A couple of weeks ago my friend Lighthiker wrote about how the new OutDoor by ISPO was the Same, Same, but different, and today we are looking at the new equipment and apparel which was presented at the show and which is of interest to us backpackers.
Disclosure: All text besides the Intro and Outro are ©Lighthiker and also all Images are ©Lighthiker and are used with Permission. You can follow the author on Twitter where he is known as Lighthiker.
Each year the Outdoor “professionals” (read manufacturers and dealers) meet twice to present new gear for the next season at the OutDoor by ISPO. This year things changed a bit. First the show took place after their US counterpart, the OR show in Denver. This meant a lot of the gear novelties had already been made public. For a good wrap-up please check this post from Sectionhiker. Second this year’s summer show took place in Munich, whereas for the last 25 years it took place in Friedrichshafen at lake Constance. Hendrik wrote an article why for him it did not make sense to visit the fair this year which is why I stepped in.
Please keep in mind that almost all of the gear mentioned here will not hit the stores before April next year. And last but not least whilst UL or lightweight gear is of interest to you the industry as such did not have that very much in focus this year. After years of presenting the “lightest” of something it looks like the usage of lighter materials either made it into the normal line-up or is simply not considered being a main differentiator to the competition anymore. As a result of the above the main focus of this article is on European brands and on gear that either fits the UL/ Lightweight category or I found of general interest. Enough said let’s nerd out!
Already mentioned by Sectionhiker but still newsworthy, Hilleberg released their first Trekking pole supported tent, called Anaris. A super classic A-Frame double-wall design with a pack weight of 1.4kg . Not UL for a two person shelter but as you can expect from Hilleberg it will be bombproof with an excellent built quality. And the fly alone weighs 640g for those wanting to use it in Tarp only mode.
Vaude came out with their Lizard Seamless 1-2 person tent (more 1 person in my opinion). Again not really UL at 1090g but with interesting bonded seams instead of sewn or taped ones. A 2-3 person version comes in at 1650g.
Starting next year all major producers will measure their sleeping pads utilizing “R-values”. The test methods have been slightly altered so e.g. pads from Therm-A-Rest will increase their values slightly even so the pad construction remains unchanged. He good news is that we will be able to compare pads better in the future. This is one example from Big Agnes:
Also Therm-A-Rest will incorporate new valves into all of their pads next year. So expect a Sale on those with current ones! The new ones are supposed to allow a much quicker inflation/ deflation.
Arc’teryx released their updated Norvan LD 2 shoe. Mesh upper, 9mm heel drop combined with a very minimalistic design and a weight of just 520 g per pair makes that an good option for lightweight hiking. But with all shoes, try them on as they need to fit your foot shape and the lugs of the soles are not super aggressive but should do the job according to one of their employees. What was quite obvious at the fair was that Arc’teryx was one of those brands where sustainability is not even worth mentioning. Whilst this was not uncommon about 6-8 years ago nowadays almost every company focuses on sustainability in one shape or form. Reason why Arc’teryx doesn’t? Because they build such great products that they last very long which is their take on the subject according to a Marketing Manager - Lame to say the least!
La Sportiva will release a brand new shoe called Jackal. Good looking sole, mesh upper, 7mm drop, 640g/ pair. Could be a good alternative to the famous Ultra Raptor who will remain in their line-up.
Need a waterproof pant? Montane released their Aqua Pro Lite, weighing just 100g but still incorporating an ankle zipper. Nice!
Patagonia will release a new series of clothes aimed at Trailrunners. I do see some overlap with fast and lightweight hiking here and especially their Strider Pro Pants and their Endless Run shorts caught my interest.
It is hard to believe but the Swedish company Fjällräven, well known for their super durable, super heavy and waxed G-1000 material released a lightweight trouser called the Abisko pants. Cleverly constructed and in the same category as my personal all-time favourite the Montane Terra pant.
Nitcore will complement their highly regarded NU25 headlamp with additional models on the upper and lower end. The NU32 has 550 Lumens with a higher weight compared to the NU25 and the more minimalistic NU17 has an output of 130 Lumens only but is even lighter. Both will be rechargeable and offer red -light modes on top.
BioLite released their HeadLamp 200 model. 200 Lumens, 45 g, red-light modes and rechargeable and incorporating a super comfy headband.
A bit heavier (weighing 140 g) than the inReach Mini, the new ProteGear offers the same functionalities and some more plus a more attractive subscription model imho. You can even choose daily plans if you want and they receive my prize for the nicest booth design at the fair!
Komperdell will release their new Carbon FXP pole which is a self-deploying (!) Z-style pole coming in at 350 g/ pair in an adjustable (up to 135cm) length version. They reduced the parts from 11 to 3 claiming a 30% weight reduction. Construction looked really solid.
Black Diamond will introduce a so called “Wedge” into the handle of their (heavier) poles in 2020 allowing to mount e.g. a camera directly onto the pole top.
Eberhard Göbel released their Swing Backpack umbrella. Never heard of them? They do actually manufacture all those chrome coloured ones loved by Thruhikers and sold by Gossamer Gear. Their new model incorporates an extendable canopy which extends the reach of the umbrella covering the backpack at the backside only. Quite an ingenious opening and closing mechanism, too. Available in several colors, including silver-metallic and weighing 350 g.
Many people already posted about the new Primus Firestick gas stove. Aside of having a unique design where we need to see if it delivers a real value even the titanium version comes in at above 80 g (and they offer a separate Piezo igniter as none is built-in) which I personally find too heavy.
For the real coffee lovers out there Rubytec released a lightweight (205g) hand grinder accompanied by a stainless steel dripper (54g) into the wild world of cooking.
And last but not least: Six Moon Designs won a prize, actually two prizes at the fair! They received a “Winner” award which is supposed to honour additional noteworthy products within a category. And the prizes went to their Gatewood Cape and the Lunar Solo. I was joking with the company representative that it only takes a UL cottage company 12 years from the release of a product to actually get receive the “official” recognition they deserve.
And to round things out, some more impressions from the fair - or check the Flickr Album for all images.
Well, that was quite a lot of new gear which Lighthiker there told us about - THANK YOU!. I enjoyed this wrap-up immensely (also because I had to only edit it =) and there’s certainly some interesting pieces of equipment there which we might see on the backs of ultralight backpackers in the future. In the One Stop Shop Series we already saw a lot of lightweight (like, 200 g for a pants and jacket) rain gear, for example, and it’s nice to see this trend continue. Some of the shoes sound interesting, and certainly i can see myself using that new Swing Backpack umbrella (also in daily life!). Overall a very interesting over-view - which of these items, or those which Sectionhiker mentioned, did you find most interesting? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook!
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