Outdoor Retailer Summer '09, Day 2 & 3
by John Wilder
Jump to the first article in this series: Outdoor Retailer Summer '09 - Day 1
Howdy folks, sorry the second day blog is late, but I managed to get caught up in some other things (climbing!) instead of writing. To make up for it, though, I present to you a SUPER-SIZED blog- days two and three merged together for your reading enjoyment. My first appointment of the day is with Patagonia Footwear, and joining me on this one is one of rc.comís newest gear reviewers and who also has her own rather popular website- Sara, the rockclimbergirl! You can check out her site at http://www.rockclimbergirl.com if youíre interested- sheís got a pile of appointments of her own, so anything I missed, she probably covered!
Sara and I stopped in to see Whitney, the best brand manager ever at Patagonia Footwear to see whats new. Since their launch, Patagonia has been working hard on both broadening their product line while at the same time ensuring that they live up to the highest possible environmental standard. This year, they are launching the Tsali, named after a trail system in the Smoky Mountains- this is a trail runner available in both menís and womenís sizing and it features Vibram sticky rubber, a dynamic lacing system that extends down the sides of the foot to provide good compression, and a footbed and midsole that contain recycled content, keeping with Patagonia Footwearís environmentally friendly approach. The shoe is also really light- 8oz for the Womenís, just shy of 10oz for the mens and very affordable at $100/pair. Look for them this spring.
Also new this spring is the Nine Trails shoe, a heavier duty trail runner thatís made for more demanding conditions, its similar to the Tsali, but adds a rubber toe rand and a posted midsole for support, which increases the weight of the shoe by about an ounce and a half versus the Tsali. These shoes retail at $110 and will also hit stores in the spring.
Finally, Patagonia Footwear has accepted a challenge from Backpacker Magazine to produce a working prototype of a hiking boot by this September as part of their Zero Impact Challenge. You can read more at CleanestLine.com, but expect this boot and more shoes/boots based on it to make an appearance at the Summer Market next year!
After hanging out for probably way too long with Whitney and Sara, I thanked Whitney for her time, wished good luck to Sara, and headed over to a company that is known for just about everything it producesÖ.
This year, Mammut launched the SMART belay device, a single line autolocking belay device that rc.comís favorite former blue overlord has been playing with recently and there seems to be some promise of a review in the future. *hint hint* This year, Mammut is launching a few new things, including the Ambient Light, a small plastic box with a reflector in it that turns any of Mammuts small headlamps into a lantern! How cool is that? Itís $10.95 and will be available in the spring. p>
So, remember over the last couple of years when Arcíteryx and BD released their full support harnesses? Guess what? Mammut is releasing their full-support harness with yet another type of technology this spring. Mammut uses essentially two strips of webbing next to each other to achieve the full support with a perforated mesh that connects them- which should increase breathability noticeably over the other models available. The Togir Light and the Togir Slide are both lightweight (350g and 420g respectively) with the Slide having adjustable leg loops, both have a 500kg haul loop built in and drop seats, and they retail for $79.95 and $99.95 respectively- look for them in the Spring, I know I will!
A couple of other things to mention. First, in the spring, all keylock draws from Mammut will ship with Indicator Webbing dogbones- if you see red, time to retire it! Second, the Genesis Rope is going to get a coating finish, which will reduce friction between the rope fibers and increase its fall rating from an already very high number. Finally, good news for wall rats- the Flash is morphing into the Super Flash, becoming a 10.5 version of the supersafe by way of the coating finish, which will increase durability and number of falls currently held.
Mammut is also bringing a new pack to the scene- this slick 600g, 28L pack has a lot of cool features. Itís a roll top with a lid and Mammutís butterfly frame system. However, the frame is removable, as is the interior lining of the pack, allowing you to pull the lining and stash it and other things at the base, lightening the pack up and making it perfect for climbing. All of this for $199! They are also releasing a guideís version, which is 35L/45L, lacks the removable lining, but has side entry and a front pocket and sells for $179/$189 respectively.
After checking out Mammutís shiny new stuff, I thanked them for their time and headed off to visit with Edelrid and see whats new with themÖ.
Edelrid is relatively new to the states and their doing their best to come to the US with new and really innovative products like the Zap-o-Mat and the folding helmet. This year, though, they are coming to the States with their full product line, which covers almost everything the aspiring climber could want. Some of the highlights include the Neo, Lilou, and Logan Harnesses, which use essentially the same technology as the Arcíteryx WST harnesses (or at least very similar)- they feature full support and a very unique sliding gear loop- you can slide/remove the gear loops (and buy more) as you prefer, although they come with 4. No haul loops on these, and the Logan has adjustable legs while the other two do not. Incredible pricing on them, though- $70 for the Neo and Lilou, and $80 for the Logan! Look for these in the spring.[neo]
Also coming to the states is a very popular belay device from Europe- the single slot tuber called the Jewel- same idea as the ATC-Sport, but decidedly better looking, imho! It features a stainless steel body wrapped in Nylon that dissipates heat very quickly. Look for a dual-slot in 2010, but this one will cost $16.95 in November.
Edelrid has a bunch more stuff coming down the pipe- the Moe, a $49 pricepoint harness with an adjustable padding swami to make centering easier. Also, they are introducing a pricepoint rope line that includes a 9.8, a 10, and a 10.3mm all at $129 for the 60m length! You can also get the 9.8mm and 10.3mm in dry for $157. Finally, as a big plus, Edelrid has become the first rope manufacturer to become Bluesign certified, which means that they have been audited and reset their systems to be as environmentally friendly as possible from raw material to end product- now all their coatings are water-based and all of their suppliers are Bluesign certified to ensure the smallest impact possible. Big kudos goes out to Edelrid for stepping it up and being an example for others in environmental responsibility!
After we finished up talking with Edelrid, I thanked them for their time, and then headed over to see those other boys from Canada-
I wanted to slip this in the OR blog since I saw that Beal had a booth at the OR show- I stopped into see them and found out that while Beal is no longer distributed through Black Diamond, they are maintaining a stateside stock of ropes (thanks to PMI who is letting them use space at their warehouse), and so retailers in the U.S. can go directly through Beal in Europe who will drop ship out of the PMI facility stateside- so, no worries folks, you can still get your Beal ropes stateside!
Another quick mention from Chris Mac over at the Taco stand- the e-book for Supertopo Zion, UT is now available, and if you buy it now, youíll also get the print book as well- this offer is good until Aug 6th when the print book arrives from the printer!
Second, and this is really big, you guys- Supertopo is having a LIVE AUCTION on July 29th to benefit Tyrus Bachar, son of John Bachar- all proceeds go directly to the trust fund for Tyrus- donations include stuff from Evolv, TNF, Acopa, and many many more! You can find out more by visiting Supertopo.com or contacting Acopa USA for details at acopausa.com.
The boys from Flashed are leaders in innovative bouldering products- the most famous of which is their air pad technology. This year, they are upgrading their non-air pads, the Ninja (above) and the Temple. Look for new colors, stash pockets that have been moved to better locations, D-ring closure on the Ninja in place of the zipper, and a burly new stitching- all coming this fall. Theyíve also been working hard on an ipod climbing guide series, which is surprisingly functional, even with limited command options. This year, they are releasing the guides to Bishop (the Happys and Buttermilks), and Hueco (North Mountain)- look for them in October.
I continued tradition this year by spending one of my lunch breaks with the boys from Sterling. They promised me something cool and new this show, and here it is.
Last year, they introduced the Ion rope, a 9.5mm beauty with the industries first unique pattern- braided in a way that actually produced a unique pattern into the sheath. This year, they are introducing the Bion- a bi-color Ion that is currently only available on the Fire (red) Ion model, but what a cool rope- and now with the bi-color option, itís truly a must-have! I managed to forget the retail on this oneÖbut its safe to say itís a bit over $200, judging on other bi-color offerings from Sterling.
Also new this year is the VR10- a pricepoint rope that Sterling is introducing. Available only in silver, this rope is basically a Kosmos (including DryCore) with white yarn in the sheath- its going to retail at $155, a very good price for Sterling Ropes. The other good news is that both the VR10 and the Bion are available now- so you do not have to wait to pick up either!
A couple of other notes. Donít forget that if you want to get rid of your old rope, no matter who made it, send it back to Sterling at their rope recycling program (Sterling Rope Company, Inc. C/O: Rope Redemption Program 26 Morin StreetBiddeford, ME 04005-4413). Also, I want to plug the Hollow Block here. Iíve been carrying it for over a year now and have found it to be an incredibly useful tool- Iíve also showed it off to a lot of my friends and fellow students in a couple of climbing classes, and everyone has been impressed with how easily it grabs the rope without binding up. Check it out!
After enjoying a tasty sandwich at Sterling, I thanked JB for his time and headed over to Trango to see what was new. As you might remember, theyíve introduced the new line of packs, sleeping bags, and tents from Ferrino. This summer, they are introducing the Lite 45 pack from Ferrino- itís a 1.6lb 45L pack that has a framesheet and aluminum stay included- all the bells and whistles for only $200- look for it in the spring!
Iíd also like to take a second to let you know that Trangoís very own Mal Daly went head to head against Jeremy Collins and Allison Woods in a hilarious (and tasty) cookoff in the climbers ranch using only Jetboil PCS systems, water, and some random ingredients chosen by Jetboil! The winner got a bunch of goodies and $500 toward their favorite charity! It was neck and neck, with Mal placing second in the cookoff- although if showmanship and station cleanliness had counted, he would have won by a landslide- Allison Woods took home the prize, with Jeremy Collins and his dish garnished by Gummi Bears coming in last!
As usual, it was always fun hanging out with the boys at Trango, so I thanked them for their time and headed off to meet up with Nancy and that only moderately famous climbing shoe companyÖ
At the last show, Five Ten was showcasing a pile of new shoes, including the Project and Copperhead, both of which rc.com got its paws on to review (look for the Copperhead review soon!)- and this show, Five Ten is showcasing three new ones- the Team, the Rogue, and the Grandstone.
The Team is Five Tenís new performance based shoe- developed by their pro team and based on the V10 Slipper, this Velcro/slipper has a thin layered midsole, and a 3.5mm sole equipped with Five Tenís new Mystique Rubber- priced at $144, this shoe will be available around October, and according to Five Ten, the upper will blow out long before the Mystique will!
Say hello to Five Tenís new price point shoe, the Rogue. This shoe will retail at $94, have a relaxed heel and a synthetic upper. Equipped with C4, this beginners shoe will be available in the Spring.
Say hello to the new hightop on the block- this sexy new high top has an asymmetrical toe, rubber on the toe, burly boot style lacing, and will come with Stealth C4 rubber- and clock in at a very moderately priced $129 in the Spring. Another quick note- Mystique, Five Tenís fancy new rubber is not currently offered for use in resole, as it is very difficult to work with- maybe in the future, but not at the moment. After our time was up, I thanked Tim for his time and headed over to meet up with Jesse and the folks fromÖ
As you know, rc.com and CAMP (Iím omitting the dots from here on out because Iím on a deadline!) have themselves a little contest going- I wish I could play, because the prize looks sweet, but alas, editors should stay away. I can say, though, that the pack CAMP is offering up is sweet- the included rope tarp and the roll-top make for especially sweet features for a crag pack! At any rate, this year CAMP is introducing a bunch of new stuff- including a formal revamp/reissue of the Cassin brand, which will now feature Technical ice tools and Big wall gear! Cassin will launch in the spring with a full set of new Ice Axes- the X-Dry (drytooling), the X-Ice (replacing the Awax), and the X-Alp. Most noteable on these axes, is that the grips are all interchangeable and you can purchase different grips for different axes! Also, the heads are two parters, so you can replace the hammer without replacing the pick, saving on costs a little bit. These are high end tools, though- the X-Dry runs close to $300, but Iím told its well worth the dough!
Next up in the Cassin launch is a complete setup of Big Wall gear. Highlights include a full line of hooks, pitons (including sawed off angles!), heads, fifiís (including a lunacy fifi), and a sexy looking 10 step aider with a metal top step for stability. Also included in this line is the Cassin Piu and Piu 2, which is a high friction version of the Piu- see pictures below.
In the CAMP line proper, two new highlights- the Orbit Twist, a 57g twistlock that clocks in at 1.7oz and will retail for $12.95. Also new this year is the Stratos Harness, a new take on edge banding technology- in order to mitigate the pain that some folks feel, CAMP has widened the edges to almost ĺĒ thick and put in dual density breathable foam in between. The harness also features their trademark no-twist belay loop and adjustable legs- all in a 330g package that costs about $100. Pretty sweet.
After having a great time chatting up CAMP, I headed over to visit with rc.comís very ownÖ.
After exchanging pleasantries and chatting a little bit, we got down to business and chatted about new and shiny stuff from the newly Northwest-based pack maker.
The big story for Cilogear is that this year they are introducing a non-woven dyneema pack to their line-up. For those craving weight savings but arenít quite up to the price of the woven dyneema, this is kind of in between regular and crazy expensive. The non-woven dyneema is actually lighter and stronger than the woven, but it has a lower abrasion resistance, so bear that in mind. The packs will be available in 20-60L sizes and price between $100 for the 20L and $550 for the 60L. They should be available by mid-August.
Another awesome moment for Cilogear- they just won a Guides Choice Award from AAI for their entire Worksack Line! Congrats! In general updates, since you all want to knowÖ.Wally packs should be available in two weeks- three sizes, a 30 ($150), a 45ish ($200ish), and a 60ish ($240ish)- ballistics only at first, then fancy materials later on. Also new in a few weeks- Cilo Duffels! Three sizes here as well- small (can hold any worksack sans lid, $100), medium (can hold any worksack with its lid, $125ish), and large (feel like going to Alaska on an expedition? $150).
As usual, we had a great time hanging out with the boys at Cilogear, but the 5pm bell sounded, so I took my leave and headed out climbing, but wait, thereís more! Since I didnít get this blog up, Iím continuing this blog with Day 3ís adventures right now!!!!
As usual, Petzl is bringing something shiny and new to the show with the Elia helmet! This one is for you, ladies- ever have your ponytail annoy the crap out of you when dealing with a helmet? Petzl has answered the call- a new helmet with an Omega Harness system that creates an arch for a ponytail! It also includes a new side adjustment system which won an Outdoor Industry Gold Award. This helmet is based on the classic Elios and will retail at $65.95 and hit stores in March!
Also new this spring is the Picchu kids helmet. Certified for both climbing and biking, this is a one stop helmet. Designed for three to eight year olds, the helmet also has an attachment point in the back of the head for a SiGNAL (sold separately) The harness system is the same as the Meteor- look for it in March as well at a price of $59.95!
In other news, Petzl has decided to create some cool package deals, most noteably a climbers package, featuring the Corax harness, belay device (the Verso, I think), locking carabiner, and a chalkbag, all for $119! If youíre into Via Ferrata, they have a similar setup- everything you need for $225.
Finally, a quick note- look for the new Tikka line in a couple of months- these classic little headlamps have been updated to be significantly brighter, last longer, and have more features than their predessesors with the same great looks- and as an added bonus, the batter compartment is accessed much more easily than the last model!
After hanging out with Eric for a bit, I thanked him for his time and headed off to meet up with the folks atÖ
I canít believe I missed Nikwax on the first day, so I swung back by to check out what is new and fancy with them! A few things, as it turns out. Sandal Wash and Leather Wax are two new things from them, but more notable are their new line of travel gels. Take these with you on the road- get your garment wet, put a bit of this on it, work it in, and rinse! These gels are available in three flavors- Tech Wash ($6), Base Wash ($5), and Wool Wash ($5)- and are available now, so if youíre planning a trip, go out and get some!
As you all know, Acopa suffered an incredible loss on July 5th, when one of its founders, head shoe designer, and of course, legendary rock climber, John Bachar passed away. I again want to take some time in the blog to express my deepest condolences for his friends and loved ones and also give my support to this wonderful Las Vegas/Mammoth/Mexico-based company- weíre here for you guys!
Before John passed, he designed one last shoe- built on the popular Merlin last, this is the Merlin Strap, a three strap Velcro shoe that features additional rubber on the forefoot to assist in toe-hooking. This slick new shoe will be available in the spring and dang it if I forgot to get pricing! At any rate, you can get pricing on it easy enough- again, much love and support from Rockclimbing.com to the folks at Acopa!!!
After hanging out with the folks at Acopa and wishing them well, I headed over to visit Boo and her two folks who are bringing a few new ideas to the world of footwear.
This years newest offering from the folks in Bozeman is the Hardscrabble- a $110 trail runner available in both menís and womenís sizing. Hardscrabble is a peak in the Bridger Range north of Bozeman, and the shoe is designed as a burly trail runner, peak bagging shoe. Itís built on the same platform as the Ignition and features a mesh upper and a double toe cap. It will also feature an upgraded insole that is on par with most after markets and features an excellent arch support as well as a extra layer of foam under the insole.
After talking with Oboz, Boo and I headed over to the sockmasters that are the folks at Bridgedale. The folks at Bridgedale arenít offering up anything new and exciting, but I love these guys and I wanted to touch on their womenís line of socks. This is a womenís specific line that features socks that are actually cut differently than mens, not just made smaller- a narrow heel, anatomically countoured, and a slimmer toe box are all features that the socks have and were designed with women in mind. Made since 1998 in a factory that made nylons for women dating to World War II, Bridgedaleís line of Womenís Specific socks includes over a dozen models for every possible use from casual walking to backcountry skiing. Check Ďem out!
This year, Evolv has started making custom shoes- feel like having a unique look at the crag? Check out Evolvís new eXpress Yourself by customizing your shoes when you buy them directly from Evolvís website- http://www.evolvesports.com. Not sure which size you need or what each shoe entails? Starting in October, you can go down to your local retailer and have them help you out and then purchase your shoes via a gift card for $125 which includes the shoes and shipping, then log onto Evolv and start working with Evolv directly to customize your shoes! Currently only available for the Defy, Elektra, and Pontas ($145), check it out!
This year, Evolv is doing some cosmetic upgrades to its line, starting with the Talon and Predator. Both shoes are getting a deeper heel with more tension, and the Talon is getting more rubber on the heel to aid in heel hooking while the Predator is getting a little more rubber on the toe for toe hooking. Both shoes feature Trax XT-5 on the front of the sole and on the heel with a new Green Trax in the middle where you donít need it. Both shoes have a sexy new green look and retail at $125- look for them in September along with the new Rockstar, which will feature a new rand style, a sexy new color (pink), and a perforated upper and liner and will retail at $99.
New for Spring, though, is a wholly new rand technology called VTR-3 (Variable Thickness Rand)- molded instead of cut, this new rand style puts thicker rubber where you need it (on the toe @ 2.5mm thick) and thinner where you donít (down to .5mm at the midfoot)- and in between elsewhere. Impossible to tell that its even different just by looking, this will cut down on rubber used and help reduce wear on the shoe without decreasing sensitivity all over. Look for this cool new tech on the Defy and Elektra in the Spring, and both will cost $89.
Finally, its worth mentioning that the Kaos is back and has been reincarnated as the Kaos II- itís the same last, with a deeper heel and more tension in the heel, and it also features a super-thin cotton midsole which increases sensitivity drastically. A synthetic upper finishes off the shoe that costs $99 and is available now. Also available now is its brother the K-Lace, which is the same exact shoe except is a lace-up model- the crazy thin upper make these shoes feel almost like theyíre not even on! The K-Lace also costs $99, but both shoes will cost $110 in January when Evolv adjusts its prices (its first price increase in three years!)
Alright folks, thatís it for me, Iím just about finished here in Salt Lake City! Itís been a blast as usual, and I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it. At any rate, have a good one and Rockclimbing.com will see you again in January at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2010!
Jump to the first article in this series: Outdoor Retailer Summer '09 - Day 1
13 Comments Add a Comment
|Vegas, what ended up happening at your second meeting with Metolius?|
|In the sterling section you mentioned the Hollow Block... what is it?|
|Caught- the hollow block is a presewn prusik made of the sheath material of sterlings aramid fire ropes- it'll grab anything from 4mm to 1/2" with two wraps of whatever friction knot. It's also rated to 17kn and temps to 900 degrees! Krazy- I did meet with metolius, but they said they would prepare a statement, so I'll publish that when it's ready shortly after the show.|
|rock on- thanks bro|
|Is it just me, or is shoe rubber starting to get crazy thin. 2.5mm?? - .5mm???.... That's crap! Climbing shoes already have piss poor durability issues, so lets make the rubber thinner so you have a chance of getting at least one re-sole before the upper falls apart. Genius!!!|
|What, nothing about 5.11? WEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAK.|
|Whose handling the review on the copperhead and when can we expect it? Great job and thanks for the hard work!|
Great reports VTG - Thanks!!
BTW, thanks also for the hint about the Hollow Block. Looks like a nice piece of rope. The web site says it is for use with 7mm ropes and up, as apposed to the 4mm you mentioned above.
|mac- sorry, i was on a crunch and it slipped through...i'll make it up to them! boy- yeah, i know its officially rated to 7mm, but i've seen it grab 4mm. salamanizer- the projects are currently the thinnest at 2mm, every other shoe is 3.5mm and up. if i mistyped anything above, my bad.|
|I can't find the Sterling VR10 rope anywhere, even the sterling website.|
|i think the VR10 just went into production for this fall, so if they're included in preseason orders, they should arrive in shops within a month or so. if your local gear shop is a sterling dealer, though, you can have them order it for you. in terms of specs, it is a Kosmos rope- so you can look at the details there.|
|What? no Halmet for my dog. If I'm going to buy him a harness and portaledge, then he is going to need a halmet and some carabiners that operate without oposeable thumbs. Maybe some ascenders that he can use too so I can short fix while he jugs and hauls.|
I just ran across this and copied the Jetboil cookoff scetion onto my blog, with a link to this page, I hope that is kosher.
Gear Editor, Washington Trails magazine