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Outdoor Retailer Summer Market '06 (Friday)


Submitted by vegastradguy on 2006-08-15 | Last Modified on 2008-01-23

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OR Summer Market 2006

New OR Banner

Welcome to RC.com’s special coverage of the Outdoor Retailer’s Summer Market! This year, we’ll be doing a daily update of the show- each morning we’ll be posting the previous days adventures here.

Also, to check out the other days of the show, click below:

Our arrival at the OR Show found Kelly and I heading for KCPR, a public relations firm that handles a number of different products, including Julbo, Nikwax, and Prana. Each of these companies had quite few new things to offer for the upcoming season…

Mion Shoes

A shoe company that caters primarily to canyoneering shoes, they have some interesting products that could provide a decent approach shoe. Most prominently, the Fast Canyon shoe has a sandal base with a removable neoprene sock for canyoneers. While it is available in full sizes only, it has some neat features including: Super strong Velcro on the neoprene sock, a single cord that runs throughout the shoe for a perfectly snug fit, and a memory foam sole that takes about 12 hours to mold to your foot creating a shoe that fits you perfectly!

Mion Fast Canyon

The Mion Fast Canyon will be available in both mens and womens designs.

Prana

New this year for the Women’s line is a new proprietary fabric called Viana, which stretches, breathes, and accepts colors and patterns Prana could not offer before. I’ve also been told that this new fabric doesn’t ‘ball up’ like older Prana clothing did.

Other fun things about the women’s line include: stretchy denim pants, a thinner, lower profile waist band, and a wider selection of prints on their tops.

The men’s line has a couple of neat features as well- including a pair of convertible pants that when they are turned into shorts do not have that horrible ‘gym shorts’ thing going on- they are as long as a regular pair of shorts. They also have a nice pair of denim pants that stretch quite a bit for those climbers who are just dying to go climbing in their jeans!

Julbo

I love Julbo. These guys really have some amazing things going on and I hope to see more from them when it comes to shades for mountaineers. This years offering comes in the form of Camelon- their photochromatic lens coating that gets darker the brighter it is and lighter the darker it is. They also have a number of different treatments to go with it- a waterphobic treatment that makes the lenses like Teflon- nothing sticks to ‘em!

Nikwax

While I was at the KCPR booth, I noticed the Nikwax display. If you are a new climber and you ever wonder how you’re supposed to clean and care for all those fancy products that climbers use, stop wondering. Nikwax is famous for its Tech Wash, Rope Proof, and Down Proof systems. Recently, it has released more products like Softshell Proof, and this year, you can look forward to a few more new items to help you care for your technical gear. First is a spray on Wool Proof, which gives a DWR coating for your wool products. Another is a spray on version of Softshell Proof (the wash in version has been out for a year or so). My favorite, though, is the UV proof- which does exactly what you think it would do- it adds UV resistance to your tent, tarp, or other sun exposed material as well as adding water repellency and adding fabric strength. It comes in 10oz, 16.9oz, and 5L bottles.

The best thing about Nikwax Products, though, is that they are all water-based and contain no detergents or other harmful chemicals.

eVent Fabrics

Look out Gore-Tex, there’s a new membrane in town and it’s called eVent. eVent, like Gore-Tex, is a breathable membrane system for various types of clothing. Unlike Gore, however, eVent’s breathability is not hampered by humidity and it will breathe like a soft shell or other highly breathable fabric while at the same time staying very water resistant. I was pretty impressed by this new membrane, so I used a bit of my spare time to wander over to one of the retailers that is using eVent in their products to see what their take on it was. Luckily for me, one of our favorite climbing companies is using it in their shoes!

Five Ten

event shoes by 5.10

The 5.10 Phenom will incorporate eVent fabric in both mens and womens models.

I talked with the 5.10 reps and they told me that they wore this shoe with both Gore and eVent, and the eVents were noticeably cooler- a sure sign that eVent is more breathable than Gore. Only time will tell, though, whether eVent is all it says it is.

Other new shoes to the 5.10 lineup include the Piton- the crack shoe with Onyx rubber, the Gambit- an all around men’s version of the Siren, and the Vmile- a Velcro shoe that is gear for the all-around climber. Two new approach shoes join the ranks as well- the Camp 4 and the Genius, both available in men’s and women’s.

Once I was done at Five Ten, I grabbed Kelly and we headed over to our next appointment, where the gear fiend in me was about to be pleasantly surprised….

Petzl

Going into the Petzl meeting, I had expected to find some random new things, but mostly the same old tried and true stuff. I was to be pleasantly surprised, however, when our Petzl rep Eric Wynn brought us over to this display:

petzl ropes???

Petzl’s new lineup of climbing ropes!

That’s right folks, Petzl is now making ropes. They are made in France and upon first inspection, they look pretty sweet. Standard features include: dry coating, end marks (6m mark), middle marks, and, perhaps best of all, they ship in a mountaineers coil! No more fights with uncoiling your new rope!

The specs are pretty good too- Petzl is aiming to make an all around rope and if they handle as nice as they look, they’ll be a good addition to the rope market. Initially, they are available in 8.2mm doubles, 9.4mm, 9.8mm, and 10.3mm singles. Petzl expects these babies to make it to retail shops by February of next year.

The fun didn’t stop there, though, as Eric walked us over to the new harness line for women and the updated harnesses for men. First up are the new Sama and Adjama (and the women’s equivalents)- gone are the standard ways of making a harness. Before, a harness was basically a single piece of webbing (the load bearing part) with padding sewn onto it. Today, though, Petzl (and some other manufacturers) have begun using what they call frame construction- the load bearing part of the harness is on the tape that forms the top and the bottom of the swami (the ‘frame’ of the harness)- leaving all of the middle section open to do whatever they want with.

petzl harnesses

Note the see through mesh on the swami- its also on the leg loops

In Petzl’s case, this means opening it up with see-through mesh and making an incredibly comfortable harness. Other highlights on the new harnesses include a haul loop, a belay loop with pictorial instructions, and gear loops made of a single piece of material that is sewn into the harness to form loops. I believe these new harnesses are also meant to be released next spring, but you’ll have to forgive me as I forgot to write down the release date! I’ll get back with Eric and correct this as soon as I get a chance.

Finally, Petzl has a new headlamp (who’s surprised?)- well, sort of. They’re actually billing it as a backup headlamp and it weighs 27g with battery and will fit just about anywhere. Called the E-Light, it burns for 45 hours with three LED’s and has a range of about 19m. It retails for about thirty bucks and will be available in stores this fall. It also comes with a nifty little case that can fit just about anywhere. I’m going to get one and just drop it into my pack and forget it is even there….

After Petzl, we had a big break for lunch, but being overwhelmed with the gear around me, I went in search of new and exciting things for us dirtbags. On my way, I made a brief stop at Liberty Mountain and talked with Juan from Faders about their new stuff. They had two new toys- the SUM, which has been out for a while but hasn’t caught on yet, and the belay keeper- a simple piece of rubber that keeps an autolocking belay device from crossloading the carabiner its on. I hope to get my paws on the SUM and get a more detailed review of this device out in the near future.

Trango

I also made a pit stop at Trango, where Mal gave me the low down on the new stuff for them. This year, they have trimmed out the commodity stuff- stuff you can get anywhere and instead turned their focus to the unique items that sets them apart. This means that their hard goods line is actually smaller this year and has no new offerings although the new Cinch does look pretty in its new steel blue color and its fresh off the press CE stamp, a totally new certification than Trango went out of its way to get for the device.

In other Trango news, Malcolm and team are going to start distributing PMI ropes as well as a really innovative new bouldering pad made by Flashed Climbing, which has broken the mold of the traditional pad and gone with an air filled pad using a unique system of air cells to create a pad that is not only better for you to land on, but will also last up to three times longer than your standard pad! Expect to see this in stores for the spring season!

After talking with Mal and crew, I made a rather long stop at MSR where I checked out some awesome new offerings:

MSR

First up, the new durable Thermarest- an air mattress and a closed cell pad combined into one, this pad will take about 1/8” of damage before you’ll actually puncture the air bladder- and even if you manage to do that, you’ll still have the benefit of the closed cell pad to keep you warmer at night than you would be with your normal deflated Thermarest. The price is a bit steep ($140), but they look pretty neat. They should be out either this winter or in the spring.

The next toy I saw is MSR’s unofficial response to the Jetboil- the Reactor. This little monster of a stove uses radiant heat to cook instead of a normal burner like the Jetboil. The radical new design also has the stove running at 12psi, where a normal stove runs at 40psi to get optimum performance. This means that the Reactor runs as good on the last burn as it did on the first one- and it also means that altitude does not pose a problem, nor does temperature! Stats are pretty good too in comparison to the Jetboil- the whole combo (including fuel) weighs 21oz. The unit will boil about 22L on one 8oz can, with each liter taking roughly 3 minutes.

msr reactor

Check out the pretty orange glow!

In the elapsed time at the demo (3:30), the Reactor boiled one liter of water while the Pocket Rocket water never got about 85 degrees! Just to prove their point, they went and poured that water out of the Reactor, put new water in and boiled another liter before the Pocket Rocket ever boiled its water!

Needless to say, I was pretty impressed. I have a Jetboil and love it for the kind of camping I do (car camping), but this stove looks like a much better version of it for those folks who don’t like the Jetboil.

While I was wandering around MSR, the clock seemed to speed up and soon I had to dash off to my next appointment at everyone’s favorite designer climbing brand-

Patagonia

This year, Patagonia has a few new offerings but the big news is the major improvements to its flagship clothing material- Capilene.

Capilene, has two major changes to it for the upcoming season. The first is an environmentally friendly one- from here on out, Capilene will be made of at least 50% recycled material (and up to 100%!). Remember when Patagonia announced it would start recycling old Capilene? Well, here’s the result.

The other major announcement is in regard to the stench that Capilene is so famous for having after a long day at the crags. Patagonia has long shunned traditional odor guards because they contained silver, which was too toxic for their tastes. Finally, though, they discovered an amino based odor guard and are now using it on their Capilene products! Now you can cuddle up to your favorite climber at the pub, even if you have just hiked ten miles in the desert!

Of their new offerings, the two big ones are a new down vest and a line of shoes (made by Merrell). Expect to see these show up in stores by the spring.

After Patagonia, I made my way toward a new clothing company that had asked us to come visit them to talk about their stuff.

Scottevest

Based in Idaho, Scottevest is a new clothing company that has made the commitment to approach clothing with a totally functional viewpoint for today’s technologically addicted society. Their gear all works together and has more pockets than I have ever seen in any one piece of clothing- yet all seem to be functional. Various zipper and magnetic closures allow the user to customize their use of the pockets to best suit them. The highlight of their line, though, was their t-shirt which has a slick little iPod pocket in the chest which allows you to conceal both the iPod itself and the headphone wires (it will actually accept any player you can stuff in the pocket, not just the iPod). Best of wall, the pocket is stitched to the shoulder of the shirt, eliminating the possibility of it tugging on your collar and annoying you.

scottevest

Fashionable and useful!

After a bit of a break and some food, it was time for our last three appointments for the day.

C.A.M.P.

First up from Camp is what we’ve all been waiting for:

camp tricams

Aren’t they pretty? And in a Value Pack!

Camp would like me to say for the record that it was the folks at Rockclimbing.com that made the new color coded slings on their tricams happen! Thanks!

The rest of Camp’s new offerings are in the realm of ice climbing- and most of them revolve around a new type of steel called Nanoflex. It is a new steel alloy that is lighter and stronger than regular steel, which has given Camp the ability to shave a significant amount of weight off of their cramp-ons and ice axes. While they are on a limited run for this winter, expect Camp to work hard to get them to be more readily available in the future.

One final thing from Camp is a new ice screw which has the hanger separate from the screw handle- giving you more options for where to place the hanger when you screw the unit into the ice. It retails at $89 and is available in three sizes.

After our visit with Camp, we made our way over to Wild Country to talk with Steve about their new stuff.

Wild Country

Once there, we found ourselves in for another unexpected surprise! This fall, Wild Country is scrapping its entire harness line and replacing it with a more streamlined and advanced harness lineup. There will only be three basic models- the Vision (basic), the Elite (well-featured), and the Synchro (alpine). Each model will come in a men’s and women’s design and in several sizes from child to adult.

wild country harnesses

The new lineup of harnesses from Wild Country!

Like Petzl, Wild Country has done away with the traditional webbing swami and turned to frame construction to be able to create a more comfortable and better looking harness. Standard features include a wear indicator on the belay loop area and a floating leg loop clip. On the two nicer models, a haul loop is included- which has its own ‘garage’ that it can be stored in when not in use!

Our last meeting of the day was with Omega Pacific, who had a couple of things to show us.

Omega Pacific

First and foremost, they talked to us about the Link Cam, which is finally available and has been getting some pretty good reviews from the general public. We talked a bit more about the cam and expect to see a more detailed review of this product in the coming weeks.

Second is a new ice screw that they have been developing and they are pretty excited about. It comes in both regular and tactical versions and should be out in time for ice this winter. Like the link cam, expect to see a more detailed review of this product as winter gets closer.

Well, that was it for Thursday at the OR Summer Market. Tune in tomorrow for a recap of Friday’s adventures!

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