Thursday, 13 January 2011

Thoughts on the Outdoors Show

If you like messing about on the water or ride a bicycle then the Outdoors/Boat/Bike show is for you, if it's the walking side of the outdoors you are after then the show is a let down again.

This is the Outdoors Show that was held in Birmingham at the NEC and was sponsored by The Ordnance Survey but not anymore, there is no sponsor and now it's in London.

Over the last few years the show has been losing its Mojo and this year it seems to have lost it completely.

As the show was only around the corner from me, I had to go even if it was going to be awful. A few of the big brand names were there but with pretty small stands compared to previous years, Garman and Memory map are there but only showing off there GPSr's with maps built in.

Cicerone looked to have a much smaller stand but still seems to have most of their range of books on show.

Again there looks to be an increase in discover... [insert name of country here] stands and strangely food stalls, showing great British food.

Bushcraft and survive skills magazine has a stand with demo's on how to light a fire and how to cook with a dutch oven, subjects that seem to have been covered 100s of times.

Two big high street chains are there in the forms of Blacks and Decathlon to cater for your average walker, and with Craghoppers and a couple of stalls selling discounted apparel.

Names that were missing Alpkit, Terra Nova, Inov8; in fact names that most of the lightweight backpacking community look to for equipment.

In fact there is a general lack of walking equipment on show; no major tents, only a few from the Blacks/Decathlon ranges, hardly any sleeping bags, mats, cooking equipment.

In previous years there has been a theatre were you get a free ticket to see the likes of Brian Blessed, Kate Humble plus a few other celebs give a talk; this year there is an extra charge (between £35-20) to see the likes of Ray Mears, Simon King ,and Ben Fogle, the less said about this the better.

Personally I think THAT this Outdoors show has had its day but there is a 'new' Outdoor Leisure Show in Birmingham next month, which will have the likes of Alpkit, Terra Nova, Vango and quite a few that wasn't at the Outdoors Show.

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  1. Interesting viewpoint. I look at these "shows' with a bit of disdain since they're so commercial. Who really cares if there's a new Neoair coming out (in the middle of winter.) Is that really news? Get a life people. Marketing is not news. We're about to start the same hysteria over here with the OR show in Salt Lake City....

  2. That has the the fastest comment ever :-)

  3. You are absolutely right about this show. I will not go this year. It is not what it was and I will not bothering to go again, unless the quality and quantity of exhibitors significantly improves.

  4. I've been today and you are right it was a bit limited. I don't think I will go next year.

  5. Maybe I am not right to say quality, I am sure that the quality of the exhibitors was fine but, not the type of lightweight specialist suppliers I am interested and that use to go.

  6. I agree with Philip & Mark - The high level of outright commercialism and limited quantity of proper lightweight suppliers is so far from what interests me that it has really become a 'non-event'.

  7. It isn't just the lightweight angle, its the fact companies like hi-tec, terra nova, vango, coleman aren't there either.

    Even if you are a summer only family camper/day walker that wasn't enough to make a visit worthworth.

    The backpacker club's lightweight show is a good little show, it just needs a little expanding and a bit longer time to be on. The last couple have started at 10 am and finished at 4 pm on a saturday and not alot of the sunday.

  8. @shap not sure it will survive for next year :-)

  9. I think maybe we were expecting a more specific exhibition, The outdoor show by definition covers a wide area of interests, where as the Bike and Boat shows are more defined and more interesting for it.

  10. Anonymous4:22 pm

    I had intended to go but when I saw the final list of exhibitors, I decided against it. Very little that interested me.

  11. Anonymous12:41 am

    I decided not to travel to London but hadn't realised that there was still one at Brum which is local.
    Thanks for the link.

  12. Anonymous11:58 am

    I went and was very disappointed too. From the choice of venue to the price to the limited exhibitors. There seemed to be more food stalls than anything else! I shall not be going again next year.