Odd Gear from Outdoor Retailer

Hemp shorts, pee funnels, and liver-flavored biscotti
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Hemp shorts, pee funnels, and liver-flavored biscotti

Midnight...the first day is just wrapping up...it was a long one for me. After going strong for 16 hours, I find myself contemplating what was new and cool, but what sticks most in my exhausted mind are a few things I saw that hit the gear spectrum somewhere between head-scratching and just plain weird.

There was a tent for dogs. The thinking with this little pup tent (pardon the pun) is that dogs should have their own shelter, just like they should have their own gourmet camping food (see Jon's post this morning). The person manning the booth for this product said this mini-tent (a dome standing about 3 feet tall) was so the dogs would not feel left out and so they would not be lonely sleeping outside. My answer to this is let Fido sleep in your tent; then he won’t feel left out. On a side note, this dog tent would also make a great play tent for a toddler.

At another booth, also marketing gourmet backcountry experiences for pooches, was liver biscotti. Okaaaay.

Other products I passed today that made me go “hmmmm” were shoes that allegedly burned extra calories while you walked due to a rocker sole. There was “smoke in a can” that could be burned with a stove to give your food that heart-warming hickory flavor. And then there was the “Whiz,” a female pee funnel that could be carried in a neoprene holster on the outside of your pack. Can't wait to test that! Can't wait to answer questions from strangers on the trail about "that thing in your belt holster." 

On the environmentally sustainable clothing front, I was shown hiking shirts made from a cornucopia of natural substances: bamboo, soy, coconuts, hemp, copper and wood pulp. And on the fashion front, tech-geeky shirts that are black with zip necks are apparently no longer stylish. Now it’s all about wearing a wicking, quick-dry technical shirt that looks like it may have been picked up at a thrift store in Cheyenne, Wyoming—i.e. plaid snap cowboy shirts for men and seersucker gingham shirts for women are soooo in.

--Annette McGivney