OR Demo Day; Let The Games Begin!


It did not start off well. The organizers of the Outdoor Retailer Show– the largest industry expo of outdoors products in the country- posted the wrong address for today. So not only did I rise late for the 8 a.m. kick off but I wound up on the wrong side of Pineview Reservoir near Ogden. The nice lady at the kiosk shook her head and said I wasn’t alone.

The outdoor demo is the official kick-off for the Show and a unique opportunity to test the latest paddle, camping, GPS, fishing, GPS/geocaching, hiking, and trail running gear from more than 100 manufacturers.

I got to the Demo Day site by noon and for the first time I can remember I did NOT do the Magellan GPS Scavenger Hunt. The geocaching event has long been a favorite and pretty much the only time in a year where I play with a GPS. Instead, I took in the sights, the gear and the waves on the lake.

My first stop was Skechers to try out a pair of their new GOwalk 2. The lightweight, mesh slip on not only uses their VStride technology to promote a walking step and multi-direction traction on the sole for stability but the breathable upper and midsole cush made it a killer transitional shoe to take from the sand to the water.

Aquapac shared info on their new waterproof duffle and backpack. I especially liked that the backpack looked more like a pack than a drybag.

This handy tool was an emergency cutter. But if you were going to carry it around, why not just take your Buck knife?

PowerBar is introducing a new line of performance energy blend gels like strawberry, apple, mango. They looked tasty but Sage would rather suck on a ginormous snowcone from the Olukai Sandals booth to promote their Shaved Ice collection.

Did you know you can use the insect repellent wipes on your dog to keep fleas and flies away?

Now here was my favorite gadget of the day. The Waka Waka is a pocket-sized, solar powered light that will also charge your phone or Mp3. It has a built-in stand with a center hole so you can hang it from your tent ceiling, set it on a desk or sit it on a water bottle. Waka Waka’s Victor Brandstetter told me that for every sale of the unit the company gives another to an impoverished child or family so students can study at night and have a better chance in school.

Last year, I didn’t get on the water. This year, I SUPed my buns off.

Yes, that’s Laird Hamilton on his signature SUP.

And this is my 6 year old on LuckyBum‘s kids SUP.

Stand-Up Paddleboards are to the summer outdoor industry what snowboards were to the ski industry back in the 90s. Everybody and their frat brothers are making them. One day the little guy will drop off or get swallowed up by the bigger companies but not today; not this year.


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