OR Winter Market 2009: Day 3
|A pile of Scarpa shoes wait for the morning demo session.|
Well folks, we’re approaching the end of our time here in Salt Lake. The benevolent dictator has departed, and I am on my own, completely unsupervised, which, may or may not turn out to be a good thing! We’ve actually got a giant pile of folks to see today, so, let’s get started with another rc.com local presence…
The boys at Trango had a bunch of new stuff to show me, but only a couple things from the Trango brand itself. First and foremost, the Neo Classic carabiner line: another hot-forged keylock addition to the carabiner line-up, look for it in a straight and bent gate as well as a locker. Luckily for you, they’re out now for a mere $7.50 ($10.50 for the locker).
Next up, the shiny new Cinch -- so shiny, in fact, that if you own a cinch, you’re probably going to buy this one just because it’s so awesome looking, and if you were on the edge, well, this will push you over! Behold: the RED CINCH.
|Available in March, this will be mine… oh yes, it will be mine.|
A couple of other news bits… the Splitter Cam units are going to be branched off into their own line and will be replaced with regular cams in the smaller sizes of Flex Cams. Also, look for a new, more toned down color of PMI’s 10.6mm wall rope in the spring. Finally, as we previewed before, Trango is bringing the illustrious Italian company known as Ferrino to the states this spring. The lineup will include hand-picked items to compliment Trango’s line. Look for both high-end and price-point products, which will include Sleeping Bags, sleeping pads, tents and packs. Highlights include the Svalbard 2 tent – 8.8lbs, fast pitch design, snow flaps, and double entry.
Also look for super light packs (the Lite 35, a mere 1lb 5oz) and crazy light sleeping bags, The Light Tec (1.2lbs and a 70F rating for the 550, and 2lbs and a 40F rating for the 950!). There’s so much more, I could hardly cover it all! Definitely check out more at Trango’s and Ferrino’s websites.
So, before we get to our next product, I want to thank Graham (crackers) for help setting me up with these next guys, who I haven’t seen in two years, but like many, have been eagerly awaiting their return…
Two years ago, these guys, who barely speak English, had this booth and some prototype cams built, and some video showing them holding in some ridiculous flare….and now they’re back. They’ve used their secret ninja time well and have come back with a sleeker, sexier version of their initial prototypes, adding angled teeth to the lobes, cam stops and metal trigger wires, all of which result in a cam that has remarkably smooth action and stable handling, but still blows your mind when you handle it. These truly are wild cams. The rumor mill says sometime in Fall 2009 with a retail somewhere near the price of a camalot, although I wouldn’t count on either one at this point, as they are still looking for someone to help them distribute and market them.
A bit more info for ya: the cams come in 5 sizes, somewhat close to the Camalot for the upper three, and the Alien for the bottom two and are color coded to match (except the smallest, which is blue instead of green). The twin stem is not a liability at all from the look of it, as these cams are so flexible, you can damn near tie them in a knot, even when holding them in a cammed position (see above). I can’t wait to see more from these guys, and rest assured, I’ll definitely be visiting them in July! (Note from Jay: drooooooool…)
After talking with the Totem boys, I had a minute, so I wandered around and stumbled across
A quick update from these guys. The Clif Blocks are getting a revamped packaging. Now they come in a more candy bar type package, which not only reduces packaging by 33%, but also allows for easier consumption on the trail or on the rock. Also, coming in March, Clif Roks, a post-workout protein bite (20g per pack, roughly 2-3 per bite) that kinda tastes and chews like a Milk Dud. Yum!
After wandering around a bit, I headed back towards the Climber’s Ranch to meet up with the ladies from Verde PR to begin what I like to call, the power run. The next five companies in about an hour (normally, I give 30 minutes for one company). But not to worry, the ladies at Verde have it dialed in and we were off and running starting with…
This fall, Osprey is bringing us a stripped down climbers pack that comes in one size and one color – the Mutant 38 (38L) comes with a gorilla grip on the top of the front panel, a convenient clip-in area to stow the hip-belt while you’re wearing your harness, and a removable framesheet for use as a bivy pad or a way to save some weight. This slick and sexy pack costs $149, and will be available in the fall.
Next up, one of the companies that is doing a lot with the newest waterproof, breathable eVent – Rab. These guys are definitely contenders in the high end arena, and this year is no exception. The newest addition is the Microlight Alpine eVent Jacket. This $400 shell is 600g (26oz) and is essentially their famous Microlight Alpine puffy (350g) wrapped in a waterproof, breathable shell of eVent fabric. If you’re really counting the ounces, the Microlight Puffy is 350g and retails at $215. The eVent jacket is due this fall, along with a blue version of their Belay Jacket, which features huge zipper pulls, a primaloft fill, and front pockets that will take one climbing shoe each (nice!)- they have a black one out now, and it retails at just under $300.
Also look for a completely updated glove line, including the Modular Mitt, Ice Gauntlet, and the Latok all getting eVent shells added to them. They will price at $90, $80, and $55 respectively. Also, they are introducing a winter climbing glove (no insulation, but a beefy pittards leather palm, and a sleek fit) called the M14 which retails at $40.
Well, I have to say, the last few shows, Doug and crew have been dropping one huge bomb after another with innovative products: supercams, offsets, master cams, and now, the Full Strength Mini, a micro carabiner. I know what you’re thinking… so what? Well, let’s say this: next to this carabiner, the Nano looks like an Omega Jake. Seriously. It weighs wenty grams (3 grams lighter than the Nano) at the moment, although it might gain a gram or two as it goes for a 22kn, 8kn open gate rating this spring. In all seriousness, this thing is literally a rated keychain carabiner (and says so, underneath the rating specs stamped on the carabiner!). Time will tell if this is the wave of the future. Look for it in May in sexy green or brown at a nice retail price of $7.50.
|The Mini up against a normal sized wiregate.|
|The Mini in my palm, and I have slightly smaller than average hands!|
Also new is the Element Locker, a new keylock carabiner that prices in at $9.95 and weighs 73g. In addition to that, the new Iron Hand glove is coming out. This is a summer weight belay glove with the same tough palm but a spandex blend on the rest of the glove, cutting weight and heat. It retails at $28.50 and is out now.
So, the Buff is such a great piece. If you’re not familiar with it, it is, in essence, a tuber of microfiber material that can be worn on the head or neck (or body) in a bunch of different ways- beanie, neck warmer, balaclava, etc, etc. Anyway, this year, they are bringing out the Merino Buff! A little longer, this Buff adds a new material to the line. Look for it in Fall ’09 at $26.
Also, look for a new edition of the Cyclone buff (fleece on the bottom, microfiber on top)- a little longer and a v-neck fleece instead of the tube, it should provide a better fit with the same coverage. Finally, look for the Insect Shield Buff in stores in March.
This October, look for the new Jetboil PCS Flash, a sexy new PCS that comes in four colors (carbon, violet, gold, and sapphire). Upgrades include transparent lids and cups, a color matched stove assembly, and the Thermo-indicator on the color coded insulating sleeve. The indicator starts out black and turns orange as the water approaches boiling, allowing you to LEAVE THE LID ON when you heat your water in the morning! As an added bonus, there will be no change in price. The system will remain at $99.95 retail.
Whew! That’s it! I can’t believe we pulled it off. Big thanks to the ladies at Verde for having their tour dialed in and showing me all this great stuff!
Alright, despite being a slow show and not really expecting too much, Evolv managed to surprise me by debuting three brand new climbing shoes and an updated existing shoe. First up, the Kaos II. A completely revamped Kaos, this shoe is billed as a sensitive performance shoe, which is softer than the Pontas. It lands between the Defy and the Pontas on the shoe-rubber Moh’s scale, and will provide the user with an extremely sensitive shoe that comes in at a nice price ($99). Also new is the K-Lace, which is in essence a lace up version of the Kaos II shoe. Finally, the Royale, Evolv’s entry level shoe, which is perfect for beginners, it features a rounded toe box and a doubled toe rand to help give extra longevity to folks who are still learning to use their feet effectively. The Royale will price at $79 and be available soon. Finally, an updated Demorto is now available, making the change from synthetic to unlined leather, the shoe will stretch a little more than before, but is otherwise the same awesome shoe it has always been.
Also coming soon is a whole pile of new approach shoes, including the Gavin and Exies. The Exies is is Evolv’s newest approach shoe, and features TRAX on the sole and a leather upper, and of course, Evolv’s approach shoe last. This shoe is available now and retails at $89. The Gavin is built on the hiking shoe last and features a nubuck waterproof upper as well as a toe rand and retails at $115. The Gavin will arrive in March.
I’d also like to point out that Evolv is among very few companies in the outdoor industry that was able to keep its prices the same this year. A big thanks to them for helping us all save a little dough!
Lastly, I mentioned last summer that Evolv was going to begin incorporating its Eco-Trax recycled rubber (about 30% post consumer) into its shoes. Well, that's started to happen! The Defy, Elektra, and Pontas are all now shipping with the rear 2/3's of the sole outfitted with Eco-Trax! The Eco is not quite as sticky as regular Trax, so the front 1/3 of the shoe still has Trax on it. Finally, Brian wanted you all to know that you can look forward to a very special climbing shoe that Evolv is working on for the summer show in July! Sweet!
This fall, Merrell is releasing a batch of new shoes, many of them women’s specific that fall into the category of multi-sport. That translates for most of us into a light approach shoe perfect for cragging. First up, though, is one for the guys, the Avenger series: the Ozzy (orange, $110) and the Ace (black, $120). They both feature antimicrobial linings, a molded pull ring on the tongue, and Vibram rubber. The Ace, though, also features a waterproof bootie.
For the ladies, look for the Siren Haze and Omni-fit. Both retail at $100 and feature a women’s specific last and sole and antimicrobial linings. The Haze also features a DWR treatment, a front toe rand and vegan-friendly construction. Both arrive in the fall along with a few other Siren models.
Finally, the Stature series, which has both men’s and women’s specific lasts as well as recycled upper mesh, a DWR treatment, and an asymmetrical heel strike which reduces impact rates. These retail at $125 and the shoe is out now, but is getting updated this fall with a new look.
Also new this fall are a few nice little clothing items from Merrell, most notable the Spindrift and the Ridgeline. The Spindrift is a windproof and waterproof shell that is about as supple and soft as I’ve ever felt on an insulated shell. It retails at $199 or, if you want the non-insulated version, check out the Ridgeline for a mere $99.
I have to say that, among all the amazing companies at this show, there is one that stands out almost head and shoulders above the rest in its commitment to making a product that is as environmentally friendly as possible while still maintaining strict standards of quality. That company is Patagonia Footwear. I’ve covered their green highlights before – no-glue construction, eco-friendly leather, unique materials like pigskin, etc. This year, they have a few new models, including an approach shoe called the Karakoram. Constructed with a polyurethane coated leather upper, the shoe features a full toe rand and the new Vibram Idrogrip rubber for higher friction no matter what surface you’re on, wet or dry. The polyurethane coating on the upper is an example of how, though Patagonia Footwear does its best to stay green, sometimes they will sacrifice a little green to ensure a bombproof result. I should smack myself, though. I managed to not get the price on these. I’ll do my best to update that shortly.
New this spring is the Boaris, a shoe that features pigskin panels that are naturally water resistant and stain proof while being breathable all at the same time. Coming this fall is the Boaris Mid, which features the same panels made of pigskin as well as a waterproof leather upper and plenty of recycled materials in the sole. The Boaris mid retails at $140, and the regular Boaris costs $100.
Finally, Pataoniga is introducing the Release this spring, a trail runner available in both men’s and women’s specific lasts that feature a DWR treatment, air mesh sides, and as usual, lots of recycled material in the soles. This shoe runs $110 and will be available this spring.
Finally, Patagonia Footwear is proud to announce that they are partnering with Mountain Soles in Portland, Oregon to offer resoling on many of their shoes including the Huck, Finn, Olulu, Olulu Moccasin, the Nomad, and the Karakoram. Check them out here.
Alright, last, but certainly not least, I found myself with a bit of spare time at the end of the show, and in response to numerous requests (especially yours, basilisk), I stopped off at the Wild Things booth to see what was happening. First a little update from the CEO, Andrew Glashow. In July of 2008, controlling interest in the company shifted from the founder to new owners, but they are keeping to the Wild Things tradition as always. This year, look for some minor (and major) product line changes including an all new website. Look for 4 to 5 new items. They also wanted to announce the addition of Will Cross, a noted alpinist/mountaineer and motivational speaker for the Diabetes Foundation.
While I was there, they showed me two items, both of which are currently available, the Superlight Alpinist Jacket and the Guide Pack. The Jacket features eVent fabric and taped seams, and is out now for $275. Also featured is the Guide Pack, a 26L pack that’s made with a lightweight sail cloth fabric (doubled on bottom and front for durability), and features a removable lid and all the goodies for winter packs like a crampon pouch, ski straps, etc, etc.
Well folks, that’s a wrap (mostly), my time here in Salt Lake is coming to a close and I’ll be on my way home tomorrow afternoon after an exhausting three days of covering the latest and greatest from the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2009. I’ll return this summer Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009, so until then, have a good one!
3 Comments Add a Comment
|the cams were very sweet and smooth, I will be ordering my set as soon as I get the word they are available!|
The Trango cams look sweet, I'd like to feeeeeeeel them... Clif adds milk-dud-tasty protein morsels and maybe I can actually open the package without using my teeth... great writeups and way to go exploring the gear we need to know about. I finally wore my backpacking tent out, so I'll be in the market for a new one this summer. And, may I comment: although I live and play right here in SLC , I STILLLL have not been to the OR show!! vegastradguy and j_ung- please, hook me up this summer!
on the other hand, I jsut skied what is probably the best backcountry day I have EVAR had here in the Wasatch. Oh, man. It was sick. I know I should have been working but... that was just outrageous. Sweet deepness.
|Alright geo! PM me about a month before the summer show, and I'll try to pull some strings to get you guest pass.|