Outdoor Retailer Winter Market '08 - Day 2
by John Wilder
Click on any image for a larger view.
Welcome back, folks! It’s been an exciting day at the OR show- lots of appointments with lots of great information. My apologies for the lateness of the blog update- meetings ran late and I was unable to get back to the hotel to write until very late last night!
Okay, I said I would try to get back to the Sterling booth for the specs on the Ion and I did. I also managed to sneak a picture of both the Ion and the purple Nano for you guys. The Fusion series Ion rope is a 5 fall rope, has an 8.4kn impact force rating, and weighs 60grams per meter. Strangely, the Nano is a 6 fall rope, yet is significantly thinner. I saw a 1 year old Nano over at Cilogear today that had been a jugging line for most of its life and it looked damn near new….that’s impressive. I want a purple one!
|The snazzy purple Nano next to its new brother, the Fire Red Ion.|
I need to make one correction from yesterday’s entry (which I have also corrected there), and that is that the new 9.2mm Monster rope will also be available in 100m lengths in addition to 60m and 70m lengths.
Alright, now that yesterday’s stuff is out of the way, let’s move on to the new stuff. Lots of good stuff for you guys here- this show is shaping up to be a pretty awesome one despite the subdued feeling at the show.
National Geographic Maps
I started out the morning by stopping over at the National Geographic booth to hear about their new website- www.topo.com. The site launches in April, so the link probably isn’t working, but I wanted to include it anyway. National Geographic is moving toward a different kind of model for access to their topographic maps around the country. Rather than going to a store and buying each map separately, you can now go online to topo.com and look at any of the maps for free. You can also add photos to the site (linked to coordinates), update info, and get updated info from the NPS, BLM, and UFS. However, you cannot download or do any sort of modification to the maps without first purchasing them from National Geographic. The nice part is, the maps are fairly cheap at $1.00 each, and are available for purchase either online (individually) or in stores (in $25 amounts). As the stuff in question was online only, I was unable to get any screenshots of the site, but I’ll say that it was pretty neat and fairly interactive. The hybrid maps- satellite with contour maps on top was really cool (think Google maps with the street lines on it, only for mountains). Look for the site to launch on or around April 25, 2008.
|Here they are- the DMM offsets, hitting retailers in early March.|
Paul swears they’re coming- in fact, they’re in production as we speak and are due to ship to retailers as soon as possible, so look for them in March. The word is that retailers are ordering them in quantities that DMM simply wasn’t expecting, so they’re thrilled at the reception that the improved stoppers are getting. They retail at $16 a piece, or a set of 5 for $75.
We also touched base on the new line of Revolver carabiners. It seems that the Revolver, when it is being used, tends to be the sort of use where a locker is also desired, so they have developed a line of lockers- a screw gate, a quick lock, and a lock-safe, along with a wire gate. Pricey, though- $33.75-$35.75 each! Yowsers! Look for them later on in the spring, possibly early summer.
I also wanted to link in DMM’s little video on how they make carabiners. www.youtube.com Thanks to caughtinside for posting this on rc.com!
Okay, lots of news at BD, but hardly any of it climbing. I’m going to touch on most of it because I think lots of folks enjoy their winter sports stuff as well. First and foremost is that BD is moving into the boot business- they’re releasing a line of 9 ski boots- 3 AT, 6 Tele boots. All of which were designed as ski boots that can walk rather than walking boots that can ski.
|Sometimes I wish I skied so I could wear these boots- so shiny!|
On a more climbing related note, BD is releasing the new Apollo lantern on March 1st. This little gizmo retails at $49.95 and is a rechargeable LED lantern with a dimmer switch. Even at its brightest setting, you won’t go blind, but it’s still bright enough to light up a tent. It also has a batter indicator and comes with a charger.
|The Apollo lantern, not as cool as going to the moon, but still pretty spiffy.|
In other news, BD is updating the Express screw, apparently with a small adjustment to the threads and teeth, it is even better and faster than before. They wouldn’t elaborate any more than that, so there you go. They’ve also done a similar ‘small adjustment’ to the cyborg cramp-on, again, no details, only that it’s better. BD is also releasing a pair of new gloves- the Enforcer and Punisher, both of which have a new d30 gel (youtube this for fun videos) in the fingers and knuckles of the glove; very impact resistant without transmitting any of the force to your hand. Penn (our rep) molded some over his knuckles and then proceeded to hit himself vigorously with a mallet without breaking his hand, so that was pretty cool. Look for all of this stuff in September.
In other cool stuff news, BD is releasing a bunch of new packs with built-in Ava-lungs. The packs are available without the lung for $100 less. The two highlights are the Bandit, an 11L pack just big enough for a jacket, thermos, and a pair of goggles for $169 ($69 without the lung). There’s also the Alias, a 30L version of the Bandit, which retails at $229 with lung, $129 without. Pretty cool stuff if you’re into that whole snow thing.
|The Bandit is the bottom left pack- pretty tiny, eh?|
|Here they are again, the tiny tricams.|
So, the tricams are almost here- look for them in March. Not much more to say about them other than they’re very shiny and everyone is very excited about them, and apparently my camera still hates them. It is so hard to get a good shot of these things- they’re really shiny so the camera doesn’t know how to focus on them…sorry!
|Tiny is not an adequate word to describe the new Nano 23.|
The new Nano is out, by the way, so if you’re in the market, they’re available. Weighing in at a svelte 23g (that’s 5g lighter than before!) with the same footprint as the old ones, this is the lightest full strength carabiner out there. (Note: Full-strength being strong enough for climbing, the overall strength rating of this carabiner is lower than before- its major axis strength is 20kn, minor and gate open are at 7kn, I believe). Speaking of light, check out CAMP’s new helmet, the Speed:
|Light doesn’t do it justice- 210g, a full 20g lighter than anything else.|
Look for it in green this fall with orange to be added at a later date. In other lightweight news, CAMP is also offering the Windmit’n- a 15g pair of shells for your gloves. They pack tiny and can be slipped onto your gloves for added warmth at belay. They’re $24.95 and I forgot to ask when they’re out, but sometime this year for sure.
Finally, to tantalize your taste buds for all things CAMP, while I have no pictures and no specifics, CAMP will be debuting a line of climbing ropes at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market this year- which probably means a Spring ’09 release to retailers. Exciting!
First off, I must apologize- my Mountain Hardwear meeting was at a media event which I could not stay for in its entirety, so I missed out on some stuff, so I’ll do my best to swing back through their actual booth tomorrow for pictures and details. Speaking generally, there were three big highlights- the Red Savina, a heated glove; Terra Shell fabric- a waterproof breathable fabric; and an entirely new baselayer program with Chitosan, a natural anti-mircobial.
|Technology is pretty cool, this glove even has an on/off switch!|
That’s right, check out the Red Savina, a rechargeable, battery powered heated glove. The battery is a lithium polymer battery, a thin, flexible battery that is kept in the gauntlet of the glove. The glove will heat up more when your hand is cold, less when it’s warmer, and will provide 4-6 hours of heat. I spaced the price, but I’ll try to get it tomorrow.
The baselayer program has been completely revamped for the Fall of ’08. Look for an entirely new line- they have three styles, regular, advanced, and seamless. The real story, though is the anti-microbial Chitosan- this is a ‘green’ anti-microbial made from crustaceans! How cool is that- your clothes have lobster in them!
I was unable to get any pictures, but the Mountain Hardwear gaiter line has also been revamped. They have exchanged the ventilation system for a stretch panel and focused on making those small improvements that can make all the difference. The two major ones are a new low profile adjustment at the top of the gaiter rather than a bulky buckle, and once adjusted, entry into and out of the gaiter can be done via the Velcro seam up the back rather than messing with the adjustment every time. They’ve also removed the post buckle on the boot strap and instead moved to a climbing inspired friction buckle, thus eliminating both the holes on the bootstrap and the possible damage to the post in the buckle.
Again, I need to apologize, but they just started explaining the Terra Shell and I had to depart the meeting. However, I stayed long enough to find out that it is a breathable 3 layer shell, with 20d construction on the inside and outside layer (I believe), and most importantly, perhaps, is that it has the Z-weld system in it. This is a method of welding that uses no seam tape and no stitching, as well as allows the fabric to maintain its stretch, even at the seam, something no other seam technology can do. I’ll try to get more info on this tomorrow.
My trip to Mountain Hardwear was cut short because I needed to get to my meeting with Verde PR- these awesome folks are my reps for the following five companies. First and foremost is La Sportiva, which is not introducing much at this show, just two new pieces of footwear. The first is the re-introduction of the Cobra climbing shoe. A more comfortable slipper than the Venom, it is a little softer with a bit more room in the toebox. It will retail at $110 and be available this fall.
|The Cobra returns.|
The fancy boot above is La Sportiva’s other addition to the line, which is actually replacing another boot, the Trango EVO. The new boot is called the Trango Prime and features some marked improvements over the EVO, making it a warmer boot overall. It features and extra layer of EVA in the insole, Primaloft will replace the Thinsulate within the body of the boot, and the boot features a new integrated gaiter made of Schoeller. Look for it in Fall of ’08.
|Well, if nothing else, you’ll definitely get noticed at the crag!|
Well, Osprey, as usual, is showing off a pretty fancy new pack at this show- the Variant. A no-frills crag pack, it will come in one color- RED. It has a hydration port, top access, a 3-point haul system, and a spindrift collar, and that’s about it. The biggest version will have a stronger framesheet that is more flexible than the others due to the size of the pack. It’s available in three sizes- 28L, 37L, and 52L, which will cost $129, $169, and $199 respectively. Very cool.
Behold, the first in a whole new line of apparel for Sierra Designs. Paul Gagner of Gregory recently joined Sierra Designs and realized that their apparel line was good, but it could be better. Look for a more technical line with a good price point from Sierra Designs in the fall. Perhaps the coolest thing on display was the Frenzy, a hooded (helmet compatible) Polartec Softshell that will retail at $199.95 and be available in both mens and womens. The jacket to the right is the Lava, a waterproof breathable hardshell with Primaloft Eco and seamtaped construction that will also be priced at $199.95 and have a women’s version as well.
After hanging out at Sierra Designs, Julie took me over to Julbo, which has a few new things going on. It has a lifestyle line, but in the ‘shiny’ and ‘cool’ category, check out the new Trail sunglass:
|Yes, I’m bending the lens- it’s flexible!|
The new Trail features a very flexible Zebra lens- the Zebra lens is a photochromatic lens that gets darker as it gets brighter. I have the Instinct sunglass with the Zebra and really enjoy the lens as it will get light enough to climb in the shade without taking them off, but dark enough to walk in the full desert sun without squinting.
Also new with Julbo is a line of goggles. While the goggle market is pretty saturated in North America, Julbo is the only manufacturer in North America that has a goggle with Category 4 lenses. They’re also releasing their Revolution Goggle, which will feature the Zebra lens technology. Both the goggles and the new Trail sunglass are in stores now!
Light My Fire
While actually called Industrial Revolution, this fine Swedish company markets under the name of Light My Fire (along with others) in the U.S. market. Manufactured in Sweden on demand, they specialize in reacting quickly to industry trends as well as making products that make you smile a little.
|Three sizes, regular, extra medium (so you can get to the bottom of your prepackaged meals), and large!|
It’s a very colorful company that makes really neat little items for the aspiring car camper. The Spork is pretty neat, with a fork and knife on one end, and a spoon on the other. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes. They also have the Firestick, a $12-$17 firestarter with a magnesium alloy that spits sparks at a temperature of 3000 degrees Celsius! The large firestarter is good for about 12,000 sparks. The president of the company demonstrated the sparker for me and I was duly impressed- I want one!
|The Nuun line-up.|
After visiting with Verde, I was off to meet up with Boo and the crew from Nuun, that little tablet that turns your water into a tasty sugar-free electrolyte beverage. I tried this stuff at the last show and was duly impressed- I even drank a liter of it warm out at Little Cottonwood on the last day of the show and it was not terrible, despite the hot water! It is especially tasty when cold, though. At this show, they are debuting the Bigger Nuun tablets, which turn 1L of water into Nuun per tablet (regular Nuun transforms .5 L of water), available in the Lemon Lime in Feburary, and in a brand new flavor- Orange Ginger in April (Orange Ginger will also be available in regular Nuun). I tasted the Orange Ginger and its even better than my previous favorite, Lemon-Lime!
Some companies do one thing and they do it well. Bridgedale is one of those companies. They make socks. That’s it, nothing else. Founded 25 years ago in Northern Ireland, they really know how to make a sock. Their socks have a 3 year guarantee due to their Woolfusion technology, which marries a synthetic fiber to the wool fiber before the sock is sewn. The cushioning in all of their socks is sculpted to be where you need it and not where you don’t so your feet can breathe. I checked out the X-Hale Trailhead, available in both mens and women’s for $16.95.
|Just in case you get lost, these shoes have their own map.|
So a couple of guys at 5.10 decided to strike out on their own, and voila, Oboz was born, a shoe company based in Bozeman, they debut their companies wares this spring. Features in the line is the Teton trail shoe (pictured), complete with a relief map of the Tetons carved into the sole of the shoe. Pretty cool, huh? As an added level of coolness and environmental impact, for every pair of shoes Oboz sells, they will plant a tree to help reforestation. Check ‘em out at www.obozfootwear.com
I have to hand it to Merrell- they really know how to think outside the box. They’ve made a commitment to introducing a completely innovative product for every season- a piece of apparel which tries to think outside the box and push the envelope for the gear industry. This year, they introduce the Gatherer Jacket- a 100% nylon shell with a DWR coating on it with no fill at all, just zips on the body. It’s your job to provide the fill- be it leaves, yarn, or whatever, you get to insulate yourself with this jacket! It’s available only online at www.merrell.com and select retail stores this fall for $99.00.
|Yes, those are leaves inside of that jacket...|
Merrell is also continuing its envelope pushing this fall with their new Opti-Warm proprietary synthetic insulation. They’ll debut it in the Women’s Slide and Men’s Task. The insulation is a high-loft, high-compression insulation with good warmth.
Merrell also has a new line of shoes out, focusing on a multi-sport approach, they are primarily trail shoes with a lifestyle flair. I managed to space getting the press sheet on them, so I’ll swing back through tomorrow for details. Sorry again- it had been a pretty long day at this point!
Like their boothmates Trango, I try to always stop by and visit Walson and crew to see what’s new in the world of bouldering. Flashed is the creator and distributor of the Air Technology bouldering pads the Ronin and the Samurai. I stopped in to chat with the guys and see what’s new in Canada! While they don’t have any new pads, they are releasing some environmentally friendly hemp products, including a tote bag and a couple of chalk bags. I chatted briefly with Walson about future possibilities, and ever cryptic, he just smiled when I asked if we could expect some cool new pads at the Summer Market.
|Gear of the Year 2008- congrats to Cloudveil!|
As the day was winding down, I swung by Cloudveil to witness the crew setting up some sort of beer flinging contest, which from what I could tell involved a makeshift bar and a giant plastic tarp. While I missed the contest itself, I’m sure it was a lot of fun. We also got to check out the dudes with a portable ping pong table running around challenging anyone who would dare to play them in their brown sweat suits. Scary. As for Cloudveil, not too much new to chat about- their hardshell Koven Plus just won Outside Magazine’s 2008 Gear of the Year award- not bad for a softshell company! They’re also releasing the new Hoback collection, which features Gore Pro Shell fabric and primaloft insulation.
I finished the day off at Cilogear talking with Graham (crackers on rc.com) and crew- they had the V3 Worksacks out, along with the new 30L pack and the new 75L pack (well, they think its 75L, it hasn’t officially been measured yet- its probably bigger!). They also had the new Dyneema packs, including the one that Kelly Cordes took up some giant cliff somewhere for 50 odd some days…..I sort of was spacing on the details at that point.
|Kelly’s dyneema pack after 50 days of use and a single tiny hole in the ice axe holster...|
The new V3 packs have some nice improvements over the V2 series. They all feature 500d Dyneema/Cordura, a tougher fabric than the previous 210d. The extension collar now has grommets, and the packs now feature an internal lid pocket rather than the external one. The 45L now has the internal compression strap that was featured on the 60L previously. There’s also a new size- the 40B, which is designed for folks with smaller torsos and crag use. Also, in order to keep the weight near the same due to the change in fabric from 210d to 500d, Graham lightened up the lid quite a bit, this way the packs, if they get heavier at all, its only marginally so.
|Here are the latest and greatest from Cilogear.|
I’d also like to take a minute and thank Graham for his response to my single complaint about my 45L- the tendency for the lid to slide down the front of the pack if the pack isn’t fully loaded. All V3 lids now have a built in short strap in the center of the lid that clips to the middle d clip to keep the lip from slipping forward. Thanks Graham!
Here’s the new monster- the 75L worksack. It hasn’t officially been sized yet, so the actual size may change- I would guess bigger than 75L, but what do I know? Along with all of the other features, it also features a ratchet compression strap that hooks to the waist belt that allows for tighter compression on the giant pack.
All of the V3 packs are available now except the 30L, which should be around in April. Also, Graham would like to let everyone know that if you own a V1 pack, you are eligible for a 20% discount on a V3 pack if you donate your V1 pack to a good cause. Just let him know via the Cilogear website www.cilogear.com and he’ll send you a coupon. On that note, Cilogear has sponsored its first climber- a 3rd grader in Massachusetts who wanted to climb to raise money so his school could be ‘greener’. For that effort, Cilogear has built custom packs for him and his brother as well as another pack to be sold at auction to raise funds. A big kudos to Graham and crew for doing their part for the environment!!!
Well, that’s about it. It’s been a long day, and an even longer night writing all of this up for you guys. I hope you enjoy it. Tomorrow is a little quieter, but I am meeting up with Arc’teryx, Evolv, Petzl, and Acopa among others- see you then!!!
4 Comments Add a Comment
|Is there any chance of getting a photo of those new tri-cams next to a pink? That would rock for size comparison.|
|What? Long Day? Ohh Geezzz.... Yeah, great coverage again John, always love hearing your perspective. My gratitude to you for taking the time to shoot and write...Long day indeed!|
|forklift- my apologies- i thought of that later that day, and it just isnt really an option at this point. the good news is that they'll be here shortly and you can see for yourself! the size difference between the pink and black is about the same as between the white and black....the black is definitely the next logical size down.|
|as a skier, i would love to have a closer look at bd's new line of ski boots. Their newly redesigned ski line has gotten rave reviews.|