OIA's OR Show Insiders' Guide Series

By Katie Boué July 28, 2015

Outdoor Retailer is the ultimate outdoor industry meet-up. It’s one of two times a year that everyone from manufacturers and buyers to journalists converge on the same place at the same time. OIA has compiled an insiders’ guide series to make the most of your OR show experience, no matter what type of attendee you are.

In this OIA original series, you’ll find guides for:



  • Explore the different zones at OR. Don’t limit your show floor trajectory to just the familiar names; there’s much to discover at the trade show. Ponder the new urban style at Venture Out, and hop across the street to wander through The Pavilions. Check out the official zones and communities here.
  • Check out the Made in America product showcase. Featuring gear proudly crafted in the USA, our Made in America product showcase returns with an added twist: an exclusive Made in America gear sale. Stop by the showcase display or OIA booth (BRL #200) to pick up a Made in America guide, then spend time exploring the variety of American-made manufacturers exhibiting at OR.
  • Is your business international? Learn more about the International Buyers Program at Outdoor Retailer, and consider joining to maximize your trade show experience. Benefits include complimentary registration to attend Outdoor Retailer Summer Market and the Open Air Demo, show floor tours and more. You’ll also gain access the International Business Center, which features complimentary refreshments, Wi-Fi, private meeting rooms and more.
  • Hiring? Sign up for The ShmoozHosted by Malakye.com, this event is an excellent opportunity to tap into some of the industry’s best talent. If you want to get involved, e-mail shmooz@malakye.com for more information.

Events & Education Sessions

Day 0 – Tuesday, August 4th

  • Demo Day 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Cemetery Point Marina at Pineview Reservoir): Paddleboards, kayaks, canoes – oh my! Bring your adventurous side to the annual Open Air Demo day at Cemetery Point Marina at Pineview Reservoir. Yes, you’ll be looking at gear all week, but this event puts the gear directly in your hands, so you can experience the latest technology and innovations. Shuttles are provided from the Salt Palace.

Day 1 – Wednesday, August 5th

  • Outdoor University – The Adventure Begins Here: New Frontiers in Retail – 12:00–12:45 p.m. (Downtown Marriott City Creek Salon D): Presented by Chris Gray of Saatci & Saatchi X, this session looks at the way “today’s cutting-edge brick-and-mortar retailers are beginning to strike back with unique formats, experiences and offerings that tap into shopper needs in ways not possible through online or mobile shopping alone.” You’ll gain insights on useful tools and examples of innovative brands and retailers who are creating the future of shopping. 
  • Outdoor University – Choreograph Your Customer’s Journey – 3:00–3:45 (Downtown Marriott City Creek): Presented by Jill Nickels of Gensler. Now, more than ever, organizations need to work together across business units to choreograph the customer experience and redefine how success and business goals are measured. We will take a look at how some creative brands are navigating these tricky waters to maintain loyal customers and attract new ones.

Day 2 – Thursday August 6th

  • Outdoor University – Selling China – Partnering with China’s leading e-Retailers – 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (Downtown Marriott City Creek): Learn about new opportunities to partner with China’s leading e-Retailers to sell into the world’s biggest consumer market. Outdoor Industry Association and the U.S. Department of Commerce are partnering to bring representatives from China’s leading e-retailers to outdoor retailer and connect them to outdoor industry brands. Learn more about working with these retail partners to get access to the world’s largest consumer market.
  • Outdoor University“Do these shoes make me look fast?” Maximizing the Intersection of Outdoor Activity and Culture to the Female Consumer – 11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m. (Downtown Marriott City Creek Salon D): Back by popular demand, this can’t-miss event is hosted by Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition with support from NPD’s leading footwear and sports analyst Matt Powell. It will look at how the past 60 years in fashion and retail have influenced the rise and success of women-specific gear and sales in the outdoor industry today.
  • Outdoor University – How Can Retailers Drive Responsible Business Practices – 3:00-3:45 p.m. (Downtown Marriott City Creek Salon E): A panel of outdoor industry retailers including Kirk Myers of REI, Amy Roberts of OIA and John Mead with Adventure 16 will address the issues of environmental and social responsibility, both “through the industry’s collective supply-chain sustainability work as well as individual retailer sustainability efforts.” This session will also look at how existing tools and programs are, or could be, used by retailers in the industry.

Day 3 – Friday August 7th

  • Outdoor University – How to Attract, Recruit and Retain Women Employees in Specialty Retail – 10:00-10:45 a.m. (Downtown Marriott City Creek Salon D): As a specialty retailer, there are a number of steps your business can take to better recruit and retain female employees. Presented by Aparna Rajagopal of the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition, this session will provide “actionable tips to bring women in the door (and not just customers) and keep them engaged and psyched to work for you.”
  • The Shmooz – 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. (Downtown Marriott City Creek): Looking for a new career in the outdoor industry? For the 5th year, Malakye.com is hosting a recruiting event that is open to the public. The Shmooz connects industry professionals with outdoor brands. Past participants included Petzl, Black Diamond Equipment, Backcountry.com and more.

Have additional tips or events for retailers you don’t see on this list? E-mail kboue@outdoorindustry.org 


Whether it’s your first trade show or you cover Outdoor Retailer every season, OR Summer Market is guaranteed to be an exciting and overwhelming experience for media professionals. Our OIA’s Insiders’ Guide for Media provides insights and advice to make your experience more efficient, more fruitful and more fun.


  • If you haven’t already, log into your show planner on the Outdoor Retailer website. Set up your profile. The planner is a great place to start researching which brands, exhibits and events you’ll want to hit during the week and gives you a sneak peak at the latest and greatest products.
  • Make appointments nowHere’s the thing about visiting brands at Outdoor Retailer: Showing up at a booth unannounced and armed with inquiries about products is a surefire way to irk the person you’re hoping will hook you up. Contact brands, sales reps and PR firms ahead of time to request appointments. They’ll be better able to serve you and answer your questions if they are prepared for your meeting. Let them know ahead of time what angle you’re pursuing, so they can tailor their line presentation to your specific needs.
  • Explore the floor before your meetings begin. The Salt Palace is an industry jungle, packed with booths, gear installations, meeting spaces and more. Don’t miss meetings by getting lost—take a look at the floor plan before your day begins, and map out your trajectory for appointments.
  • Pencil in some downtime. Your editor is expecting you to cover every single pair of hiking boots featured at OR, but you can’t crush your deadlines while running on empty. Block out time in your day to grab some food and relax in between mad dashes to meet with PR and brand reps. Your brain and belly—and your copy—will thank you.
  • Stay charged. The Salt Palace is notorious for devouring cell phone batteries. With so many people trying to connect and so much time spent posting on social media, sending text messages, navigating the OR mobile app, your device’s juice is sure to drain—bring an extra battery pack to keep you charging forward all day. Goal Zero (BR #603) will also have complimentary charging stations located throughout the Salt Palace.
  • Stray off the beaten path. Don’t limit your explorations to the main floor—there is much to be discovered around the Salt Palace. Take a trip out to the pavilions across the street, visit the hip brands at the Venture Out area and get some fresh air at “Tent City.” You never know who you’ll meet and what innovative new products you’ll encounter.
  • Be warned: You’re kind of a big deal. Attending the tradeshow with media credentials comes along with a big perk: endless party invitations. Everyone wants a slice of your attention, but be sure to pace yourself while schmoozing and boozing. Staying up until 2 a.m. may seem like a great idea—until your 6 a.m. wake-up call. Stay hydrated, stay balanced, and don’t spread yourself too thin.

Events Not to Miss:

Day 0 – Tuesday, August 4th

  • Media Preview, 5:00–7:30 p.m. (Downtown Marriott City Creek, Hotel Ballroom): Attending media are invited to the Outdoor Retailer Media Preview to get an exclusive look at the newest products being released at the show. This is an excellent opportunity for one-on-one interactions between brands and journalists.

Day 1 – Wednesday, August 5th

  • Public Lands Heist Roundtable (3:00 p.m. at Downtown Marriott City Creek, Deer Valley Room) and Celebration of Public Lands Press Party (4:30 p.m. at Caffe Molise): Join us for a happy hour in honor of America’s public lands. The roundtable discussion begins at 3:00 p.m. in the Deer Valley Room at the Marriott, and the event moves to Caffé Molise at 4:30. RSVP for either event (or both) here.

Day 2 – Thursday, August 6th

  • OIA Freelancers Breakfast, 8 a.m.: As OIA’s digital content calendar becomes more robust, we’re excited to connect with freelancers and member experts who want to contribute their talent and stories to our website. E-mail our content editor Deborah Williams at dwilliams@outdoorindustry.org for more information about these breakfasts and how you can contribute to our website.

Day 3 – Friday, August 7th

  • OIA Freelancers Breakfast, 8 a.m.: As OIA’s digital content calendar becomes more robust, we’re excited to connect with freelancers and member experts who want to contribute their talent and stories to our website. E-mail our content editor Deborah Williams at dwilliams@outdoorindustry.org for more information about these breakfasts and how you can contribute to our website.

Do you have additional tips for media at Outdoor Retailer? Want to ask a question about how to make the most out of your OR show experience? E-mail kboue@outdoorindustry.org for more. 


You already know that Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is full of networking, gear-envy and booth hopping. Did you know that the trade show is also a great place to do good? With groups like Leave No Trace, Sierra Club, Conservation Alliance and more in attendance, OR is loaded with opportunities to get activated and do good for the outdoors.

Want to hop on the advocacy train at Outdoor Retailer? Here’s our guide:


  • Check out Outdoor Retailer’s official list of attending associations and advocacy groups. You’ll find everything from well-known organizations like Sierra Club to niche groups like the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative.
  • Become a member. Are you a climber who hasn’t joined American Alpine Club yet? A cyclist who isn’t already a member of IMBA? There’s no time like the present to join up. Join a new organization, or renew your current memberships.
  • Meet the OIA advocacy team. Make an appointment with a member of our government affairs or corporate responsibility teams to learn how you–and your business–can make the outdoor industry a better place. Ask about joining a working group, attending webinars, or gaining access to our robust library of resources.
  • Get educated. Learn more about advocacy in the outdoor industry by exploring the advocacy section of our website and learning more about our various initiatives, working groups, and more.

Events and Happy Hours:

Throughout the Show

  • Stop by the Columbia Sportswear booth (#28001) to have a blast while winning gear and supporting America’s National Parks. Columbia will have a water gun game set up where participants have the chance to win tokens worth $5 donations to a national park organization of your choice, plus a national parks ball cap or Columbia Spring 16 t-shirt (supplies limited).

Day 0 – Tuesday, August 4th

  • Sustainability Insights Conference 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Downtown Marriott at City Creek)Sustainability is a hot topic in the outdoor industry, and for good reason. Hosted by OIA, the Sustainability Insights Conference offers opportunities for industry professionals to stay apprised of best practices and industry trends around risk mitigation and supply chain management, providing a forum to collaboratively discuss and address shared challenges.
  • Outsiders Ball – 6:00-11:00 p.m. (Gallivan Center): Join us for Outdoor Foundation’s annual Outsiders Ball at the Gallivan Center to party for a purpose—getting youth outdoors. The event raises money to fund 100 outdoor projects and features activities, food and beer, live music, art installations and more. Get your tickets here.

Day 1 – Wednesday, August 5th

  • OIA Industry Breakfast “Come Back to Nepal” – 7:00-9:00 a.m. (Downtown Marriott at City Creek)Presented by The North Face, this year’s industry breakfast highlights athlete Pete Athans and American Himalayan Foundation’s Norbu Tenzing as they share their experiences with the aftermath of Nepal’s devastating earthquakes. The outdoor and adventure industries are crucial to Nepal’s future, and we’ll look at how our community can help engage, return and rebuild.
  • Outdoor University – Climate Change and the Outdoor Industry: How Our Communities Are Impacted and What You Can Do About It – 1:00-2:00 p.m. (Downtown Marriott City Creek, Salon I): The panel will discuss the threat Climate Change poses to the outdoor recreation economy, including threats to the travel and tourism industry. Panelists will highlight what is being done by private industry, by policymakers and elected officials at the municipal, state and federal level and others to combat Climate Change.
  • Public Lands Heist Roundtable and Celebration of Public Lands Party – begins at 3:00 p.m. (Downtown Marriott at City Creek and Caffé Molise)Join us for a happy hour in honor of America’s public lands. The roundtable discussion begins at 3:00 p.m. in the Deer Valley Room at the Marriott, and the event moves to Caffé Molise at 4:30 for a happy hour party. RSVP for either event (or both) here.
  • Help Granite Gear Save the BWCA – 4:00-5:00 p.m. (Booth #36155): Join explorer Amy Freeman and the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters at the Granite Gear booth (#36155) as she talks about her upcoming A Year in the Wilderness and shares the need to protect this beloved canoe country from proposed sulfide-ore copper mining. Learn about a great cause, sign the petition, donate and enjoy beer in a trail mug!

Day 2 – Thursday, August 6th

  • The Conservation Alliance Breakfast – 7:00-9:00 a.m. (Downtown Marriott at City Creek)Join our friends at Conservation Alliance as they dish up a hearty breakfast and polar explorer Eric Larsen shares stories from our planet’s great frozen wildernesses and how these places are being affected by climate change.
  • Cities Connecting Children to Nature Even Panel – 2:00–3:00 p.m. (Downtown Marriott at City Creek): Please join our panel to learn what you can do to help your city or state connect youth to meaningful outdoor experiences. Keynote speaker Ralph Becker—Mayor, Salt Lake City and President, National League of Cities—will join other industry leaders and OIA’s Recreation Policy Advisor, Jessica Wahl, to discuss the issues.
  • How Can Retailers Drive Responsible Business Practices – 3:00-3:45 p.m. (Downtown Marriott at City Creek): Learn more about the role retailers play in advancing better business practices in the industry. A panel of outdoor industry retailers will present how they’re addressing environmental and social responsibility, both through the industry’s collective supply chain sustainability work as well as individual retailer sustainability efforts. This session will also look at how existing tools and programs are — or could be — used by retailers in the industry.
  • OIA Advocacy Happy Hour + Gear Giveaway 4:30 p.m. (BRL #200) – Join us at the OIA booth for our daily happy hour and gear giveaway. We’ll be tapping a keg, supplying thirsty trade show goers with free Eco Vessel and Stanley pint glasses, and connecting with the industry. Our government affairs team will take the mic for a few minutes to give you a peek into the work we do on Capitol Hill on behalf of the entire outdoor industry.
  • Veterans Happy Hour 4:00-6:00 p.m. (Downtown Marriott at City Creek– Held at the Alta-Snowbird Room at the Marriott Downtown, this is an opportunity to meet and network with military veterans in the outdoor industry. Learn how to get involved with the group – this event is open to veterans and non-veterans alike.
  • Backpacks and Brews Benefit for the American Alpine Club 4:30-6:00 p.m. (Booth #20015) – Head to the Mountainsmith booth for a happy hour benefitting American Alpine Club. There will be 200 limited edition AAC 2016 Scream 25 backpacks on sale for $40 each, plus cold PBR and free cozies.
  • National Parks Conservation Association Happy Hour to Protect the Grand Canyon – 4:30 p.m. (Liberty Bottle Works #BRL226): Head to the Liberty Bottle Works booth where you can learn how to help protect the Grand Canyon. A $15 donation gets you a Grand Canyon water bottle, Bohemian Brewery beer, and a raffle ticket.
  • Osprey Packs with National Park Foundation Happy Hour – 4:30 p.m. (Booth #4011): Sip on Dirty Girl Scout drinks and snack on s’mores by the fire. Participate in National Park Trivial hosted by Timmy O’Niell for a chance to win Osprey prize packages.
  • M Marketing Happy Hour and Find Your Park – 4:30 (Meeting Room 250D): More info TBA.
  • Yonder Mountain String Band with Mountain Hardwear 9:00 p.m. (The Depot) – Mountain Hardwear, along with Goal Zero, Big Truck Brand, Club Ride, Silipint, Audie Expo, and Park City Brewing are hosting this musical event at The Depot to raise money and awareness for Protect Our Winters. Get tickets here.

Want to learn more about attending an OIA advocacy event, or add your brand’s to the list? E-mail kboue@outdoorindustry.org 


The entire world watched in horror as the earthquakes in Nepal devastated the country earlier this summer, but the aftermath of the quakes remains a real concern for the outdoor industry several months later, and will continue to affect us and our friends for many years. Our industry has remained active in relief and recovery efforts, and we plan to continue as we approach Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. Our Industry Breakfast is dedicated to exploring Nepal’s future and how the outdoor industry can show its support by getting back there as soon as possible. And that’s just one of the many ways to get activated on Nepal at OR. Check back here often: We’ll update this guide as we learn of additional Nepal events at the trade show. If you know of an event or activation benefiting Nepal relief that should be listed here, contact kboue@outdoorindustry.org.



Every Day

  • Medicines Global Outdoor Medicine for Nepal Among the many outdoor adventures that Medicines Global Outdoor Youth Ambassador programs provide for inner city youth of Los Angeles have been several medical delivery treks to Nepal. Medicines Global has been a main stay at Outdoor Retailer since 2001, and the first four years this 501c3 was actually Medicines For Nepal. This year at their booth, A-104 and at The Himalayan Kitchen, (a favorite OR restaurant) JATAKA JEWELRY and Janice Belson’s, photography is on sale, with proceeds going to Medicines Global’s efforts in Nepal and the Apa Sherpa Foundation.  This is a very critical few months to help Nepal rebuild before the snows come to the country.

Day 1 – Wednesday, August 5th

  • OIA Industry Breakfast “Come Back to Nepal” – 7:00-9:00 a.m. (Downtown Marriott at City Creek): Presented by The North Face, this year’s industry breakfast highlights athlete Pete Athans and American Himalayan Foundation’s Norbu Tenzing as they share their experiences with the aftermath of Nepal’s devastating earthquakes. The outdoor and adventure industries are crucial to Nepal’s future, and we’ll look at how our community can help engage, return and rebuild.

Day 2 – Thursday, August 6th

  • Sherpa Adventure Gear Nepal Happy Hour – 4:00 p.m. (Booth #3000): Sherpa Adventure Gear is hosting an event to thank contributors to its Nepal earthquake relief effort, which has raised more than $150,000 (100% of which goes to aid) via Crowdrise. See compelling imagery and hear stories from founder Tashi Sherpa. T-shirt sales ($20) during the reception will support the rebuilding of Nepal. Snacks and beverages, too. More info here.
  • Allied Down “Pad Yatra” Screening and Nepal Fundraiser – 6:00 (Skylounge): Join Allied Down along with The Conservation Alliance, SNEWS, O.R. Daily, Backpack Magazine, The North Face and Montane for an evening benefiting Nepal. This event includes a silent auction and screening of Pad Yatra: a green odyssey. More information here.

Know of a brand doing good for Nepal at OR show? E-mail kboue@outdoorindustry.org and she’ll get it added to the guide.