This is my fourth and final look at new gear from the 2008 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show. . .
Kick some alpine butt with these beefy expedition boots. A full boot-wrapping gaiter made of Neoprene and a Schoeller soft-shell fabric provides extra warmth, while the footbed is packed with Primaloft for insulation from below. A Vibram outsole is made for climbing rubber-to-rock, or clip on crampons to the sole’s heel and toe grooves and you can work your way up a vertical wall of ice. Available March 2009; $549.95; www.kayland.com
REI Passage 65 Backpack
Made for teens, the Passage 65 is touted to grow as your kid grows. The pack has a highly-adjustable suspension system to fit a range of body sizes, from the scrawny 13-year-old hiking his or her first trail to the buff high-school senior trekking out alone. REI didn’t skimp on components, using the same quality straps, zippers and fabric as seen in its adult line. Nice touches include a top lid that detaches and can be used as a lumbar pack, and a pre-curved hip belt to better match your youngster’s anatomy from day one. $149; available spring 2009; www.rei.com
Crumpler’s Bumper Issue
Australian messenger-bag maker Crumpler has entered into the hydration pack world with its Bumper Issue, a water-resistant nylon pack that accommodates all common hydration bladder setups. It’ll come in four “exciting colourways,” as the Aussies put it, including red/orange/ yellow, lime/royal blue/white, brown/white/lime and black/gun metal/orange. Features include a main flap with a quick-release clip; three internal compartments; side clips for a bicycle pump or trekking poles; and reflective sections for added visibility while travelling at night. $95; available in November; www.crumplerbags.com
Pakboats XT-15 Solo
It stows away into a 26×18 x 16-inch package and weighs just 39 pounds. But unfold and assemble the XT-15 Solo and you have a 15-foot sea kayak the company says is fast and high-performing. In construction, individual sections are locked together by clips with stainless steel pins, and clips are mounted on the cross ribs, making a rigid total structure. The stems at each end of the frame expand through lever action to tension the skin (a 600 denier PU-coated polyester rip-stop material), which secures to the sides with Velcro strips. Disassembly and packing of the boat takes about 25 minutes, according to the company. $1,775; available in October; www.pakboats.com
Black Diamond Climbing Harnesses
Deploying a liquid-crystal polymer that’s been used in NASA spacesuits, Black Diamond’s new men’s and women’s Ozone, Aura and Chaos harnesses are advertised as taking climbing gear a quantum leap ahead. While most harnesses use strands of padded nylon webbing for support, Black Diamond’s build distributes the pressure when a climber hangs on a line throughout the harness’s entire structure. The result is a look and feel that’s slimmer and lighter than most anything else on the rock today. harnesses start at $99; available March 2009; www.bdel.com
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