OR Show — Summer 2012

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Yep, we’ve returned to the temple of gear to worship at the feet of Swami Vibramma. Trends continue. Outdoor gear companies are the friendliest bunch around, but they’re also fiercely competitive when it comes to upping quality and staying innovative. Floor show begins officially today but we got a jump on a few things last evening.

Garmont Cosmos (left) and

Garmont Cosmos (left) and the women's version Celeste. We're seeing a lot of excitement about these boots, especially among skiers who've always like the fit of the Garmont last.
Also, good to remember that Garmont will distribute Movement skis, thus allowing them to have 'full product line' demo days this winter at various resorts. Look for that at a snow hill near you.

Big news to me was that CiloGear (favored rucksacks of alpinists worldwide) is close to retailing a ski mountaineering pack line. I can’t share the details. Let’s just say the packs continue the Cilo tradition of lightweight, simple, yet beefy backpacks with thought to how one carries the usual backcountry tools simply yet effectively. More in coming months. I’d publish a spy photo but then I’d end up with a carbon fiber shafted curved pick ice tool in my forehead, weilded by one of the robotic Cilo minions returning from alpine combat routes in the Karakorum.

We hit a nice “showcase” event party last evening. Quite a few companies there.

Princeton Tec showed off new headlamp electronics they say makes their lights 30% brighter for the same battery life. The ever forward march of LCDs is amazing to watch. If the trend continues, we’ll end up wtih a headlamp the size of a peanut that’s as bright as a train headlight.

Nikwax will be retailing a new product for washing your baselayers. “Basefresh” is said to do a good job of deodorizing without heavy washing, and have some residual deodorant action. Testing will commence. Reminder: Don’t forget that Nikwax still sells their Ski Skin Proof skin treatment for glide and icing prevention. I like that stuff and probably have not given it enough praise. Costs more than rubbing some wax on now and then, but when used in conjunction with wax you can make your skins pretty much immune from icing.

Outdoor Research was there at the preview as well. Seems like every year they keep ramping up the shell game. One of their latest is the Enchantment, a body mapped jacket made with Gore Active Shell. Nicely taped seams, stretch panels to make it feel more wearable, minimal pockets to equal minimal bulk. Definitely something to consider when it becomes available (will verify release schedule and edit here soon). Reminder if you’re gearing up for winter. Don’t forget OR’s Trailbreaker skimo pant — crowd favorite.

Today I’m heading over for a tour of the International Down and Feather Laboratory (IDFL) here in Salt Lake City. Idea being that good old down has become ultra technical, and we need to start sorting that out here at WildSnow. For example, did you know you can buy a $15,000 down comforter for your next camping trip? Or that a war is about to start when companies battle over who has the most “water resistant” down? And does “water resistant” down matter anyway? Stay tuned for a series of IDFL sourced reports based on my lengthy visit.

Comments

11 Responses to “OR Show — Summer 2012”

  1. Mark W August 2nd, 2012 5:30 pm

    Dunno if water resistant down is truly necessary, but many consumers are fearful of dampness in their down, whether this is justified or not. Dri Down, by Sierra Designs, sounds quite interesting. Surely they’re showing off the down in the jar full of water.

  2. Richard August 2nd, 2012 5:51 pm

    Water resistant down has been around for thousands of years. The secret is to leave it on the goose.

  3. Lou Dawson August 2nd, 2012 7:19 pm

    Richard, good point. Also, all down is water resistant. In fact, with good technology in terms of sleeping pads, bag construction and tentage, this whole “water resistant down” thing might really be for the most part another way to get some more money out of your pocket. On the other hand, the “water resistant down” does work to one extent or another, so depending on how you like the chemicals they use to treat the down, and how expensive it is, it might be the ticket. Interesting, that’s for sure.

    BTW, nearly all down is simply a biproduct of the fowl meat industry, so don’t get the idea that our consumerism of down for insulation is causing some kind of crisis in animal cruelty.

    Lou

  4. Lou Dawson August 2nd, 2012 7:24 pm

    The jars of down with water are ever present now… but over at IDFL they’ve got a machine that agitates them like crazy, compared side by side with non treated down. They’re trying to develop a standardized test for the stuff. It does wet eventually, depending on what’s actually done during the presence of the water, temperature, possible freeze/thaw and other stuff. Mostly, how it behaves in a sleeping bag will in my view most definitely be different than how it behaves in a jar. Lou

  5. Dan August 2nd, 2012 9:35 pm

    When tenting in very cold conditions for extended periods (more than a few days), body moisture tends to freeze the outer edges of the down in one’s sleeping bag, resulting in gradual loss of loft…I assume most of your readers already know this. I wonder if the “water resistant down” will eliminate or at least reduce that problem. Not that I do that sort of thing anymore…just wondering.

  6. Lou Dawson August 2nd, 2012 9:42 pm

    Dan, that’s one of the exact things I’ve been wanting to see some real world tests reflect. As most of us know, synthetics can do much better (and safer) than down in such situations.

  7. Bar Barrique August 2nd, 2012 9:57 pm

    “synthetics can do much better” : maybe, both synthetics, and, down gain weight in cold or damp weather. While synthetics can provide better warmth in wet conditions; if you are using down in a situation where the temperatures are going to be sub zero, it may be a lighter option. I like my “down” stuff for cold weather conditions.

  8. Lou Dawson August 2nd, 2012 11:13 pm

    The eternal debate. But one fact remains. Take a wet down bag and a wet synthetic bag. Pack away in a stuff sack when it’s 20 below zero. Age for 10 hours. Unpack. See which bags provides any warmth whatsoever when you finally do get your tent set back up and crawl in. Then try drying them in the cold wind. The synthetic bag will actually dry by sublimation, the down bag will simply hang there filled with icy chunks of frozen down. I’ve done all this…

  9. Omr August 3rd, 2012 4:00 pm

    Ahhh, the 25th semi-annual conference of lame religious inferences is once again echoing from the mountaintops.

  10. Bar Barrique August 3rd, 2012 10:44 pm

    Lou; I agree that once down is saturated it’s useless. It’s just that I’m more of a “day tripper” so I don’t have to gamble as much on the weather. On a day trip turned wet, I wouldn’t pull the down stuff out of my pack. As far as sleeping bags are concerned; it ‘s a different matter, but maybe some folks are going hut to hut. Different trips, different priorities.

  11. Lou Dawson August 4th, 2012 7:54 am

    The swami was lame, but healed by the latest footbeds.

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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