Planes, trains and automobiles (and a ferry) By Nick B. Exeter shop

A trip to the outdoor trade show in Friedrichshafen.

This year I got the opportunity to go to Friedrichshafen, one of the biggest outdoor trade shows in the world.

Gore-Tex Outdoor Trail Running Exhibition with one of the halls in the background

As you can imagine it was quite busy and, with that much ground to cover in slightly less than 2 days, I was hard pushed to look at everything I wanted to see, let alone actually looking at all of the products.To give you an idea of the scale of it here are a few quick facts:

  • The show ground is comprised of 14 halls.
  • Each one is roughly the size of a football pitch.
  • There were 907 Exhibitors from 39 countries.
  • A total of 21730 people from the outdoor trade visited the show.
  • Over 1000 journalists spent three days photographing and interviewing everyone and everything.

After a drive to Heathrow, a plane to Zurich, a drive across a bit of Switzerland, a ferry across the lake and a drive to Friedrichshafen in Germany, we finally got to the campsite which the Taunton Leisure team has used for the last few years as a base.

The team on the ferry


Simon C and Bill at Heathrow

We all like different stuff when it comes to an outdoor product.  I favour the lightweight backpacking equipment and have been happy with my Vango Helium 200, a little small maybe but great when it comes to staying below your baggage allowance.

Simon C decided that he would like to camp in style so brought a Tentipi 5 man tent which was home to him, Bill and Clare. Luxury!
Simon M is old school and brought an ultralite 1 man bivvy style thing from the 80’s or 90’s (the little green tent in the back right of the photo) which he assured me was still waterproof and might stand up to some bad weather which that area of Germany is famous for.

The Campsite which was home for 2 days

After an average nights sleep, due to the very loud church clock situated a few hundred metres down the road, it was off to the show.
Having never been to a trade show before I was fairly excited about the whole thing and proceeded to run around like a kiddie in a toy shop.
There is a whole world of brands out there that we don’t get to see in the UK.  Many of these companies are looking to expand into the UK market but we already have a really good choice of established brands here so it is difficult for them.

Companies such as Climbing Technologies, Ocun , Monkee , Trangoworld , Salewa , Camp , Charko and Edelrid are all making innovative new products for the European climbing market yet we see little of it in the UK.

Nordisk , Nemo , Easton , Eureka and Helsport all have excellent ranges of tents.

Bergans and Blue Ice have good looking rucksack ranges.

Chillaz , Sherpa Gear , Fjallraven , Yeti and Prana look to have designed comprehensive and stylish looking clothing ranges both in the technical and lifestyle product lines.

We will look at brands such as these and others to provide excellent new product for our ranges in the future.

2013 Black Diamond packs

Some of the stands in one of the clothing and equipment halls

Tent City. A view of a small part of the hall

Me and the TerraNova Rep


As well as all the manufacturers of the end product that we see in our shops there were also many companies that produce the technologies that the manufacturers use.

It was interesting to see how companies that provide the fabrics, zips, wind and waterproof membranes and even the packaging for products actually market their services.

One fabric manufacturer, Schoeller, had several of their softshell fabrics like you see used in trousers and jackets stretched out over a sink. You could squirt all sorts of nasty stuff like tomato ketchup and oil at them and then see how easily it cleans off with a quick squirt of water. Needless to say the fabric won and looked remarkably unmarked even on the second day of the show!

Edelrid’s climbing wall at one of their stands

It wasn’t all work and no play at the show as there were three different climbing walls at the show which visitors were allowed to use.

So overall it was a great trip away and a real eye opener to the amount of product that is available out there for sale in Europe and America.

Hopefully in the future Taunton Leisure can bring some of these new brands into store and provide you, our customers, with innovative and exciting new products whilst retaining our strong range of UK based companies.

If you liked this blog and want to find out more about the Friedrichschafen trade show just click the link below.

Nick B

Exeter store


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