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Outdoor Retailer Winter Market '07 (Saturday Edition)


Submitted by vegastradguy on 2007-01-27 | Last Modified on 2007-02-13

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.   Votes: 4 | Comments: 5 | Views: 7517

by John Wilder


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Saturday, Jan 27th

Greetings from Salt Lake City!!! It’s Saturday morning and I’m sitting just inside the Salt Palace convention center, waiting for the evil looking security folks to let me through to see all of the cool gear! Grrrr!!!

Daniel and Helette haven’t shown up yet, or they are here and are registering for the show. I’ll catch up with them later. I’ve got a couple of appointments first thing this morning, but then I have a bit of free time before I catch up with David at the Mammut booth! Unlike the last show, I do not have appointments at every available second, so I hope to do some more window shopping at this show- just sort of check out more random booths!

I love the energy at this show- I’ve already bumped into a couple of friendly faces, and despite the viscous cold (it was 12F when I got here last night, and I think it might be colder than that this morning), everyone seems very excited about the upcoming show. This should be a great time to be had by all.

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The crowds are released into the show!
J. Wilder

The crowds are released into the show!

My first appointment is in twenty minutes with Gramicci- a brand that I’ve heard of but know little about. After that, I have appointments with Eider, Petzl, Mammut, Five Ten, KCPR (they represent Julbo, Osprey, GoPro, La Sportiva, and Jetboil. They also represent Metolius, but I have an appointment with them on Monday!), Cilogear, and Sterling Ropes. This should be a great first day at the show and I’m looking forward to reporting back with all the awesome things the show has to offer!

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What new gear hides behind those banners?
J. Wilder

What new gear hides behind those banners?

Alright, I’ll be right back- I’m going to go find Daniel and then head off to meet Katie at Gramicci!

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Gramicci's Booth
J. Wilder

Gramicci's Booth

Gramicci

I arrive at the Gramicci booth to find three awesome ladies waiting to take me through the Fall line for ’07. I learned a bunch about the line- its roots in climbing, their use of proprietary fabrics, and their very earthy tone that is common amongst all of their products for the upcoming season. All of this stuff should be available in August or September of this year.

A quick rundown of their offerings: The big push is to go back to their roots and the R82 G Pant is the flagship of this effort. A revival of the original pant that made Gramicci so popular- it is available in both 100% cotton and quickdry nylon, and also as a short for those folks who like a little sun on their legs!

Many of their products like the Dolomite pant, Terradot pan, Taniko jacket have different options for length. Many shirts and pants feature roll-up sleeves and legs, as well as several convertible pant options. The fabric they use is very cool and it has a very soft feel to it- even the quickdry tech fabric they use. The Marino Wool takes the cake, though- that stuff is ridiculously soft- I wanted to steal some shirts right then!

Other highlights include their three levels of quickdry fabric- a light (5 minute dry), medium (10 mins), and heavy (15 mins). They also have an entire line called Greenicci, which is dedicated to using natural and recycled materials.

After Catherine, Eleanor, and Katy showed me the line, I thanked them and then Katy whisked me off to our second stop, the French company Eider- another name I knew nothing about but was about to be surprised!

Eider

Eider, more famous in the US for its snowsports apparel, has a strong history of mountaineering clothing in France and its experience shows in its line. Their roots are in the French Alps, and they were the first European company to import Gore and remain the biggest user of Gore technology in Europe today.

We sat down and got comfortable as Eider strutted their stuff. Strutting is the right word, too- these guys really know what they are doing. The pictures do not do them justice- I tried on the Shield (pictured below) and fell in love instantly- a fleece lined soft shell, it felt almost as warm as the down jacket I had brought to the show with me. The construction is immaculate- welded seams, cut for movement of the arms and upper body, vents where they are needed- just amazing.

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The Shield
J. Wilder

The Shield

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The Moonscape
J. Wilder

The Moonscape

The lineup is definitely on the high end, their cheap stuff starts at $200 for technical clothing ($100 for shirts) like jackets and just goes up from there, but it looks to be worth every penny.

The two major items that looked to scream out to a lowland rockclimber like me were the Shield- a velour lined softshell that’s windproof and 90% waterproof and retails just above $300, and the Moonscape, a schoeller pant that looks and feels nothing like any schoeller I’ve seen before and retails for $200, which is about right for a good schoeller pant.

All in all, I was really impressed with Eider and look forward to seeing more of their mountaineering line become available in the US. If you’re more interested in them, you can find out more at http://www.eider-world.com

After finishing up at Eider, I found myself making a mad dash clear across the convention center to the climbing area to meet with one of my favorite reps- Eric Wynn from Petzl North America!

Petzl

Petzl’s flagship release this show is their rope line- the ropes are already shipping to the stores and look for the review of the Zephyr rope by special guest reviewer Jay Young (j_ung) to go onto the front page on Monday morning!

In other Petzl news, the new harness line is almost ready to hit stores- look for them in late spring. The new harnesses are made with Petzl’s frame construction method which eliminates the traditional swami of webbing and replaces it with edge banding with a foam swami, creating a more comfortable and slightly lighter harness.

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The New Harness Lineup!
J. Wilder

The New Harness Lineup!

Another new harness innovation for Petzl is the Hirundos, a very green harness and a very light one as well. Frame construction and a thin belay loop contribute to this harnesses sub 300g weight, making it the ultimate redpoint harness!

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Petzl's other new offerings!
J. Wilder

Petzl's other new offerings!

Other new things for Petzl include a change from the traditional black steel to a chrome steel for the heads of their ice axes- the change is purely cosmetic- just making them a little sexier! They’ve also been tweaking their cramp-ons and making the attachment systems more versatile and tougher.

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The HERA Biner- support the cause!
J. Wilder

The HERA Biner- support the cause!

Finally, Petzl is going to be selling HERA Biners, which is essentially a blue anodized Attaché carabiner for $1.00 extra, all of which goes directly to HERA. Support the cause and buy one of these if you’re in need of a new HMS biner!

PS- I asked Eric about the splitter cam patent that Petzl purchased a couple years back and he tells me that Petzl is still looking at different directions that the splitter technology can be used.

After this, I bumped into Helette and Daniel- we spent some time catching up and exchanging ‘Did you see such and such!’ before heading off to our next appointment- the folks at Mammut.

Mammut

David is a great guy and really knows his stuff. Like Petzl, Mammut is releasing a new line of harnesses with edge banding construction. Unlike Petzl, though, Mammut is just expanding its line- it’s had harnesses with this style of construction on the market for a couple of years. Its big innovation this year is the harness with the slide-lock buckle that pops apart when loosened to allow those folks with crampons and the like to take their harness on and off easily out in the mountains.

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Mammut's Latest Harness!
J. Wilder

Mammut's Latest Harness!

The big news at Mammut, though, is their headlamp lineup. They purchased a headlamp company called Lucido and have now released it under the Mammut name and it is an all LED lineup- but in typical Mammut fashion, they’ve made some modifications that make a big difference. The first is the lens for their lamps- the lens diffuses the light in a way that reduces the spot light effect and makes for a more evenly spread light pattern.

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Mammut's Headlamp Lineup!
J. Wilder

Mammut's Headlamp Lineup!

The beefy lamp of the lineup, called the TX1, has some extra features that make it really amazing. The first is the throw- the rest of the lamps have a 20m-40m distance rating, but the TX1 takes it all the way up to 105m with three LED bulbs! Its run time is also pretty impressive- 180 hours (the other lamps range from 80h to 120h). Its really cool extra though is a set of flashing red lights on the battery pack at the rear of the lamp, allowing your friend who forgot his lamp to follow behind you easily!

Other Features for all of the lamps include a very light weight overall (80g to 150g batteries included), a locking switch to prevent accidental activation of the light, and at turn on, the light is set at its lowest setting rather than its brightest- which both promotes conservation of energy and better night vision for those after dark descents!

Like a fool, I forgot to ask the price point for these lamps, but I expect them to be in line with the current market for LED headlamps. Expect to see them hit the stores sometime in September of this year.

Finally, expect to see Mammut’s new carabiners in the stores by the middle to end of next month- they have a similar I-beam construction to Wild Country (and have even licensed the gate from DMM), but have a radical look to them that Mammut says is stronger than the standard asymmetrical D shape.

So much good stuff at Mammut almost made us late for our next appointment with Nancy over at Five Ten!

Five Ten

Nancy and Sheila Romane (Sponsorship Director for Five Ten) took some time out of their busy schedules to talk with us about some of the newer stuff Five Ten has coming up for this season.


Snazzy new shoe!

First up, the Vmile. I touched briefly on this shoe at the last show, and here it is- slightly tweaked from the last time we saw it. This is definitely a mileage shoe rather than a sport shoe, but it still has the feel of a power shoe. Despite a full leather upper, the lined toe should keep stretching to within a ¼ size or so.


The Siren's new brother!

Another new shoe in the lineup is Five Ten’s response to the demand for the Siren- they’ve developed the Gambit directly off of the Siren and anticipate that it will be as popular with the guys as the Siren has been with the ladies. It’s a good looking shoe and it looks like it’ll be as comfy as the ladies say the Siren is!

In other Five Ten news- Onyx, the latest and greatest rubber from Five Ten is now officially available from resolers- the Rubber Room in Bishop definitely has it, but any resoler that buys from Five Ten should be able to get this to put it on your shoes!

After this, we had a bit of a break, so we tooled around the show a little bit before taking a quick lunch break. One of the neater booths we bumped into was a small outdoor dog company called Spiffy Dog, who makes a full line of really snazzy outdoor stuff for your pooch. Check ‘em out at http://www.spiffydog.com


Hey, crag dogs need stuff too!

One o’clock came around and Daniel, Helette, and I headed off to meet up with possibly the happiest rep of the show so far- Julie Evans from Verde. She and her associate Kori Cavanaugh would be our tour guides through our next few booths….

Julbo

Julbo is such a cool company with a great product and a great approach to it. I’ve been wearing their Instinct with the Zebra lens for about 6 months and I’m loving them to death (expect a review shortly). This show, they are finally done with their Explorer model.


I am not cool enough to pull these off, so they stay in the box!

This snazzy alpine shade is available in three models- a Category 4 lens ($116), a glass lens ($130), and the Chamelon NXT lens ($170). The NXT is a replacement for the standard polycarbonate lens- this material allows them to embed the photo-chromatic coating into the lens rather than onto it, which means if you scratch the lens, the lens doesn’t lose its properties at the site of the scratch. Very cool.

They also have a Race frame available this season, a very athletic shade that has an optical clip on the inside of the frame to allow for prescription lenses to clip directly to the frame and stay secure.


Cool and functional!

In other fun Julbo news, while not new, did you know that Julbo is the only sunglass maker to offer a full line of babies and kids glasses with the same lens technology that the adults shades offer? The babies frames are very bendy and reversible (upside down/right side up) and run about $30 or so—and would make a great gift for the young outdoor enthusiast!

After enjoying the stuff at Julbo, we were off for a quick pitstop at La Sportiva to show off their latest mountaineering boot, the Batura- a waterproof mountaineering boot with a sole based on the Nepal and also has a built-in gaiter.


La Sportiva does it again!

The clock was ticking, however, and we had a couple more stops to make before our hour was up, so off we went to Jetboil, where we got a pleasant surprise of some radical new improvements in the Jetboil lineup!

Jetboil


Bigwallers rejoice!

Big wall climbers rejoice, Jetboil has answered your calls! Behold, the new haning kit from Jetboil- a tiny set of three rods and cables, this contraption collapses nicely and fits into the group cooking pot easily or the new cozy for the PCS. It fits all old and new units and retails for $30- expect this in March!


Want some pancakes?

Also new this season is the frying pan for jetboil which has a heat diffuser underneath to create even heat across the surface of the pan. This upgrade retails for $50, but unfortunately, you also need the pot support kit (an additional $20) for it to work properly.

Also new to the Jetboil line are some utensils coming in a pack that includes a fork, spoon, and spatula (and a cozy) that retails for $20. This, along with the frying pan, also comes out in March.

Finally, some inline changes for next seasons Jetboil units, but ones we all wish we had. First- the pot support will now lock onto the stove rather than sit on top. Second, and probably the most popular, the bottom cover of the stove will become a screw on unit rather than that ridiculously annoying clip on thing we all suffer with now! Thanks Jetboil!!

After this, Julie had to depart for another meeting, so Kori took us over to one of my favorite pack companies--- Osprey!

Osprey

Osprey has two big things to talk about at this show. The first is its Resource line of Urban packs- they’re made of 70% recycled materials (even the buckles are made of recycled material!), and at the same time maintain Osprey standards in every respect. They retail between $60 and $100 and make a great daypack!


Urban, cheap, and green- everything you could ever want!

Second, the new Talon series- which was looking like a pretty sweet crag pack line. A unisex pack line, these are fully featured packs that are incredibly light (and pretty good looking!). The 44L version with a full aluminum frame weighs in at 2lbs 8oz!


Looking good is only a byproduct- function is always first!

Finally, the Exposure series is Osprey’s entry into the mountaineering realm. While not new, they are still a flagship product:


At 3lbs 15oz for both the 50L and the 66L pack, these full featured expedition packs are light enough to not kill you on the approach, but beefy enough to take just about anything you can throw at them. They also feature the custom molded hip belt, which requires that you have it fitted at your local shop because they need to use this spiffy oven set up to mold it to your hips!


No, it doesn't bake cookies!

That just about wrapped up our Verde time with Kori, so we thanked her for her time and headed off to visit our favorite rc.com user and manufacturer- Graham (crackers), owner of Cilogear!

Cilogear

Grahams packs are already ridiculously light- even the biggest pack (75L) weighs less than 2lbs. So, why does it not surprise me that he’s going lighter. MUCH lighter…..his latest and greatest:


Coming to production in May, this 45L pack is made of spectra and currently clocks in at 15oz, but expect it to come to the shelves at 13oz or so after he shaves a little bit more weight off of it! The pack you see above was used to link up a pair of routes on Cerro Torre—so, its has definitely been put through its paces and promises to be an excellent pack. It’ll be pricey, but at the weight, I don’t think anything else comes close- look for it to retail around $300 +/-.

Other Cilogear news includes enlarged zipper access on the front of the pack, a new lid and belt available to fit onto your current pack along with a pouch that straps onto the back of the pack to allow you to clip a rope or other items to the back of the pack.

Also, Graham has an ‘Update Package’ available for $40 (shipping included) that includes the new lid, the new hip belt, tabs for gear loops, scrunchies for ice axes, and some new straps!

Finally, for all you folks overseas, Cilogear now has a distributor in the UK- Apex Distributors: www.apexdistribution.co.uk now distributes them in Europe!

After bidding our farewell to Graham, we set off for a couple of non-scheduled appointments before our last appointment of the day.

CAMP


CAMP has its new steel tipped ice axes and crampons ready- lighter and stronger, CAMP is really excited about the Nanoflex steel. It’s expensive and tough to get, so the steel is only located on the extremities of the ice stuff, but CAMP is confident that its worth it!


It may not look like much, but it is indeed a harness!

What is this thing, you ask? This is the worlds lightest harness…3 oz of harness….I couldn’t believe it when I saw it so I had to take a picture. For those of you really into saving weight…here ya go!

Acopa

Its been a tough year for the folks at Acopa, but Steve’s sister Lisa has taken up the task of running the company and sales are back up for this amazing little company that is dedicated to making the best shoes on the market.

We met up with Lisa and chatted a little bit about some changes at Acopa and talked about this season’s offerings.


Acopa won best in gear for its Spectre shoe and also has released two new shoes- the Enzo (a sport shoe) and the only true hightop on the market- the JB! They have also moved their corporate headquarters to my hometown of Las Vegas, NV while John B continues to R & D in Mammoth and production remains in Mexico. John Bachar is recovering nicely and even took some time to host a dyno competition during the show today. It’s great to see Acopa coming back from such a tough time- congrats to Lisa Karafa and her family for carrying on Steve’s dream with John Bachar!

After catching up with Lisa and John Bachar, we stepped next door to Sterling to chat with JB and crew about their latest and greatest….

Sterling Rope

So, after working hard through the fall to get it released, JB and team got their certification for the Nano- a slim and sexy 9.2mm rope. The rope is light (52.6g/m) and strong (it officially held 6 falls during the tests, but it had up to 8 during testing). This rope is very bright and is being sold with a solid yellow coloring.


Bright doesnt begin to describe this rope!

The next rope on deck for UIAA certification is Sterling’s Ion, the Nano’s big brother which should come in at 9.4 or 9.5mm when testing and certification is complete. Expect to see this rope hit the stores in late spring to early summer.

Other Sterling news addresses this thread - the eternally non-lasting rope label. After working with the NYFD on some ropes for rescue work, Sterling discovered a method for heat shrinking their labels to the ends of their ropes- so all ropes now have a label that will actually stay on your rope!


The little things often make the difference!

Finally, Sterling is changing the labels on its ropes- instead of having a semi-confusing label that makes it tough for the buyer to know which rope they are buying, Sterling is introducing a new labeling system that will allow the buyer to know at a glance which rope (and specs) that they are purchasing. It’s a small thing, but it’ll make for easier shopping….

And so the first day at the show comes to a close. It’s been a good one with lots of great energy and some really fun new products to check out. Everyone has been really great and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Look for news from Gore, Trango, Clouveil, Royal Robbins, Mountain Hardwear, and more!!!

Other blogs in this series:

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5 Comments CommentAdd a Comment

 sangiro
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 2007-01-28
4 out of 5 stars Wow, sounds like you guys got around. Thanks for keeping us posted John. Have fun at the show. :-)
 thomasribiere
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 2007-01-28
4 out of 5 stars I'm happy to see that you find Eider clothers nice. They have a reputation of high quality and high prices as well : I by example have owned a Polartec200 fleece with reinforced shoulders for 8 years now, that I paid a lot, but it still like new, so it was worth the investment.
 j_ung
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 2007-01-28
No exclamation points were harmed during the production of this blog. :P Thanks, John! I'm especially happy to hear that Acopa is going strong. Tell folks I said hey.
 vegastradguy
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 2007-01-28
Thanks for the compliments everyone....i havent got as many appointments today, so tonights blog should have some more off the beaten trail stuff....see you tonight!
 tradrenn
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 2007-01-28
5 out of 5 stars Good staff. Thanks guys.

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