Text and photo by West Coast Editor Steve Casimiro
Pity outdoor industry product managers. Every spring and fall, they’re required to name 20 new things. Or 30. Or if they work for the North Face or Columbia, 6,482. That’s 20 or 30 or 6,482 clever, creative, and unique names that so perfectly embody the pants, packs, and parkas that they sell themselves. Yeah, right. I’ve actually given a dictionary of topographical terms as a lifeline to a few desperate cases.
Which might explain sudden popularity of products named “fen” that next spring. Sorry, everyone.
In any event, let us give props to the companies with enough cojones to let their goofiest, silliest, and most creative names off the leash and out of the conference room. These fun little aberrations are a blessed relief. And, who knows, maybe they even help sell:
“It’s just another messenger bag.”
“No, it isn’t, it’s the Tony Blair Squirrel.”
“Ohhh, cool! I want one.”
THE BEST PRODUCT NAMES OF 2008
7 The North Face women’s Ex-Boyfriend sandal. "Not gonna go there again, not gonna go there again, not gonna go there again."
6 NRS Feng Shoe. Some of us still don’t know how to pronounce the Chinese concept of arranging objects with harmony in the environment, and some of us don’t care, but either way this floatable flipflop gets us close enough.
5 Grilliput Compact Grill. An accurate handle for an ingenious invention: This mini backpacking BBQ weighs 19 ounces and breaks down to store within its foot-long tubular frame.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
4 Santa Cruz Heckler mountain bike. The single-pivot full suspension with the chipped tooth/broken nose attitude—spray about it all you want, it don’t care.
3 Crumpler Singaporean Ice Monster messenger bag and Tony Blair Squirrel laptop case (tie). Crumpler remains the undisputed the master of the head scratcher. God love the Brooklyn goofballs for perpetually making us ask, “Huh?”
1 Nau Loose But Not Slutty jeans. Best name ever? It’s a strong candidate, but, alas, this organic denim jean isn’t long for this world—Nau is shutting down (RIP). Until it’s gone, the LBNS can be found on Nau’s website for 50 percent off.