Outdoor Retailer Summer Market '08 - Day 1
by John Wilder
Click on any image for a larger view.
|The Outdoor retailer show opens up for business!|
Welcome to Salt Lake City, folks- its sunny and beautiful here and the annual Summer Market is about to get underway. This year looks to be one of my busiest ones yet, with lots of new folks to meet with and hopefully lots of really cool new toys to check out. I’ve got a pretty full schedule today, but I’ll try to sneak over to a couple of random booths like CAMP and Edelrid to check out their new stuff a little later on.
By pure chance, I bumped into rc.com’s resident pack maker, Graham Williams (crackers) at the airport, and since he doesn’t keep a booth in the summer, I took the opportunity to get our meeting taken care of before the show even started!
|This year’s Cilogear Collection- shiny!|
The big story for Graham at this show is his yet unnamed ‘Wally’ pack. Lots of talk has been going on about it, but I finally got to check this thing out in person and man, is it a beast! Huge pack…HUGE! There’s a fair amount of info already available on the pack, but the basics are: it will be available in M and L sizes (call Cilo if you need a small…they can work something out), it comes in 4 sizes- 20L, 30L, 40L, and 60L, the waistbelt and shoulderstraps stuff into the back panel, the liner is made of 200D and is TPU (plastic) coated. Look for it in the next couple of weeks if you want one, and expect the price to fall around $200 for the 60L version- Graham is still working out the exact price, but should have one up shortly.
|The ‘Wally’ pack- gi-normous!|
Other new packs include a new 30L series, available in a worksack type, a dyneema type, and something in-between the wally and the worksack. This pack is the only one that received significant changes for V4. It has 210D Cordura side panels, new tabs for home-made gear loops, and, with the exception of the dyneema version, look for it to cost between $115-$135 and be available starting in September.
|Cool little packs.|
In other V4 news, look for the bigger packs to come in colors- about the only real change to the line-up aside from some cool new webbing. The new V4 Dyneema 30L pack is also pretty fancy as well- ridiculously light at 465g (pre-production weight, the production one might be lighter), I saw the beta version that had spend 40 days out on the mountain and thought it was new (there’s some black scuff marks on the lumbar part, but its otherwise unscathed). Look for this one available around winter-time, mostly due to the ‘massive transition’ that Cilogear is about to make. Said transition was revealed to me, but alas, I promised to keep it off the record and taunt you with it! It is very cool, though, so don’t be scared!
|The Dyneema packs- try to guess which one was the tester!|
After meeting with Graham, I walked the 15 miles back to the hotel (thanks, Graham!) and got some shut eye, because first thing in the morning, I’ve got a nine am appointment with someone we haven’t met with before….
Mad Rock has been going strong in recent years, especially with their introduction of their non-shoe products. This year, it looks like in addition to releasing a new rubber, they are also coming out with a new line of shoes, a couple new harnesses as well as some new hardware.
|The prototype Mad Lock belay device- the hook makes releasing loads easier.|
The Mad Lock is the new belay device from Mad Rock. It features an easy release (the hook) which can use anything you can hook in there to release the unit. It also features a removeable pin that narrows the slots for the ropes so the device can manage either skinny or fat ropes, depending on your preference. Also new this coming spring is the Con series of shoes, which feature a concave sole that’s built into the midsole. They feature the dual density rubber and come in a lace and Velcro version. A slipper is also available, but it has less camber than the other two.
|The new red conflict shoe.|
The new rubber seems to be testing well. Tests at the show are proving it to have more friction than either C4 or Vibram, as well as more durability overall. Mad Rock is pretty excited about it, expect it to be on all Mad Rock shoes by spring. There’s also another new show- the Mugen-Tech, featuring a hemp lining, a power leather upper, and a dual-density sole. Finally, there are some name changes/modifications in-line. The Skull covered Flash lace is now called the Joker, the print Mugen is now the Jester, The print (synthetic/lined) version of the Flash is called the Trickster. Also featured are two new harnesses, the Alpha and the Beta which look to be simple, lightweight harnesses. Look for all of this stuff in the spring.
After we finished up talking about all the new stuff Mad Rock had to offer, I bid adieu to them and hurried off to meet up with John from BackBone Media over at
I always enjoy checking out Big Agnes stuff. I really like the idea behind their no-insulation backs, and I like how green they’ve been getting in recent years even more. This year, Big Agnes is releasing the Salt Creek Recycled tent! Well, its not a USED tent…its got recycled components throughout- the DAC poles, zippers, clips, guy line, fly, and floor. Very cool- good job, BA.
|The Salt Creek- $349, 6lbs, and available in early ’09.|
|The Fly Creek UL1- 1lb, 14oz.|
Also this year, BA is expanding its award-winning Copper Spur line with a one person version in addition to releasing the Fly Creek, a sub 2lb single man tent. They’re also releasing the new Slide Mountain line which feature the BOA system for tightening the fly to the tent from inside with a ratcheting knob on the roof of the tent. They retail at $500 for the 2 man and $600 for the 3 man, but if you don’t want to drop that coin, the cheaper Gore Pass will give you the same tent sans the BOA system for a couple hundred less.
After we finished up over at Big Agnes, John and I took a walk over to Backbone’s other, more climber friendly client….
At the last show, Black Diamond was all about their new ski boots, but this is the summer show, so BD is showing us their new toys- check out the new Chaos, Ozone, and Aura.
|The new harness line from BD.|
Last year, Arc’teryx rocked the harness world with its full-support technology. This year, BD is answering that with some new stuff of their own. Made with Vectran fiber sheets, this harness gives full support edge to edge, has some foam in it to soften the edges, and also features a full-strength haul loop. The Ozone and Aura come in at $99, the Chaos with its four gear loops to the others two, will be $125. Look for them in the spring.
|All shiny and green, the new dynotron and livewire!|
Also, BD is updating their livewire and dynotron with a little change in geometry to make clipping easier as well as moving them back to a bigger dogbone- something about the skinny dyneema just isn’t as good as a nylon jug as the fatter versions…In other news, looks for the Orbit, a baby Apollo latern in time for Christmas- 82g and $30 make this a slick little lantern! BD is also coming out with some very cool Via Ferrata stuff, including some one handed locking carabiners with a release button on the spine (the Easy Rider).
Also, look for some re-worked crash pads and the new Raven Ultra ($99) and Pro ($125) with a new head that provides a bigger clip in point. BD is also adding to its tent line with a pair of 4-seasons- the Squall (8lb, $599) and the Stormtrack (7lb, $499).
After we wrapped up at Black Diamond, I hurried off to meet up with the folks from Verde- who promised to take me on a whirlwind tour of their clients in a record amount of time. At the last summer show, Julie set a record with 4 visits in an hour. This time we’re going for gold with 7 different folks starting with
|A $200+ approach shoe?????|
Check out Sportiva’s newest offering, the Gandalf! This $225.00 shoe is La Sportiva’s latest offering to the approach shoe arena. And no, I didn’t get the price wrong. The price comes from it being designed specifically with no limits. It features a more durable leather that also ends up being much more eco-friendly than normal leather. It’s pretty light too, at 14.74oz per pair, it is also specifically designed so it can be resoled multiple times with ease.
|The Tommy Caldwell inspired 5.14 shoe.|
Another pricey shoe from sportiva, this new shoe clocks in at $180. This shoe was inspired by everyone’s favorite big wall free climber, Mr. Caldwell…used by Tommy on his sub-24 hour free ascent of the Magic Mushroom, it has a flattened Miura last, is slip lasted, and is, get this, a boot! It features the Permanent Power Platform as well and is being called a ‘comfortable 5.14 shoe…’!
With no time to waste, we hurried over to our next appointment to see what our friend Doug Phillips has going on up in Oregon….
I must admit I have no clue what Metolius might be showing us this time around. With the Master Cams and offset TCUs out, along with the two Supercams….Metolius seems like they need a break.
|The new Colossus- 24 square feet of safe landing!|
So, instead of new and shiny things, they have new and cushiony things! Check out the monster Colossus. 4’ x 6’ x 3.5” in size, standard angle hinge, the closure system folds over to protect the harness, and it will retail at $289. It will be replacing the Behemoth in the spring of next year.
|Purple and grey master cams!|
Oh, for those interested, the 0 and 00 Master Cams are out, and although they might be tough to find, they are available. I asked about offset Master Cams and the answer is yes, they are planning on it, but it will be another year or so before they arrive at the show.
The Metolius Helmet will finally be making an appearance on the market. Its changed quite a bit since I last saw it- the rear-adjustment is no longer a ratchet, but instead a simple buckle system, but the helmet itself has a harness system that floats to adjust to an individuals overall head shape. A hard shell/foam combination, its surprisingly light (no weight, yet, somewhere around 12oz), and will be available for around $70 in the spring.
This year, Jetboil introduced the Helios system, a new type of group cooking system. I’ve got one and while I haven’t had much opportunity to test it out, I will say that it has the coolest sounding burner…like a jet engine. It also boils really fast for such a large unit (2L)- at least at 3000 feet, anyway, in desert temps.
|The Helios System.|
After ogling the new stuff from Jetboil, we ran (no walking for this appointment!) over to Osprey to check out their new line of packs. Last show they introduced the Variant series, a more rock specific pack that is currently getting abused up on Mount Charleston outside of Las Vegas and doing well as expected by any Osprey pack. This year, Osprey is introducing their first ultralight series- the Exos. This sub new series was explicitly developed to not compromise the famous ride of an Osprey pack, and as a result, we get three packs, ranging in weight from 1lb 12oz (34L) to just under 2.2Lbs (58L). They feature the airspeed suspension system and will arrive in the spring.
|The Exos 46L version- a scant 1lb 14oz.|
Also this spring, look for an updated Atmos and Aura line- the old super-curved backpanel has been toned down quite a bit, allowing for less messing around when packing. Also, cordura fabrics have been added (2-3oz of weight gain there), and new pockets that cover the exterior compression straps on the outside of the pack. As an added bonus, Osprey was able to keep the price the same on the packs!
|The updated Atmos and Aura packs.|
Some other new stuff includes a new smaller Talon (the 5.5L) version, and some fun add-ons for the packs including a camera case and a fanny pack called the grab bag.
I’ll also take this opportunity to plug Ospreys luggage series. I recently got one of their luggage packs and I absolutely love it. Aside from being a very cool looking bag, its nicely useful, especially for those folks who love to stay organized on the road!
So, I’ve been wearing the Julbo Instincts for two years now and I absolutely love them. I managed to destroy the ear socks over the course of about a year, but the lenses and the frames are still going strong. These guys really do make great glasses. This year, Julbo is introducing the Tracks and the Tracks light as well as the Run and Dirt. Designed more for runners, these glasses are still pretty cool. Pull down vents and multiple lens options, they start at $120 and go to $160 and feature Zebra and polarized lens styles. They hit stores next month, which is cool. I really liked the look of the Tracks, very nice and lightweight- and I think the frames wouldn’t bother me even with a helmet on.
|The Tracks series.|
After the whirlwind tour of Verde’s clients, I needed a break, so I headed off to see JB over at the Sterling booth and have a sandwich while we talked about ropes. Sterling gets brownie points because they feed me, and they have a super-cool staff of folks there. As an added bonus, a couple of rc.com friends were there helping out- our illustrious big wall climber, Kate R (holdplease2) and my favorite ice climber, Grant (darkside)!
While we ate, JB went over the latest and greatest from Sterling, including the brand-new bi-color Nano. That’s right, this sexy rope just got sexier- purple and purple with silver strands, its available in 50,60,70, and 80m lengths. Lots of new colors, including ‘Money’, as well as plans for a new type of middle mark that should debut in January at the show, which probably means next fall. This mark will go onto all non-bi-color Sterling ropes.
|Purple is the new Sexy...|
We also chatted about some other things regarding ropes. First off, don’t expect 80m to become the new 70m in the US, but it has done that in Europe, so 80m ropes are out there and will probably become more popular in the skinnier models, especially the dual-certified Nano. The other thing is that Sterling wants you to know that you SHOULD wash your rope in HOT water, but you SHOULD NOT use Woolite or any other detergent on it. Use a specific rope wash such as Sterlings or Mammuts, but just hot water should do just fine. Woolite isn’t so good for ropes because of the Lanolin in it, which, while it doesn’t necessarily harm the rope, it does leave a residue that acts as a lubricant on the rope.
A couple of other notes. Don’t 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 chain reactor here. I’ve been using it a fair amount this summer while sport climbing, and I accidentally discovered one of its coolest uses for beginners- extending your belay device off of your waist. This is especially nice when you’re rigging someone’s rappel for guiding.
After lunch, I snuck over to Omega Pac’s booth to see if Michael was in and whether or not I could scope out the new toys. Oh yes, the new toys. Here they are:
|What’s that? New link cams?|
That’s right, the new link cams are coming soon, folks. They should hit stores Oct 30th or so, the two new sizes are purple (.53in to 1.38in) and green (.70in to 1.75in). If I’m doing my math right, that’s Yellow C3/Blue TCUish to Purple Camalot and Gray C4/Yellow TCUish to Green Camalot. They’re coming in the $90 range- same ballpark as the current Links.
After talking with random folks during my free time, I headed over to see the boys at Evolv to see whats shaking with the shoe industry. After the winter show, I’m not sure what to expect, other than to see how things are going, especially with the Paradox Sports shoe, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out about Evolv’s new Eco-Trax rubber. This new rubber is manufactured from 30%-100% recycled rubber, depending on what its being used for (30-50% for sticky rubber, up to 100% for non-sticky), and will start being phased into the shoe line this fall, with it being on every shoe by the end of 2009. On climbing shoes, it will cover the rear 2/3rd’s of the shoe, leaving the front 1/3 to regular Trax for maximum friction.
|This is what happens to non-recycled rubber- it turns into a MONSTER!!!!|
Also, Evolv is officially unveiling the Eldo-X, the amputee climbing shoe developed in conjuction with Mal Daly of Trango and T.R.S., inc. You can find out more about this at Paradox’s site- paradoxsports.org, they’re a cool organization that’s definitely worth looking into if you’re in the industry in any way shape or form or if you are a physically challenged climber or work with the physically challenged in your job!
|The Memento (left) and Escapist (right).|
After the success of the Stryker, Evolv decided it needed a more lightweight approach shoe, so its developed these two shoes- the Memento (green) and Escapist (grey/orange). With a mesh lining and a breathable upper, this is a nice alternative to the heavier Stryker when you have to lug the shoes up the climb. Look for the Escapist now and the Memento in the spring.
|The Optimus Prime.|
So, I’ve seen some threads on this shoe, and it seems like folks are trying to find out what its all about, so I asked Brian a bit more about it and, then, by pure luck, I got the answer from the guy who actually designed the shoe, Chris Sharma. He sat down with Brian and me to chat about the shoe a bit and, the short answer is this. The Optimus is a full sole down cambered shoe (unlike the Predator, which has a downward turned toe), which is specifically designed as a more all-around steep face climbing shoe. It will excel on edges and do well smearing as well. After talking with the guys, I got the impression that this shoe is essentially perfect for steep Red Rocks sport climbing (where the Predator would be more at home in the caves up at Mount Charleston…). Anyway, it’s a very cool shoe and, with its slightly symmetrical profile, it actually fits my foot and now I want a pair!
So, it’s the last appointment at the show for the day before I sneak off to a media event, and I go over to see the ladies at Mountain Hardwear to see whats shaking. As usual, the new clothing line-up is impressive, but they’ve also got some new toys. New tents include the Taurine 2, a less…..ambitious version of the EV Direct 2, the super expedition tent that’s also new this season. Also new this season is the BMG pack, a 100+ L pack for those people who just like to punish themselves in the mountains. New lightweight puffy jacket, the Nitrous for both men and women (pretty colors and patterns for the ladies) is also out, along with a synthetic counterpart, the Compressor. Another neat toy is the Ghisallo 1, a one person tent made exclusively for bicycle touring- which includes a vestibule with a ‘garage’ big enough for your bike!
|For those of us not like ed...|
|The ladies Nitrous... so pretty!|
Well, I wasn’t able to get a set time for Mammut, but I did get down to the Momentum media event and check out Mammuts new toys!
|The Smart, the Silver Award winning belay device at Europes outdoor show.|
|Okay, so its not black, but it has Cold Black technology in it!|
As you can see, they are releasing some cool stuff for the spring. The Smart, the new belay device is very cool looking. Built specifically for 8.9mm and up ropes, this guy will autolock when a fall happens and easily release and pay out slack. By the way, the reason you release by pushing up instead of pulling down is to counteract the instinct to grab on when a fall occurs, which would push the lever down- grabbing on will just enhance the braking of this device. It’s $30, ridiculously light, and out in April. Also, in a strange answer to my critique of the Bionic carabiner, it has been redesigned with a less radical curvature, allowing for the carabiner to be more sling friendly and less prone to getting slings caught where you don’t want them. Thanks Mammut!
So, I forgot to get the name of the Orange jacket up there, but it features Schoeller’s new Cold Black technology, which basically allows a black fabric to reflect 80% of the UVA/UVB rays making the interior of the fabric consistently 5 degrees (Celcius) cooler and the exterior up to 12 degrees cooler. How cool is that? It’s also got a UPF rating of 30, just for an added bonus!
Also, in addition to adding a new version of the Tusk (9.8mm) to the rope line-up, Mammut is participating in an awesome carbon offset program that results in their rope manufacturing process being rope neutral. The program has them building 500 green houses and some hydro electric power stations in remote parts of India that are starting to be lived in year round instead of just seasonal. The new Tusk is part of the Balance line, meaning that it is more suited as a rope that will see more abrasion than falls- good for traddies and beginners alike!
Also, while I was at the booth, Berne Broudy stopped by to chat about http://www.conservationnext.com, a new website launched by the Conservation Alliance to promote proection of the earth’s wild places. Its geared toward folks in the industry, but I think its still worth a look!
While I was tooling around in some of my spare time earlier in the day, I came across this cool little company. While they don’t necessarily fall into our demographic, they’re doing some really amazing things and I want to talk about them a bit. Freeplay designs hand-crank and solar powered accessories, two of which are being used by UNICEF and other organizations to help educate children in parts of the world that don’t have electricity. One is a solar powered/hand crank hybrid radio that is used in classrooms across Africa as a method of getting daily class lectures (radio is a common way for lectures to be delivered in parts of Africa). The other is the crank charger for the $100 laptop initiative for underprivliged children. Its worth your time to check this company out- they’ve got lots of cool toys for us Americans too, you can find them at http://www.freeplayenergy.com
|The $100 laptop and its crank charger.|
Montrail is changing things up too- the fabled CTC is alas, going away this fall. It is being replaced, though, by the S’Presso, a slightly wider shoe that is built on the same last as the CTC and hopefully will perform as well as its predecessor. Also joining it in the spring is the Flow, another general trail shoe that looks like it may serve well as an approach shoe with a stiff edge around the outsole, and a softer smearing rubber in the middle. Cool stuff, look for it in the spring.
|The S’Presso and the Flow.|
The Hero is back! This time its got some improvements- including a jacked up resolution to 5 megapixels as well as a new wide angle lens that takes the viewing angle to 170 degrees. Its also going to be available in green. Fun stuff!
Well, that’s about it from the Salt Palace today- come back tomorrow for the second installment of the blog. Look for updates from Scarpa, Wild Country, DMM, Petzl and more!
4 Comments Add a Comment
|Good work and Thank you.|
As usual, great job. Can't wait to read next days report.
Is that plastic shield around the JetBoil an acual shield for use, or just a device for showing the product?
Plan on stopping in with Marmot?
the plastic shield is for actual use- i was skeptical too, but it doesnt melt or catch fire when the unit is fired up....
marmot- might if i have time on day 3!
|I was wondering when OP was going to come out with more sizes for their link cams. I love those things!|