If you’ve ever been to the Indianapolis 500, you had a good idea of what it is like at 8:30 am when the doors to the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades (SHOT) Show opens.
The crowd is a seething mass simultaneously moving in 360 degrees, babbling in untold numbers of languages, jostling and generally behaving like bacteria in a petri dish. Right in the middle of this sea of shooting humanity, we found ourselves being carried along on the miles-long trek down nearly-endless aisles to see the annual parade of products: some of them new, some of them old favorites and a few illustrating the amazing concept that “If you spend enough money on marketing, someone will buy a bag of horse manure”
Here are the day one notes:
Rite in the Rain notebooks– If you haven’t used Rite in the Rain, they make great products. If you haven’t, it’s probably because you thought their notebooks were “overkill,” according to the marketing personnel we spoke with.
That is the perception they often fight in regard to their bulletproof notepads. However, as the company point’s out, if you carry a tough notebook, you don’t have to worry about things like paper tearing or disintegrating due to moisture. How many great ideas or important phone numbers ended up as a wad of pulp inside a pant’s pocket? With Rite in the Rain, that isn’t a worry.
Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the company, they have introduced a limited edition notebook. The interesting thing is that it resembles that Moleskine-style notebook that we and many other people favor. In fact, it is fair to say that those types of notebooks are almost a cult item among paper users. The Rite in the Rain version includes tough non-slip covers and their famous paper printed in a dot pattern that is suited for writing and drawing.
The notebooks are actually a trial balloon to see if the public embraces this new product. We plan on buying several to make sure this exceptionally-handy format of pocket diary will become available.
Stump Cooler– We were walking by the Surreal Planters booth and were struck by their line of realistic stump coolers. These would definitely be a great addition to the patio of your cabin!
The 90-quart coolers will hold ice for days and actually look either an oak or birch stump. They are strong enough to us as a seat and can serve as a storage unit for any kind of gear. At $199, they a more expensive than a mass-market cooler but their build quality is exceptional, their ice-holding abilities are on par with the Super Premium coolers on the market and they are neat!
Duluth Pack– If you have gray hair and have paddled Boundary Waters Canoe Area, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Duluth Pack. They are old-school makers of high-quality canvas goods for the wilderness adventurers.
We spoke to President Tom Sega who borrowed a famous line to point out, “I loved the company so much I bought it.”
Tom revitalized the line of products while venturing into more “Fashion” territory. He mentioned some of the magazines and websites where they are receiving coverage but alas, none of those are on our reading list. Tom laughingly agreed but pointed out that he keeps 100 Minnesotans gainfully employed churning out their 270 products.
Our favorite was Pistol Portfolio. After mentioning that our goal for 2016 is to become more “gray,” ditching all our dead-sexy tactical backpacks festooned with witty morale patches, Tom immediately understood and brought out the Pistol Portfolio.
A mild-mannered waxed canvas and leather briefcase, it conceals a four-pistol organizer lined with fluffy pile. It also has several magazine slots. After your weekend at the range, you can then remove the insert, add your briefs and head to court on Monday morning.
Spot– We have shared our love of the Spot Gen3 emergency satellite beacon. We MIGHT have heard that the company will be coming out with two new products that will “change the marketplace.” Stay turned for details later this summer.
Night Ize– This is our favorite “Man Toys” booth. New this year are the LED dog collars and “Dog Necklace,” high-visibility dog collars to keep your favorite pooch safe at night. We also liked their 3-in-1 LED light that would be perfect for camping and only retails for $12. We think that one is a winner!
MegaBoom targets– Our “Why didn’t I think of that” award-winner. The MegaBoom target system turns a regular water or 2-liter pop bottle into an exceptionally loud reactive target via compressed air.
You screw an empty bottle onto the MegaBoom base and pump it up with a regular bicycle pump or compressed air source. Then, when hit by any type of projectile, the bottle explodes with a noise ranging from a pleasant “Pop” from a small water bottle to a frightening “BOOM” from a 2-liter bottle. Add corn starch or flour and your have both a visual and audible reaction. For $24.99, we want one- or several!
That’s about it as the sun rises on another warmish (compared to Indiana) day in Las Vegas. Make sure to check our our twitter feed @wildindianam for updates.
Tally Ho, on to the show!