In the outdoor market, technology is constantly evolving. Lighter insulation, increased breathability for waterproof membranes, longer ranged communication devices. Whatever the item, there’s always someone trying to build a better mousetrap. The trouble comes when there are so many technologies out there that the best of them get lost in an ocean of products.
Often consumers rely on salespeople, magazines, and websites like this one to stay informed about the latest developments concerning gear needed for various adventures. But this past weekend consumers were presented with another option – a live interactive Gear Forum, hosted by The Hotel Telluride, in Telluride, CO.
What promised to be an interesting array of discussions and presentations concerning key technologies in areas like insulation, waterproofing, and wearable technology was kicked off with a cocktail event where attendees discussed specific products with representatives from manufacturers like RMU (Rocky Mountain Underground), Black Diamond, The North Face, Nite-Ize, Bootdoctors and Venture Snowboards. Outside of the major industry trade shows there are few places to interact with companies like these – this event aimed to promote face to face dialogue between gear manufacturers and the consumer. Hotel Telluride guests, along with enthusiasts from the local community were encouraged to visit company booths, staffed by a range of local sales representatives to company founders as well as attend the weekend of seminars and outings.
Gear Junkie Managing Editor, Sean McCoy, hosted a discussion forum delving into the growing category of wearable tech. He demonstrated a new coaching app called Pearl which monitors your heart rate and gives instant feedback about how to maximize your ongoing workout. He also passed around new heated gloves from Outdoor Research – a new design using a flexible membrane embedded in the glove, not just wires throughout the glove, to provide consistent, even warmth and no uncomfortable hot spots. Finally we all got a look at the Jaybird Reign – a new activity monitoring wristband, similar to a Fitbit or Nike Fuelband, that also includes an innovative heart rate variability monitor which can help determine if you’ve recovered sufficiently from previous workouts or if you should take a rest day.
Additional activities during the weekend included a guided hike featuring incredible views and a Hotel Telluride catered barbecue at Telluride Town Park. A Black Diamond organized beacon search saw some stiff competition – during which participants used an avalanche beacon to search the park for a nearby transmitting beacon (the victim), assembled a probe and shovel, and raced back to the starting line. The fastest time secured a Black Diamond Headlamp and Bootdoctors gift card, but many of the contestants won other prizes from Black Diamond, Bootdoctors and Rocky Mountain Underground.
Be sure to keep an eye out for future Gear Forum events – we’ll keep you updated on prospective dates for next year’s Telluride event here at Gear Institute.