I’ll admit it, I love the Outdoor Retailer Show. After years of going to mind numbing governmental accounting conferences, attending OR is like walking into a party for me. The place tingles with people psyched about life and getting out there to enjoy it. Perhaps the dizzying buzz comes from the building — the roof trusses were designed by roller-coaster creator, Kent Seko. Or maybe it’s because I have the heart of a tireless shopper. Regardless, I’ll trek across the million square feet of booth space any day.
The industry is putting more and more focus into mountaineering gear specifically designed for female backcountry ski tourers. I checked out some, as well as several unisex items.
Mountaineer, artist extraordinaire and dear friend, Jeremy Collins’ next grand adventure will be launching a business: Meridian Line. Jeremy’s beautiful drawings have appeared on the covers of Alpinist, National Geographic, Rock and Ice, Trail Runner and Patagonia catalogs. Now he’ll be producing tee-shirts and wood slabs with laser printed images. In his words “Maybe to someone else it’s just a tee-shirt or just a map, but to me art and adventure is the doorway to understanding my place in the world.”
Bravo and good luck! We’re glad of this new avenue for enjoying his tremendous talent.
Over 100 shops placed orders. An online store may be up soon. I’ll update with a link when it’s possible.
Hydro Flask gets our mention because of their incredible warranty: their bottles come with a life-time limitless warranty. If you dent it, break the vacuum seal, or even scratch it, they’ll replace it. I don’t know if other companies offer similar deals but the cheapees I usually buy certainly don’t. Lightweight considering its durability, the 32oz wide mouth I have weighs 406gm. MSRP $30.
How many of you have large, empty suitcases taking up your precious storage space? Eagle Creek has a solution. EC Lync is a line of rolling luggage that is cleverly designed to disassemble and pack down into a compact stuff sack. When traveling, take off the frame of the 36L, 43L, or 62L and use it as a backpack. The 74L converts into a duffel.Mountain Equipment continues to bring more of their fine products to US shores. I’ve been coveting Coop’s Eclipse Zip Tee Hoodie almost as much as his ski mountaineering trip to Glacier National Park. A women’s Eclipse is now available and I quickly grabbed one. I look forward to comparing it to my favorite lightweight wool baselayers.
New from Nite Ize: Gear Tie Dockable. The plastic Dock screws into a wall and has a grooved V-shaped opening that grips a Gear Tie at any point you attach it.
The Gear Tie, an oversized rubber twist-tie, has been on the market for a while and can be removed to keep things bundled. Any help with organizing the toy pile is welcomed by me.
Even with TSA’s new longer blade rule for air travel, the Doohic Key would be a handy fob on your key chain. It acts as a file, bottle opener, serrated edge, scoring point, and #2 flat head screwdriver. MSRP $8
We’ve used Black Diamond’s Z trekking poles and like the convenience of quickly being able to assemble them via the Kevlar cord deployment system. Good to see they continue to be in the lineup. They’re light, a pair of 120 cm Distance Carbon Z poles weighs about 10oz. Features for Spring 2015 are the same as past models. New is flat black powder coated finish. MSRP: $160.
Since a significant amount of our time is spent wearing packs and ski touring to remote mountain huts, we are always on the lookout for lightweight après–ski booties. Pakems are rubber soled, water resistant and feel as comfortable as house slippers. A pair of women’s size 9 weighs 378 grams. MSRP $70.
There are a number of multi fuel backcountry stoves available now and I’d have to run a science fair contest to evaluate them all. Optimus Polaris Optifuel is one that burns on any type of fuel: canister gas, white gas, diesel, unleaded fuel, kerosene or jet fuel. A notable feature is that you can switch between fuels without having to change anything on the stove. The stove would be handy for travel in foreign countries where fuel sources may vary. Optifuel has a needle that cleans the jet while cooking so you don’t have to mess with it. Manufacturer specs: 17 oz with the pump and 12 oz without. $180. Available January 2015.
Years ago Lou put a powerful flashlight in our truck’s emergency kit. Since then I’ve wanted one for our other car. Sector 5 by Princeton Tec shines 550 lumens bright and is waterproof to 100 meters. Hope we won’t be diving anytime soon with the car, but I never know what Lou has planned. MSRP $109.99.
Black Diamond jumps into the women’s fashion scene with a new line of backcountry clothing. Winter pieces are being shipped to stores now. The climbing and hiking line will be available spring 2015. I received a sample a few weeks ago — the Induction Shell, a Windstopper softshell. Athletic girls will love the fit: trim with long arms, in rich colors that can be mixed and matched. Induction Shell available fall 2014.
Xylitol is used as a sugarless sweetener and is beneficial for dental health. It also keeps you cool. Outdoor Research’s ActiveIce line uses fabric containing xylitol to actively wick sweat, keeping you cooler than if you were wearing nothing at all (but perhaps not quite as interesting). When perspiration hits the fabric, it enhances the cooling sensation on your skin.
ActiveIce provides UPF 50+ sun protection which is what you need when you’re skiing across the glacier on a sunny spring day. Xylitol also makes dogs depressed so don’t let them eat your new hat.