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Welcome! Ultralight backpacking is my passion, and keeping up on new technologies, gear, and techniques relevant to UL backpacking is what floats my boat. I'm always looking for the lightest, most functional gear to improve a lightweight or ultralight backpacking kit, and report my impressions and field testing results here. For hikers wanting to keep up on the latest and greatest ultralight backpacking gear, this is a good place to hang out. Also, there is a lot of information here (and on our informational website Southwest Ultralight Backpacking) on useful techniques and backcountry etiquette -- food for thought for hikers wanting to lighten their load and their impacts.

My goal for Ultralight Insights is to understand, test, and report on new technologies and gear of interest to lightweight and ultralight backpackers. It's a passion after all, so we just plain enjoy talking about it. I hope readers will add their own wisdom and comments, respond to my questions, ask their own questions, and correct me if I get something wrong. Happy hiking! Will

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Outdoor Retailer Winter 2016: INTRODUCTION AND INDEX


My Winter 2016 Outdoor Retailer coverage is in 9 separate articles. To read them all click on the links below or "Outdoor Retailer" in the topic bar above.



Outdoor Retailer is the trade show for the outdoor industry. It happens twice a year in Salt Lake City. The winter show, which was held January 6-10 did not disappoint. It started with an on-snow demo day at the Solitude Ski Area in the Wasatch Mountains, and was followed by 4 days of visiting hundreds of booths at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

At the All Mountain Demo day, held at Solitude Ski Area, there were lots of booths showing mostly gear for snow sports, but lots of other things too. Opportunities abounded to test out new snowshoes and skis, footwear, and even an electric snow bike.

I try to focus my OR coverage on new lightweight gear and new technologies that make gear better. However, I also include versatile gear for day trips as well where light weight is not as important. And some of the gear featured is not new, I missed it at previous OR shows and wanted to include it because it is lightweight gear of interest.

This time I am doing something different to report the many items of interest I found at the show. Rather than one long overwhelming article, I divided interesting items into eight categories: snow sports, camping, food, technologies, insulated clothing, accessories, footwear, and baselayers/midlayers/shells. This helps organize my OR coverage some, but each article is still a potpourri of items. After all of the articles are published I will pick out the items that I feel are most relevant to lightweight backcountry travel, especially backpacking, and present them in a summary article.

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