2014 End-of-Year Wrap Up

We just celebrated the Winter solstice, and as the days slowly get brighter, we look back over 2014 and ahead to 2015. Here are some random things we saw along the way...

More companies from across the globe have entered the Canadian market (or have become more prominent during 2014) as they see us Canadians truly having a growing thirst for the outdoors...

  • Rab (Jackets, sleeping bags, tents) - United Kingdom
  • Vaude (clothing, shoes, tents, sleeping bags) - Germany
  • Fjällräven (clothing, sleeping bags) - Sweeden
  • Deuter (Backpacks, sleeping bags) - Germany
  • Norrøna (Jackets, backpacks) - Norway
  • Scarpa (hiking boots) - Italy

Crowdfunding became a way for independent developers all over the world to bring their amazing outdoors inventions to market. From movies to gear, we saw a lot of interesting things, and I'm sure 2015 will spark even more.

We launched a bunch of new sections in 2014 including just recently, we unveiled a Camping Tips section. Also be sure to check out our Trail Grub section for food ideas, Paws on the Trail for Dog gear reviews, and Put-In to share your trip departure photos. Don't forget to send in your favourite camping tip too!

There are some beautiful things to see in BC Parks

Although not Canadian news, the CIA document about an employee to canoed to work was declassified and was a funny read.

The Canadian Canoe Museum may have found a new location.

Scary Canadian movie Backcountry had a successful tour of film festivals across the country and will be entering limited theatrical release in Canada in early 2015.

Similar to MEC changing their logo and the markets they cater to, we saw Altitude-Sports adding more urban appeal and changing their logo to suit.

Photo by Natalie Panek

Photo by Natalie Panek

There were some goofy criminals in the news. We counted at least two Canadian thieves trying to make a fast getaway in a Canoe in this year (and don't forget about the angry beaver that terrorized Miramichi, New Brunswick).

Abitibi & Co unveiled a new website to announce that Scott Canoe, Bluewater Canoes and Impex Kayaks will be back after closing with an exciting new line of canoes (and kayaks).

Yonder (check out our review at the app) keep releasing new versions, new features, and new reasons to head outdoors and snap photos with your phone! We were so impressed by photos that Canucks have snapped that we added a new weekly feature (Yonder Snapshot of the Week) to show off your grand adventures.

Download the app free for iOS and Android today!

Alberta Parks believes that 'Everyone Belongs Outside' and went to the effort to implement new programs to achieve that (quite inspiring to see).

On a personal note... I hiked, canoed, camped and explored quite a bit this year... but still looking forward to doing even more in 2015. Part of the fun has been taking all the photos you see here on Trail Swag (and dreaming up new articles as I paddle... isn't paddling a great way to let the mind wander?). This year I also became a Certified Hike Leader, was asked to be on-air on CBC radio to speak about camping (a feat I had to do while being out off the grid, camping), contributed to a Globe & Mail article about camping destinations and guest blogged for Ontario Parks.

Who is that dashing adventurer on the cover of the Algonquin Backpacking Trails Map?!

Our favourite piece of gear was the MSR Hubba Hubba NX. This lightweight tent shed even more weight while adding nifty features. We couldn't imagine camping without it.

Photo from Ray Mears

Photo from Ray Mears

Bushcraft specialist Ray Mears came, visited and canoed here in Canada! To top it off, there is a contest to win an eight day expedition trip with him.

Just as some wise Canadian Canoe manufacturers predicted... replacements for Royalex are starting to pop up. Esquif announced T-Formex and Nova Craft came out with TuffStuff (then proceeded to beat on it with a hammer, then throw it off the roof of their building).

Kevin Callan, the Happy Camper took his family on a trip around Killarney, then tried to take a group of college students on a camping trip later in the season. Misadventures ahoy!

Lolë, which currently has 14 Canadian locations, hopes to add up to nine new Canadian locations before the end of 2015. 

This year Cabela's have opened more stores in Canada (including a new store still to come in Moncton, New Brunswick in 2015), there are four new Bass Pro Shops, and a new MEC location is under construction in Toronto, Ontario.

Version 5 of Jeff's Map Algonquin Park was announced... then map guru Jeffrey McMurtrie went on to unveil version 2.0 of his Killarney map, and release a map of Temagami. Easier to read, travel times (on land and water), and scads of features that will make your next trip far more enjoyable. Be sure to follow Jeff on Facebook for some interesting historic facts about these parks as well.

We had a few photo contests including a #HikingBootSelfie, #ExploreOutdoors and Favourite Canoe Photo from 2014, The contributions to each contest were really impressive. Stay tuned for more contests in 2015.

Canadians celebrated National Canoe Day in style!

Parks Canada tried to make it easier for people to step into camping by offering Equipped Campsites.

We wrote a well shared look at the whole Wi-fi in Parks controversy.

There were some really inspiring presentations at this year's FEAT Talks.

*Phew*, I think that just about covers it. Did we miss anything? Let us know! We're looking forward to what 2015 brings us and as always, we love your comments, guest blog entries, and photos and hope to share more of them in the new year. Thanks for all of the new followers on Facebook and Twitter. See you out on the trails and thanks for being a Trail Swag reader! #ExploreOutdoors