Christmas has come early and it’s called Outdoor Retailer. If you’re one of the privledged 21,000 attendees, you know what I mean. I obtained one of the “Golden Tickets”, and yes the soundtrack from Willie Wonka is running through my head as I write. I can’t help but feel inspired, overwhelmed, and strangely at ease on the show floor. Rather than focus on big name brands, I decided to take a closer look at some of the newest vendors. Here are a couple from Colorado who made the trip over out state line.
Let’s just say… Peakwaggers, you had me at Sumo, a 130lb Bernese Mountain Dog. (If every booth had a dog, I’d never make it through the show.) Owner, cook, and avid outdoors woman, Gayle Brooks of Nederland, Colorado, came up with the idea for Peakwaggers, after years of hauling around pounds of dog food everytime she left the house with her furry clan.
As most dog owners know, wet dog food is so disgusting even your dog, the one who ate the cat poop, won’t even eat it. Rather than haul around bulky dog food into the backcountry, Brooks started experimenting with a food dehydrator. She made gourmet meals for her dogs that could fit in the palm of your hand while packaged, and only needs 8 ounces of water to be edible for either man or man’s best friend.
Currently Peakwaggers offers 4 flavored meals and various jerkeys. Before long, Brooks says she hopes to have 4 more dinner flavors: a breakfast menu and energy drinks, made from all natural, organic products.
Mile High Mountaineering
Another Colorado newbie to the show floor, Mile High Mountaineering, was thought up by two men who have been friends since the third grade. Originally from Golden, Colorado, Jeff Popp and Jordan Vecchiarelli both graduated from college; one with a degree in business, the other political science, and designed a consumer-wanted backpack.
Within weeks of sending out their sketches, they flew out to Bozeman, Montana, to meet with a developer who could transfer their ideas into something that could be worn on your back. Their pride and joy is a dual pivoting hip belt/cant adjustment system, suitable for both men and women. The packs come in 38L, 55L, and 80L.
Each bags’ features are designed to make backpacking a little more organized. Shoulder straps are adjustable without having to access the internal frame, the sleeping bag compartment has its own built-in stuff sack, the rain fly is integrated, and the hydration sleeve can be put on top of the bag. Popp and Vecchiarelli say they’ve found a seller “next” on their to do list – daypacks. ( I can’t wait to see them!)