Deep Dive | Salewa's Latest Alpine Collection - Outdoors Magic

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Deep Dive | Salewa’s Latest Alpine Collection

5 items from the Dolomites-based brand that caught the eye of our gear tester James Forrest at the Salewa Alpine Campus in Borrowdale, the Lake District

Borrowdale in the heart of the Lake District is the ideal place to put outdoor kit through its paces. The terrain is rugged, the weather is (usually) apocalyptic, the mountains are hard-won and the climbing is uncompromising. That’s why Dolomites-based brand Salewa decided to host its Alpine Campus 2022 in the valley, using the YHA Honister Hause hostel as a base. We were lucky enough to attend the event – indulging in everything from trad climbing, graded scrambling and hiking – and used the opportunity to put Salewa’s clothing and equipment to the test. Here are five items of kit that caught our eye during the weekend.

Salewa Agner Durastretch Jacket

Price: £150

Extensively tested by Salewa’s athletes in and around the Dolomites, the Agner Durastretch is described as a minimalist, hooded mountain softshell jacket for days when you want “windproof water resistance in an active cut and durable stretch fabric with full functionality”. Features include a close-fitting hood, integrated collar, elasticated cuffs and waistline drawcord – which combine to create a streamlined, athletic fit – while the fabric is a tough, rock-resistant Durastretch.

This stretch-woven softshell fabric with additional elastane is super-stretchy, delivering top-notch freedom of movement. You also get two large, zipped hand pockets and a small zip-secure patch pocket on the sleeve.



Salewa Alpine Hemp Logo T-Shirt

Price: £45

Why does Salewa use hemp as a raw material? For its “natural comfort, functional performance and low environmental impact” and because it is the “strongest and most durable natural fibre known to man”. We certainly found this regular-fit tee soft, lightweight, airy and breathable, with a comfortable feel next-to-the-skin, and could imagine switching from synthetic fibres to hemp for our go-to mountain t-shirts. Made from 125g Alpine Hemp – the lightest version of this fabric – the Alpine Hemp Logo T-shirt is blended with 100% organic cotton for enhanced comfort and improved thermo-regulation.



Salewa Ortles Hybrid TirolWool Responsive Jacket

Price: £210

While most brands have consigned wool to the annals of mountaineering history, replacing it almost exclusively with synthetic fibres, Salewa are rather unique in still using it. Under the bonnet of the Ortles jacket is a clever blend of wool and synthetic materials known as TirolWool Responsive – Salewa’s proprietary tech that “keeps you warm longer, enhances your performance and helps you to recover faster from fatigue”.

The wool itself is “high-alpine, locally-sourced, fairly paid wool with outstanding warmth, breathability, thermal regulation and insulation even when wet”, and it is combined with thermo-reactive minerals and recycled polyester fibres to enhance the natural benefits of wool. The result, according to Salewa, is that heat emitted by the body is absorbed and converted into infrared radiation, which is stored and reflected back to the body – keeping you warmer for longer.



The Salewa Wildfire shoes, Ortles Hybrid TirolWool Responsive Jacket and Agner Durastretch Jacket all being put to the test. Photo: Luke Briggs

Salewa Wildfire Edge

Price: £150

Salewa have a stellar reputation for technical approach shoes, and – along with the Mountain Trainer 2 – the Wildfire Edge is one of the brand’s best offerings. It is a solid shoe designed for technical scrambling, climbing and mountain hiking, featuring a robust Pomoca Speed MTN outsole with aggressive lugs and a toe ‘climbing zone’ for accurate edging.

You also get climbing-style lacing, a stretch gaiter for comfort around the ankle, and the ability to switch between different ‘modes’ – simply tighten the laces at the rear eyelet to pull your foot forward into the toebox, compressing your toes similar to a climbing shoe, or when you’ve finished climbing, loosen the laces at the rear eyelet for a roomier toebox and greater hiking comfort. It’s the best of both worlds – and we certainly benefitted from this during our tests on the graded Cam Crag ridge scramble, including a long walk in and out.

Another key feature is Salewa’s 3F system – a thin cable, housed in rubber, that connects the top lace eyelet, instep and heel for tailored flexibility, fit and firm support. Most of Salewa’s footwear uses this system and it is a tried and tested technology.



Salewa Apex Guide 45L Backpack

Price: £170

This technical mountaineering pack is versatile, tough and practical with some innovative features. Unlike most alpine-style packs, considerable attention has been paid to airflow – the Dry Back panel of EVA foam has 3D air channels to increase ventilation, while Salewa’s split shoulder straps (which have a panel of fabric cut out) are airier than most other packs.

When you’re working hard, this enhanced breathability cools you down and minimises sweating – a real positive. The Apex Guide 45L is made from high-tenacity ripstop nylon, while the design features minimalist fins that hug the hips nicely, an internal U-shaped metal frame for structure and stability, and a waterproof roll-top closure below a floating and removable lid.



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