>> We know, we don’t normally talk about new product introductions here, but this one is wild. Airstream, the manufacturer of ultimate RV trailers, went to Kelty and has now partnered with it to create the ultimate Base Camp (photo available only in the Outdoor Did You Hears online at www.outsidebusinessjournal.com). The Base Camp is an expandable camping trailer that can be personalized to support any outdoor pursuit. Manufactured by Airstream the Base Camp was created in collaboration with Nissan Design America to echo the sleek, aerodynamic look of the Nissan Xterra. According to Airstream officials, they are seeing versatility, durability and comfort in trailers for younger outdoor travelers as an emerging category they want to lead. The Base Camp’s futuristic appearance is created with an all-aluminum exterior skin, tinted wrap-around windows and saloon-style rear doors. The Kelty tent extends from the rear of the trailer and provides spacious, additional living space and weather protection. The Base Camp interior can be configured as a workshop, camper or home office with options such as furniture, cabinetry, appliances and even the proverbial kitchen sink with a detachable water tank. The Base Camp will be unveiled at the Recreational Vehicle Industries of America trade show in Louisville, Ky. (Dec. 2-4), before traveling to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City, Utah (Aug. 12-15, 2004.) SNEWS has learned the base price for the Base Camp is approximately $18,000. SNEWS View: Hmmm, our interest is piqued. It would not surprise us in the least to see Kelty continue with the trend and develop a line of products that can be utilized as versatile and expandable shelters and such in conjunction with SUVs, small trucks, vans and wagons. Others have tried before, but with Airstream marketing paving the way, Kelty is now uniquely positioned to take advantage of what we would agree is a potentially significant market — car campers who want a bit more shelter than their car provides and a bit less than an RV.
>> The increasing interest in fitness has put cross-country skiing — the industry hopes — back in the fitness spotlight. And the Cross Country Ski Area Association has been quick to send out press releases touting the belief that cross-country skiing helps battle winter weight gain “better than any other (activity) by incinerating more calories.” According to the association’s release sent out nationally, cross-country skiing burns an average of 650 calories per hour. For comparison, the association claims that fitness cycling averages 540 calories, exercise walking 450 calories and downhill skiing 520 per hour. “Cross-country skiing burns more calories because more muscles are working. It floods the body with a feeling of well being, greatly improving one’s mood. This feeling of well being encourages people to ski again. The scenery changes every outing unlike a fitness center. Snow is soft, lessening impact on the joints. Cross-country skiing can be done from age 5 to over age 80. Cross-country skiing uses natural movements. It does not require special skills to get started and has a short learning curve. Hollywood stars Tom Hanks and Demi Moore, known for their fitness, are cross-country skiers.” For more information, go to www.xcski.org. SNEWS View: Calorie schmalorie. The difference between 650 calories for cross-country skiing and fitness cycling is a mere 110 calories — about a square of chocolate or two. Bottom line here is that cross-country skiing is great exercise, period.
>> Lowa boots has moved into new digs and opened its new doors on Dec. 1, just in time for the holiday rush. Over Thanksgiving weekend, the Lowa staff completed the move from its warehouse facility in Burlington, Vt., and corporate offices in downtown Stamford, merging the entire business under one roof. The new 22,500-square-foot facility is located at 86 Viaduct Rd., Research Park, Stamford, CT 06907. Phone and fax numbers will remain unchanged. Phone: 203-353-0116; 888-335-5692. Fax: 203-353-0311.
>> GERMANY — Jack Wolfskin has declared its goal to be No. 1 among European outdoor companies and, according to a survey in a recent issue of the popular Stern magazine, the company has made some giant steps in that direction in the last year. Recognition has hit 49 percent among the German public for the brand that always uses its paw print trademark and logo as a large part of its savvy strategy. To become even more recognized, the company has told insiders in Germany it will now start beating the advertising drum even more strongly, including banners at popular soccer matches and TV spots during sportscasts on national TV. You’ll also see the company’s name popping up more in sponsoring events, insiders say, as well as in consumer print magazines and in advertisements in movie theaters.
>> On the heels of a military story about loving Lowa boots a few weeks ago, SNEWS received this soldier’s tale from the folks at Native Eyewear: “I had no idea what a great pair of sunglasses I was getting for my money. You see, if I am wearing a cheap pair of sunglasses or none at all in sunlight I get these massive headaches that make me pretty much useless. I can honestly say the entire eight months I was deployed I got not one headache from the sun because of your product. I can also attest to the strength of the glasses. One day outside of Baghdad we were setting up a large radio antenna and the lanyard cable that holds it down snapped, sending the holding stake flying, right at me. It hit me in the head, which was covered by my helmet, but my eyes were covered only by your shades. Needless to say my eyes are fine, and your Low Ryder’s took a lot more abuse. I am a fan and disciple of Native from now on. Keep up the great work, and stay motivated!”
>> Mary Margaret Sloan, president of the American Hiking Society, wrote SNEWS to let us know the status of a project evaluating diversity in its Volunteer Vacations program (click here), underwritten by the sponsorship of REI. “As an additional part of its sponsorship, REI is supporting a diversity evaluation of the program. Currently, the Volunteer Vacations program reflects the ethnicity of hikers — primarily Caucasian. We’d like to open the program to a broader constituency. The first part of the evaluation has just been completed. Our consultants (they are each primaries in consulting firms that work to improve diversity in environmental organizations) evaluated all of our current materials — brochure, website, registration form, magazine — talked with two participants who are African-American, and prepared a report for us. Our consultants will be recruiting from their contacts in diverse communities for a pilot Volunteer Vacation in Mt. Rogers in southern Virginia in early July. From that experience, they will prepare another set of recommendations and work with us to promote the entire program to broader communities. Their initial comments are that while the program is a good one, we could do more to address some of the barriers to diversification, such as showing people of color in our materials; and emphasizing health, family, safety, and the spiritual qualities of nature.”
>> Outdoor Research has hired Clark Campbell, recently of Helly Hansen Inc., as director of product development. Campbell will join the Outdoor Research team on Jan. 1, 2004. He’ll bring his 10 years of experience at Helly Hansen to head the team responsible for developing OR’s line of technical outdoor accessories and apparel. While at Helly Hansen, Campbell guided the development of the North American and European launch plans for the outdoor and snowboard business units. He was responsible for the design, development and sports marketing budgets and coordinated with key sales divisions in North America, Scandinavia and Central Europe. Campbell will report to Dan Gulden, OR vice president, and work closely with President Dan Nordstrom.
>> Dunham has added both Kevin Quinn and Dan Calabrese to its staff. As a senior product development manager, Quinn will drive and manage the research and development efforts for all the brand’s product lines. He will specifically execute the development process for Dunham’s work and outdoor performance categories. In the role of assistant product development manager, Calabrese will be responsible for managing the development process of Dunham’s products in the men’s casual category. Both will be based in the company’s Boston headquarters.