I was greeted by the friendliest taxi driver at the Manchester Piccadilly Station, who took me the ‘long way round’ via Old Trafford Stadium to the venue. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and all I could see were crowds of people hanging around outside, soaking up the sunshine.
There was a vast array of colourful Vango tents and camping gear, and it was incredible how well-attended the event was and how many key brands were exhibiting. I knew this was going to be an enjoyable opportunity for exhibitors to show their new products, and for visitors to sample the latest in outdoor tech.
I bumped into a few journalists while walking around the show and spoke with some industry leaders as I browsed a variety of clothing, footwear and accessory products. We were all told not to miss the renowned British Army parachute team, the Red Devils, too.
They delivered an incredible opening display and parachute jump the day before at the UK Outdoor 2019 Industry Awards, which welcomed over 250 exhibitors and visitors. Note to self: must attend on the opening day next year! The buzz and atmosphere of the show was enough to make up for this, though.
Anyway, see below for the five brands that stood out the most to me.
FIREPOT by Outdoorfood has been three years in the making. Adventurists noticed there was a gap in the market for healthy, nutritious slow-cooked meals that tasted good, so they set out to make their own. The packaging is lightweight and easy to use; all you have to do is add boiling water. With seven meals to choose from ranging from vegan to vegetarian, this is product to pack in your backpack when setting off on your next mountain adventure.
Reima caught my eye as I have a four-year-old daughter that is massively into pink (other colours are available). This Finnish company produces premium performance wear for active youngsters and they never fail on style and innovation. Forget about the long hot summer we’re having and actually look forward to the winter months with their amazing collection, including snow boots, snowsuits and good old fashion welly boots.
Even though this is my partner’s ideal sport (in his mind) I just had to stop and look at the quality of these amazing electric longboards. Designed in Australia, this brand is well worth checking out. The boards are made from bamboo so are incredibly light and slim line. They are customisable and can climb steep hills with minimal noise and smooth acceleration. The sales rep for the UK was putting it through its paces and was drumming up interest as he whizzed through the expo.
All outdoor enthusiasts need a Helinox Chair! They are extremely light, compact when folded and incredibly strong. They come in a great range of colours and have five tiny poles and holes with bungees to assemble – just like an old-fashioned tent. Easy to assemble and very stylish, these will certainly turn heads on any campsite or at any sporting event.
I have always been a big fan of this brand, having saved up for a good few months for my first ever back-pack to travel the world. Dad said I was mad to spend a lot on a bag, but I knew it would be a good investment and that it would last my entire trip. The Women’s Sirrus back-pack for next Spring comes in some interesting colour combinations; so it’s a shame they are so hard wearing that I can’t justify buying a new one!
OTS has just announced that the 2019 show will go ahead at EventCity, Manchester from Tuesday 9th July to Thursday 11th July. We look forward to seeing you there!