OR is a major annual trade show for the outdoor industry, similar to what SHOT is for the firearm market. There’s already a lot of overlap between outdoor recreation equipment and self-reliance — clothing, shelter, stoves, navigation, communication, etc. So much so that, over time, these kinds of shows have evolved to often include vendors specifically marketing to the prepper crowd.
It’s been 18 months since we last went to an OR show. It’s cool the show team tried to pull something together in this short summer window. But with the latest Covid wave taking over the US and overwhelming hospitals, this event was noticeably smaller.
We didn’t expect really-cool surprises, given many vendors aren’t even innovating during this cycle and are instead just trying to fill the supply chain for their existing lines.
But there was some cool stuff to share.
My top three vendors
Klymit was my personal favorite vendor of the entire expo. They make high quality tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, inflatable lanterns, blankets, and pillows. I particularly liked their sleeping pads — and one of the new models coming out this year was their new foam / inflatable hybrid Klymaloft pad.
I am definitely going to be picking one of these up. At first I thought that it would be too bulky, but as you can see in the picture below, there is a rolled up compressed one on top of the pad and it does compress down very well.
Their inflatable pads are backed by a lifetime warranty, just in case you were to puncture it. But if you were out on the trail, it does come with a little repair kit so you aren’t sleeping on some rocks that night.
Their Everglow Light Tubes are pretty neat as well. They are built of a very sturdy plastic rubber and roll up into a little bag. Two large breaths will fully inflate the tube and then it’s a matter of plugging it into a power bank. The larger models have dimmer settings as well.
Uncharted Supply Co is one of the better companies that sells beginner-friendly prep kits. We’re big fans of the Zeus portable battery for jump starting cars and even running power tools. One of our vehicle’s batteries died last weekend in a very remote area, and that impressive device saved the day. I also like their well-designed hip packs, for when you want to take a day hike and not carry a heavy and hot backpack, and the inflatable bug out raft. There’s also a dog collar first aid kit!
Nutrient Survival is trying to make ‘survival food’ with better ingredients. Their meals claim to have 40 essential nutrients and are available in small individual size meals or #10 cans. I’m fine with the normal, well-tested food we often recommend. But I just like seeing more innovations and options here.
Other great vendors
Bridgeford Food makes fifteen different sandwiches, pizzas, and wraps that have a shelf life of three years if stored below 80℉ and six months if stored at 100℉. I was able to try some, and they’re a tasty, unique option — especially for something that lasts long enough to be great with the “use and rotate” FIFO method.
Little Kamper is a 1-lb propane tank exchange service that works like the 20lb BBQ propane exchange at your local hardware or grocery store. For retailers, Little Kamper will pay for shipping fees of the tanks to be exchanged so they don’t have that additional expense. This will hopefully prevent millions of discarded disposable 1lb propane tanks from going into landfills.
Esbit: I’m a fan of the Germans creating minimalistic, light, and easy to use camping stoves and bush boxes. Esbit have stoves that work with solid fuel tabs, ranging from the ultra-compact folding stove to the Jetboil-type.
Ignik specializes in green-minded products for severely cold weather. Their flagship product is a 5-lb Refillable Gas growler that’s meant to substitute disposable green gas bottles. The optional cover keeps the growler protected from bumping around (it even has some MOLLE webbing), but, most importantly, it keeps the gas from freezing. The growler can be used with a stove/cooker heater or a portable fire pit (that’s the same form-factor of an ammo can!) I love that the stove/heater a combination of a Mr. Buddy heater with a camping stove on the top. A simple lever opens and closes the stove portion.
They also do biodegradable hand, feet, toes, and device warmers, and heated chair/hammock pads and sleeping bag liners which are rechargeable with a USB-C. Honestly, I enjoyed all their products and would love to have the growler and heater/stove to go car camping with.
BTW, their backstory is really cool.
Minus 33 has a large selection of 100% marino wool clothing from socks, gloves, underwear, shirts, and bottoms for men and women. While Minus 33 socks don’t carry the incredible lifetime warranty of Darn Tough socks as mentioned in our best socks article, and only have a 1 year warranty, this company is here as an alternative.
Never Flame: Have you ever wanted a flameless cooking system that could be charged by a small portable solar panel or wall outlet? Unfortunately you may have to wait a bit longer because it seems like this product is still in the prototype stage. It has great potential however of being a good emergency cooking source for those who live in an apartment or if you want a mess free low powered cooking solution. On a single charge of the battery you can boil two 16oz things of water in their kettle or one and a half meals in their small pan.
Galeo sells a $250 GPS tracker and $2/month subscription can be attached to your bike, canoe, or anything you want to keep an eye on. Receive alerts on your phone if your device starts moving and have the ability to sound a loud alarm from the unit to scare the thief that is running away with your item. They are going to be releasing a larger unit with a longer battery life that can be used for something like a trailer or car.
Purisoo has created a triple layer modular filter water bottle system which consists of a hollow fiber membrane that filters out 99.99% of bacteria, and protozoans 0.2 microns and larger, an activated carbon filter to reduce heavy metals and improve taste, and then an ion filter to reduce heavy metal ions. To be honest, looking at it from a prepping standpoint this looks like a very complicated system with many possible points of failure and I would rather stick to a simpler option like the ones in our best water filter article.
The Tear Mender repairs practically any material from vinyl, denim, leather, rubber, canvas, and many more. This product will allow you to get more life out of gear like clothing, tents, and tarps.
Quake Kare has some very interesting products that I had never seen before. The first was vacuum sealed pet food that looked to be as durable as a lifeboat ration. The vendor said that Quake Kare is one of two companies who offer pet rations like this. For more on pet preparedness check out the conversation on the forum.
Quake Kare also sells multiple emergency kits like an entire comprehensive 72 hour kit in a 5 gallon bucket, or a sanitation 5 gallon bucket that includes everything you need to… use the bathroom. But the thing that surprised me the most was these salt water purifying pouches.
The vendor said that these desalination pouches work by throwing the pouch into a body of salt water and it will absorb water and go through a reverse osmosis process to purify the water allowing you to drink clean potable water from it. Definitely a product that The Prepared will need to look into some more and test out. If it works as well as advertised, this will be a great emergency product to have on your boat or in your kit if you live near the ocean.
Zoleo: Do you live or travel to areas with absolutely no cell service and hate that feeling of being vulnerable and unable to contact others? Well, the Zoleo is something you may want to look into. It is a small satellite hotspot device about the size of an altoids tin that you can connect your smartphone to practically turning it into a satellite phone. You get unlimited location sharing and check in messages, SOS alerting, weather forecasts, and can get 25 to an unlimited number of texts a month depending on the plan you subscribe to. Definitely check this out!
Squatch Survival Gear is a Texas based, veteran-owned tactical gear company that sells various tactical backpacks. I was really happy that they designed smaller-size packs with waist straps, MOLLE, etc (although I wasn’t impressed by the overall quality). It is very hard for children, women, or just people with a smaller frame to find packs with waist straps and these kinds of features.
Cleanwaste: Originally designed for the military, Cleanwaste has now turned to help with the amount of human waste that over 130 million people produce while recreating in the great outdoors each year. What this product pretty much boils down to is it’s a plastic bag with a starch derivative powder inside that turns solid and liquid human waste into a gel. You then can hike out with your waste and throw it away later. This is a great product to have on hand not only for hikers and campers, but if your water or sewage in your house goes out, how are you going to handle going to the restroom? They have bags of all sizes and even ones that will neatly fit inside of a standard toilet so if bugging in, you just go in there, tie off the bag, and toss out later.
Klean Freak: When water is low or when bugging out, keeping clean is critical for health, but also is a strong morale booster. These giant 11X11 whole body wipes are made with natural ingredients and come in so many scents. They leave your body feeling clean and refreshed after wiping down with them. We may have to compare them in the future to our other hygiene wipes and see how they stack up.
Mac in a Sac has designed waterproof raincoats or down filled puffer jackets that compress down into a small sack. Easily throw one of these under the seat of your car or in a purse. Always be prepared.