In this final blog on gear from this year’s Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show in Salt Lake City I look at recycled backpacks, heated gloves, “sock-less” shoes made for the sport of triathlon, a wool sports bra, a Swiss Army Knife of a backpack, and a sleeping bag system that you can wear around the campground.
The Selk Sleep Wear System—The Selk ‘bag Sleep Wear System from Lippi USA is essentially a sleeping bag that you wear. Designed to provide comfort and mobility, the Selk ‘bag allows the wearer to do things that other sleeping bags simply don’t: walking around your camp, preparing food, playing the guitar, using the restroom comfortably in the middle of the night, hugging a friend, or just plain sleeping well in a nonrestrictive manner. It comes in three warmth levels and two sizes. Exact temperature ratings are forthcoming, though the company cites the Selk ‘bags No. 3 model as having temperature “comfort ratings well below freezing,” which translates to about 15 degrees, according to a company spokesperson.
Available: first model comes out in March
Pricing: Starts at $149 (up to $349)
Zoot Triathlon Shoe—Zoot Sports has launched what it is calling the industry’s first triathlon-specific shoes, a line called the ULTRA Footwear Collection that addresses four inherent footwear problems specific to triathletes: 1. Speed of Entry (the need to get in and out of a transition area as quickly as possible); 2. Sockless Wear (triathletes don’t want to take the time to put socks on); 3. Water Retention (traditional running shoes can gain an additional 30% of their weight during a race when wet); 4. Biomechanics (athletes run differently after racing a bike, and this shoe line addresses that). There are several models in the line, including the Men’s ULTRA Race and Women’s ULTRA Race, top-end models that have a lining to reduce hot spots and blisters and a quick-lace system for fast shoe on and off. The shoes are lightweight and made for speed: The men’s ULTRA Race, for example, in about a size 9, weighs a mere 8.4 ounces.
Price: Men’s ULTRA Race and Women’s ULTRA Race, $130
OR PrimaVolta Gloves—Outdoor Research has partnered with Aevex Technology to introduce the men’s PrimoVolta and women’s PrimaVolta Gloves, which incorporate energized panels to emit heat into the wearers’ hands. Aevex, a patent-pending feature from Energy Integration Technologies, is a collection of stacked and connected film technologies that, when combined, form a thin, flexible, energized panel. This panel has the capability to collect, store and control electrical energy which it uses to generate heat. The gloves are waterproof and breathable, using a Gore-Tex insert. Battery power lasts four to six hours, and the heated liners are removable, rechargeable and lightweight.
Available: August 2008
Petzl ULTRA BELT—This extra bright, 350-lumen headlamp comes with a remote battery pack that can be carried in a pocket to reduce weight put on your noggin. Designed for speed and endurance activities, the lamp lasts for more than three hours on its high-output mode. A rechargeable battery system switches automatically to a reserve power mode when the battery pack is almost drained. The headlamp and rechargeable battery are guaranteed for three years.
Wenger Zernez packs—Wenger, the maker of the Genuine Swiss Army Knife, has debuted a line of packs that reflect the multifunctional nature of its knives: The Wenger Zernez line of backpacks are made for a range of outdoors activities, from skiing to backpacking to mountaineering. The line, which includes two models, has features like a lid that converts into a lumbar pack; a water bottle pocket that can be secured on one of four receptors on either side of the pack; an ice axe/shovel holder; multiple attachment points for skis, snow boards, trekking poles, sleeping bags and climbing equipment; and specialty pockets, including a fleece-lined pocket for electronics, a first aid pocket that puts important medical supplies within reach, and a front-access pocket that houses an integrated organizer. Bonus: There’s a special custom pocket on the waist belt for a Wenger Swiss Army Knife. Zernez packs come in 3,000 cubic inches and 3,600 cubic inches sizes.
Available: spring 2008
Price: $249 (3,000 cubic inch model); $269 (3,600 cubic inch model)
Osprey ReSource Series—Osprey was founded in 1974 in Santa Cruz, Calif., by Mike Photenhauer, who began the company out of his garage sewing custom backpacks and sleeping bags. Today the company is among the largest pack brands in the industry, and it has a commitment to sustainable business practices and environmental stewardship. As such, the company’s ReSource Series of daypacks and couriers are made from a minimum of 70-percent recycled materials by content. On the outside of each pack a graphic provides the exact percentage of recycled materials by weight on each pack (“79%,” or whatever it is). New for fall 2008 will be two daypacks, three shoulder bags and two couriers, some boasting nearly 90-percent recycled materials by weight.
Available: Fall 2008
Pricing: $69 and up
Thule Load Off—It’s a seat. It’s a storage compartment. It’s the Thule Load Off, a collapsible portable seat designed with an under-seat storage unit. When changing out of gear, the Load Off is more comfortable than a tailgate and easier than hopping on one foot. It has a large fabric mat that extends from a pocket for changing in and out of footwear on wet or muddy ground. Stores 2,500 cubic inches of gear in its 18” x 16” x 11” package.
Ibex Wool Sports Bra—Say the words “wool sports bra” 10 years back and you might get thrown out of the store. But wool today from companies like Ibex Outdoor Clothing is silky and soft. It wicks sweat well, doesn’t stink, and is less harmful than most synthetics on the environment. Thus, Ibex went for it with the Woman’s Balance Sports Bra, a seamless wool piece with a hint of spandex for stretch. Made to fit A, B and C cups in medium to low impact activities. Machine washable.
READ MORE ON NEW GEAR FROM THE SHOW. . .