Winter Trade Show Gear – A Short Take from Louie

Post by blogger | March 10, 2011      

It’s never too late for more gear reviews, right? Just thought I’d share a few tidbits from the Winter OR show this past January.

Outdoor Research will be releasing a bunch of new gloves, the ones I was most interested in were their Firebrand. For my glove system I like to have a thin, water resistant liner glove, a glove shell that has a bit of insulation and also fits over the liner, and a big, warm, mitten shell. I can keep my hands warm with the gloves and liners in most conditions. The mittens stay in my pack, and are light, but provide a lot of warmth when needed, albeit at the loss of almost all dexterity. It’s hard to find gloves that work well for my system, as most don’t have a big enough gauntlet, removable liner, or aren’t waterproof. Most waterproof gloves (with the exception of OutDry gloves) use a Gore-Tex insert to make them waterproof. In my experience the insert always gets tangled up in the glove, eventually making the glove unusable, frequently at an inopportune or even dangerous time. OR has been making their Firebrand for the military for a few years, as a super warm glove for intense conditions. It is large, has a huge gauntlet (which is where many gloves fall short as well), and has a warm removable liner. It is also constructed with Gore-Tex shell fabric, and all the little seems are taped. It might be a little overkill for skiing, and might be too heavy, but I’m hoping once I take out the liner it’ll be fairly light.

OR Firebrand Gloves

Another interesting product was a new Camp harness. Lightweight (7oz) with gear loops, and adjustable leg loops that can be unclipped for bathroom duty or whatever, nice.

New ultralight Camp harness

I liked the Klymit gas insulated clothing. This is insulated by various “noble” gases such as argon or krypton (super), that you carry in compressed cylinders like the CO2 cylinders for refiling bike tires. The system is said to be lighter than down for equivalent warmth, as well as easily regulated (till you run out of gas, anyway). I can’t imagine it is very breathable, but like many technical problems I’ll bet a solution can be found for breathability . Klymit also had an interesting uninsulated sleeping pad, that had empty spaces where no weight is distributed. It’s stuff like this that’s going to continue the lightweight revolution.

Inflatable insulated clothing has been around for the last few years, but Klymit looked pretty slick, insulated by argon gas. It has a lot of potential but the problem of non-breathability is going to be hard to crack.


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13 Responses to “Winter Trade Show Gear – A Short Take from Louie”

  1. Greg Louie March 10th, 2011 9:59 am

    Those Firebrand gloves look interesting, but $320? Makes the Arc’teryx Alpha SV look cheap . . . also a mistake not to run leather on the sides of the thumb and first two fingers, IME

  2. Mat March 10th, 2011 10:47 am

    Hey Lou,

    What’s the “whatever” activity regarding the harness unclipping? Nothing comes to mind…

  3. Steve March 10th, 2011 11:20 am

    @Mat – Putting on ‘hard shell’ trousers when the weather gets worse.

  4. Jan Wellford March 10th, 2011 12:43 pm

    Or donning/removing the harness with skis or crampons on.

  5. kevin March 10th, 2011 12:46 pm

    I know this is a nit, but is it really that hard to put a little patch of nose-wipe fabric on gloves these days?

  6. Lou March 10th, 2011 1:05 pm

    Greg, I agree, the price is a shocker. I’d hope one could find them on sale as they really are excellent, due in my opinion mostly because they have gauntlet that actually fits over multiple layers. What a concept.

  7. tony March 10th, 2011 1:59 pm

    how does the new CAMP light harness compare to the Couloir? It looks like it has two more gear loops? Is the leg strap system the same as the Couloir?

  8. Robert Tangen March 10th, 2011 3:57 pm

    (I have no affiliation with the following company.) My favorite over-mitt / glove is waterproof, has a huge gauntlet, doesn’t use Gore-Tex or other WP / B membrane, has a lot of dexterity, and is called the “Vapor Trigg” from RBH Designs, $150. It has a thumb, a trigger finger, and the rest of the digits are contained in a mitten-like section. They say: “Our Vapor Trigg shells are constructed from laser cut super-durable Tweave bombproof stretch woven waterproof laminate w/DWR, combined with waterproof Pittards for thumb, box and palms. The removable lining is our VaprThrm laminate constructed with Polartec 200. Anatomic box construction reduces fatigue and increases warmth. Our top-quality hardware features: one-handed draw-cords for easy use, idiot cords and soft-polypro fleece nose wipe on back of thumb.”

  9. Chris March 10th, 2011 4:00 pm

    $320 – government pricing I think. like the $600 toilet seat back in the day. pretty cool sounding gloves though

  10. Ed March 10th, 2011 6:49 pm

    I picked up a pair of these up at Lou’s ski in Calgary – they’ve proven to be super warm – even on Rockies spring days at -30 degC! And for us aged and prone to forget, they come with a wrist strap thingy that keeps them hanging on when you take them off to stuff a sandwich down – super handy on the steep or in bottomless fluff:
    Great mitts/ gloves – glo-mits?

  11. Colin March 10th, 2011 8:23 pm

    @Ed, they’re known as “Lobster-style” gloves.

  12. Nick March 11th, 2011 9:56 am

    Louie – why don’t you just use BD Guide Gloves? They fit your bill (guantlet, waterproof, revoveable liner, extremely warm, Gortex insert does not get tangled up, etc…) and are way cheaper than those OR gloves or the Arcteryx SVs.

  13. Lou March 11th, 2011 10:21 am

    Last time I looked at the BD Guide the gauntlet was still too small, but they might have changed that. My main criteria is a big enough gauntlet and a breathable membrane that works and doesn’t get tangled. Balance of beef vs dexterity is a big one to me as well.

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