The best new gear we saw at Outdoor Retailer's 2019 summer market

Best of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 4x3Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

  • Outdoor Retailer is a gathering of who's who and what's what in the outdoor-gear industry.
  • What transpires is a seemingly endless maze of coolers, backpacks, camper vans, and just about everything else in between.
  • We attended the show in Denver, Colorado last month to see all the great new outdoor products.
  • We've rounded up the best new products we saw at the show. Many of our favorites are either out now or available in 2020.

Outdoor Retailer is a biannual showcase of what's new in the outdoors industry.

From the fantastically wonderful and innovative to the extremely weird and mundane, it is a slightly bewildering, seemingly endless maze of booths filled with outdoor gear and apparel that consumes the Colorado Convention Center in Downtown Denver, Colorado, twice a year (in summer and fall) for three straight days.

With a little patience and a lot of walking, we found several great products that stood out from the crowd. Our favorites are the most practical, innovative, and otherwise exciting products we saw at the show.

We haven't had a chance to actively test many of them, partly because many of them aren't available yet, but we did get to see and hold them at the show. We're working to test everything you see below and report back in the near future.

Here are the best of the best new products from the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at insiderpicks@businessinsider.com.

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The best folding kayak

The best folding kayak
Oru Lake Folding Kayak, launching on Kickstarter summer 2019

I got a sneak peek of Oru's newest and smallest kayak ahead of Outdoor Retailer. I even got to test it a bit. It's lightweight, easy as can be to both open up and break down, and highly compact. You could even take it onto the subway.

The best fully submersible backpack

The best fully submersible backpack
Filson Backpack Dry Bag, available in 2020

Filson has been in the bag game a long, long time, but the company may have outdone itself with this one. The Backpack Dry Bag has a heavy-duty watertight zipper, welded seams, and pockets galore so you can stash all your gear and keep it safe and dry. There's even a little see-through Isinglass pouch so you can not only view but operate your phone worry-free in the field.

The best coffee mug lid

The best coffee mug lid
Purist Twisting 360° Mug Lid, available in 2020

Purist is already one of our favorite ergonomic water bottle and mug brands, but 360-degree pouring out of a lid? We're not sure how many awkward spill stains this cool lid is going to prevent, but we're comfortable with sufficing it to say a lot.

The best waterproof Bluetooth speaker

The best waterproof Bluetooth speaker
Speaqua Barnacle Vibe, available at Speaqua, $89.99

Unlike its namesake, this little odd-ball, jawbreaker-esque speaker is anything but sessile — which is to say, immobile — unless you want it to be. A suction cup and GoPro mount mean you can hang or secure it virtually anywhere, its modest 7 watts of power sound more like 15, and it plays underwater, speaker facing up (and yes, you can hear it). It also comes with 4GB of storage for music files, so you don't have to connect your phone or computer to it.

The best high-density foam surfboard

The best high-density foam surfboard
BZ high-density foam surfboard, available in 2020

Stiffer and slicker than other foam surfboards, BZ's new line is reinforced with nylon mesh for extra rigidity and durability. In short, this is a foam surfboard designed to work more like a fiberglass one, but without the fragility. We're really looking forward to testing it out after handling it at the show.

The best recyclable cooler

The best recyclable cooler
Igloo Recool 16qt cooler, available at Target, $7.99

I loaded the Recool with ice and let it sit for six days. The ice was gone at some point the next day, but what amazed me most was that the cooler didn't break down or turn into soggy paper mache. It doesn't replace a well-insulated cooler by any means, but it gets the award for best disposable cooler, taking the place of cheap, toxic, brittle Styrofoam that often doesn't survive even one use.

The best outerwear made from recycled ocean plastic

The best outerwear made from recycled ocean plastic
Tretorn ARCH Jacket, available at Tretorn (EU), ~$338 USD (€300) (Available in the US in 2020)

Made using plastic collected from off the coasts of Taiwan, Tretorn is a Swedish brand that's been around since 1891 and is mostly known for footwear. The classic design of this jacket with its modern manufacturing won us over, and we're ready for fall to come so we can start wearing it already.

The best affordable soft cooler

The best affordable soft cooler
Yukon Outfitters 30-Can Tech Cooler, available at Amazon, $99

Sometimes it can get overwhelming with all the competition in the cooler market. An open mind helps. We don't all need that one brand (you know which one I mean) and there are plenty of others that are just as good. We haven't tested this cooler yet, but we did take note of its design and are now hedging bets as to how it may outperform the rest. For one, the insulation overlaps between the lid and the edges around the opening so that even the zipper area is insulated when this cooler is fully closed. The zippers are also of high quality, and it comes with welded seams.

The best massage tool

The best massage tool
TheraGun G3PRO, available at Amazon, $599

The TheraGun is basically a pulsating jackhammer of a device for your aching muscles and bones. Designed with the athlete in mind, this is therapy all can enjoy and self-administer, any time we please.

Percussive therapy is in, and while we tried several models, we're convinced it doesn't get any better than the TheraGun G3PRO. The demo we received at Outdoor Retailer sold us, and all we want is more.

The best lunch bag

The best lunch bag
Yeti Daytrip Lunch Bag, available at Yeti, $79.99

It's durable, easy to clean, closes magnetically, and while it's meant for lunch, it also, quite conveniently, perfectly fits a six-pack of beer. Actually, with the right size bottles, you can sneak in lucky number seven. This is the last lunch bag you'll ever buy.

The best meal-prep kit for camping

The best meal-prep kit for camping
Opinel Nomad Cooking Kit, available at Patagonia Provisions, $85

Opinel has a new prep kit for camping. It's compact, practical, and timelessly stylish with a wrapping/buffing cloth, two knives (one straight-edged, the other serrated), and a peeler. It's everything you need and compact as can be so you can throw together just about anything you want in the field.

The best backpack cooler

The best backpack cooler
Pelican Dayventure Cooler Backpack, available at Amazon, $249.95

Sometimes backpack coolers seem a little too single-purposed. This one offers a good bit of cooler in the bottom with a watertight zipper, but there's also a normal backpack section up top for practical belongings. We'll be taking this along on a hike in the oh-so-near future.

The best portable camping stove, smoker, and grill

The best portable camping stove, smoker, and grill
Snow Peak Kojin Grill, $729.95

Well, Snow Peak has, yet again, outdone itself, and our camping trips are about to get a whole lot more bougie. All stainless steel and collapsible, this 22-inch grill (which I forgot to photograph at the show) is large enough to cook most things (and ways) you could think of. When you're not camping, it'd probably be great to have sitting in your backyard, too.

The best hiking pants

The best hiking pants
Toad&Co's S20 Boundless Pants, coming in 2020

Toad & Co's S20 Boundless Pants are ultra-lightweight, have secure pockets, and are made from organic cotton mixed with recycled polyester and 2% elastane for stretch. Features include adjustable leg openings, knee darts for mobility, a hidden stash pocket, and a bunch more regular pockets with zippers (and no zippers). The pants also have a partial elastic waist, which might just make them our go-to lounging, traveling, and outdoor adventuring pair for the summer.

The best trail mix and container

The best trail mix and container
Shār trail mix, available at Shār Snacks, $6.99/3.7oz tube

It's always seemed ironic to us that some of our greenest, most conscientious food choices often come in the most thoughtlessly toxic containers. Shār has ditched the single-use plastic bags and wrappers for a simple, cylindrical tube that serves us at least two-fold: It's biodegradable and it's easy to share without sharing germs. Take the lid off, fill it with feed, and pass it along. This way, there are no grubby fingers dipping into the shared food.

If we're going to be so crunchy as to eat trail mix, we may as well try and be environmentally friendly.

The best two-in-one hand sanitizer and breath spray

The best two-in-one hand sanitizer and breath spray
All Good Organic Peppermint Hand Sanitizer, available at Amazon, $7.59

I thought the days of breath spray were bygone. I don't see much of it anymore, and I've never liked gum. This is technically a hand sanitizer, but it happens to be USDA-certified Organic, which means it's food-safe. Clean your hands and your mouth at the same time? We're in.

The best custom knives

The best custom knives
Shop Deejo knives, available on Amazon, starting at $27.34

Elegant, elaborate, and made with all the exotic wood, there's scant a gift an outdoorsperson could covet more.

The best folding fishing vessel

The best folding fishing vessel
Flip-Kat, coming in 2020

We're not quite sure how these miniature pontoon boats are going to work — maybe like a SUP with training wheels — but they look stable. They also seem like they can pack a lot of gear and weight, so we're pretty confident these prototypes are onto something. There's also a motor mount on the back, at the edge of the cooler platform. We're looking forward to seeing what the brand rolls out for a final product.

The best headlamp

The best headlamp
BioLite Headlamp 200, coming in 2020

BioLite has stripped down their HeadLamp 330 for a more common-use, lighter-weight HeadLamp 200. It's a little dimmer, but it's still plenty of power for most of us, and there's no weighty battery pack in the back like with the 330.

The best single-use, plastic-bag alternative

The best single-use, plastic-bag alternative
Stasher reusable and self-sealing storage bags, available at Amazon, starting at $9.99

BPA, PVC, and latex-free, these platinum silicone bags, which come in various sizes, tidily hold whatever you need them to, and they're also dishwasher- and microwave-safe (to 400 degrees Fahrenheit).

The best fishing rod case

The best fishing rod case
Filson Ripstop Nylon Rod Tube, coming in 2020

There are plenty of great fly rod cases out there, but this is the one for your most coveted fishing rods. Redundantly lined, this bazooka-sized tube is built to carefully cradle four four-piece nine-foot fly rods to the farthest-reaching salmon and trout waters of your dreams.

You'll have to pack reels separately, but if breaking your favorite rod (or rods) is your biggest nightmare, we're convinced that this is your best bet when it comes to avoiding that tragedy.

The best recycled tee shirt

The best recycled tee shirt
Marine Layer Respun tees, available at Marine Layer, starting at $58

San Francisco-based Marine Layer has done something truly remarkable with recycled tee shirts: The company has made them softer than anything recycled, ever. Made with a mixture of upcycled cotton and plastic bottles. If you recycle your own tees using the free packaging envelope and prepaid shipping, you'll get $5 off on your next purchase, per tee you send (limited to $25). Even with the discount, these tees are a little pricier than I'd normally endorse, but they truly are that soft.

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