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.
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.