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Outdoor Retailer Winter Market '08 - Day 3


Submitted by vegastradguy on 2008-01-25 | Last Modified on 2008-01-26

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.   Votes: 4 | Comments: 17 | Views: 10117

by John Wilder


By vegastradguy

Other Outdoor Retailer Winter 2008 blogs: Day 1  Day 2

Click on any image for a larger view.

A ‘Dyno for Dollars’ competitor taking flight at the Outdoor Retailer Show.

Welcome back folks for the third and final day of my Outdoor Retailer coverage here in Salt Lake City. This show has been pretty quiet, but I still managed to find a little excitement here and there- most notably as pictured above with Acopa’s Dyno for Dollars event hosted by John Bachar.

Before we get started on today’s rundown, I again wanted to give a shout out to Paradox Sports, this time giving some real credit to the folks at Evolv, who have taken some serious time out to research and develop the climbing shoe especially adapted for the prosthetic limb that the folks at Paradox are pioneering for climbing.

Designed and built by Evolv, this shoe will also come with a matching Quest shoe.

Look for a lot more information about this at the Summer show when it’s officially being launched, but I definitely want to give huge karma points to the boys at Evolv and Malcolm Daly for creating something really amazing. Please check these folks out at www.paradoxsports.org.

Flashed Climbing

A quick update from Flashed Climbing for you- I completely spaced putting this in yesterday's blog and so my apologies to the boys at Flashed. Walson and crew have developed an awesome little application for your iPod- an iPod Guidebook! It features full color scrolling directions to the area from several different directions, directions to the crag, and detailed route info! It's still in beta and I don't have any screenshots yet, but look for this to launch later this year with several different areas to be featured. I was able to check out Joe's Valley and Red Rocks at the booth, but I think more will be available later on! Cool!

Arc’teryx

Well, the first stop of the day was a visit with Chris at Arc’teryx to check in on things and see what’s new, and probably most importantly, find out when exactly those new harnesses are hitting the market.

Well, the good news is that all of the harnesses will be in stores by March, the even better news is that some of the harnesses may actually be in retailers now- but in all likelihood, you’ll have to wait a few weeks to check them out. However, if you want the skinny sooner than that, look for my review on them starting next week on the front page of the site.

To add to the fun, Arc’teryx is adding another harness to the line, this one is focused on the mixed climbing crowd, with the basic design being nearly identical to the Sport harness in the regular line with 4 ice clipper loops added and it comes in charcoal instead of red. Look for this to hit stores in the fall, hopefully in time for the ice season!

An arc’teryx softshell hoodie!

Arc’teryx is adding to its jacket line this fall with the new Gamma SV softshell. This jacket has a hood built in on its Polartec body as well as Schoeller arm panels. Also look for the Venta SV (pictured below), also a hoodie, this one is made with Gore Windstopper and begins life waterproof, although over time this will wear off a bit. This is Arc’teryx’s entry into the ‘feels like a softshell, functions like a hardshell’ market.

Arc’teryx has two more jackets to show off at the show- the Kappa SV and the ultimate jacket- the $700 Fission SL. The Kappa is a windstopper jacket with primaloft sport insulation while the Fission is a full Gore shell melded with Arc’teryx’s proprietary Thermatech monofilament insulation. Each fiber on the hollow Thermatech filament is coated with DWR to maximize life and loft from the product. Chris tells me this jacket is what happens when you cut the R&D team loose with no budget in mind. Like the others, this is a fall release.

Patagonia Footwear

So, I need to start off by saying this about Patagonia Footwear: you need to check these shoes out. The reason? Because these folks are working VERY hard to make a shoe that is as environmentally friendly as possible, which includes the manufacturing processes effects on the employees. A big part of this is trying to figure out how to keep gluing to a minimum in shoes- it’s a very toxic process no matter how you cut it, so minimizing it is a good thing.

The shoe pictured above has minimal glue- the four components- the insole, footbed, body, and outsole all clip together and can be separated rather than use glue to connect them all. The fit is very secure and you wouldn’t know that you’re wearing a four piece shoe. Look for these shoes in a men’s shoe, men’s boot, women’s shoe and women’s slipper. Also coming out this fall is the Peary Waterproof- a waterproof shoe with Primaloft Eco insulation, a Polartec lining on the inside and Vibram Eco-stop on the outsole. It will retail at $130.

Another reason to like this company is that while they are committed to environmentally friendly processes in the manufacture of their shoe, they’re also committed to listening to their testers when it comes to functionality. A case in point is the Huckleberry- currently it has the Vibram Eco-stop sole on it, but this particular rubber is not sticky at all, so next spring, look for this shoe to come with Vibram GM100, a super sticky approach shoe rubber, making this shoe an excellent choice for approaches.

Petzl

My next stop was Petzl- and Eric took some time to show me the new stuff as well as chat a minute about the Zephyr and what’s going on with that. While Petzl has no news on it at this time, he did want me to remind folks that the only way for Petzl to find out about problems is to contact them, so if you have any issues with a Petzl rope, get ahold of the warranty department- they’ll work with you to resolve any concerns or problems you have because they want to make sure you’re happy.

On another safety related note, you may remember that Petzl recalled their Sarken crampon recently due to pre-mature wear on the front points of the unit. Well, you’ll be happy to know that they’re releasing an improved Sarken with better heat treatment on the steel, a reinforced frame, and a slightly redesigned front point to resist premature wearing of the unit.

On a more gear related note, Petzl has some new goodies to show off and not only that, they’ll all be available around June 1st! Check out the new Petzl Locker (that’s the name of it- the Locker- so original!)- checking in at $14.95, this is your powerpoint carabiner with the classic sleek Petzl look to it.

Also joining the Petzl lineup is the new Altios helmet, which is being sold as between the Elios and Ecrin rock- a little more comfortable and it also has the Adapt system so you can clip your Adapt equipped Tikka directly to the helmet without needing a headstrap. It also has a pretty cool suspension system to keep your head from resting on the hard foam inside. It retails at $79.95 and will be out June 1st.

Finally, the new Ultra Headlamp is coming- sorry for the lack of a picture. This $425 headlamp ($500 for the Ultra version, which has twice as much life per charge) is the uber light for those folks who get nice long nights in the northern latitudes. A 6 LED lamp that puts off 350 lumens (about 2.5x the amount of light the Myo puts out), this thing damn near blinded me when Eric turned it on. It will give you 2hrs on high or 16hrs on economy in the regular version, the Ultra lasts twice as long on both settings.

Arriving in stores on June 1st is the new Reverso 3, which has gained some weight since we last saw it, but works better now and is still essentially the same unit and will come in different colors so you can feel sexy at the crag.

eVent

At a user’s request, I headed over to eVent to find out about the REI announcement made on Day 2, and they were pretty excited to talk about it. This fall, REI Gear and Apparel will introduce 4 items of clothing in its line that have eVent fabric technology- two jackets and two pants. The men’s Shuksan jacket and pant and the women’s Kulshan jacket and pant represent eVent’s first nationally distributed apparel. The jackets will retail at $289.00 and the pants will retail at $229.00. Look for them this fall!

Acopa

So, I had quite a bit of time after checking in with eVent before my last appointment with Evolv, so I stopped by the Acopa booth to check in with Lisa and John. While they were introducing no new shoes, they still are showing off the Merlin and Sidewinder.

They were also doing the Dyno for Dollars event that John was hosting, so I went over and took some shots of the big guns firing off some crazy dynos in order to win some cash.

The opening dyno of the competition by competitor Joe Smith. The winner of the competition easily hitting this one.

Evolv

First up at Evolv is some serious ‘Green’ news. Previously, using recycled rubber was a very toxic and expensive process, but Evolv has figured out how to do it cleaner and cheaper, so starting this summer, Trax will be composed of 25% recycled rubber in some of their shoes, and should expand to the entire line by 2009. They also wanted me to let you folks know that Trax does not have any PAH in it- which some believe to be a carcinogen. Either way, if its identified by letters, I’m happy to have it not be in my stuff.

As usual, Brian and the boys at Evolv had lots to show off, including a sneak peak a the new Bandit and Rockstar-

These are early prototypes, so they might look totally different when they debut.

More importantly, though, are the upcoming releases. Available now is the new Pontas Lace, which apparently is even better than the Pontas with its extra half length midsole, this is one stiff shoe. Attempts to get it to bend were unsuccessful. It retails at $125.00 and is Evolv’s most expensive shoe, still coming in cheaper than similar high end performance shoes.

Coming in March is the Optimus Prime, a wide, low volume cambered shoe. Despite looking like it, this shoe does not have the downturned toe like the Evolv Predator. It is, however, a nicely powerful looking shoe that I’m sure will be very popular. On top of how cool it looks, the name alone makes it cool!

But does it transform?
For all you gym owners out there, check out the new Titan- a Velcro version of the Docon.

Evolv has also answered the call of gym owners, not only releasing the Titan, a Velcro gym shoe with a leather upper, but they’ve also changed the Docon to a leather upper to address the ‘stink’ issue for shoe rentals. Nice job, guys! Finally, coming this spring are the Stryker and the Maximus, the approach shoe and big wall boot- look for a review of the Stryker from rockclimbing.com in the coming weeks!

Well, that’s about it folks- it’s been a fun, thankfully low-stress show for me. Things were pretty quiet on the new gear front, but there was a fair amount of buzz about upcoming things at the next show- so I’m betting that the Summer OR show is going to be quite an exciting event. Thanks as always for reading, I appreciate all the feedback and comments!

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17 Comments CommentAdd a Comment

 zwillia1
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 2008-01-25
wait, really... the optimus isn't a downward toe??? could you maybe give me some more specs on it? i was going to hold out on getting new shoes until they came out, but this might change things....
 JackAttack
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 2008-01-26
from that picture it sure looks pretty downturned...
 vegastradguy
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 2008-01-26
the downturn comes from the camber, which means the toe does slope downward, but it does not have the actual downturn built into it like the Predator, which on top of the camber, also has an aggressive downward slope at the toebox. The Optimus just has a continuous curve along the sole. The Optimus is meant to create its own niche for climbing, not replace the Predator, which is evov's aggresive shoe for overhanging pocket climbing. The Optimus places more emphasis on steep edging while still being a performance minded shoe.
 helios
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 2008-01-26
Thanks for the eVent/REI pricing, VTG! A little higher than I was wishing for... of course.
 vegastradguy
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 2008-01-26
yeah, i was actually surprised at the pricing myself- but then again, I get the impression these jackets are meant to compete with the high end hard shell market, which actually puts them at a decent price. We'll see- I'm actually really impressed with eVent in general and I'm curious to see how their stuff holds up. You can also find the eVent fabric in Rab jackets, which are a very high-end mountaineering company based out of Europe.
 tenesmus
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 2008-01-26
That price is beaten by RAB, and they have been getting great reviews. I have a couple of their jackets and gloves and really love them.

I took a hard look at the Optimus and you should know that it will do really well on steep climbing and will edge a lot better than the Predator which is a pretty soft shoe. They have a stiffer rubber in the forefoot and look to be just as downturned as the Rredator. The difference is the rubber in the Optimus makes a continuous curve in the middle of the shoe instead of just a curved forefoot hooking platform of the predator. This isn't entirely accurate, but hope it helps. Joe took a lot of time explaining this to me and I appreciate it. Those guys are really nice and don't blow you off like the (cough) 'by appointment only'... sportivas (cough) of the world.

I think the huge benefit is the Optimus will allow you to hook and pull when its steep but also KILLIT on the edging topouts. Think steep granite or limestone edging. This would be a great shoe for places like Rifle or VRG or Joes.
 tigerlilly
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 2008-01-26
How does the Reverso 3 compare to the BD ATC guide in weight and function?
 vegastradguy
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 2008-01-26
tigerlily- its 77g, which i think makes it slightly lighter than the Guide, but I'd have to check. as for function- in theory it functions exactly the same, it just will orient differently when hanging on the powerpoint. as for reality- if we get a chance to review it, we'll find out!
 superbum
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 2008-01-26
June 1st for the Reverso 3? Bummer, I heard sooner than that. Does that date include online retailers as well??

VERY interested in the arcteryx harness review...I am looking to buy one for long alpine multiday and winter afairs. Durability, ease of use, weight, and comfort are paramount. Please bore us to death w/ ALL the details! Before i drop $100+ on a harness I wanna know as much as poss. beforehand! Please tell us what you think of the haul loop as well... (BTW, I will still use my Misty Mountain Cadillac for long trad and cragging).

Thanks, looking forward to an indepth review!
 climbermatt
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 2008-01-27
What about five ten??
 pheenixx
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 2008-01-27
Awesome work & review of the show tradguy...!!!

was good to see you at the event, pm to follow ~ Cheers..
 zwillia1
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 2008-01-27
gahh on the optimus. thank you for the amazing follow though man. living vicariously...
 vegastradguy
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 2008-01-27
climbermatt- you know, i didnt get a chance to meet with them at this show- my apologies. i'll definitely meet up with them during the summer market, though.
 sterlingjim
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 2008-01-28
$425 for a headlamp!!!? That has to be a misprint.(?)
 vegastradguy
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 2008-01-28
jim- nope.....thats correct, believe it or not. its a specialty lamp, for sure, and petzl is marketing it as such.
 unrooted
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 2008-01-28
3 out of 5 stars ‘feels like a softshell, functions like a hardshell’ market????

What market????

Why would anyone want a heavy hardshell?
 vegastradguy
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 2008-01-29
hey man, just passing along what they tell me- but i dont exactly think that the jacket is a heavy one, although i didnt get the specs on it....

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