retailer Show

Blue Water Ropes

I had a great time at the 2012 Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City this past week. It was my first time attending and I have to admit that it was quite overwhelming, in a good way. My mind is spinning with ideas for follow up blog posts, so stay tuned for more specific product posts soon – once I can focus again.

New Balance Minimus Shoes

One of the immediately noticeable trends in new products this year was color. And lots of it. Whether it was packs, sleeping bags, apparel, shoes, even pet gear, it seems that the brighter the colors the better – not necessarily something I would agree with, but it sure was an amazing site to see.

Lowe Alpine Sleeping Bags

At first I thought it was just for kid’s gear, and it is most definitely for kid’s gear, but it would also appear to be a significant trend in almost every area of outdoor gear from what I could tell. In fact the more subdued colors that I’m used to looked positively boring by comparison.

Guyot Designs Squishy Pet Bowls

I wonder how long it will be before we’ll be seeing these colors permeate into the materials used by the ultralight backpacking community? Lime green cuben fiber, or bright orange Dyneema gridstop.

PrincetonTec - Build Your Own

Actually, a bright orange Gossamer Gear Gorilla backpack might look pretty damn awesome – guys?

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Disclosure: None of the above gear was given away freely at ORShow, so please don’t expect a trail review of them anytime soon.

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  • Anonymous213

    Bright colours atracts bugs and mosquitos, so no thanks.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Excellent point!

  • Anonymous213

    Bright colours atracts bugs and mosquitos, so no thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/nhandberry Nathan Handberry

    It hurts my eyes! Not to mention when you’re carrying that bright orange GG pack in 20 years it will look really outdated, not as timeless.

  • http://twitter.com/nhandberry Nathan Handberry

    It hurts my eyes! Not to mention when you’re carrying that bright orange GG pack in 20 years it will look really outdated, not as timeless.

  • Patriotic Sheepdog

    Sometimes I don’t want to be seen by others. Not that I’m doing anything wrong, but just because I want peace and quiet. Other times I am seeing if I can be “invisible”. As cool if these colors are, They aren’t for me. I also agree with Nathan…who will want these in 5-10 years when this fad is gone.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Yeah I tend to agree. Is this just a fad to sell more gear and then have you buy the newest color/style next year? I feel as thought backpacking gear manufacturers (not all of them) are trying to make a push toward fashion changes and gear “seasons” – I can’t afford, nor do I want to, buy a new colored pack each season.

  • Patriotic Sheepdog

    Sometimes I don’t want to be seen by others. Not that I’m doing anything wrong, but just because I want peace and quiet. Other times I am seeing if I can be “invisible”. As cool if these colors are, They aren’t for me. I also agree with Nathan…who will want these in 5-10 years when this fad is gone.

  • http://sticksblog.com/ Chad “Stick” Poindexter

    Nice…I’ll bet your head is spinning! I hope that I can get to make it to the show one year…sooner than later… :)

    Anyway, as far as the colors are concerned… I like bright colors on smaller items, like knives (or keys…) that may be easier to lose, or leave behind. But I found on bigger items, it is not necessary. I have a pair of ID shortie gaiters in yellow, and I must say that they are not the funniest item to wear…especially if I spend much time looking down…

    But I gotta say, I love my bright orange enLIGHtened equipment quilt… :)

    Anyway, looking forward to your upcoming posts…

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Agree 100% – color where it is needed and most useful. Small object that can get easily lost or obscured when dropped. Big items, not so much so. I hope this won’t be a trend we’ll be forced to put up with.

  • http://sticksblog.com/ Chad "Stick" Poindexter

    Nice…I’ll bet your head is spinning! I hope that I can get to make it to the show one year…sooner than later… :)

    Anyway, as far as the colors are concerned… I like bright colors on smaller items, like knives (or keys…) that may be easier to lose, or leave behind. But I found on bigger items, it is not necessary. I have a pair of ID shortie gaiters in yellow, and I must say that they are not the funniest item to wear…especially if I spend much time looking down…

    But I gotta say, I love my bright orange enLIGHtened equipment quilt… :)

    Anyway, looking forward to your upcoming posts…

  • http://www.facebook.com/dejoha Derek Hansen

    +Chad – I think bright colors in certain areas can be invigorating, and helpful. For example, brightly colored “nick nack” items in ditty kits aid in finding items that fall in the duff. I’m not a fan of brightly-colored shelters, but here and there is some color psychology behind certain colors that help with mood, energy, diet, etc. that can be beneficial.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      So no lime green or bright orange hammocks for you then? I hear ya man. It’s gonna be interesting to see where this “trend” ends up. I predict a “back to neutrals” next year :-]

  • http://www.facebook.com/dejoha Derek Hansen

    +Chad – I think bright colors in certain areas can be invigorating, and helpful. For example, brightly colored “nick nack” items in ditty kits aid in finding items that fall in the duff. I’m not a fan of brightly-colored shelters, but here and there is some color psychology behind certain colors that help with mood, energy, diet, etc. that can be beneficial.

  • Joslyn Bloodworth

    I too agree with Chad about brightly colored small things. The smaller they are the brighter they should be. As for everything else, I like one bright orange clothing item to wear in hunting season but instead of a whole jacket prefer something like a bandana. The only other thing I’d love to see is a bright orange cuben fiber pack cover. That would definitely scream that I’m not a deer, but wouldn’t be so permanent that it couldn’t be changed. Although I really don’t like it when my colors blend into the scenery too much either. I am what is lovingly called directionally impaired and I have been known to lose which way camp is. Being able to see it helps!

  • Joslyn Bloodworth

    I too agree with Chad about brightly colored small things. The smaller they are the brighter they should be. As for everything else, I like one bright orange clothing item to wear in hunting season but instead of a whole jacket prefer something like a bandana. The only other thing I’d love to see is a bright orange cuben fiber pack cover. That would definitely scream that I’m not a deer, but wouldn’t be so permanent that it couldn’t be changed. Although I really don’t like it when my colors blend into the scenery too much either. I am what is lovingly called directionally impaired and I have been known to lose which way camp is. Being able to see it helps!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Bufford1234 Greg Hill

    I’m so behind the times. My REI pack is silver/gray, my Tarptent is silver/gray and one side of my Z-Lite pad is silver/gray. I feel so drab and old fashioned. On the upside all is not lost. My pack has nice orange accents. The Tarptent has a yellow rib. The flip side of the pad is yellow and my sleeping bag is a lovely turquoise. Then again “hardcore hikers” aren’t the target group for the pretty colors. We tend to be more concerned with weight and utility than fashion.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I agree. I think that color accents and even reflective strips can brighten up a bland pack just enough. Reflective material accents were also big at OR this year!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Bufford1234 Greg Hill

    I’m so behind the times. My REI pack is silver/gray, my Tarptent is silver/gray and one side of my Z-Lite pad is silver/gray. I feel so drab and old fashioned. On the upside all is not lost. My pack has nice orange accents. The Tarptent has a yellow rib. The flip side of the pad is yellow and my sleeping bag is a lovely turquoise. Then again “hardcore hikers” aren’t the target group for the pretty colors. We tend to be more concerned with weight and utility than fashion.

  • Mighty-drive

    As being in the forest is illegal in my country after the sun has set; I would hate to see bright colors (esp. for large items) to become the standard.

    Agree with Chad that colorful small items (knife, flashligt, pegs) can be useful. Although I like to keep those things in 1 set location, so I can find them blind if needed.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Ok back up! What country do you live in where being in the forest after sun down is illegal?

  • Mighty-drive

    As being in the forest is illegal in my country after the sun has set; I would hate to see bright colors (esp. for large items) to become the standard.

    Agree with Chad that colorful small items (knife, flashligt, pegs) can be useful. Although I like to keep those things in 1 set location, so I can find them blind if needed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.bacher.5 Brian Bacher

    I always thought the idea was to blend in with nature, to become one with it — NOT stand out like an obtrusive figure that doesn’t belong.
    I’ll stick with the neutral colors.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.bacher.5 Brian Bacher

    I always thought the idea was to blend in with nature, to become one with it — NOT stand out like an obtrusive figure that doesn’t belong.
    I’ll stick with the neutral colors.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Excellent point!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Yeah I tend to agree. Is this just a fad to sell more gear and then have you buy the newest color/style next year? I feel as thought backpacking gear manufacturers (not all of them) are trying to make a push toward fashion changes and gear “seasons” – I can’t afford, nor do I want to, buy a new colored pack each season.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Agree 100% – color where it is needed and most useful. Small object that can get easily lost or obscured when dropped. Big items, not so much so. I hope this won’t be a trend we’ll be forced to put up with.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    So no lime green or bright orange hammocks for you then? I hear ya man. It’s gonna be interesting to see where this “trend” ends up. I predict a “back to neutrals” next year :-]

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I agree. I think that color accents and even reflective strips can brighten up a bland pack just enough. Reflective material accents were also big at OR this year!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Ok back up! What country do you live in where being in the forest after sun down is illegal?

  • http://www.outdoortrailgear.com/ Claire walters

    Other than my lime green new balance minimus zero shoes – small items can have color & guylines. quilts, shelter pack etc.. for me need to be darker or earth colors.

  • http://twitter.com/ClaireWalters Claire Walters

    Other than my lime green new balance minimus zero shoes – small items can have color & guylines. quilts, shelter pack etc.. for me need to be darker or earth colors.

  • http://www.coolcore.com/ CoolCore

    Awesome pictures…loving the bright colors at OR this year! We would like to think that our ECool Towels were bright enough to capture people’s attention at the MagicCool/Grabber booth this year!

  • http://www.coolcore.com/ CoolCore

    Awesome pictures…loving the bright colors at OR this year! We would like to think that our ECool Towels were bright enough to capture people’s attention at the MagicCool/Grabber booth this year!

    http://www.coolcoretec.com

  • gnhikn1

    I will have to find a way to dye my Tyvek tarp, to keep up with the trends : )

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Ha! Just make sure you can dye it back to battleship gray after the trend is over :)

  • gnhikn1

    I will have to find a way to dye my Tyvek tarp, to keep up with the trends : )

  • Gobi Gear

    Awesome!

  • Gobi Gear

    Awesome!

  • theclumsykatt

    I have to admit that last year when I finally got my husband to try thru-hiking his gear looked so electric next to mine that I felt like a hobo. Finally I broke down and replaced my old drab ultralight pack with a nice red osprey. Not sure if the color was worth it but the molded hip belt… totally worth the expense. If all those bright colors are as helpful on my back as the osprey, then clown college here i come!

  • theclumsykatt

    I have to admit that last year when I finally got my husband to try thru-hiking his gear looked so electric next to mine that I felt like a hobo. Finally I broke down and replaced my old drab ultralight pack with a nice red osprey. Not sure if the color was worth it but the molded hip belt… totally worth the expense. If all those bright colors are as helpful on my back as the osprey, then clown college here i come!

  • skunkpbguy

    Leave No Trace also includes visual pollution, not that I’m againt lime green, bright colors certainly have their place but we shouldn’t look like circus clowns on the trail.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’m all for not looking like a circus clown on the trail, but if LNT really includes verbiage or recommendations against visual pollution I think that is utterly ridiculous! I don’t leave any trace at all by the colors I wear, it’s purely in the moment. Can you point me to the LNT text that says that?

  • skunkpbguy

    Leave No Trace also includes visual pollution, not that I’m againt lime green, bright colors certainly have their place but we shouldn’t look like circus clowns on the trail.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I’m all for not looking like a circus clown on the trail, but if LNT really includes verbiage or recommendations against visual pollution I think that is utterly ridiculous! I don’t leave any trace at all by the colors I wear, it’s purely in the moment. Can you point me to the LNT text that says that?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Ha! Just make sure you can dye it back to battleship gray after the trend is over :)

  • Victor

    I hope UL gear will not be affected by this trend. I don’t like brightly colored clothing and shelters. There are several reasons for that. I mostly hike in the Alps, where it’s semi-illegal to camp. So I prefer that my shelter blends with an environment.

    Also, in some countries it’s not desirable to have encounters with locals. For example, when I hike in Russia or Central Asia I really try to avoid being spotted by locals due to criminal activity towards backpackers. In such cases wearing bright clothing is like asking for troubles.

    Plus I don’t want to look like a clown.

  • Victor

    I hope UL gear will not be affected by this trend. I don’t like brightly colored clothing and shelters. There are several reasons for that. I mostly hike in the Alps, where it’s semi-illegal to camp. So I prefer that my shelter blends with an environment.

    Also, in some countries it’s not desirable to have encounters with locals. For example, when I hike in Russia or Central Asia I really try to avoid being spotted by locals due to criminal activity towards backpackers. In such cases wearing bright clothing is like asking for troubles.

    Plus I don’t want to look like a clown.

  • http://sectionhiker.com/ Philip Werner

    Victor – why is it semi-illegal to camp in the Alps? What’s that actually mean?

  • ConiKat

    I see that this post is two years old….but the trend seems to be getting even worse! I’m trying to find a fairly reasonably priced goose down sleeping bag ( around -20 degree F). So far leaning toward Marmot Col-membrane, but it’s bright frigging orange and no other choices! If I could I’d buy WM…but too ungodly expensive! I am desperately in need of HELP and suggestions from everyone. Sure hope you read this soon as I’m ready to buy!!!!