What does an ultralight backpacker, skier and climber do at the IWA OutdoorClassics fair? Blending in, obviously =)
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If you’re interested exclusively in outdoor gear and don’t carry a knife in the outdoors, better read this article. If knives, warm boots, and toned-down garments are something you are interested in - dive in!
This Opinel N°08 Black Oak was my favourite piece of hardware on the show. It’s lightweight (45 g) and simply beautiful. It felt great in my hand and I think I want to pick one up.
Also the other goods from Opinel were top notch and especially the two sets for kids were amazing, as a father of a seven year old boy I really loved the wood carving set which lets the child build a small sail boat. Similarly, the kitchen knife set allows the kids to help safely in the kitchen - and cooking together is a lot of fun!
Also this Marttiini Damast Steel puukko was a work of art, Made in Finland. The birch handle is waxed and felt really good in my hand, and damast steel with it’s intriguing patterns is always an eye-catcher.
Apparently All Black is a trend in the knife industry, also also the Swiss Brand Swiza had an All Black pocket knife. This one felt lightweight and could be a good knife for weight-conscious backpackers.
At Victorinox a person was showing some visitors how to carve with the knife in the middle, and it was interesting to watch. This Swiss Brand had a wide array of different knives, and it seems even some collectors editions.
And at Morakniv they were very proud of their new hook knife for carving, and it’s a great - and SHARP - knife for sure. This knife now finally comes with it’s own leather pouch which protects it during transport, which is a good thing. Also I learned that Mora produces some insane amount of knives each day - 20.000 to be exact!
As I have around my house a large pine hedge which I cut once a year, a good saw is mandatory in our house. I checked out the Silky Saws booth and these Japanese saws looked amazing, I feel when my Fiskars saw is at the end of it’s life cycle I might replace it with a Silky one.
Hultafors from Sweden makes Axes since a loooong time, and their Hultån, Åby and Ågelsjön hatchets felt amazing in hand. Sadly they didn’t have any wood for splitting along, but I am pretty sure these axes are up to the task! Oh, and that Damast Axe - it’s a unique piece which is unlikely to see mass production, and with a price tag of around 2.000€ it’s also more likely an Axe which you’ll hang on your wall than using it in the forest.
I met the guys from FixPlus which make lightweight straps with which you can connect your gear to all kinds of stuff - from closing your cook kit securely to attaching your skis to your bike, these are multiple use and lightweight - and unlike the classic Voilé straps more durable and UV resistant.
Fjällräven was with their sister companies at the fair and their new hunting trousers looked amazing - both very comfortable and made for a good time in the outdoors, in any weather. I liked the pattern, too, and imagine that we will see many people wear these for normal backpacking and hiking.
The Hawu Roll Chimney from Finnish brand Savotta was amazing if you’re into hot camping in winter, a really great chimney that’s easy to set up and pack down, and also works with UL wood stoves. At 1 kg it might be heavier than the Titanium foil UL options, but the Hawu was so easy to use that I wouldn’t bother with any other chimney.
And finally, as we’re still in the midst of winter here in Finland and Scandinavia, warm boots! Polyver Boots are Made in Sweden, not far away from Åre, and are fairly lightweight - around 700 g for a Size 42 Premium Low boot, but hold on before you start to write “That’s not….” - these are made for cold weather activities. Like, -25°C cold. Activities like ice fishing. And that’s where they will keep your toes toasty and dry, because waterproof they are too.
As I have said for years in my wrap-ups of the OutDoor Friedrichshafen and ISPO shows, these happenings are less about the gear for me and more about the people. And I met great people at the IWA, which care for nature and enjoy their time in the fjells and forests. I too really enjoyed my first IWA show and seeing all the new gear which I never see at one of the usual shows I attend, and best of all I had ZERO meetings which meant I was free to stroll around the fair and look at the stuff I am interested in. And so I came home with new impressions of a new fair and outdoor market, and got to know some interesting new equipment. Let me know in the comments on Facebook or via Twitter if you found this article interesting, and if you saw some interesting kit! I’ll leave you with some more impressions from the show and wish you a happy outdoor weekend!
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