Highlights from the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market
We love attending the Outdoor Retailer Show and though the Summer show is more to our taste with more bike apparel and products, we always find some great things at the Winter Market as well. This is the show to preview the Fall/Winter 2012 apparel and we love checking out great bike and running apparel and seeing what will be the best items for looking good and staying warm next fall. (And we will have more about those items to come.) But we also come across some items at the show that surprise us and many of them are small companies. We’d like to highlight some of those little Winter Market treasures here.
We’ve tried the ProBar line before which includes original bar, the Fruition bar and Halo bar. But we are always excited when we notice they are doing new things and improving their offerings. So what’s new? Well, ProBar has introduced 4 new ProBars and will soon be making their Fruition bars gluten-free. The 150-calorie Fruition bars are rich in raw ingredients including dates, oats, chia seeds, cashews and of course, fruit. The organic Fruition bars will soon be gluten-free which makes them a great snack for those with gluten sensitivity. The newest flavor that will be introduced is the Chocolate Orange Fruition. It has a great orange and dark chocolate taste that I think a lot of people will enjoy. (It’s not available yet, but look for it to come out in March!)
The original ProBar, a whole food meal-replacement bar have added four new flavors to the line; Double Chocolate,Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, and Super Fruit Slam. The original Pro Bars are large 3 oz. bars that have just under 400 calories. That’s just one aspect that’s made them popular with endurance athletes such as long-distance triathletes and cyclists. The all natural bars are aimed for the calorie-requirements of guys, but can be portioned for smaller calorie requirements and leftovers can be stored for later.
As we walked around the winter market show, we were delighted to find a small bike-related company from Idaho: Krieg Cycling. This little company has a big variety of fabric styles for saddle bags and bento boxes (top tube storage bags). The explosion of color with their bike bags is definitely eye-catching and if you’re looking for something that helps you stand out, check them out! As they said, we “want to bring some color to what has traditionally been a black and white product. Because after all, life is more fun in color.”
Check out their website’s list of stores that carry their line.
We get offered a lot of hydration and energy bar products at OR and InterBike. We aren’t afraid of trying new things, but do have a healthy dose of skepticism and have run across drinks and bars that range from the good to the barely tolerable and there have been some memorable ones we rate as absolutely terrible in taste. So we were excited to find a drink that we found to taste great: ZipFizz. It’s a drink mix powder that can be added to a water bottle and it produces a fizzy drink with a spike of energy that provides a great alternative to caffeinated diet sodas. Yes, the “Zip” part of the name is because this is an energy drink which contains 100mg. of caffeine, sourced from green tea and guarana extracts. Just know that much caffeine is more than you’ll find in a diet Coke, and is about equivalent to a 16 oz. brewed McDonald’s coffee. ZipFizz has added vitamins and minerals and no sugar.
Our take: It’s a great tasting energy drink that doesn’t leave an aftertaste. The plastic container is easy to use, although we think they could re-think the design to reduce costs. ZipFizz claims it’s “good for you” because of the added vitamins, minerals, amino acids and lack of artificial stimulants or ingredients. (Tending towards the purist natural side, I tend to believe that no food or drink with made any amount of chemical processes can claim that it’s truly “good for you”.) But if you need a lift from an energy drink, it’s a good one. http://www.zipfizz.com/
Dropping by the Krave Gourmet jerky booth, we were pleasantly surprised to find that we really liked this jerky. I have to admit that when I think of jerky, I am thinking of the dry, leathery product usually bought at a convenience store while on long road trips. So a taste of Krave’s jerky was a pleasant surprise. This jerky is tender and moist and comes in delicious flavors that run from sweet to spicy: Pineapple Orange Beef jerky, Sweet Honey Chipotle Beef jerky, Curry Beef, Basil Citrus Turkey jerky, Lemon Garlic Turkey jerky and Garlic Chile Pepper Beef jerky. They also have some pork flavors which I did not try. They are a brand new product from a company in California but I am told are to be found on the shelves Whole Foods stores. (At the time of this writing, I found their website to be incomplete which is probably due to its newness. I am sure it will be fully functioning soon!)
Dohm-Icebox’s XOB collection
We liked Dohm-Icebox’s collection of great “upcycled” knitwear. The XOB (yes, that’s “box” spelled backwards!) knitwear is made of re-purposed wool sweaters and suit jackets which get new life as fun and funky hats, scarves, mittens and so forth. It’s a concept that calls for minimal impact on the environment and maximum creativity from designers. We liked their great color combinations and unique look so we had to name it as a highlight!
This company is nearly a one-woman show by Renee Krieg-Hanson. B’ani Bands was a company born out of necessity because she was tired of headbands that didn’t work well because they were either so tight they caused headaches, or so loose they just slipped out of her hair. So Renee’s sister made custom headbands that were big enough for her and featured an adjustable strap and a special ”Soft-Grip”TM fabric backing. They combined that with a dazzling array of ribbons and voila! They had a great headband that looks fabulous, but is a great choice for all types of athletic pursuits where you want your hair kept out of your face: running, volleyball, tennis, yoga, etc. Yes, it even works for cycling! I bought one that had a great triathlon figure print on it–love it!
Renee says that her Sequin-Sparkle line is the most popular and offered a blue one as a giveaway to our readers. So make a comment below and we’ll choose a reader at random and send one off to you to try! We’ll be putting in some other of our fun finds including the new Fruition Chocolate Orange bar, ZipFizz and another fun item!