Outdoor Retailer Summer Market '08 - Day 3
by John Wilder
Click on any image for a larger view.I can’t believe it’s the last day of the show! Well, sort of. The show technically goes on for another day, but I find that the final day is full of people wanting to go home, so I try to get all of my appointments in the first three days, leaving the fourth day to go and get some actual climbing in! Speaking of climbing, my first appointment of the day is with my favorite Las Vegas based climbing shoe company-
Award winning, Bachar designed shoes galore at this little booth. President Lisa Karafa took some time out of her very busy show schedule to chat with me about the new shoes and the like. So, showing up in stores near you is the Legend.
|The beautiful new legend shoe.|
Technically, the Legend is a Spring ’09 shoe, but Acopa is going to try to get it out late this year. It’s going to retail a bit high- $159.00, but its got some neat features that make it an excellent trad shoe, something Bachar feels that the market is really missing. Highlights include a spectre last, a stiff midsole, and neatest of all, a padded leather collar around the top of the shoe (its top grade leather, and Bachar thinks it might scuff a bit, but it wont tear). Designed with the wide in mind, this shoe should excel at anything you can stuff your foot into as well as edge like an animal. Bachar notes that it’s a slip lasted shoe (putting your foot 9mm from the rock instead of the 13mm or so a board lasted shoe would do), and it was inspired by the need and requests for a lowtop JB.
On another note- I asked about resoling some of their more…curvy soled shoes like the Sidewinder, and Acopa says: Go with the Rubber Room- they have significant experience with the shoe and they know how to resole it.
Ah, Arc’teryx….everything is just so SHINY at this booth! Nevermind that if I wanted one of everything they made, I’d have to sell my firstborn to get half of it. That said, we all know that its worth it- their stuff is bomber. By the way, I should note that since my review of the S240, I’ve gotten a-hold of the R320 and both harnesses are still as impressive as ever- spent half a day on the steep with all hanging belays last week and barely noticed them thanks to the Warp technology! Anyway, Chris gave me the tour and showed me the fun new stuff for Spring. This spring, Arc’teryx is focusing on a new line of aerobic clothing including capris and tops. Also new is the Celeris Jacket (5oz) and vest (3oz)- built for the folks who love to go light and fast, they both come in at a good price point- the jacket is $120, the vest is $80.
|Light, yet beefy enough to keep you warm.|
|Check it out- a sub $200 Arc’teryx softshell!|
Also new this spring are a pair of softshells- the Venta LT a high tech softshell featuring taped seams for weight and seam size reduction, look for it to price in the low $300s, but even cooler is the entry level Gamma LT- a shell that prices below $200 (somewhere around $150, I think)- pretty amazing considering what booth we’re hanging out it. Bravo Arc’teryx!
While hanging out waiting for my next meeting, I bumped into Mike Call and Katie Cavicchio from Momentum Video Magazine. They were pretty excited about new developments on their site http://www.momentumvm.com, most importantly that starting on September 1st they are moving from a member format to a free format, meaning that you can check out all of their movies (including the archives) for free! Very cool!
Ever since my first summer show when I stopped into see the folks at Buff, I’ve been hooked on their product. Since my hair is rarely longer than ¼”, I need to cover it up when I’m outside, lest I get head cancer, so when I was introduced to the Buff, I was sold. In the years since, they’ve added some really cool features to the line including UV protection- this year, they’re adding another feature- Insect Shield- the same stuff Ex Officio uses, its EPA approved and good for 70 washes. Look for them in the spring priced around $27 (UV buffs are $23, Original Buffs are $19). In other Buff news, REI will start carrying more of their headbands (introduced last year), and also look for a ton of new patterns and colors next year. If you haven’t tried one, I’d highly recommend it!
|The Buff, uses include: Pillow, Bikini Top, Arm Sling, and Flea Collar!|
After talking with Buff, I headed over to meet up with Katy who had three new folks to add to my OR roster- Lorpen, Eureka, and Brooks Range. On my way, though, I stopped at Nuun to see whats new in the world of tablet powered beverages.
|Care for some ‘U’?|
New this year is the all natural tablet powered drink- U. Unlike regular Nuun, this drink is for everyday drinking- a little less electrolytes, a few more vitamins. Yum! & calories of tastiness in three flavors: Tangerine Ginger, Goji Berry Green Tea, and Lemon Chai. I tried the Lemon Chai, and, as with all previous Nuun flavors, it was tasty, but very subtle- without the sugar, it’s a very mellow drink that’s drinkable even if you’re not in the mood for a flavored drink.
|Three layer socks, except not very thick!|
Lorpin is announcing the tri-layer sock, a sock made with three layered fabrics designed to wick moisture away from your body as well as disperse it to let it dry quicker on the exterior of the foot. Against your foot is Coolmax, which sucks up the water, in the middle is a tree pulp fabric called Modal (naturally anti-bacterial), and on the exterior is a nylon fabric for durability. They had a little demo station where they open a flap on a fake foot and put a drop of water on the interior of the sock, and then you can watch it get sucked into the fabric, then they close it and show you the moisture in a significantly bigger area appear on the exterior of the sock. Pretty nifty- look for them in the spring retailing between $12 and $17 a pair.
|Eureka’s new sleeping pads- note the air release valve.|
Eureka was showing off their new innovation, the Traxtion air mat, which has a handy air release valve in addition to the air intake valve. This lets you rapidly push air out of the pack via a one way valve without letting air back in. Pretty spiffy. On another note, they offer this pad in thicknesses ranging from 1.5” to a whopping 3.5”, which is my kind of sleeping pad. The pads will also feature a non-slip surface on both sides to keep the bag on the mat and the mat in place on the tent floor. I didn’t manage to get a price from them, but I suspect they are rather affordable. Also look for some other cool things from Eureka including an E-powered tent line and a pretty sweet looking hammock called the Chrysalis.
|Safety first- The All-in-one rescue sled/tarp that doubles as an emergency litter.|
Finally, Brooks Range has some pretty sweet safety tools for skiers and mountaineers. Foremost is their tarp line, built for emergency bivys, and in their more advanced models, designed specifically to double as an emergency litter. They’re also the distributors of the Map Tool and Map Tool Pro, the most accurate map tool available on the market today. In addition, they sell a wide range of products and prompt cards, including a latitude/longitude ruler for translating map coordinates to lat/long for emergency rescue. Finally, they make a really awesome extendable aluminum (aircraft grade, 7000lbs test) shovel that comes in a variety of colors including pink (hey, pink is cool!) and they come either with a straight edge at the mouth or with a row of aggressive teeth for dealing with avalanche debris. Check them out at http://www.brooks-range.com
So, Flashed is that company with the air filled crash pads…and some other cool things. This year, though, you can look forward to their new iTopos (okay, that’s my name for them…they’re really called Flashed Pod Guides) Handy little topos that load onto your iWhatever for handy directions and topos for your favorite crags! Cool, huh? You can check them out and download them at http://www.flashed.com
Trango has been pretty quiet over the last couple of years every since they did that “if its not cool looking and really awesome we’re not going to sell it” thing….and they’ve made good on that promise. They trimmed down the line, picked up Flashed and PMI, and now they’re starting to expand their line again with some cool new toys like Chock Stones, the Skull Cap, and the Barracuda knife.
|Stoppers from Trango- note the two colors- not six.|
|The Piranha’s big brother!|
|Light is right with this little helmet- and comfy!|
This spring, Trango is launching their Chock Stone stoppers- a familiar curve design is changed up with a scoop of metal carved out from the back of the stopper to create more stability in a given placement. Also featured are two colors- allowing the user to know that if they pick orange and its not right by a little, they need to grab a gray, and if its off by a lot, they can grab another orange. Even better, though- grab all of one color or the other, and you have a perfectly ranged half set of stoppers. Sweet. They retail at $91.95 for a set of 11. Also new is the Barracuda, a smooth bladed knife with a firm closing mechanism to help keep the blade closed when not in use (no lock, though). Finally, the Skull Cap, a helmet that Mal made me put on my head and shake around without strapping it down to show me how it wouldn’t come off or wobble (it didn’t). At 230g, it’s the second lightest helmet around (the first being something you cant really get in the states by Salewa), it features a removeable headband (so you don’t have to smell your funk forever), it’ll cost $89.95 and be out in the spring.
In other Trango news, look for a cool new slackline kit from them. It’s a manual rig with three steel rings and, perhaps coolest of all, removable handles that girth hitch into loops on the tightening ends to let you tighten the damn thing by yourself! It’ll cost $99, but I told them they should sell the handles separately…what an awesome idea. Also new for this year, Trango has become the U.S. distributor for Ferrino, who are apparently quite the pack/tent/bag company elsewhere on the planet. Look for the official launch at the January show, and product getting into the stores in spring.
|Handles! The back of some guy from Trango’s head!|
|This tent also features a bio-hazard containment sleeve for when your partner pees in the tent.|
At your request, I stopped by GoLite to see whats new for the spring, and amazingly enough, a few things are. Mostly jackets- three of them to be precise. First up, the Spectre jacket at $275, this jacket features Gore pack lite and performance materials for that wind and waterproof action. The second is the Gauntlet, a $200 jacket that features the Trinity fabric- feels like a softshell, and happens to be totally waterproof. It also has a removeable hood. Cool. Finally, they have the Virga, an $80 waterproof emergency rain jacket- 7.8oz for a fully seam-taped jacket with a hood. Not too shabby.
|Throw down the gauntlet!|
|The updated Jam pack.|
Also new is the updated Jam pack, featuring Dyneema thread woven into the cordura panels, this 3100 cubic inch pack will compress down to 1300 cubic inches and clocks in at 735g and only $100. Pretty sweet deal, if you ask me.
So, at the end of the last day, holdplease2 and I took a walk over to talk with Jesse, the brand manager for C.A.M.P. (hereafter Camp, because it takes too long to put the periods in) to see whats new. Turns out, quite a bit! First up- the Orbit series of carabiners- a pair of wiregates (38g) for under $6. The screwgate clocks in at 49g and costs $9. Nice.
|Cheap, light, and made by Camp- can you really ask for more? Didn’t think so.|
Also this year, everyones favorite 95g harness (the Thong) got an update, adding a tie-in point and a buckle so it’s a little more like an actual harness now….but more importantly, they’re introducing the Air CR, a 238g, $75 edge banded harness that beats out that other companies harness to let Camp call theirs the lightest full function harness around. At $75, it’s a bargain, too. Another awesome innovation in harnesses comes in the Quartz CR3 with a floating swami belt- that is, the webbing ‘floats’ free in the padding and has an adjustment buckle on the side under the fastener buckle to center the belay loop if you are, um, changing sizes unexpectedly during the season. It’ll also be available in the women’s version called the Jade.
|The Quartz- light and fast!|
Two more cool things from Camp- the Rox + Pack, a 50L, $125 rolltop/duffel pack featuring nylon stays, gear loops for your draws, and a rope tarp. Checking this thing out, it looks pretty cool- we want one to review! Finally, the Magic pullover, hands down the lightest jacket in the world at 95g (if you’re counting that’s 3.4ish ounces), featuring a helmet friendly hood and a sweet price tag ($80), it stuffs into a tiny sack that fits in the palm of your hand and clips nicely onto your harness (Jesse recommends the Nano 23 for optimal weight savings).
|rox] Cavernous, but feature filled, the Rox +|
|The Camp Ninja modeling the Magic for us!|
Good times, good times….so, that’s really about it! Hope you enjoyed the coverage of the Summer Market! I’ll be back in about 6 months or so with my down jacket and a numb nose to cover that other wondorous convention- the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market ’09! See you in Janurary!