I'm planning on being there for a few hours this evening as I work in London. Maybe I'll see some of you there?
It was the first time I've been to an outdoors show so I wasn't sure what to expect. It was a weird mix in a way. But I did enjoy myself.
The bits I liked : I climbed a section of the skymasters challenge (wasn't feeling up to the full lead) but it was quite fun being on a wall that wasn't staying still! Beneath that was a DMM stall where there were some good deals to be had on climbing hardware - I was very restrained and only came away with a 30m rope for the climbing wall but was very pleased with that (30m of Mammut Infinity for £40 - less than half price in the Promo bundle).
I talked (as I tend to) with lots of folk. Nice chats with the Cicerone people, Paramo, a new (to me) UK brand of natural energy bars and food products called Pulsin - very tasty - and spoke with a few of the charity & expedition organisers. It wasn't that busy so I had them to myself - unlucky for them! There were also some nice whole foods and specialty food shops which made for a nice distraction and allowed me to enjoy the excellent whisky cheddar from the Snowdonia Cheese Company which I last had a few years ago but recognised instantly!
I managed to try on a klattermusen noatun at which was the first time I'd seen one in the flesh. Outstanding jacket - and I mean that literally ; no other shell I've seen comes close. I think it was one of the original specifications ones before the recently dropped the spec and the price; on the ticket it was marked from £545 down to £250 or there abouts which hardly makes it a steal but you'll not find one at that price elsewhere I would think.
As I got there later than planned after work I didn't have time to explore the bike show but I watched some impressive stunt biking. I'm tempted to go back this evening but if it wasn't a slight detour in my regular london commute I don't think I'd have travelled far to see the show.
PD, I was there from about three hours yesterday ; that was enough for me just focussing on the Outdoors Show. I would have liked to spend an hour or two at the bike and boat show (all under the same ticket) but had to get home to Cambridge! I didn’t see any of the speakers though I heard that they were of mixed standards from very good to enough to put you to sleep!
The was also a fairly mixed bag of stands. There were a handful of shops selling quite a varied range of outdoors brands at quite good prices, a similar number of shops and stands focussing on the bushcraft side of things, a couple of good book shops (cicerone had some very good value seconds quality books) and a large number of single-interest stands ranging from charities to adventure travel agencies to products.
I wasn’t that impressed by the range of brands represented and there was little in the way of a common theme holding it all together. The Nordic Outdoor shop had some lovely kit – the Klattermusen I mentioned as well as lots of other Scando brands such as Nanok, Tentipi, Aclima (very nice merino kit) but all quite pricey. The best ‘shop’ for me was the DMM place where I could have blown a fortune if I hadn’t been more disciplined! I was also tempted by the Mayan Mask finger-board (£60 coloured orange) from a Bulgarian outfit called HRT-Holds (sister company of Walltopia) – my daughter would love it!
I am glad I did not try to go if these reviews are anything to go by. Very sad it has moved to London. Why does everything have to be in the South East? Manchester would be a far better venue and location. In the middle of the country, and nearer to the best outdoors places like, (in no particular order), the Peak District, the Lakes, Wales, Scotland etc.
C'mon Outdoors Show, get your act together!
Doh... missed the ecover freebies!
PD, there were climbing shoes for sale - a small climbing shop had shoes, helmets, harnesses etc. (mostly Red Chilli shoes by the look of it)
I've never been to the NEC but I would agree that it wasn't great and that the Boat Show is clearly the 'big ticket' item onto which the others have been spliced.
As I was shopping around for a rope I was happy I went just to get that taken care of, but if I was in the gear market I wouldn't have been too thrilled either. Most was either very expensive or very low quality. Some stalls even seem to have shot themselves in the foot with what they had brought with them. I would have happily bought a bamboo 'BAM' baselayer short sleeve t-shirt ... if they had any!
Hope it didn't cost you too much to get there...
I hadnt been to the outdoor show at the NEC for about 3 or 4 years. I must say nothing much changed but i did enjoy going this time. I thought it was good being in london. It was easier for me to get to for once. I enjoyed the lecture i attended and found the whole atmosphere great.
Scotland has its own which I beleive is happening right now?
I dont think there is a need to go to it every year but attendiung every so often is good.
Me and my brother in law went on Friday travelling down fom Herefordshire 3hr drive. I have to say i was very very disapointed at the lack of anything. It was an outdoor show and i didnt see any tents for sale, any cooking equipment or ration packs. I had gone with intention of buying a PFD but all i could find were the type worn on yatchs. There was very little in the way of canoes and associated items which i still think is very strange as the was an experance pool were you could try kayaking. So i short i will never go again. There were things i did enjoy like trying ice climbing and the stand up paddle boarding but not what i expected from this show.
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