Outdoor Retailer Australia Expo 2019

Review

Outdoor Retailer Australia Expo 2019

There’s a fantastic range of new hiking gear heading our way! Start making your wish list.

Dozens of Great New Innovations for Hiking

Last week Australian Hiker attended the Outdoor Retailer Australia (ORA) Expo in Melbourne getting up close to the fantastic gear that will soon be available in Australia. ORA is the largest hiking and camping gear event in Australia allowing wholesalers and importers to showcase their wares to Australian retailers.

As is becoming the pattern, we interviewed 13 companies for the Australian Hiker podcast in episodes 114 and 115, and heard first-hand about the great new products and design focus.

Here is a taste of what will be available in late 2019 and into 2020 – time to get started on your wish list!

Campers Pantry

We are big fans of Campers Pantry freeze dried meals – they are pure food and high quality, and all made from fresh Tasmanian ingredients. Campers Pantry has expanded its range to include Forager Fruit – nothing but pure fruit and includes the Freeze-Dried Apple Wedges infused with Blackcurrant – yum! And soon to released is a range of ice cream desserts.

A few months back we did a review of coffee options for hiking and concluded, don’t bother! But hopefully that’s all about to change with Campers Pantry Pour Over Drip Coffee Bags – can’t wait to try these on the trail.

Campers Pantry Forager Fruit and Kooee jerkee

Zempire Camping Equipment

Zempire produces a range of inflatable family tents through to lightweight hiking tents. They are New Zealand based providing quality and attention to detail at an affordable price. Zempire has taken the decision not to do ‘cheap and nasty’ but to provide a quality offering of great looking tents for both hikers and larger families.

The Zeus 2-person tent is Zempire’s most stable and useable 2-person tent. Twin doors and extended vestibules make this a very liveable tent in all conditions. The Atom 1-person tent is a great tent – the sit-up height and extra volume created by the single brow pole gives you plenty of room.

The Neo range of tents makes escaping to nature affordable and easy without compromising quality and design. Multiple sizes and configurations cater to every type of family, couple or mates.

This year we also had a chance to look at some great larger tents with Zempire just about to release their Jetset series that sleep 5 or 10 adults. The Jetset series is a great option for those of you who are into car camping.

Zempire Zeus tent

Zempire Jetset 5 tent

Deejo Knives

Deejo Knives is renowned for its amazing tattoo designs on the blades. We had a close look at the range including a few new items such as the 15-gram knives, 27-gram black blade, the 19 cm folding cook’s knife and the steak knives.  There is even a new knife for left-handers!

Another new item of interest to hikers is the Ultimate Knife which is a knife, fork and spoon combo in one. Other items include a Cutlery Kit, a Magnetic Kit and the Damascus steel knife for the real knife collector!

The Ultimate Knife – knife, fork and spoon combo

Left Handed knife. Yes there is such a thing!

Rumpl

Rumpl offers a range of puffy outdoor blankets that are lightweight, warm and compact. They can be used for any outdoor activity and provide more flexibility than a standard sleeping bag. They can also be used to boost up the warmth of a light sleeping bag.

The Puffy Down Blanket is an affordable and lightweight option for hikers – weighing in at 450 grams.

Rumpl outdoor blankets

Osprey Packs

Everyone is familiar with the Osprey brand and the extensive range available.

Two new options include the Rook (for men) and the Renn (for women) series of packs. Both come in 50 and 65 L versions, are lightweight, have an integrated rain cover and a tensioned back panel.

Osprey Rook pack

Osprey Renn pack

SheWee

We have reviewed the SheWee in the past and it was great to hear first-hand how SheWee came to New Zealand and then Australia.

Now there are several new products in the range including Peebol which allows males and females to pee into a bag of crystals which soak up the fluid. QeeZee is for those who suffer motion sickness – a must have for that long road trip with the kids!

Peebol – now you can pee anywhere!

QeeZee. A great option for travelling

No Bites

We had given up using insect repellent on hikes because of the DEET content and well, they’re just not effective.

All that has changed with the release of No Bites – a plant based (non-DEET) insect repellent that is suitable for everyone including children and pregnant women. It also repels ticks which is a big bonus from Tim’s perspective!

No Bites is an Australian product that is sustainably sourced. Doesn’t get better than that!

No Bites product range

No Bites natural insect repellent

Goal Zero

The downside of the age of connectivity is that even the most low-tech hiker needs to charge something at some point. Goal Zero prides itself in delivering ‘smart, portable power solutions designed to improve the human experience’. Wow! A big ambition which they are well on the way to achieving.

Goal Zero has a range of innovative battery charging options such as solar panels that charge while you’re hiking, rechargeable high capacity power banks with USB-C functionality, and a range of lightweight lanterns.

Check them out – we’ll be very surprised if you don’t find something you want to add to your wish list!

Goal Zero Solar Panel

Goal Zero and Lander Products

Lander

Now this is a product range designed for outdoor adventure in mind. In fact, the bods at Lander designed these items to suit their outdoor experiences.

The first of many must haves is an insulated phone case which will preserve your phone battery power in cold environments, and which protects your battery in hot climes. These cases are available to suit iPhones and Android phones.

Lander also produces a range of rugged USB, lightning and micro cables – all designed to stand up to all that ‘pulling and shoving’ that happens when you go searching for things in your hiking pack!

Lander products

Wilderness Wear

We love Wilderness Wear gear and their ethos: ‘200% Australian’ resonates big time with us.

Wilderness Wear has several great new products available including several sock ranges designed from the feet up. The MerinoFusion Duo range brings together Superfine Merino wool and Schoeller polypropylene into super warm and moisture wicking tops and pants.

The softness of the Cool Merino range is amazing and is designed as a lightweight merino for warmer conditions and lively outdoor activities.

Wilderness Wear MerinoFusion Duo

Wilderness Wear Cool Merion 155 Short Sleeve Tee

Wilderness Wear Atmoshpere socks

One Planet

For over 30 years One Planet has been producing outdoor gear, the majority of which is manufactured in Australia. The range spans packs and bags, tents, sleeping bags, clothing, boots and accessories. One Planet prides itself in being CO2 neutral, and using ethically sourced and harvested down.

The tents of interest include the lightweight Goondie Series and the super lightweight 2Midable made from a Dyneema Composite Fibre (also known as Cuban Fibre) weighing in at 290 grams for just the fly system.

One Planet also has a great range of sleeping bags which are made to order given there are over 100 different bag options including length (short, regular and long), shape (mummy, tapered and rectangular), and baffles! This is Goldilocks ‘just right’ territory!

One Planet rainwear and outerwear is high quality, well styled and designed for our weather extremes.

One Planet 2Midable shelter

One Planet Goondie tent

One Planet packs

Spelean

You may not have heard of Spelean, but you will have heard of the brands they distribute so much so that the team refers to the company as the ‘House of Brands’. The Spelean stable includes Therm-a-Rest, MSR, Buff, Petzl, Platypus and GSI just to name a few!

Given the extensive range we focused our attention on new kit for the coming season:

  • In 2020 the WingLock valve will feature on new Therm-a-Rest sleeping mats
  • MSR has a new water filter the ThruLink which is an inline filter designed for high flow and quick disconnection
  • UCO has a few new items including the Sprout which is a 200 lumen LED lantern. Also in the UCO range, is a Utility Spork which connects to provide a long handle. Perhaps more for car camping is the Outdoor Ice Cream Maker – try stopping the kids from taking that on a road trip! And there is the UCO Sweetfire Strikeable Fire Starter which is made from a sugarcane by-product called bagasse
  • GSI is releasing a new range of lightweight camp cups, expanding silicon cup sets and silicone pots with heat proof base
  • The new Petzl Swift RL Headlamp provides up to 900 lumens! This is a reactive light that automatically adjusts to suit your conditions, or you can set your own requirements. It also has a USB rechargeable Lithium Ion battery.

MSR ThruLink inline filter

UCO Spork set

UCO Sprout Lantern

The new Therm-a-Rest WingLock valve

Petzl Swift RL Headlamp. For when you want a serious beam!

Sea to Summit

Sea to Summit is a prominent brand in the outdoor market and needs little introduction. Sea to Summit is also the distributor of several other well-known brands including Gerber, Back County Cuisine, Outdoor Gourmet, Jetboil, Helinox, Black Diamond and many others.

Again, we focused on what was new in the Sea to Summit range which included:

  • A big range of sleeping bags that not only look good but perform very well and cater for male and female needs
  • An expanding range of sleeping mats tailored to suit a range of environments and sleeping needs
  • The new X and ST water cells which are great for hikers and car campers who need to carry water over dry periods
  • Ultra-Sil Nano shopping bag which is tiny when packed but big enough to replace several shopping bags that live in everyone’s car boot or pack – this bag is smaller than an egg when packed!

Helinox is well-known for its hiking poles but they also produce a range of very lightweight camp chairs. This is an item we’ve seen many hikers carry as their ‘luxury item’ on overnight and multi week trips.

Tim testing out the Helinox ground chair

Black Diamond trekking poles. The blue poles visible at the front of this image only weigh around 95 grams each and while they are aimed at trail runners, we’re looking forward to trying these out on a hike

Sea to Summit Pillow Lock – ensures your pillow doesn’t escape during the night

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano pack and bag. These tiny little packs and bags can easily be thrown into your kit and you won’t even notice

Helinox camp chairs. This is one of the most common luxury items we see people carrying on the trail

Sea to Summit water cells

Leatherman

Leatherman is a well-recognised brand of multi tools within the outdoor market.

Soon to hit the Australian market is the new Leatherman FREE range that can be used with one hand!

Lethermann FREE P4

Leatherman FREE T4

Frontier Equipment

Another product range to look out for is from Frontier Equipment which distributes Gregory packs including the Zulu and Jade range which are lightweight and feature the FreeFloat suspension system. Gregory packs are well-known overseas and are gaining traction on the Australian market.

Other new items from Frontier Equipment include the Sierra Designs sleeping bags and tents – designed to suit a range of needs and budgets.

We were really interested in the Ruffwear range which is a range of equipment for dogs for when they are on and off the trail. The range includes harnesses, leashes, packs and even dog boots! Everything you need to keep your pup happy on the trail.

Ruffwear dog boots

Gregory Deva 60 pack

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