Best Gear From The Outdoor By ISPO Show | Gear Of The Future - Outdoors Magic

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Best Gear From The Outdoor By ISPO Show | Gear Of The Future

A very early look at what's to come next summer from brands including Rab, Fjällräven, The North Face and Patagonia

I’ve just returned from the first ever Outdoor by ISPO tradeshow in Munich where myself and the OutdoorsMagic team lived off a diet of stale pretzels and weissbier for three days while covering miles upon miles on foot without even stepping outside. Fortunately there was also some nice new gear to see. 

An almost like-for-like replacement of the long-running OutDoor Show in Friedrichshafen, this is the new tradeshow for brands to unveil their product releases for the next Spring/Summer season – so basically a whole year before they actually hit the shelves. It’s the best opportunity we get to see the lay of the land ahead; what trends and areas brands are focussing on, what developments in sustainability have been made, and any steps that have been taken in innovation. I’m not going to lie, there’s sometimes a few gimmicks at these shows, but there’s also a lot of very good stuff, and this year had a good vibe to it and some impressive unveilings. So, without much further adieu, here’s what caught my eye over the three days.

The North Face Tente

I was invited to take part in the show’s awards judging this year so I’ve actually managed to get out to test some of the new unveilings already. I won’t bore you with the judging process, but in short, part of it involved me walking up and down the same slope in the Alps, up-down-up-down, for an entire day, and the rest of it involved heated debates between judges from all over Europe. The North Face’s new Tente jacket was one of the products we decided to give one of the prestigious Outstanding Outdoor Awards to, the clincher being its clever FutureLight waterproof membrane. We’ve covered this already in our review of the Summit L5 jacket, but in essence, what’s so impressive about it is the breathability it offers.

Through a process of nano-spinning and, perhaps more importantly, a very innovative method of fabric lamination, the material The North Face have created has a phenomenal moisture vapour transmission rate without skimping on wet weather protection. From my experience with it you can definitely notice the performance.

The North Face also showcased a mountaineering tent made from FutureLight.

MSR Habitude 6

A first ever family camping tent from the Seattle-based company which is celebrating its 50th year. It’s a big departure from their usual lightweight options for backpackers, but from the glance we got, it looks like they’re onto a winner. The brand rep explained to us that they’re hoping to appeal to the long-term MSR fan here who’s starting to go out with their family and want to stick with the brand they trust. With all the usual MSR character traits on show with this family option – inner pitch first, lightweight high spec materials and the same construction techniques for instance – we think they’ll feel right at home in this. We stepped inside and it really is huge, offering standing space for people of at least 6ft and loads of storage space. There isn’t a porch however, which might be a bit of a downside for some. 

Patagonia Storm Racer

Patagonia had a lot to show off at the show this year. Not only was there a new version of the massively popular Torrentshell waterproof with a three-layer waterproof system, but also a host of new kit in their trail running collection. What stood out most was their ultralight three-layer running shell which, with its dual zips, is designed so that runners can wear it over their trail vest and still have access to their drinks bottles and snacks etc. It will also stuff niftily into its own pocket.

Rab Keon Jacket

The British brand showed us a new jacket they’ve designed specifically for alpinists who are looking to ‘do more but take less’. It uses an 800 fill power goose down across the centre of the body and synthetic insulation over the shoulders, cuffs and hips while under the arms there’s a stretchy Pertex Quantum Air. In a men’s large it weighs just 250g.

Osprey Archeon


As well as unveiling a very interesting collection of external frame ultralight packs, Osprey also had this heritage-style range on show. They might just look like backpacks designed to appeal to a current lifestyle trend, but actually there are a lot of nice touches here. The materials, for instance, are made from 60% recycled fabrics, and the durable water repellent coating they’ve used features no environmentally hazardous PFCs. Then there’s the sturdy back system, which features wicking fabrics, a curved lumbar and a sliding Velcro back panel for quick length adjustment.

Filson Swiftwater Rain Pullover

Filson might’ve been around for well over 100 years, but it’s only recently that they’ve come onto our radar here at OutdoorsMagic. They’re definitely a brand worth knowing about, only using the best fabrics and technologies out there; things like Polartec Neoshell, PrimaLoft Gold and YKK Aquaguard zips. This, the Swiftwater Rain Pullover, which is out at the start of 2020, looks a useful option for lightweight hikers who prefer to blend in rather than stand out. Keep your eyes out for some of the technical shirts they’re set to release as well. 

Primus Firestick

I can’t wait to give this a try, it looks like a very useful option for backpacking. Plus point number one is that it collapses/folds into a convenient size of about the size of, um, a tube of Bonjela, so you can slip it easily into your backpack pocket, and without you having to worry about any parts snapping. Plus point number two is that those folding supports you can see also double up as windshields. In other news from Primus, they’ve got a new entry-level backpacking stove lined up for a Spring 2020 launch that will cost only £22.

Rab Mythic Ultra

Rab claimed that their original Mythic sleeping bag was the warmest sleeping bag for its weight in the world. Now, they reckon they’ve gone even further. Available in a 360 and 180 fill weights, the Mythic Ultra uses a 900+ fill power RDS certified European goose down, combined with a very clever Thermo Ionic Technology on the inside which basically works in the same way as one of those space blankets people wear after finishing a marathon. Fortunately it doesn’t feel like one – it’s very soft to the touch. The warmer Mythic Ultra 360 weighs 606g while the 180 is 400g.

Black Diamond Performance Lifestyle Shoes

We’ve seen plenty of climbing shoes from Black Diamond, but this is a first in the walking shoe/hiking department from them (as far as we’re aware). There are four different designs split into performance and lifestyle categories, in essence mixing up approach-style shoes with options to wear about town. We don’t know too much about them yet but the ones we saw do look well-made, with a solid sole unit and knitted mesh uppers. How they’ll fare with UK walking conditions, we’ll have to wait and see.

Fjällräven Abisko Midsummer Collection

Fjällräven showed us their new range of summer trekking kit at the show, and it looked great, taking some previous design features and fabrics to create lightweight clothing for summer trail hikes. The Midsummer trousers impressed us all in the Outdoor by ISPO jury, enough for us to make it a recipient of one of the awards. If I was going to be hiking the Fjällräven Classic along the Kungsleden this year, I’d walk it in these.

The Swedish brand also had a lot of new daypacks to showcase, including a new larger version of the Ulvö (which we included in this year’s Outdoor 100) as well as a couple of very nifty looking rolltops.

Outdoor Research Trail Mix

Outdoor Research’s new Ascentshell waterproof jacket is probably their bigger story, but I just liked the simplicity of this new collection. It’s a bunch of new fleeces that come in various different colourways and styles, but all with the same powergrid-like fleece construction for temperature regulation. Send me the lot please OR.

Lowe Alpine AirZone Trek 35

The Outstanding Outdoor Awards jury decided to give this pack by Lowe Alpine a Gold Award due to the impressive innovation in the back system. Its mesh consists of just one knitted element which makes it totally seamless and flexible in all directions, and allows it to adapt perfectly to your back while providing excellent ventilation – as I noticed during the awards testing. The pack itself seems to be an adaptation of the Lowe Alpine Altus which was released earlier this year. We loved that pack enough to include it in our Outdoor 100 series and this looks like it won’t disappoint us either. It’s certainly another option I’m looking forward to testing out on a big hike. 

Doghammer Explorer

Doghammer of Bavaria started out as a Kickstarter project, offering cork-bottomed sandals in exchange for backing. Now they’re firmly up and running and have come up with this rather interesting trail shoe that blends cork, wool and recycled materials in an effort to leave as little an ecological footprint as possible in its production.

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