Thursday, July 25, 2013

Exciting New Gear from the Summer 2013 OutDoor Show and Outdoor Retailer

An explosion of gear!
It is summer outdoor trade show season. Manufacturers are announcing next years products at the European OutDoor Show in Friedrichshafen and Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City. We won't be going to either of these trade shows, but like good outdoor geeks we've been watching the blogs and a few things have caught my interest:

Jetboil does a winter stove

The old Jetboil shown here is a snow melting machine...except when it is cold. 

I love the convenience and efficiency of Jetboil stoves but their upright canister design falls short in temperatures below the boiling point of butane fuel. Gearcaster has a write up of Jetboil's new Joule Group Cooking System which uses an inverted canister/liquid fuel feed to increase cold weather performance. The pot is 2.5 liters and I wish it was a bit smaller/lighter as I think the perfect use for a winter Jetboil would be melting snow on long day ski tours. Would an inverted canister head that worked with my existing ~1 liter Flash and Sumo pots be too much to ask?

The Petzl Meteor Finally comes in 2 Sizes

Foam helmets are far superior to hardshells for most climbing since they offer better protection against off center impacts as seen in falls. The Petzl Meteor is one of the top choices but has traditionally come in one too-small-for-ryan too-big-for-jen size. Next year it comes in two sizes according to Outdoors Magic. Black Diamond also does two sizes in their Vector and Vapor as well, lets hope everyone follows suit. I'd love to see foam climbing helmets in full ranges of sizes like bike and ski helmets.

A Waterproof Houdini?

Jen wears her Houdini for protection from wet spring snow.
My old Patagonia Houdini is one of my two favorite jackets and I was surprised to see Patagonia turning it into more of a trail running piece with a tight fit less suitable for alpine layering duty. Outdoors Maging has it that they are coming out with a new Alpine Houdini which is fully waterproof. I'll wait to see how breathable it is and how the cut works in practice but if it lives up to the versatility of the old one I could see it being a great piece.

Patagonia Brings Back the Ascentionist...Name

This Jacket is now a line of packs.
The durable, versatile, breathable Ascentionist softshell is my other favorite jacket. Perfect for everything from cold weather sport climbing to ski touring. I was excited to see Patagonia is bringing back the Ascentionist...as a line of packs? Gear Caster has the story on this one. The packs actually look quite nice (streamlined alpine packs with A frame ski carry) but I'm still wondering what to do when my jacket finally dies.

Arc'teryx "Fast and Light" packs

Jen hasn't found a pack that carries as well as her 38 liter Arc'teryx Khamsin. She has taken to lining it with a garbage bag so gear doesn't fall out through the holes she has worn in it.  Also note her Patagonia Houdini.   

Arc'teryx makes packs that carry loads well but lots of times they seem to use exotic materials and features that drive up cost and price. Their new Alpha FL 35/40 (gearcaster) seems to be a super simple/clean alpine pack with a reasonable price compared to some of their packs. Jen's old Khamsin 38 has acquired more then a few holes and this could be worth looking at as a replacement if the little tabs on the side can be used to attach compression straps for doing A-frame ski carry on it.

Outdoor Research takes some risks

Seattle based Outdoor Research is a respected brand long known for well made gaiters, hats and gloves. They have been reinventing themselves the last few years to have a full apparel line and appeal more to "core" climbers and skiers.

I was excited to see that they are coming out with some non traditional designs like convertible ultralight wrist band/wind mitts and gloves with built in wind mitt, ultralight gaiters and "sun sleeves". Gear like this can really work to keep you comfortable in changing conditions (like ski touring up to a stormy ridge line) but I usually expect to see more of it from European brands like CAMP. It is nice to see the Seattle Home Team stepping up!

Hiking in Finland has the write up on these and gear from some other brands.

New 5.10 "so soft it sticks to glass" MI6 rubber

Will this be the end of footwork frustrations with the polished stone of the River Boulders at Index, Wa?

Long regarded as the premier maker of sticky climbing rubber, five ten has a new soft and sticky rubber originally developed so that Tom Cruz could climb glass (really). It will be coming out first on what looks to be a softer version of the excellent "Team" downturned slipper. Youtube video from epic tv. Gearcaster.

And more

There are loads of other new products I didn't list. Some of the best early write ups can be found at:

Hiking in Finland

Trailspace and Gear Junkie usually have some info as well once Outdoor Retailer rolls around. 

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