Venture Out Round Up: Mizu, Mountain Designs, and Parks Project at ORSM 2017

One of the reasons it is such a shame to see Utah lose the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is because the trade show is big, and getting bigger. Every year, dozens of new companies join the fray. This year, an entire new pavilion was needed to accommodate some up and coming brands. I was able to spend some time in the Venture Out section at ORSM, and see what’s on deck for a few of the newcomers.

Mountain Designs

Mountain Designs has an array of Earth-friendly fabrics and apparel lines from casual to extreme mountaineering. Coming soon to the USA! (photo: Ryan Malavolta/Utahoutside.com)

This might be the biggest company that you’ve never heard of before. Why? Mountain Designs is Australia’s leading outdoor gear and apparel brand, but 2017 is their first time making the jump into the American market. Founder, Rick White, was one hell of a climber in his day, and made it his mission to create high quality gear for his home country.

Everyone in the USA will now have a chance to get their hands on Mountain Designs gear, which features an array of innovative and sustainable fabrics. Their Corespun Merino wool apparel is stronger than standard Merino fabric, holds its shape, and resists piling and abrasion. Seawool is a combination of recycled oyster shells and plastic bottles that is warm, soft and wrinkle free. All of the garments I was shown were stylish and technically cut; definitely the look that most of us mountain folk are rockin’ these days. Look for it in select retail stores in 2018.

Mizu

Mizu offers everything from water bottles to campware, all with quality styling and performance. (photo: Ryan Malavolta/Utahoutside.com)

What do you do when you retire from one of the more legendary snowboarding careers in recent history? That was the question that Jussi Oksanen faced back in 2008. Turns out, the answer is to start your own company. Disturbed by the amount of plastic bottles being discarded during outdoor forays, Oksanen decided to create bottle company Mizu. Fast forward to 2017, and Mizu is a thriving brand with a wide selection of bottles and accessories.

The company was featuring their full lineup of vacuum sealed, double walled liquid storage, and had some new offerings as well. My favorite item in the new accessory lineup is a collapsible shot glass…but hey, I’m an easy mark. The big news is what is coming in 2018: The Mizu 360 bottle with Nano-Filter technology. The 360LE has an every day filter for improving the taste and quality of city tap water, while the 360LA will be a legit backcountry water filter. Look for the new filter bottles next spring, or check out the whole collection at mizulife.com.

Parks Project

The Parks Project mission is a worthy one, and the gear is pretty sharp looking to boot. (photo: Ryan Malavolta/Utahoutside.com)

America’s National Parks are near and dear to almost every one of us in some way, but simply loving them isn’t enough. How many of us can say we have participated in a trail restoration project, or volunteered time to help in a conservation effort? With busy lives and hectic schedules, this isn’t a reality for everyone. The Parks Project offers a vehicle to support these lands; every sale they make helps fund a project in one of their partner parks.

Currently, Parks Project is working on habitat restoration, visitor programs, wildlife conservation and youth education in parks such as Yosemite, Acadia, and Utah’s own Zion. The Parks Project apparel features positive messages, a throwback style, and is made here in America. I spoke with cofounder, Keith Eshelman, who stressed the importance of helping preserve and protect our parks in these modern times. I thought his most important point was one that I have overlooked: today’s generation of adventurers are also the next stewards of these special places. Learn more about the gear and the cause at www.parksproject.us.

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