As most of you know I am a HUGE fan of the outdoor shows! Growing up it was a given that we would be spending one day of the March Break at the Sportsmen Show in Toronto. It was always just a matter of which day dad would have off. When we went to the Outdoor Adventure Show (from here on OAS) last year, dad and I knew we had found our new Sportsmen Show! It had what we wanted out of a show – crazy and weird for him (I’m not kidding…yesterday he bought a colour changing shirt that activates in the sun…last year it was a moose hat complete with antlers) and for me its the chance to talk with those in the outdoor industry and of course visit with my friends from Algonquin Outfitters and Swift. It’s always a nice little reunion of sorts getting to catch up on stuff and finding out what I can look forward to finding in store come the summer.
The show has everything that an outdoor enthusiast would want: canoes, tents, backpacks, awesome trip possibilities, the weird stuff that only my dad wants to buy, and great speakers! This year the line up for guest speakers was phenomenal and I really wish I was able to stay even if it was for Les Stroud and Kevin Callan. Adam Van Koeverden is speaking today which is really cool! Jeff from algonquinmap.com was there and I had to leave just before he was supposed to be at a booth which disappointed me because I use his maps constantly when planning trips. Kevin Callan was also signing books at one of the booths later yesterday afternoon. I’m pretty sure he’s back there today as well.
As I was walking around I got the chance to talk to a number of outfitters and gear companies. Expedition Toys from Ottawa (www.expeditiontoys.ca) was just one of the many companies I spoke to. One of the products that Brenda showed me was called the Inertia X Frame Sleeping Pad. This is an inflatable sleeping pad that can roll up as small as a pop can. The great thing about these pads is that it takes the pressure off of your body because it “cradles” the points on your body like the hips, shoulders etc. that would typically get sore from sleeping on the ground. The only issue I have with the sleeping pad is that I’m a side sleeper and I was told specifically that its made for sleeping on your back. But for those who do sleep on their back..it may be worth the $100 price tag. Check out their website because they have a lot of products available.
Standup Paddleboards (SUP’s) were pretty big at the show as they have been at most of the shows this year. In the pool they were doing demos of not only how to stand and paddle on a SUP board but also how to do Yoga and workouts. It was pretty cool! SUP Love (the two boards on the left) was there and I got chatting to the girl from there again. The board on the left has a custom made pad. The pad is made with whatever photo you may want to put on it. I think that it’s pretty cool! Paddle Shack also had some SUP boards with them (pic 3). I’m beginning to think that maybe a SUP get together in the Toronto area might be a cool idea .
They had a diving tank there this year which was pretty cool. Of course the divers wanted their picture taken so of course I obliged . The Complete Paddler (twitter: @completepaddler) was there with their assortment of gear as was Eureka Tents as part of Tent City Outfitters. But the company I have to mention the most is the Education Outdoors Game Company. Part of that reason is he gave us free admission (well technically just my dad…I had my media pass) but they also have a ton of different board games for camping. Ever seen the game Camp at your local outfitter or store? It’s a pretty cool game and great for kids. It reminds me of the Algonquin Park game that I used to have years ago. Hmmm….wonder if I can still get that game . Derek Martin from Living Waters Wholesale is the person that I was talking to and the games they carry are neat. Games like S’mores, Hit the Trail, Mysterious Creatures, Camp, and Fishing Camp. My dad bought a game consisting of magnetic stones that you have to keep separate I think? I am going to invest in a few of these games myself just for the kids at work alone .