Outdoor Retailer 2016: Expedition Portal Big Hits- Yakima SkyRise RTT

The following is from Expedition Portal by Christophe Noel

OUTDOOR RETAILER 2016: OVERLANDING HITS BIG

Vehicle based travel is an ever bigger part of the outdoor industry landscape.

The biggest news at this year’s Summer Outdoor Retailer show didn’t pertain to a particular product or innovation, but a new bias towards all things overland. I’ve been attending this show since the mid 1990s, and over the years have witnessed certain trends wax and wane, but the explosive influence in overlanding is an unexpected twist. At the root of it, the actual pursuit of overland travel is not experiencing an uptick in popularity as much as it is an acceptance of overland travel tools used to access the backcountry. Ask the show participants who they are, and you’ll likely get the typical responses. Many will say they are climbers, skiers, backpackers, or mountain bikers, but few will say they are true overlanders. That doesn’t mean they don’t drive a Sportsmobile, built-up Tacoma, or have a strong want for a rooftop tent or 10,000 pound winch.

As we walked the show this year, the overlanding vibe was felt at every turn. The event’s daily publication even featured a full article on overlanding and how it is influencing the market and the outdoor audience. Last year marked the first year we had seen a rooftop tent at the show, but this year Tepui, James Baroud, and Freespirit Recreation were on exhibit. One of the most significant launches at the show was at the Yakima booth with their latest project, a hyper-light rooftop tent.

When I walk the floor of the Outdoor Retailer show, I consider myself part of the outdoor industry tribe. They’re my people. I’m an overlander in the sense that I actually like the journey to the trailhead as much as the adventure that lies beyond. I don’t pretend I don’t burn gas or drive a vehicle. I’m stoked to see  the outdoor segment is beginning to accept the automobile as a necessary tool in the pursuit of outdoor fun.

Yakima SkyRise RTT

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Ever since the RTT started to gain popularity in North America, countless people asked why the typical tent weighed so much and why they didn’t employ modern tent fabrics. Yakima just launched their new SkyRise tent, and with it, an answer to that question. You can make an RTT with lighter materials and in doing so, bring the weight down to just 80 pounds give or take a few. It also has quick-release attachment points, a welcome innovation for those of us tired of banging our knuckles trying to remove a handful of nuts. At an MSRP of $999 it also hits the value proposition. Time will tell how it stacks up to the competition, but talking to the designers, who have ample experience in the traditional overlanding space, I think it will be a solid success.

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