The Denver Auto and Outdoor Show — 2018

Post by blogger | July 25, 2018      

Now that we are past all the political weirdness that resulted in OR show being moved from Utah to Colorado, I’m digging the Denver digs. The Salt Palace in Salt Lake City was getting seedy, and was in many ways not as comfortable. The Denver convention center has many more seating areas, nice outdoor decks where you can catch a smoke or just step out if the weather’s nice, even the HVAC system seems to work better, and while Denver does get somewhat air polluted, bad days here are still better than the downright toxic ozone loaded inversions SLC gets. Oh, and even the door guards are friendlier. So all good. It is summer, let’s keep it casual and check out a grab bag of goods.

Auto show or human-powered gear show? Both.

Auto show or human-powered gear show? Both.

Automobiles at OR show, backcountry transport.

During the early days of the human-powered industry segment, when baby boomers were in control, including much in the way of automotive content was discouraged. Even so, you’d see automobiles at every show that were somehow justified, usually by how garish the company logos were and eventually how tall a lift kit could be installed. Now you walk in the doors, and automobiles are still being used as talking points, but most stand on their own as amazingly built and equipped “adventure” vehicles. If this was your first show, you might even wonder if you were at the Denver Automobile Exhibition rather than the greenest show on earth. I like trucks, so bring it on, and keep the lift kits coming too.

Google Street View

Google had a fun interactive display of what they’re doing with the ever “improving” Street View. I played with it, and was amazed. I was also amused when they gave a presentation on how they’re doing what Google does best, and spying on user behavior at National Parks to ostensibly solve management problems. Everyone was cheering and clapping, while I was perplexed. Considering what’s been going on with how tech companies manage their troves of data, next thing you know I’ll be getting a ticket from a National Park Ranger for parking crooked, due to my crime being picked up by Street View. Would have appreciated the Googlers talking at least a few sentences about privacy as related to Street View. But in the geek world, all data is good, until it isn’t.


Spot X compared to InReach might be a bit late coming, on the other hand it has its own phone number, thus operating in 2-way texting just as your phone does. Nice and simple, but also with SOS button, tracking, and some sort of “instant” post to social button that sounds like a good way to overload your friends. It also has rudimentary navigation features. Add maps to utilize the nicely sized LCD, perhaps in version 2? As with all Spot stuff, uses Globalstar sats. Looks like they put in another Alaskan ground station, so Northern AK has better coverage, and South America appears to have excellent coverage as well. If you can operate this thing in southern Chile as if its simply a texting phone, that would simplify. House keeper needs to know about watering your plants? He just texts your Spot phone number, you text back, nothing more. Hmmm, 7 ounces and bulky, but if the features justify the size and weight, all good.

Deploy shell.

Friends, this is the Black Diamond Deploy “wind shell.” 48 grams, fits in a playing card box, water resistant, new YKK superlight zipper trims micrograms. Appears to be another “perfect” keep-it-in-your-pack winter emergency shell.

Distance tent.

BD is going crazy with new product. Check out the Distance tent, sets up with Whippet poles using a small top yoke, you tension it by adjusting the flick locks, which incidentally are redesigned and “better.” Loving the pole accessories. Keep ’em coming!

Big Agnes tent

Speaking of tents, check out this Big Agnes made mostly from “Dyneema” type fabric. The Carbon Fly Creek 2, 34 ounces, wow.

Mammut MIPS climbing helmet, beautiful.

Mammut MIPS climbing helmet, beautiful. Not skiing rated but I could see it being used for a lighweight ski helm option. I asked about dual certified helmets, was told that bringing a new helmet model to retail was a fraught process, so new stuff is coming but not at a rapid pace.

The North Face booth.

The North Face made a RADICAL change in their booth architecture. For years they used a gigantic enclosed cube that basically said STAY OUT unless ye are amongst the chosen. Now the square footage is an open, anyone welcome artistic array of raw framed walls and plywood, the theme being “The Walls that Unite Us.” I’m generally not a fan of architects who purport to change reality by how a structure looks and behaves, but I’ll revise that bias, as the difference in vibe here is amazing. Yeah, TNF is a WildSnow sponsor, but I don’t have any obligation to praise their show stand. I’d have ignored it if they’d stayed with the infamous red cube. Fun. By the way, the big TNF has a thing called “Global Climbing Day” happening 8-18-2018, Google it up or browse to

Stud wall

Of course after getting up off my worshipful knees I do have one small gripe. As many of you know, I had a fairly lengthy career as a carpenter and builder, so I’m sensitive to these things. Anyone spot what’s wrong in this photo? Hint, it would cause the drywaller to throw his tools at the carpenters.

E bikes were there and we still love them.

E bikes were there and we still love them.

More of the Denver Auto Show.

More of the Denver Auto Show. This looked to be a well designed tire table. Weighs under 14 pounds!

I like safety rings, being one who does things like logging.

I like safety rings, being one who does things like logging. Silicone rings are a commodity on Amazon, these Enso offerings appear to be a step above, look much nicer as they’ve got metal embedded in the silicone.

Folding portable wood fired pizza oven. Tailgater gear envy.

Folding portable wood fired pizza oven. Tailgater gear envy.

Cruising around again today, enjoying the nice HVAC and friendly door folks.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


14 Responses to “The Denver Auto and Outdoor Show — 2018”

  1. Larry July 25th, 2018 8:21 am

    What happened to that stud I was nailing to?

  2. Kevin P. July 25th, 2018 10:22 am

    So, the new BD tent uses the new Whippets with removable picks? Won’t work with older style?

  3. grammar jerk July 25th, 2018 11:17 am

    Silicon = what computer chips are made from
    Silicone = what breast implants, cookware, and safety rings are made from

    And that framing is infuriating!

  4. Lou Dawson 2 July 25th, 2018 2:20 pm

    Thanks Gram, we want our writing to be reasonably high quality, help always welcome. Lou

  5. Lou Dawson 2 July 25th, 2018 2:38 pm

    Kevin, yes, uses the Whippet capable poles. Pole accessories such as Whippet are sold under different SKUs. It wouldn’t be easy to DIY a pole that accepts the tent fitting. Lou

  6. Clyde July 25th, 2018 4:30 pm

    Lou, you might want to look at my FB post from Day 1. A followup is coming. Sorry I missed you.

  7. Owen July 25th, 2018 6:23 pm

    Studs don’t line up. Even a fat accountant can see that. Is Denver as hellishly hot as SLC?

  8. Jonathan L July 26th, 2018 1:23 am

    Oooh. Find the the new Arcteryx replacement for the Theta SV Bib and throttle the rep if it’s not available in a short inseam.

  9. Lou Dawson 2 July 26th, 2018 6:23 am

    Owen, Denver can get pretty hot but generally is cooler than SLC in my experience, and the air tends to be better in Denver, though it is indeed a city, not a mountain top. Overall, Denver is clearly better.

    Clyde, I took a look, you’re the best at amusing and real takes. I always drink a bit of the koolaid, though I try my best to resist. How about letting us know the one thing you see that you would seriously call “best of show?”

    RE the Pit of Doom, I just call that China, not in a derogatory way, just as a lightly humorous reference to reality. It’s actually quite a useful place, a certain industrial designer I know comes to the show and does important business there. Shew, helmets, will it ever change in our lifetimes?

    Still no Prehistoric Bird showing up… I thought they were boycotting Utah but way into Denver, I think that was just an assumption?

    Main thing, when the 3 foot square table you’re meeting on cost the company $10,000 a square foot, can’t really blame them for not showing up.


  10. Andrei July 26th, 2018 11:38 am

    Ozone happens in the Summer when sunlight and heat react with car exhaust. Inversions happen in the winter and are caused by a completely different phenomena. Those are not the same thing.

    On a separate note Salt Palace really is stupid. Maybe some day our “wonderful” legislators will get their heads out of their collective asses and stop these idiotic public land practices… Until then enjoy the show… (puns fully intended)

  11. Clyde July 26th, 2018 5:42 pm

    I was just getting warmed up. See the second post; you’ll be entertained. Feel free to repost or link both, not sure how to do that.

    I don’t give out my BOS picks until I see all the “pro” reviews. Pretty sure they all missed what I saw; the did at Winter OR. But I certainly missed a lot and it’s so subjective it doesn’t really matter. The show “awards” really are BS from any media…WS excepted of course!

  12. Lou2 July 26th, 2018 7:03 pm

    Ha, that’s why we pretty much quit the awards game, though it is always tempting as it wonderful free clickbait for the website that originates the award. I still like doing obviously subjective stuff like Ultimate Quiver and if I could still handle the sugar, “Best Austrian Pastry” Lou

  13. Jim Milstein July 27th, 2018 4:49 pm

    Puzzled for a while over “playing car box”. Am I that far out of touch not to know what that is? Then, thunder and lightning and a deep godlike voice, “playing card box!”

    Yes, it’s raining here in D4 Extreme Drought Pagosa. Praise the Lord!

  14. Lou Dawson 2 July 28th, 2018 7:51 am

    Jim, I’m getting too dependent on spell checker to catch my typos, when traveling we slack on the human proof reading, always appreciate you finding the details. Lou

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