Outdoor Retailer Part 6 and news

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give permits<HERE>

    This is my final story about the Outdoor Retailer Industry show. The Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar attended and visited many booths. He heads the Department that owns the National Park Service, which owns Yosemite National Park, which owns Half Dome … so there is a connection. 

    I need to tell you about an October release from Magellan. They have battled head-to-head with Garmin’s outdoor group. I have the Garmin 60CSx and it is very nice. Magellan stubbed their toes with the Triton line last summer. I have a Triton 2000 – wow – talk about bells and whistles. It featured a touch screen color display with stylus, flashlight, digital recorder, 3 MP camera and MP3 player. But it ate batteries. I got about 5 hours out of 2 AA. And the sun washed out the color display. Then the firmware had bugs. It got so bad that REI pulled all Magellans from their stores. Opps. The Magellan team got a black eye on that one, but they are coming back strong. A new product with an old name – the Explorist – was shown at the show. The new ones to get are the Explorist 510, 610 or 710. The 710 is top of the line with compass and altitude. Here’s a couple photos:


Has a color touch screen, preloaded maps, LONG  battery life and they have a digital camera with Geo tags for pix. Also, it has settings for optimized road use also. Maps included. Their Product Manager for the line is taking the arrows for Triton although he was hired just as it rolled out. It is pricey at $579 but if you want the best – you deserve it. He promised me that they have tested the Explorist and it is a Garmin killer. They also have a neat case for the iPhone and Touch that doubles the battery life and kinda ruggedizes it.

    OK, what’s your opinion? Would you wear these Vibram Five Fingers “shoes?”

They claim it’s the natural way to walk. They sure felt funny. I say fad. You? Comments on this? Vibram(Pronounced Vib rum, not VIBE brum) is famous for their insoles. This is their first consumer product. I smell earth shoes or Crocs here. There are reports of Asian clone knockoffs flooding in.

    If you are at the park this week, look up at midnight. The Perseid’s Meteor shower is happening. It is near its peak. I was up last year and sat on Glacier Point to watch the show at 1 am. It was so-so as the moon crept into the sky to wreck things. This year the moon will not be an issue.  If you are home, look to the northeast well after dark and preferably outside the city lights on a tall hill. In the Bay area, Mt Tam, Mt Diablo or Mt. Hamilton  are the best places to be.  It’s also FREE entry weekend at Yosemite the 14th and 15th. Enjoy or stay away – the crowds will be heavy.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Now shall I walk or shall I ride?  “Ride,” Pleasure said;   “Walk,” Joy replied.” – W.H. Davies
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com


5 Responses to “Outdoor Retailer Part 6 and news”

  1. Sönke Says:

    Rick, thanks for the in-depth show coverage. Looks like you’ve seen some interesting products.

    The Vibram Five Fingers have been around here in Europe for some time and as this year’s line has something like 12 different models. So there must be some kind of success. Would I wear those “shoes”?! Hell, no. 🙂 As much as I love the Vibram (in)soles (I’d say 5 or 6 pairs of my outdoor shoes have them) this product is not for me. But people are raving about MBT shoes and I wouldn’t wear them either. 😉

    As for the GPS products: I think their time is over. I remember my first (expensive, slow) Garmin very well and the GPS products certainly have come a long way with color displays, custom maps, PC interface etc. but with the dawn of iPhones and other comparable “smartphones” there’s no way GPS devices will be the choice for the AVERAGE outdoorperson like me. There’s a lot of nice software already available and just yesterday I read this comment on a iPhone forum: “Right after I tried software XYZ for the first time I wanted to throw my Forerunner 301 into the trashbin”. Certainly a comment I’ve seen many times these days. For real expeditions, multiday trips without power access or harsh environments a “real” GPS certainly is the way to go but for the consumer market I don’t think so.

    After weeks of record breaking temperatures and blue sky we had a couple of so-so days with rain. So no meteors for us so far. 😦

  2. mrhalfdome Says:

    Good feedback. The GPS makers are indeed in for a rough road. I’m not sure that the web enabled phone GPS SW can offer the full features of a dedicated hiking GPS. Compass, altimeter, elevation profiles, waypoints, trackback etc. But as memory continues to become cheaper and smaller, they will be able to hold topo maps and multiple trips. I am too cheap to pay the data plans required by iPhone type devices, so a dedicated GPS still works for me. An now with the city maps feature, I can stuff it into my packet when motorcycling and pullit out when I get lost…without needing a shock rated unit on the handle bars.

  3. Randy Says:

    Are those shoes designed for trail use? I probably wouldn’t buy something new unless I really thought there was a tangible advantage, but I saw a blogger report last year about some socks that have toes, and they seem like a good idea if you are prone to blisters around that area. But I don’t use them either.

    Of all the new GPS products that come out they always talk up the bells and whistles, but they never say much about the reception. The biggest beef I always had about my old outdated GPS is that the reception was lousy under tree cover. Show me an inexpensive GPS that can reliably make a continuous track log in redwood country, and I will be sold.

    Have fun at the show.

  4. mrhalfdome Says:

    The marketing people in the Vibram booth said that you can wear them anywhere … right. You’d get laffed out of the mall. They say that the “shoes” (?) best approximate walking barefoot. I suppose humans took a million years to invent shoes and now we should chuck them. They said they were inspired by climbers. Hmmm “After you get used to them….”

    The two technologies to look for in a GPS are SiRF chips and WAAS. SiRF is a Silicon Valley company and their circuitry enhances reception and the Wide Area Augmentation System is a govt enhancement of the Global Positioning System ground based elements that make it better. My Garmin 60CSx has both and I get GOOD tracking on the Mist trail…and that is pretty much a canyon.

  5. kathy Says:

    REI carries thoses “shoes”. I was looking at something else on line and low and behold they were in the “other people looked at”section of the page. But, no, I can’t see me wearing them!

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