This January was my second run at OR, so I didn’t feel like a complete rookie, but I did still pick up on some of the do’s and don’ts of surviving those crazy few days. So as a semi-newbie, here are my top five best and worst things from OR, some survival tips and my top picks from the show!

Top 5 Best Moments

  • Making new friends at the airport! It’s really easy to see others on your flights who are clearly going to the show. Arc’teryx jackets and La Sportiva shoes tend to be the favoured articles of clothing to spot. I traded five business cards before getting to the show (including some hometown Calgary contacts), and ended up with a free cab ride to the Salt Palace Convention Centre from the airport!
  • Having amazing people to stay with last-minute when plans changed! Every time I meet another person in the industry, I am humbled to learn their experiences and backgrounds and grateful for their generosity, kindness and level of stoke! (Not to mention the largest guide-book collection I have ever seen, and some ‘vintage’ climbing gear!

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  • Schwag, sales and pro-deal cards!
  • Trying on new jackets/pants/footwear/gear and instantly wondering when it is available to test!
  • Having a great partner in crime to tag team meetings by taking notes/photos when needed, splitting the Instagram posts, and tossing ideas around!
  • Honourable mention – Coming up with so many cool ideas for articles/reviews/trips/etc!

Top 5 Worst Moments

1. Booking a late flight so you can still work a bit before going….that gets delayed….and cancelled…and rerouted to Seattle for the night…and having delayed flights coming home…and getting your bag completely unpacked at security…

2. 5 am flights…

3. Getting sick…(won’t go into details. But was NOT self-induced from happy hour and I am very thankful for my insurance plan at work)

4. Endless back and forth walking when booths are on opposite sides of the convention floor, and getting turned around and lost while navigating. (Oh maps are wonderful things…)

5. Having to attend, leaving your mentor/muse/guru/most experienced team member at home with an injury and subsequently changing your plans to climb after.

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Top 10 survival tips!

1. Get there early (won’t be making that mistake again) and stay to climb after! (You can be on ice within 30 min of leaving the city!)

2. Figure out which booth has coffee or snacks to sample and where they are!

3. Always plan to be at one of the booths that host happy hour at 4:30 pm and check what they are serving.

4. Get a map of the show floor (You will need it when you get lost!)

5. Wear comfy shoes

6. Bring a bag that’s easy to carry around

7. If you’re me (full of allergies) – bring food/snacks with you!

8. Bring ear plugs/mask if you’re crashing at someone’s house

9. Leave extra space in your bag for workbooks and cheap awesome gear (ie. Socks, limited edition items, shirts, toques, samples etc)

10. Try to not hurt yourself before hand so you can go! (Sorry Raf…)

My Top 5 picks from the show (aka. stuff I’m super excited about!!!)

  • Thermarest Poncho – I know it looks tacky but it’s super warm and can double as a blanket! Perfect for car camping and sitting around a campfire with a beverage after a long day of climbing!

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  • Tool updates and Gloves from Camp/Cassin –  I am stoked to update my Cassin X-All Mountains with new handles and to try the pick weights on the x-dreams and x all mountains. The gloves are quite sticky and I am sure will do very well for drytooling!

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  • Terrex – Warm up pullover thing (cannot for the life of me remember the name, but if I have a chance to try one, I will be sure to tell you the actual name!)
  • Hestra and SealSkinz gloves – I am on a mission to find gloves that actually fit a woman’s hand for ice climbing. Specifically ones to keep them warm and ones to lead in.

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  • Arcteryx Alpha IS and Lifestyle Pieces – The new jacket has a women’s specific version with extra insulation in the chest. The lifestyle pieces have the same amazing properties as their technical jackets, but have much more urban styling.  Basically, they don’t look like you’re just coming from playing in the mountains!

So, that’s the ups and downs and teasers from this past January’s Outdoor Retailer. Keep a look out in the next few weeks for the Apparel and Gear Reports!

4 Comments

  1. When do camp start shipping with the new grips?
    I am really happy to see the redesign. I have been talking to them these last two years after every season when my grips have fallen apart.
    Perhaps these will last longer. They certainly look tougher.

    • They do look much more durable than the old ones. Will get back to you on a release date. 🙂

  2. Is there any difference other than the grip with the new X-All Mntn ?