Normally when we are headed towards the open plains and mountains of Utah, we are looking to get away from it all for a while. Escape the crowds, explore new terrain, and see how many days in a row we can avoid emails and fluorescent lights. Well, this year was a little different.Outdoor Retailer Summer Market at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, UT was not our typical experience in Utah, but we really like what we do and the tents we build, so we wanted to offer the opportunity to a few more folks to climb inside an Ayer or Gran Sabana that don’t get to so often.
The Salt Palace is BIG. Like, cavernous buildings spanning several city blocks filled with countless rooms and hallways big...enough to make you consider pulling out your GPS to find your booth space. For the booth setup, our field Marketing Rep, Adam Tolman, towed a trailer with a Kukenam which he rolled inside the Pavilion (new exhibitor tent we were in) to our booth, where it was parked and set up, along with camping chairs a table and a video screen showing our #TepuiAdventures and other captivating Tepui videos. Then Adam pulled up his Landcruiser, which he received so much interest in that could have sold ten times over, and popped his Autana right next to the entrance of the Pavilion. The look was impressive with both vehicle and trailer set up and allowed hundreds if not thousands of people to not just see but climb into a Tepui tent for the first time. Lotta fun seeing the light bulb go off as people really got it for the first time.
Opening day in the Pavilions was challenging. Much of the interest from dealers and media for Tepui came in after day one, often after dealers have already gotten their stops to large companies like Patagonia, The North Face, etc taken care of. But clearly they were aware of the cool things we are doing and were showing in the Pavilion, and began to stop by to check out the new product we had to offer.
As does the ebb and flow of action when going from place to place when out on the trail, the business came in flurries. Occasionally the aisles were emptier than the desert at high noon and all of a sudden you turn around and people were forced to stand in line for their turn to climb into our tents. Most people had never seen a Tepui tent and the atmosphere was carnival-like, with people laughing at how much space there was, and how cool that they could camp on top of their car! It would be safe to say that people were surprised to learn that from our two-man Ayer, to the four-man Grand Sabana, we had a tent for most any car.
What was incredibly encouraging was that people were blown away! A lot of feedback we received was that folks could really tell that everyone loves the concept of rooftop tent camping, just like we do! Seeing that kind of passion and sharing stories with the broader camping community was super fun. On one end, the younger demographic who likes to get out do things really loved the ease of use and efficiency of traveling with a Tepui tent. On the other end of the spectrum, more seasoned adventurers who maybe don’t want to, or can’t, hike all the way to their destination admired the benefits of driving closer and setting up a base camp in their Tepui.
All in all, we had a great experience, and fun couple of days running into old friends and making new ones. It was very cool to see that the love of the outdoors is truly something which can unite people from distant places.