HAHA this is what happens when you invite me to an Outdoor Retailer convention.
Free swag queen.
- 21 coozies
- 7 chapsticks
- 8 liquid containing containers (one with primaloft insulation lol)
- 6 shirts
- 5 hats
- 5 backpacks
- 8 backpacking foods
- 15 emergency peeing devices
- 2 Goal Zero solar charging prizes
- Reel Rock VIP preview pass
- Gold/VIP psico bloc pass
As a Madrock Athlete I was invited to attend Outdoor Retailer (OR) every year. During my four years as an undergrad, I took summer school to stay on track. This conflicted with my deep desire to go to Salt Lake City for this convention everyone was talking about. This year I was finally free, and without hesitation I flew out this summer to attend OR.
This convention is INSANE. I don’t even know where to start. Day one, before I walked through the doors of the convention center I was greeted by an alpaca. I walked up to take a picture with the animal but once I got closer to its throaty neck I began to have flash backs of all those youtube videos I watched where llamas/alpacas spit in people’s faces. Alpaca spit on my flesh would not be a psyched start to my week at OR. I wanted to hug the shaft neck but being arm’s length was the better idea. If you look close enough notice the alpaca has a convention badge, and it’s name is David Smith. Pretty generic if you ask me.
All industry business meetings are fueled by beer. Well, beer that doesn’t contain over 3.2% alcohol (sadly). Every day at 4pm started Happy Hour where sales reps would hand everyone a bottle walking down the aisles. Golden liquid flows abundant in these parts.
Yes this picture contains cold beer in a mini-dry pack coozie.
This High Sierra backpacking ice sculpture was functionally used to cool beer on tap.
Outdoor companies also try to party hard. The first day of OR ended with a live band marching through the convention center, thanks to Osprey. Men were walking around in stilts, and trumpets blasting through the air. (instagram video link)
Non-stop industry parties.
A highlight of the trip was watching Psico Bloc pool side. Yea the climbing was awesome as always. However my favorite part was snap chatting the men getting out of the pool. The live cam throughout the comp constantly captured me creeping. I’m sorry, I am an embarrassment.
All in all, more important than the free swag was seeing all the up and coming companies in the outdoor industry. It was great to finally meet my clothing sponsors Stonewear Designs after pure communication by email. I used most of my time making connections with different companies. Many gave back to the wilderness by raising funds for American Alpine Club, Access Fund, etc.
Lastly ending my wonderful trip, I almost got bit by a black widow in my rented air bnb room. Life needs balance, i’ll accept this near death. Some how my host somehow captured it in a jar, and I actually flew it home with me on my carry on. Why? Not sure.
A part of my soul was completed on this trip, and be sure to see me next year! Just next time i’ll be sure to sign up for TSA-pre before I arrive to the airport.
Stay styked (stoked + psyched) and climb on everyone!