The massive European OutDoor trade show at Friedrichshafen in Germany is just a week away...
It's calm before the storm time – all over the outdoors industry, folk are packing kit into containers, loading up lorries and poring over travel itineraries because next week is OutDoor in Friedrichshafen, the massive European outdoors trade show, where everyone who's anyone in the outdoors industry shows off their new kit due out in spring 2012.
How much kit? Well, have a gander at this blog post from the guys at Rab for a look at their 'modest' lorry... yes, that one in the image we've borrowed from them. And then imagine that scene repeated many hundreds of times across Europe and you'll get some idea of the scale of the thing.
The show is IMMENSE, some dozen or more huge exhibition halls packed with the latest outdoors gear. Imagine the NEC totally given over to an outdoors trade show and you'll get some idea of the size of it.
What's amazing is that there are companies there with huge stands that you've probably never even heard of – every country has its own big brands alongside the multi-national giants like The North Face or Adidas.
Jack Wolfskin, for example, may not be huge in the UK, but in Germany they're a market leader and their stand is correspondingly massive. And then there are the smaller outfits, salted away in corners, but sometimes with the most interesting, innovative stuff in the show on display.
And the people. The place is a melting pot for the outdoors industry, literally in the case of one hall at least year's show, though the unlucky brands did, apparently, get free ice lollies from the organisers, hmmm... It's just great catching up with so many familiar faces in one place and meeting new ones as well.
It helps too that Friedrichshafen and the surrounding countryside is quiety beautiful. Green and rolling and nestled on the shores of Lake Constanz, aka the Bodensee. A nice place to chill out with a cold beer after a hard day's stand-bashing and constant talking.
Anyway, we're dead excited. Partly at the prospect of catching up with some exciting new gear and partly from the buzz and the social side of it. We'll be out there again and, doing our best to post some highlights direct from the show – we'll also, when we can, be updating the OutdoorsMagic twitter account with some live pics of the most intesting new kit, local food and anything else we see, the odd passing Zeppelin for example – the show hall is next to the official Zeppelin museum and the things often pass by overhead...
So, watch this space next week and, if you're an industry bod and out there, we'll hopefully catch up then. Good luck with the packing frenzy!