Another summer Outdoor Retailer trade show has come and gone. 30,000 members of the Outdoor Industry descended on Salt Lake City, industry trends were debated and discussed, social media ruled the show, cutting edge gear was showcased, and gear companies, retailers and members of the media synergetically connected to bring the consumer better gear and better access to information.
The Outdoor Industry is well connected with the consumer’s needs. A heavily discussed topic of this show was price point. Price points that consumers could afford in these tough economic times. Industry companies are working hard to find ways to keep the price down or make the investment worth more by covering a wider range of needs. Multi-function. Consumers are looking to buy one item that covers all their needs instead of three items, each for a specific need.
So onto the latest and greatest…..
Acli-Mate creates acclimatization and high altitude drinks. It makes sports drink designed to help the athlete acclimatize better and prevent altitude sickness. It’s a brand that is designed and run by a naturopath who specializes in acclimatization.
Arc’teryx introduced at the show five new harnesses, the B.360a, S.220LT, R.275LT, M.270 and I.320a. We found the names difficult to remember, but the technology pretty cool. These harnesses are light. Arc’teryx improved on it’s Warp Strength Technology, making even lighter more comfortable harnesses. To improve on the already light and strong Warp Strength webbing, Arc’teryx spread the warp fibers of the webbing apart to achieve lighter, more supportive webbing. Arc’teryx also made the belts slimmer, lightening the harness and improving fit.
Quilted Air Mattress: Big Agnes released a Quilted Air Mattress. It’s 3.5 inches thick with synthetic fill and is 2 ounces lighter than their other air mats. But what’s really cool about this mattress is the quilting. The patterned imprint on the top helps keep you in the center of the mattress even for those sleepers who toss and turn. It also adds greater comfort while sleeping.
Fly Creek 2 Platinum: This tent is a 2 person tent that weighs a whopping 1 lb 13 ounces. To produce a tent this light Big Agnes made lighter poles, and covered the tent in more mesh and less fabric.
Wyoming Trail SL 2: Besides having the cutest diagram of a person and their dog in this tent celebrating being
outdoors, this tent has a unique design that utilizes the vestibule. The main portion of the tent easily sleeps 2 people. The rain fly comes out far creating a very large vestibule to cook in, store gear, and “hang out” if the weather turns. This space that is still within the tent but not in the sleeping area is intended to help keep the sleeping area cleaner, less muddy and not full of all your camping gear. At 6 lbs and 15 ounces it’s pretty light for it’s size.
Women’s Distance FL Z-Pole: Part of Black Diamond’s new women’s specific trekking poles line. These poles are designed to be compact for travel and ultra-light backpacking. At only 430g they are light! They have EVA foam grips, grip extensions, straps, and the length are all sized for women.
Women’s Trail Shock Trekking Poles: Same great Trail Shock features – bomber FlickLocks, lightweight, anti-shock, absorbs impact so you don’t; but with the grip, extended grip, length of pole, and wrist loop all sized for women. There are also left and right wrist loops.
Onyx Packs (55L, 65L, 75L): A women’s pack that bridges the gap between backcountry, scrambling and climbing. This pack is designed for women who want one do-it-all pack that carries a lot of weight very well. It has the ergoACTIV technology so the pack moves with you as you climb, scramble and hike. It also has lots of great storage compartments and zippers for easy access to your gear.
Chase Pack: The Chase is a 25L women’s pack that also sports the ergoACTIV technology, but is a smaller than the Onyx. It’s designed for day use – cragging, sport or trad climbing. It has ice axe or trekking pole attachment point and lots of good zipper storage for such a small pack.
Magnetron Carabiner: Black Diamond debuted this new carabiner, with revolutionary technology, on the first morning of the OR Show. The Magnetron is a locking carabiner that uses magnets instead of springs. The biner will be available in Fall 2012 in GridLock and RockLock styles. So how does this technology work? The Magnetron uses a piece of steel that is forged into aluminum at the lock. Magnets on each side of the gate attract to this piece of
steel to keep the biner locked. To open it, the magnets are squeezed to break the magnetic bond and the gate can then be opened. So why would a magnetic locking mechanism be better than a spring-based locking mechanism? When the magnets are flush against the steel it takes the greatest amount of force to break the field, they are at their strongest. But a spring mechanism is the opposite. When a spring is locked it’s at it’s weakest position because the spring is fully extended. As a spring unlocks it coils and gets stronger, but that’s not the locking position for the biner. As a result, Magnetron will be stronger than spring gate locking carabiners. The Magnetron has the potential to revolutionize how companies make carabiners and the technology they use. Unlike many spring locking carabiners, the Magnetron can be opened with the left or right hand easily and doesn’t require strong hands to open it.
Icon Headlamp: The Icon is a light, compact, ultra-bright mountaineering headlamp. At 200 lumen it’s really, really bright. It has a T-shaped band, so the small battery pack on the back doesn’t strain the wearer’s neck. And it takes 4 AA batteries, making it always easy to replace the batteries.
Spot Headlanp: Of note already awesome do-it-all little Spot headlmap is now 90 lumens! That’s quite a bit brighter than the old spot. It’s a great little headlamp and now it’s even brighter.
Black Diamond has been hard at work beefing up their already extensive line of climbing gear. As always they had a long list of exciting new gear for the show. To this already impressive list above they’ve also added a new dedicated mono-point crampon, the Stinger. They’ve overhauled many of their women’s harnesses releasing the Siren and the Focus. The Siren has great adjust-ability and lots of gear loops and the Focus is a trad harness with abrasion resistant material on the side. The new Vector Helmet replaces the much loved Tracer helmet. It’s super light at only 8.5 ounces and has large ventilation holes.
Sherlock Trekking Poles: The Sherlock Trekking Poles are trekking poles you can adjust on the fly. Cascade Designs created a trekking pole that that is easily adjusted with your foot and locks into place once set.
Deuter’s AirContact 75+10 Pack: There is a women’s and men’s specific version of this pack. The women’s version has
a shorter torso, narrower framer and shoulder straps farther in for narrower shoulders. This pack gives Deuter a line of great packs for the expedition, long-haul category. Even with it’s size, this pack has easy access to all your gear no matter where it is located in your pack – top, middle, bottom, sides. This is thanks to the bottom, side and front zippers that let’s you grab that gear in the blink of an eye. The Aircontact back system reduces perspiration by 15 percent and the heavy-duty padded hipbelt keeps the wearer comfortable even with the heavy loads. The hipbelt has three densities of foam to provide good structure and comfort. The hipbelt is designed to move with you as you hike.
Deuter ActTrail Packs: The ActPacks come in 20L and 28L, women and men’s specific. This is your do-everything day pack. It climbs, hikes and even travels. It’s loaded with features for versatility. There is a full side-zip pocket and a U-zipper to access the bulk of your gear. Both the 20L and 28L packs have rain covers on the bottom which detach. The 20L has a tuckaway hipbelt. Both sizes have ice axe and trekking pole loops. And did we mention it comes in a kickass Peacock color? Ladies you’ll love it!
Speedlight 30: This is a pack design for two day ski or climbing trips. It has a front “shove it” pock to stow just about anything. For skiers the pack has side carry capabilities. For climbers, it has all your favorite climbing features. Our favorite feature of this pack: it’s light, light, light. It weighs light as a feather. Also, the hipbelt is completely mesh, including mesh pockets; keeping the pack light while still providing a hipbelt that provides support.
Shaman LV: These shoes were designed by Chris Sharma, full of his love, ideas and climbing magic. The LV stands for
low volume, making these shoes great for women. With a love bump on the sole and a knuckle box on top, the foot is pushed into the aggressive position of the shoe and the foot doesn’t tire out. This shoe comes only with velcro lacing. This is an aggressive shoe for technical climbing and a very exciting shoe for spring 2012.
Gashida: The Gashida isn’t quite as aggressive of a rock shoe as the Shaman LV, but is a step up from the Rockstar. It has more shape and curve than the Rockstar, but not quite as technical as the Shaman LV. It is a shoe to fill the gap between those two.
Bolt: The Bolt is a straight-forward approach shoe. It is light, ideal for hiking and low class scrambling up to 5.5.
Sage 45 pack: The Sage 45 pack was designed by Gregory to be your do-it-all pack. Hiking, backpacking, climbing, travel; this pack is meant to be your go-to pack. In an age when the average consumer has less disposable income and is looking to invest in one pack that meets all their needs for a variety of activities; Gregory stepped up and answered that call. Some cool features are a built in rain cover, waterproof lid and horseshoe front zipper access, in addition to a plethora of pockets and organizational devices.
Hyper GTX: The Hyper GTX is a light approach shoe. It sports gears loops for attaching the shoes to your harness or pack This shoe is built from GoreTex to keep your feet dry on mucky trails. At 400g you may forget you’re wearing shoes.
Explorer: Another new approach shoe from La Sportiva. This shoe breaths better than the Hyper GTX because it isn’t constructed from GoreTex, it’s designed for dry trails and climates. Also, it’s a smidge lighter than the Hyper GTX coming in at 300g.
Futura Rock Shoe: The Futura is a hybrid between the Speedster and the Solution. It’s based on a no edge concept. So there are no edges. The whole shoe is rounded. This provides more surface area on the rock, making it great for slabby, smearing face climbing.
Schneefeld Base Layer: The Schneefeld is part of the Eiger Extreme series.
Clothing made for the harshest of climbing conditions. It’s constructed of Polartec, almost tissue paper thin, quick drying, yet also good at insulating due to the grid system.
Felderster Jacket: The Felderster jacket has an integrated zipper built into the fabric to shave weight. It’s constructed from Gore Active shell and highly breathable. This jacket is also part of the Eiger Extreme series.
MicroRocket: Lighter and more compact than MSR’s classic PocketRocket, the new MicroRocket is just that – smaller and lighter than it’s counter part. It weights in at 2.6 ounces and features sturdy pot supports and a nice focused flame. Comes with a hand-held Piezo igniter to make lighting the MicroRocket even easier.
WhisperLite Universal: A canister stove that will also burn white gas, kerosene, and unleaded fuel. It’s a hybrid stove, working with both canisters and liquid fuel. But what’s really niffty about this stove is it’s interchangeable jets. This makes the stove perform well with both canisters and liquid fuel.
Native recently creative a whole line of eyewear for women with small faces. Still great Native construction, awesome colors and cute, feminine, function designs, just with sizes small enough for gals with narrower faces. Native glasses have interchangeable lenses and have a variety of lens options. Two new sunglasses to check out are the Endura and Chonga.
Mithrilite Jacket: The Mithrilite Jacket is a new and much improved version of the classic OR Mithril. Gone are the days of stiff, bulky, short armed Mithrils. The Mithrilite is a sleek, more supple, lighter jacket. OR removed the fleece lining making this jacket great for warmer alpine routes.
Lynx Crampons: The Petzl Lynx Crampons is a new and improved version of the staple Petzl M10s. Just like the M10, the Lynx has interchangeable front points, can be rigged to be mono or dual. What’s new are: easier front point adjustment with just one bar to changing the frontpoints instead of two like with M10s; and the new Lynx crampons come as a package with ABS plates, a crampon bag and two types of interchangeable bindings, on for a step-in setup and one for a hybrid setup.
Reverso 4: The Reverso 4 is 27% lighter than the Reverso 3. Petzl just shaved off extra material on the sides to make this already ultra-light belay device even lighter.
MicroTraction: The MicroTraction is a mini version of the MiniTraction but is has a ball bearing pulley as opposed to the MiniTraction’s pushing pulley. The MiniTraction was only 70% efficient. The new MicroTraction takes that to a whole new level with 91% efficiency. The cam on this new pulley won’t lock open accidentally. And as the name suggests, the MicroTraction is smaller and lighter than it’s predecessor.
Tiikka 2 Plus Headlamp: This niffty headlamp takes headlamps to the next level. It’s one of Petzl’s new line of CORE
headlamps which can be plugged unto your computer with a USB cord and the levels on the headlamp controlled on your computer. It’s one slick headlamp!
It’s been said a fully waterproof softshell can’t be done. Polartec said yes we can. For spring 2012, Polartec has worked with a number of brands including Mammut and Vaude to create a series of jackets incorporating their new waterproof softshell technology.
Sterling Rope this show fine tuned much of their exciting new gear from the winter show. They added interesting new colors to their rope line, made the two colored ropes stand out more, added a carabiner line to complement their new ATC devices and new rescue devices.
Thermarest showcased at the summer OR Show two new additions to it’s NeoAir line, adding new mattresses at either end of the spectrum. The NeoAir Xlite air mattress is the lightest at just 12 ounces with an R-value of 3.2. While the NeoAir Xtherm is the warmest at 15 ounces with an R-value of 5.7.
Genevieve Hathaway is the Editor of Alpine Athena. See her bio in the “Editor” section.