The Toronto Sportsmen Show took place over last weekend. I don’t know about you but this used to be a family March Break tradition for us. Every year there would be huge amount of camping gear, trailers, boats, and of course Bart the Bear! Slowly over the last 10 years the show has changed. In fact it has changed so much that I don’t feel the connection to go anymore. It’s just not the same it used to be. For starters, its about fishing and hunting now rather than being about everything outdoors. Secondly, the exhibitor list has gotten smaller.
This year since it was back at the Exhibition Place, I thought that it would be a bit better. When it was in the Metro Toronto Convention Center it was too spread out between the two buildings so that it was hard to find everything. The nice thing about the Direct Energy Center is that it’s all in one building. This year it was different in the fact that the hunting showcase was separate from everything else. This was odd to me but I guess it’s so that they can keep minors out? They only had one door in and one door out. The fishing section was kind of a joke. In the past there has been more fishing gear than anything else. This year there was only maybe 5/6 rows of gear. The big section this year was the boats and the outdoor travel section.
What I go for every year is the camping section. I was thoroughly disappointed. They had maybe two rows of camping gear and the choice for outfitters was limited to Eureka and Tent City. There were a few more but I can’t quite remember who they were. There were also two canoe companies, Clear Water Designs and Souris River Canoes. It took me a while to find the camping section as well. The signage was poorly laid out and hard to see as it was all hung from the ceiling. Some of the displays though were really tall so it made it hard to see the sign.
There was on thing that I found cool and impressive and that was the Chrysalis Tent from Eureka.
This tent is actually pretty cool! I got to test it out while I was there. The sleeping area is surrounded by mesh and a tent fly material. You can choose to keep the mesh open while you sleep so that the air is circulating around you. Or you can close the sides around you and you are protected from the elements. The space where you sleep is actually a sleeve that will hold a Thermarest. It’s a big enough sleeve that it could even hold my Dreamtime Thermarest. Underneath the hammock is a mesh area where you are able to store light gear. On either side are gear pockets. Again the gear would have to be lightweight but it’s still a place to store stuff. The Chrysalis is easy to get in and out of. It also easily hooks up to the trees. It comes with 9 feet of mesh strapping that is comparable to a tie down strap on a truck. As a solo canoer this could be the perfect tent but I would highly recommend it for backpackers as it is only 5lbs to carry and can be hung anywhere you can find two trees! The cost of the tent is around $250.
Overall I was disappointed with the Sportsmen Show and will probably never go again. I’d rather take the time to go to the Outdoor Adventure Show because it is more geared to what I want to see. I don’t care about the fishing or hunting. I’d rather try out canoes and tents. This week I was supposed to go up to the Winterfest in Algonquin however due to a nasty cold I will be staying home and getting better .
~Enjoy Your Trip!