Outdoor Gear Trends for 2012: These are a Few of my Favorite Things

by Joslin Fritz
( January 23rd, 2012 )

I just returned from the Outdoor Retailer winter conference in Salt Lake City. It was my first time attending the trade show, and boy did I have a blast. There are some truly incredible products for the outdoor enthusiast that will debut in 2012, and I can’t wait to get on out there and try them out. As I have too many favorites to mention, here are some trends that will be making a significant mark in 2012 in the outdoor gear and apparel scene.

1. New down technology.

Hats off to whomever figured out this stuff. Sierra Designs, Down Tek and Brooks-Range Mountaineering introduced products that treat down in such a way that it becomes water-resistant. Water-resistant down! (For those non-gear junkies out there, down is the best insulation unless it get’s wet. Then you’re outta luck.) Each company uses its’ own proprietary treatment of the down, but you get the basic gist. Sierra Designs DriDown sleeping bag and apparel and Brooks-Range Mojave jacket will be available fall 2012. I’ll save you a spot in line behind me.

2) Compression apparel.

I am officially on the compression clothing train. Compression clothing increases blood circulation, supports muscles and promotes faster recovery post-workout. Specifically for me, compression socks are great for a lengthy day of travel, giving your feet the support they need to endure that long flight. Brands to check out are 2XU and Zensah.

3) Merino wool clothing.

Wool pretty much rocks, especially merino wool. Simply put, it keeps you warm when you want to be warm, wicks away moisture, is odor-resistant, and did I mention it is oh so comfy? Some of my favorite companies specializing in merino wool are Icebreaker, Ibex, and Smartwool. Keep an eye out for their products in 2012, they’ll be a necessity for us outdoor folks.

Many other products and trends are of worthy mention, and I’ll be highlighting some of them in the entries to come. They include brands such as Snow Peak , Rumba Time, Montane, 180s, and of course my old standbys ExOfficio, Osprey, and Eagle Creek. Stay tuned…

Photos courtesy of Brooks-Range Mountaineering and 2XU.

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