Gear Reviews Hiking and Camping

ORA 2017

ORA 2017

Outdoor Retailer Australia show – 2017

We managed to get down to the ORA (Outdoor Retailer Australia show) for a day, to have a sticky beak at some new products that will be hitting our shelves in the next few months.

It was our first time at the ORA show and I only wish we had gone for more than one day. It was on from the 18th – 20th June 2017 at the Royal Hall of Industries and the Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park.

We couldn’t shoot every product as some were pre-production and prototype models, and the exhibitors didn’t want us shooting those, which is totally understandable. We understand that you need to keep a few tricks up your sleeve in this industry. It’s also worth noting that this event is primarily focused on B2B, so business is key here and media although welcomed, are not the highest on the agenda for the exhibitors. Again, we understand and respect that.

But rest assured, we saw a lot and you should all be getting excited about the new products heading your way.

AXISGO (Aquatech)

Aquatech have been around for years making submersible camera housing and other protective gear, at the highest quality. After making very specific products for a certain target market, Aquatech have now jumped into the global market of the smart phone with their AXISGO iPhone underwater case and we managed have a play with it.

The AXISGO is a housing kit that allows you take your iPhone down to depths of 10 metres! It comes in 3 colour choices, with a trigger handle (which was brilliant!) and different housing lenses for different image effects. We saw some of the photos that had been taken with this gadget and the results were astonishing!

AXISGO

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The impressive AXISGO underwater housing for iPhones from AquaTech. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
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The AXISGO has several different dome options that produce some incredible imagery. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

Barz Optics

Barz Optics is an Australian based family company located at Burleigh Heads in Queensland on the east coast of Australia. They offer a huge range of optics and frame types for any situation. Floating models, kids polarised models, melanin infused polarised sunglass lenses, polarised lenses with bifocal reader, prescription lenses….

New products at the show included their latest floating model, the Polarised Photochromic BiFocal Reader – the Cabo, as well as the new kids floating polarised model, the Grom. They’ve also released a cycling focused model which have been very popular with the cycling community to date. We recommend you checking them out.

Barz Optics

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Barz Optics had a huge range of their glasses at the stand. Any combination or prescription type can be tailored for. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
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The Barz Optics polarised sunglasses with Bifocal reader lenses! Pic:©Richard McGibbon

LifeStraw

LifeStraw started in 1994 with their first filter that could remove Guinea worm larvae from water. It then evolved into a more effective pipe form in 1999 and is essentially the design you see today. Since then, more than 37 million LifeStraw Guinea Worm filters have contributed to the near-eradication of the disease.

The design is simple, elegant and highly effective at removing 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. It weighs only 57grams and can be placed into your pack or pocket. You can literally drop down to a dirty puddle and suck it up. The effect it has had on third world communities has been hugely impactful.

LifeStraw now have a range of products from the individual LifeStraw, LifeStraw Go, LifeStraw Mission and the LifeStraw Family. Plus, for each LifeStraw that is purchased, one school child in a developing community receives safe drinking water for an entire school year.

LifeStraw

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LifeStraw. A device that’s helping millions of people around the world access clean water. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

UQUIP

One of the main purposes of attending the ORA 2017 show was to discover new brands. One such brand is UQUIP. A small company based in Bad Bramstedt in Northern Germany (close to Hamburg). They produce a range of camping products such as stools, beds, portable storage, mats and lights.

What impressed us was the detail and the level of quality in their designs. One item caught our eye straight away. It was a teeny weeny folding chair, that looked as if it would fit a very small dog or kitten. In fact it can hold up to 150kgs of weight yet it only weighs 250grams! So we just had to test this out for ourselves.

Although I’m nowhere near that weight, it felt incredibly secure and rigid under me. It was also surprisingly comfortable.  We could see this stool being incredibly handy for many uses especially for the professional photographer who needs to carry a lot of stuff around and sitting in the same spot for long periods of time.

UQIP

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UQUIP are developing some very high quality camping products. Definitely worth checking them out. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
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No, there was no forced perspective or crazy Lord of the Rings photo magic going on here. The stool really is that small and incredibly strong. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

THERMAREST

We’re fans of the THERMAREST products, namely their air mattresses and sleeping bags but we haven’t had much exposure to their tent range, so were happy  to see their Tranquility tent on display.  The tent itself appeared well built and had all the quality you would expect from this brand. It is aimed more at car camping, so don’t expect anything lightweight that you can carry in your pack for multiple days.

The 4 man tent weighs in at 5.19 kg. If you’re looking for high quality and not concerned about weight for those short trips to your favourite car camp spot, then you’d do well with these tents. Thermarest offer a range of 4 to 6 man tents, shelters and footprints.

THERMAREST

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The Tranquility tent by Thermarest. Perfect for car camping. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

The Tent Field

We headed out to the tent area where a lot of tents were set up, in a variety of shapes and sizes.

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One man tent from Zempire. A New Zealand company making it’s way here to Australia. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
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The Easy Up tent by Outdoor Connection. Super-easy to set up but you may need a degree in mathematics to pack it down. Pic: ©Richard McGibbon
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We are a big fan of the fly style shelter. So easy to set up and you can arrange them in a variety of ways, depending on the location and the weather conditions. This was from Outdoor Connections. Sometimes simplicity is the best. Pic: ©Richard McGibbon

 

PELICAN

Pelican have been around for years and are best known for their virtually indestructible travel cases. What caught our eye this year was their range of drinkware and cooler boxes. The Traveler Tumbler can store hot or cold liquids at the correct temperature all day, and come with a narrower bottom section so they can fit into most vehicle holders.

We were told that the cooler boxes can retain ice for ten days!  One of the Pelican exhibitors recently came back from a ten day fishing trip where he had fish stored in the box but was dubious about opening it up and releasing all the cold air, but he took a gamble and opened it anyway. To his surprise there was still ice in the bottom, after ten days!

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The new cooler boxes and travel tumblers from Pelican. They even come in colours other than black and white. Pic: ©Richard McGibbon

 

ONE PLANET

The reason we didn’t shoot as much as we wanted was that we got stuck at the One Planet stand for longer than expected. We’re big fans of One Planet and any opportunity to catch up with them is a bonus for us. One Planet are based out of Melbourne and have been manufacturing outdoor equipment for more than 30 years. They have a reputation for creating gear that’s incredibly tough and durable.

It’s was great to see how the One Planet range has evolved over time. Offering more and more products each year, from their beloved backpacks and sleeping bags to tents, jackets and footwear. They still remain true to their core market and their consistency for high quality, super-tough gear can be seen across all of these products.

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The Stiletto High Visibility pack is stunning and was a pleasant surprise from their usual dark blue or red colours. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
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It’s been great to see the One Planet brand and product range grow over the years. Check out the little kiddies range, bottom right. The One Planet range at the ORA 2017 show is a testament that they are providing solutions not only to the hardcore adventurer but also the daily commuters. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
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The new down jackets coming out are impressive and we’re very excited to see these hit the shelves. The two models on offer were targeted at typical Winter conditions through to high altitude mountaineering conditions. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
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The Cocoon Sleeping bag from One Planet. There are some very nice features on this bag. Small details that make a big difference when out in the field. We particularly liked the way they have designed the baffle as to not get caught in the zip. We know only to well how frustrating that can be. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
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The Duffle bags come in a range of sizes and colours. We think you could literally hang a small car off the straps of these. They’re called Tuff Nut for a reason. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
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One Planet admit that the “4Midable” tent, blurs the line between a tent and a fly, and defies pigeonholing, we’d have to agree. It’s simple and versatile. The tent can be pitched using trekking poles to save weight. You can add the footprint and an optional inner mesh, turning it into a bug-free retreat for two. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
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There was a new shoe on display at the ORA 2017 show. It had a mix of an approach shoe with its lacing system and rubber toe area and a hiking shoe with its  grip and aggressive tread. We really liked it. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
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No show is complete without a few freebies. Yep, someone has to look like a plonker, so I took that award out on the day, but thanks to XTM Performance for this awesome little free gift. A beanie with a detachable head light. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

All in all it was a really good show with a ton of interesting brands and products on display, I just wished we’d come for more than one day. If you want to find out who was exhibiting, then just click here for the full list of exhibitors.

Jason Lorch

Author: Jason Lorch

Born and grew up in Wales but now a fully fledged Aussie. A passionate mountain biker, hiker and general nature addict. I’m also a bit of a muso and enjoy a good craft beer every now and again (probably too often).

I hope what we do here at Tyres and Soles will inspire people to get out there and experience first hand, the natural wonders that surround them.

So, pump up those tyres, don your favourite boots. Grab a mate, a partner, a pet… and head out into nature. But tell us all about it when you get back.

Editor at Tyres and Soles.

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