Gear, tours, bikes, tourism, tents, so many tents. March 4 and 5 outdoor enthusiasts braved the crazy weather and made the trip to the Vancouver Convention Centre for the Vancouver Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show. Vendors as far as you can see made up of tour operators, gear makers and sellers, demonstration bikers and bike shops filled the floor under the sails. I headed to Vancouver to talk to all the vendors I could about their tours and new gear. A bit of a kid in a candy shop. Some sunshine and a mini-hike in between capped off the weekend.
The show had multiple stages and even a pool for talks and demonstrations over the course of the weekend. Not sure how a SUP works or rolling in a kayak? Brave athletes hopped in the cold water and showed off their moves. You could even try scuba diving for the first time.
If getting wet isn’t your thing there was a climbing wall as well. The ropes were attached to weights on the inside to let them down gently.
Delorme (Garmin) inReach
DeLorme, now part of Garmin, has already updated the popular inReach satellite messenger with a slightly better mapping system and a new body. The body of the device looks like a 64-series GPS but with all the inReach functions. The SOS button is under a tab on the side to stay out of the way and the charging port on the bottom got a better cover. Really the only difference between the SE and the Explorer now are the maps. With the previous inReach versions if you just want the messenger you can get the SE and save a bit of money but if you want the maps and not need a GPS, get the Explorer.
Sharon Tenenbaum put together a very unique display of work for the show. Some of her beautiful photos on canvas and metal had additional painting over top.
My favourites were the skylines and mountain photos created out of bike parts and accessories printed on metal. The finished product was very impressive. You can find more of the images to buy at BikeArt.ca.
Skyview Outdoors and Eureka Tents
Skyview Outdoors brought a ton of outdoor gear. Johnson Outdoors as there as well with a lot of tents. Everything from tiny 1 person tents up to massive family outdoor tents.
GnomeHomes are tiny trailers with either a double or queen size mattress inside. They’re light enough a small car can tow them around and some are under $10k. They make them to order so you can get the exact features you want. And most of the parts are sourced in Canada. Some parts, like doors, just can’t be found in Canada so they go to the US for those.A battery and small solar panel on the roof give you tons of power during sunny periods and at least a few days worth of juice. If you watch the TV in the larger model then it’s going to drain you battery much faster.Inside is the bed and storage.Around the back is the kitchen. Bottom left drawer had a refrigerated cooler in it (that draws power from the battery while it’s cooling) but can also switch to keeping food warm.
Treeline Outdoors from just outside Calgary, Alberta is making some rad rooftents. With models for 2, 3 or 4 people and additional versions that integrate solar products from Goal Zero, Treeline can be set up so they fold off the side or back of your car. An additional Annex or set of walls for under the fold out part would keep you dry even if it was raining sideways. The Annex comes with a removable floor.
Jeff and Steve from the Trial Stars demonstration group and a guest rider did a few great shows. The audience was packed as they did their thing jumping over, around and onto things both up and down. They started with a little competition to see who could bunny hop (jumping straight) and side hop (jumping sideways) over a little high jump bar they set up. The side hop competition got up to 53 inches, nearly word record height.They proceeded to jump, over and down three, four, and five foot platforms, hopping up there in various ways. They took a break jumping on and off the platforms to jump over each other laying on the floor. Jeff jumped over Steve, at one point jumping over his face and tapping his nose with the bike tire on the way over. Some of the audience had to look away.
Staying in Lynn Valley for the night between the 2 days of the show, I had to take advantage of the beautiful Saturday evening. A quick hike along new trails for me around Rice Lake was a welcome change from being inside all day.
I spent day 2 catching up with the vendors that I missed the day before and getting in a couple of the photography workshops from Leo’s Cameras. They weren’t much of a workshop as a talk but a couple very good ones. A Leo’s staff member gave a great talk on 360 cameras for video and still photos and got my brain firing about how to use those to capture a trip into beautiful places. With the 360 cameras, you can leave it recording and don’t have to point it at anything. Afterwards on YouTube or in one of the apps, just pan around and look wherever you want in the video. You’ll see things you missed after wards since you were likely looking somewhere else. While everyone stared at the waterfall in the video, you can pan around the other way and see the beautiful old growth trees and giant ferns.
Kimoto Kafee is a coffee shop in Tofino that brings in coffee from Thailand. The coffee was delicious and very welcome early Sunday morning but what caught my attention was the paper and cotton page they used in the photo below to sit in the cup, ready for the water. These individual packets would make for a great on the go or camping coffee solution. I’ve never found an instant I like, Starbucks gets close, but these little coffee holders worked great. They’re working on distribution around Vancouver Island and BC.
I was hoping to try out some of the delicious looking soups from Soup Girl. I missed the gluten-free one she had going on the Saturday. The small packs are just add water and could make a great backpacking meal for 2. The jars would be too heavy to talk but would be great for home. She had bigger packs as well for 4-6 people.
Big Bear Tools
The Silky hand saws that Big Bear Tools had at their booth caught my eye. A good saw for tail building is a life-saver and I usually have one in my truck, sometimes my backpack, just in case you run into something you can’t get through. We’ve had cut out a tree that had fallen across the road while we were out hiking. It was a slow process with the small saw we had but it was better than nothing. A Pocket Boy 170 like in the picture below is 6.75 inches long with super-sharp, hardened teeth on a japanese blade. It would be easy to toss in a daypack.
A boat ride home
After hating the ferry for so long because of the long wait for the other side, I’ve come to like the forced disconnection the ferry offers. The wifi exists but is terrible so there’s no internet. I try to relax and read as much as I can. I’m always running into friends I haven’t seen in ages as well so it’s a fun time to catch up.And most of the time, there’s a a nice view to sit and enjoy.
Huge thanks to the Vancouver Outdoor Adventure and Travel show for the passes to the show and 2 sets to give away through their blogger program. I’m already excited for what’s in store for next year so keep an eye out for that!A few other bloggers have their “Trip Report” up from the show.