What new gear is coming in 2016 for lightweight backpackers, mountaineers, climbers and outdoor lovers?
Outdoor Research’s big news was that they now have a new investor on board, which allows them to invest more into R&D and tap into the knowledge of the new partner. The first result is the Precipice Jacket™ which uses the new AscentShell™ fabric technology, a 308 g (Size L) hardshell that’s made of 100% nylon 20D mechanical stretch ripstop face with a 100% Polyester 12D backer. The jacket is fully seam-taped and has a laminated construction with Dynamic Reach™ Underarm Panels which allow great freedom of movement. A helmet compatible Wire-Brimmed Halo-Hood™ keeps the head dry and one of the internal pockets doubles as a stuff sack. An interesting jacket with a new technology, curious to see if it performs better than existing hardshell fabrics.
Next up was the Ferrosi Summit Hooded Jacket™ which adds a more durable, rugged jacket to the Ferrosi family that is still highly breathable while offering protection for full mountain conditions. It is 526 g in Size 34 and has all the bells & whistles you need from a mountain jacket: A helmet-compatible Wire-Brimmed Halo-Hood™, zippered chest & hand pockets, Dynamic Reach™ Underarm Panels and being of course water-, wind-, and abrasion-resistant. Also new to the Ferrosi family is the Ferrosi Crag Pants™ which will tip the scales at 314 g in Size 34 and comes with articulated knees, a gusseted crotch and a low-profile waist with Knit Stretch Panels for freedom of movement in the mountains.
I really loved the look of the Women’s Ferrosi Knickers™ which had a great orange (that was slightly difficult to photograph). It’s a rock climbing pants that has stretch knit panels at the waist which allows you to easily wear a harness over it. The lightweight stretch-woven construction is highly durable, for fun days at the crag.
Already available are the Splitter Gloves™, OR’s take on crack gloves. These were very comfortable thanks to the synthetic suede on the inside and a non-slip synthetic leather on the outside gives you grip in cracks and protects your hands.
Completely new is also the Sensor Dry Series which come in Premium & Standard versions. Both are waterproof according to the IPX-8 Standard, fully touchscreen (and camera!) functional, have welded seams and are fairly lightweight. The Premium versions come with waterproof pins for your headphones and can swim when dropped into the water. Available for normal sized smartphone, massive smartphones and tablets.
And finally there were plenty of new hats, like the Helium Rain Bucket™, a waterproof hat; the Mesa Verde Sun Hat™, a 78 g light sun hat for the ladies; and the Springboard Cap I am sporting there, a lightweight cap for your trail adventures.
“Have you seen anything new & interesting yet?” is the standard conversation opener at the fair. In years past my reply was usually “Nope” but this year I passed Graham from CiloGear as I had some time to spare and walked with him to his booth where he showed me something. What I saw then was not new, but it was for me the coolest thing on the fair which I told everyone who asked me the opening question then. Graham had a pack along - the first preproduction 3030 ever made - which had seen roughly 900 (!) days outdoors, including two expeditions to Pakistan and was along establishing a new route on K7, a 6,934 m peak near the Charakusa Valley in the Karakoram. The owner sent it in to get the extension collar renewed, but the rest of the pack - seams and material - were still in great shape (albeit a tad dirty, but what do you expect after over two years in the mountains!). For me the most interesting thing in the show, not just because it shows that small manufacturers produce superb gear that lasts, but also because of the stories this pack would tell.
The big news at Arc’teryx was their 2016 Footwear which I already have presented to you in June. The next big news was the Atom SL Hoody, an ultralight summer insulation piece that will weigh 285 g for a Men’s Medium. The Coreloft 40g/m² insulation is quilted to the liner while on the side and arm panels a soft fleece material helps with ventilation. Really interesting is the No-Slip-Zip™ front zipper which works like a series of speed bumps that keep the zipper from self-opening. It packs tiny and so can always be along in your backpack on your mountain adventures.
That backpack could be one of the new Cierzo Packs, Arc’teryx’s updated alpine climbing pack (in the centre of the photo underneath). Available as a Cierzo 18 (375 g) and a Cierzo 28 (550 g) they open via a pull to open, pull to close drawcord system like the Alpha FL packs, but also feature a SwiftCord™ drawstring compression system which is versatile in use and can be stored away when not needed. You can carry ice tools with them, and the Cierzo 28 has a padded back panel that can be removed to save more weight.
Interesting for hiking & backpacking was also the Pelon Comp SS which is made from core-spun Merino wool and has durable nylon inserts in high wear areas as the shoulders. They weigh 145 g in Size M and have a Regular fit and should be pretty good for long trips in the outdoors thanks to the properties of Merino wool.
Petzl had a lot of new gear on their booth, and they were also celebrating 25 years of the GriGri, probably the most popular belay device amongst all sorts of climbers.
But the new gear! All of the IRVIS, VASAK, SARKEN, LYNX, DARTWIN and DART crampons get technical upgrades, making them even more effective, durable and practical. Effective: the horizontal structure of the frame brings the boot sole as close to the crampon as possible for increased sensitivity and precision. Durable: a special steel, chosen by Petzl for its rigidity and strength, allows a reduction in thickness to offer light weight crampons with sharper points. Practical: user-friendly binding systems, ANTISNOW and interchangeable front sections.
The IRVIS, VASAK and SARKEN Crampons have front sections that are interchangeable and available as accessories, which means you can have one crampon for all your needs and don’t need two or more of crampons in the house. Now you can simply & fast convert for example a technical mountaineering crampon into one for glacier travel. All of them come with the new ANTISNOW, which limits snow balling up under your crampon. The VASAK will weigh 810 g, the IRVIS 710 g and the SARKEN 810 g, all with the FLEXLOCK binding. The linking bar in all three can be shortened to fit small sizes (Size 36 is the smallest size all three will fit, with Size 50 being the max).
The ELIA is a new Women’s helmet with the OMEGA headband system. The notch in the back is for the long hair and allows ladies to put the helmet on and off very easily with a lot of comfort. It is 285 g light and also has a new webbing adjustment mechanism which allows the helmet to be precisely adjusted for different head shapes. The ABS shell and expanded polystyrene liner will keep the wearer save.
The TIBLOC has been around for a while and gets a update for 2016. The new ultralight emergency ascender gets a system that automatically presses the carabiner against the rope to initiate the clamping action on the rope. You can see this advantage in comparison to the current TIBLOC in the 2nd photo underneath. The new TIBLOC has a rope compatibility from 8 to 11 mm and weighs 35 g.
Furthermore there’s two new Semi-static ropes coming, two new carabiners, the ALCANADRE, a large volume pack for transporting canyoning equipment and the BUG, a small backpack for single-day multi-pitch climbing.
Doesn’t the Röjk booth look fantastic? Of course it does - Linus & Jan shanghaied me in helping it putting it up!
That’s the Guys PrimaLoft Zippen Hood in purple, which rocks. It’s a S.O.A. Winner, too. But new is the Guys PrimaLoft Drifter Hood that Linus models underneath. It’s a lighter weight hoody jacket. The PrimaLoft Polyester makes it lightweight and nicely soft on the skin, is wicking very fast while the Merino wool makes it stay fresh. The cool look makes it a fine choice for chilling at the campfire or going to town.
Somehow I managed to not take a photo of Röjk’s new T-Shirt designs for the SuperTee, which is a shame because they were awesome. Röjk continues their Inka, Maya & Aztec theme with very pretty designs on their 60% Merino wool & 40% Modal shirts for Chicks and Guys, so please excuse the absence of the photos and believe me: They rock. What I did photograph, though, is the new Chicks & Guys Roamer Hoody. These are made from Merino wool and Lyocell for a lightweight and comfortable backpacking hoody that stays fresh and cool for a long time.
Sadly not pictured are the great looking SuperTank tops, which are made from Merino wool and Modal and also come in sick Inca patterns. What I can show you is the PrimaLoft Hiker Lightweight Sock which should be super breathable thanks to the open mesh structure on top and help avoid sweaty feet. Made from PrimaLoft Yarn, Merino wool and Polyamide they should be durable, keeping your toes warm, dry and looking good!
Most importantly, you can shop their gear online right now in the Röjk online shop!
The big news at Ortovox were the backpacks, especially the PEAK which has a unique SWISSWOOL back system that’s made from pressed Swiss wool. The ideas is that in exactly the same way as with clothing you would benefit from the wool’s great moisture and microclimate management and therefore the backpanel feels comfortable and dry on your back. Otherwise the PEAK is a good looking climbing backpack with a c circumferential front zipper for easy access. Will be interesting to see if the backpanel works as imagined or if it just sucks itself full with sweat and stays wet.
The MERINO SHIELD SHELL (MI) PIZ BADILE JACKET is from Ortovox’s new softshell line (called, yes, MERINO SHIELD SHELL) and will weigh 353 g (Size ?). The line is made for high-alpine tours and has hence the features you’d want from a jacket for such outings: Freedom of movement, high abrasion-resistance, breathability and comfort. It has a protective shell made from Cordura®, the outer side of front pocket is made of felted wool and has an athletic fit. It was a comfortable jacket and felt very nice.
It was pretty cool to meet the guys from Kitka Climbing at the fair, especially with their own booth! Kitka makes polyurethane climbing holds, handcrafted in Finland, with a lot of unique & cool shapes. They felt great and I reckon I will need to get a few sets for my own boulder wall!
As always I enjoyed my visit to Rab, and their new kit really rocks. There was a lot of new lightweight gear for the ladies, like the fine Women’s Flashpoint Jacket which is made from 3L Pertex Shield+ Fabric and will weigh 160 g for a Women’s 12. It has a helmet compatible hood with a lightweight & flexible polymer peak to keep your eyes dry in the rain. It’s designed as the jacket that you have along in case the rain hits you while you are on a Multi-Pitch route or an alpine ascent, and as it is so light you don’t need to ponder if you take it along.
New is also the Women’s Continuum Jacket which will be the lightest option in the women’s insulation range at 240 g in Size 12. It’s filled with 100g of 850FP European Goose Down that’s hydrophobic. It will pack down also very small and thus also can always come along on your mountain adventures.
And I liked the new Rock Climbing garments immensely. Functional and stylish, the assortment of pants - from the Oblique & Rockover Pants to the Rampage Jacket and the many great T-Shirts and hoodies, the Rock Climbing & Lifestyle Collection is great for days at the crag - be it in Kalymnos, Olhava or the Peak District.
Sea to Summit
After not visiting Sea to Summit in 2014 I was happy to check out what they had new this year. The XSet Pots are collapsible cooking pots, which should be ideal with simple gas or alcohol stoves. The bottoms are made from hard anodized aluminium with food-grade & heat-resistant silicone walls that fold down for transport, making for small packages while in your pack. The 3 piece kit consists of a 1,3 l kettle, one 2,8 l pot and a 8” frying pan that weigh together 756 g. The kettle on its own is 186 g and the lightest of the whole series and could be all a lightweight backpacker needs.
New is also the Aeros Pillow Ultralight which will weigh 70 g and packs as big as a Kiwi. If you value a good nights sleep and want a lightweight pillow that is very comfortable, this looks like an interesting new offering to the market.
The Ground Control Tent Pegs are made from high-quality aluminium, weigh 14 g each and have a luminescent pull loop which is easily seen at night, adding a bit more security to your nightly stumbles around your tent.
The Self-Adhesive Lash Points should be especially interesting for packrafters. These allow you to add extra tie-down points to your packraft, either to tie down gear, install thigh straps or or or. And at 18 g per lash point they’re ultralight, too.
New at Vertical-Life was the Zlag Up!, a variation on the Zlagboard which I use. It’s a smart pull-up bar which works like the Zlagboard with an App on your smartphone to keep track of your training, and as a very special extra there’s the rolley bar which is pretty cool to train your balance.
The Climbing App Guides also get a lot of new topos all the time, and you can test the app for South Tyrol’s crags for free (I wish I’d known this before my trip to the Dolomites!).
Stay tuned for the next part, coming soon™!
As usual you can see a lot more photos in the OutDoor 2015 Flickr Album. Sweet. And if you liked this follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ for more gear & outdoor updates. And I do accept a coffee as a payment for my work =)