This month, the Outdoors Magic team had the privilege of once again being involved in the judging process for the Scandinavian Outdoor Award, one of the main annual awards within the global outdoor industry.
Due to the current pandemic, the judging this time round was slightly different to usual in that it was all held virtually – exceptional times calls for exceptional measures etc.
This didn’t seem to have much of an effect on the levels of scrutiny, however. The products were all circulated around Europe between us all and as usual there was some long and genuinely intense debate before everyone could finally agree on which products deserved to be awarded.
So, here are the deserving winners that were eventually picked.
Overall Winner – ViralOff by Polygiene
ViralOff is a fabric treatment by Polygiene that kills 99% of viruses on a textile within two hours. Perfect for face masks, it’s non-harmful to humans or the environment and it doesn’t wash out, meaning masks can be worn more and washed less.
There was certainly a lot of discussion as to whether the ViralOff fabric/face mask treatment by Polygiene should be recognised as an outdoor product, but we all came to the conclusion that it’s likely to be a very relevant product for anyone, say, using alpine huts in the summer, ski lifts in the winter or walking as part of a group. It’s also good to see an outdoor brand leading the way ahead of other sectors.
Footwear Winner: Icebug Eide Woolpower RB9x
This is a casual wool sneaker made from recycled wool and a minimum amount of virgin plastics. Making a sneaker from wool is already a move away from using plastic, but a wool sneaker made from up-cycled wool is an even further step towards sustainability.
From our testing of this, we really realised just how efficient wool can be in a shoe, offering a natural water resistance, warmth when it’s needed but also amazing temperature regulation and that ultimately means sweaty feet are less of a problem.
Hardware Award: Muurikka Outdoor Retro Smoker
This outdoor smoker from Murrikka has a beautiful retro design that’s clean, simple and light and small enough to carry in your backpack. There might not be that many UK hikers who’ll find much need for this in the hills but it should certainly go down well in Scandinavia. With wood chips inside it, it’ll smoke vegetables, fish or meat when placed on a fire or BBQ and if you don’t have wood chips you could just use it as a mini oven. Best of all, it’ll have a price point of somewhere just shy of £50, which, in our books, is pretty good value.
Kids Award: Reima Vahti Hoodie
This children’s hoodie from Finnish brand Reima safely repels insects with a non-toxic and biodegradable insect repellent finish that will last for 100+ washes. What’s more it’s made from a plush cotton that’s certified as organic.
“Treating organic cotton with a non-toxic, long lasting insect repellent, the Finnish brand Reima created a super comfortable, sustainable fabric for children apparel that gives great protection against mosquitos or other bothersome or harmful insects,” said one jury member. “This is a great way to make cotton suitable for environments with lots of insects.”
Hardware Accessory Award: ZlideOn
Think of how many jackets, pairs of trousers, backpacks or even tents end up in the landfill because of zippers breaking. It’s a big issue in the industry and one that has undeniably needed a solution for a long time. Could ZlideOn have come up with something that could make a difference? Perhaps.
Their specially developed zippers have an opening mechanism that allows them to be clipped onto a fly quickly and easily when a broken zip pull needs replacing. All kinds of shapes and sizes will be available and consumers will be able to match up the right one with their product using a guide on the ZlideOn website.