Skip to content

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010: aka, it's not about the gear.

Sara Lingafelter
Sara Lingafelter
4 min read

Views from my pre-show hike.

I attended Outdoor Retailer (the twice-yearly outdoor industry trade show) recently with KEEN, Inc…  I arrived in Salt Lake City a day early, and hit the trails with my friend and colleague Mark with KEEN right off the plane.  We had a great day hiking from Albion Basin to Grizzly Gulch, which eased the sting that this would be a non-rock-climbing SLC trip just enough for me to get to work the next day.

I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with colleagues and friends at the Verde PR media event, including chatting with a few new upstart bloggers, which gave me a moment to remember where I was just one year ago.

It was also a treat to see and meet so many other OIBIZ social media junkies at the OR Tweetup on Tuesday night… Thanks to all who came and participated, and let’s do it again soon.  The one morning seminar I was able to attend — Long Live the Media, hosted by Drew Simmons — was fantastic this time around and benefited from the inclusion of Fitz Cahall, of Dirtbag Diaries and The Seasonthe video is live on the blog.  An evening dinner honoring volunteers of the Outdoor Industry Womens Coalition was another highlight, in part because of the chance to meet so many great women in the biz… and in part because the food and service at the Copper Onion were outstanding.

An edit… and how could I have left out… finally meeting Cupcake Mafia (aka, Tali) in person?  It was an absolute pleasure to get to know your face in real life, my dear!

Another highlight was meeting Matt and Miah with RideFlyClimb Give, who are planning a two year philanthropy adventure from the tip of Alaska to the tip of Argentina by motorcycle, with stops to climb, paraglide, and volunteer in local communities during their “rest days.”  I hear a lot of ideas, from a lot of folks with daydreams of sponsorship dollars, but midway through my chat with Matt and Miah, I found myself pitching them on the idea that perhaps including an adventure philanthropist girl on their team would be a great idea.  I’m really excited to see where they go, literally.  More information about their trip is online at

Since I was on the clock with KEEN this show, I didn’t have time to do my usual coverage for and other outlets.  Instead, here are links to write-ups by friends of mine and other bloggers who have done an incredible job of covering what was new and interesting at the show:

  • John Wilder always does great coverage for… his latest write-up not only features one of my favorite OIBIZ dogs (Torrent, with Joshua Tree Products), but also gives a rundown on the newest and coolest in climbing at the Big Show.
  • Amy Jurries has a bunch of OR-inspired write-ups going live at her blog, The Gearcaster.
  • Adventure World is posting OR Gear Previews… the first is live now.

With that said…

The best post I’ve seen yet about Outdoor Retailer is this one, by Steve Casimiro at The Adventure Life.

I always see new and cool gear at OR… it’s a gear junkie’s dream come true.  But even more than that, the OR Show is a chance for me to spend time around other people who care passionately about playing outside.  When I attended the show the first time, as a relative stranger to the industry, before the end of my first show, I couldn’t walk from one end of the Salt Palace to the other without running into someone with a hug and a friendly conversation.  I benefited greatly from the welcoming, friendly nature of the show floor, and the kindness of a number of industry folks (and friends) who helped make me feel at home.

Now, it can take me more than an hour to walk from one end of the hall to the other, because of the many hugs and friendly conversations that await me from booth to booth around the show.  The highlights of the show for me are the chances to spend time with new and old friends, whether over a meal, a snack, or a quick hug in the show corridor or hotel lobby.

Every once in awhile, there’s something that makes me think about going back to one of my other “industries” or “careers,” for whatever reason.  Spending a few days surrounded by other OIBIZ folks at the show is an indelible reminder of why I’m in this business, and how the good outweighs everything else.

If I’ve missed your writeup of the show, please comment and include your link.  Thanks, and I look forward to seeing everyone at OR Winter Market!


Sara Lingafelter

Sara (Grace) Lingafelter takes steps forward and backward toward a right-sized life on a daily basis.