We combed through thousands of products at this year’s Outdoor Retailer trade show for sneak peeks at what you’ll want in the coming year.
Though Outdoor Retailer is known as a hotbed for hiking, camping, climbing, and other outdoorsy gadgets, brands also give us an early look at some great tri-related items and some hands-on experience with recently released multisport gear. Take a look at our top 10 coolest finds from last week’s show in Denver.
Altra’s brand-new lightweight trainer isn’t necessarily being made for triathletes, but it might as well be. Featuring Altra’s signature zero-drop and wide toebox for increased toe splay, this low-key tri-shoe has a host of multisport details: Rather than a standard sockliner, the Kayenta has an internal neoprene bootie that’s ideal for sockless, post-T2 wear. Small drainage holes in the bottom help prevent pooling after dumping on-course water or squeezing a sponge, and a heel loop makes transition a breeze. Altra’s MaxIt cushioning means that this isn’t a sprint- or Olympic-distance-only racer, with enough impact absorption for long-course days. Available Feb. 2019.
Altra.com, $110, 5.9 ounces (men’s 9), 4.9 ounces (women’s 7)
Though exclusively used for mountain bikes (the rack requires front suspension for its clamps), the Hangover upright-positioned hitch-mount rack is an excellent way to haul a large amount of bikes without a rear tray with a huge footprint or a stackable rack that prevents easy access to all bikes. Designed for shuttling downhill bikes from the bottom to the top of the hill, this rack actually works well for all mountain rigs. Available in September, the Hangover is only compatible with two-inch hitch receivers due to the large amount of weight the rack supports.
Yakima.com, $550 (4-bike), $700 (6-bike)
Known best for their camping stoves and portable lanterns, Biolite has broken into the crowded headlamp market with a brand-new product. Looking to spread the usually concentrated weight of a light and its battery across the length of the strap, Biolite has effectively created a headband that throws a shocking amount of light for such a small, lightweight package. The smooth, 3D-welded band—available in three colors—holds a USB-micro rechargeable battery that accepts a pass-through auxiliary charger—in case you need more juice. The 330-lumen light runs for three hours on high and 40 hours on low, in a one-handed articulating flush front LED with both white and red settings. Available in spring of 2019.
Bioliteenergy.com, $50, 69g
Though there’s no shortage of almond butter products out on the market, Wisconsin-based Yumbutter stands out for its excellent easy-to-use packaging and inventive additives. The single-use and larger sizes pouches both seal up tightly and pack small for excellent race-morning use. Both also successfully slipped through airport security unhindered (your results may vary). The resealable caps and tear-away tops mean you can save and squeeze every last ounce of butter into your oatmeal. Beyond that, the owners say that one of their sponsored ultrarunners uses the packets as his exclusive solid nutrition during his 30-mile-plus events. Due in part to the blue-label additives in some of the flavor options, like maca, yerba mate, coconut oil, chia, hemp seeds, goji, and probiotics, you’re getting much more than a balanced amount of protein and fat. Available now, Yumbutter also promotes the “Buy one, give one” practice that supports a Guatemalan nonprofit called “Primeros Pasos,” so you can feel good about feeling good.
Amazon.com, $25 for 10 (1.8-ounce packet)
Saucony Kinvara 10 and Switchback
The big Saucony story at Outdoor Retailer was the introduction of their new Formfit system—including a wider toe box, a narrower heel and a three-layer cushioning design. The new cushioning design found on all of their running shoes features a contoured cradle footbed, an Everrun topsole, and a contoured midsole that creates a form-fitting sandwich that allows the foot to sit inside the platform, rather than just on top of it. The first notable release in the 2019 line was the 10th anniversary edition of the tri-popular Kinvara (men’s, on top) with plush old-school heel pods for a tight rearfoot fit contrasting new school 3D printing. The second was a new shoe, the super-nimble and grippy Switchback (men’s, on bottom) with a full Everrun sole and a BOA ratchet closure that is essentially a trail version of the well-received on-road Freedom.
Saucony.com; Kinvara – $110, 7.8 ounces (men’s 9), 6.7 ounces (women’s 8); Switchback – $140, 9.6 ounces, 8.6 ounces
Nite Ize Night Gem
Though not explicitly made for triathlon, these fun, tiny light pods are waterproof and run for 20 hours on a single battery (beer not included). Despite being small, Night Gems put out a surprising amount of light, ideal for a pre-dawn transition setup where real-estate is at a premium and simplicity is essential. Waterproof and available in six colors, these pods are easy to toss in a bag and may even provide you with a welcome beacon when it comes time to locate your transition spot in the crowded forest of bike racks. Available Sept.
Niteize.com, $10 (white), $11 (colored)
Icebreaker’s Running Line
New from a company known mostly for its casual and technical outdoor merino wool, Icebreaker’s new training line of clothing is ideal for late fall/early spring running. Their cool-lite fabric blend combines lightweight merino wool with eucalyptus for a incredible-feeling layer that wicks moisture off the skin and into the air, rather than simply into the clothing itself. Most notably, the Amplify singlet (men’s on left) with cooling back vents and the Techtrainer hybrid jacket midlayer (women’s on right) stood out in the brand new collection. Available in Feb. 2019.
Icebreaker.com, Amplify – $65; Techtrainer – $190
Though released last October, the Rylo 360-degree action camera is only now starting to get attention in the growing market of cameras that are capable of capturing all angles at all times. Despite its size, the Rylo is capable of incredible image stabilization when compared to competitors—allowing all sorts of mounts in all sorts of positions while remaining not-nausea-inducing. Created by the brains of former top-level Apple and Instagram employees, the Rylo uses super easy mobile-app software to edit on the go and is compatible with GoPro-style mounts (waterproof housing sold separately).
This genius-for-triathletes product has been available online for a short time, but is now just making its way into U.S. retailers. Combining the impenetrable, grippy outsole of a shoe with the flexibility and compact features of a sock, Skinners are ideal for long walks from transition to the swim start, long runs from the swim to T1, and quick trips into stores while cycling. Roll these things up just like you would a pair of regular socks, but when worn, you can walk across jagged rocks without feeling a thing. Available now in two heights and 11 colors.
Hoka Toa and Torrent
While Hoka spent most of its effort for their 2019 offerings simply refining its existing line, a few unique shoes stood out: First, for those who love running in their Hokas for tri racing and training, but are stuck wearing unfamiliar shoes/boots for hiking, Hoka is introducing its Toa (women’s, on left) fast-hiking model. Available in March, this mid-length shoe/boot is far lighter than the rest of its hiking line, putting it closer to the fit and feel of their popular running models. Also, the brand-new Torrent (men’s, on right) follows the current trend of lightweight trail runners with a nimble, low-profile off-road shoe, featuring slightly less cush than Hoka’s other pillowy dirt kicks. The Torrent is available now.
Roadrunnersports.com, Toa – $170; Torrent – $120, 9 ounces (men’s size 9), 7.4 ounces (women’s size 8)