Live From The 2014 OutDoor Show
We're on the hoof, on the fly, busting through the packed trade stands of Europe's premier outdoors show like an out of control typhoon. Erm, in our dreams. In reality we're patiently and methodically working our way through previews of the very best new outdoors kit from the top brands which is due out in spring 2015.
We'll be bringing you full details of the most exciting new kit over the next week or so, hopefully with an update later today- the god of wi-fi connectivity permitting - but the question on everyone's lips as ever, is: 'Have you seen anything interesting?'
Innovation In The Air
And this year the answer is very much an emphatic YES! After a few years when the outdoors industry seems to have been markedly cautious in its developments, suddenly the halls are alive with interesting new products and even, erm, whisper it, innovations.
A quick browse around the OutDoor Award winning products which, hallelujah, we're actually allowed to photograph this year brings it home. More details on those later, but here are a few examples:
The innovative but insanely expensive Arc'teryx shoes with their floating liner boot we reported on a couple of weeks back are present and correct - £250 eye-watering pounds - but for the first time in years, Gore-Tex also has a new shoe technology.
Called Gore-Tex Surround, it uses a sort of open mesh to allow air to get to the breathable waterproof membrane at the sides of the shoes more easily. Makes sense, but will it make a difference? Plenty of brands have jumped right in though with some interesting chunky La Sportiva mountain trekking shoes making the award cut.
What else? MSR has taken the innovation from its extraordinary Reactor catalytic mountaineering stove and created a personal backpacking stove, the Wind Boiler. A sort of cross between a Reactor and a JeyBoil-style stove. Looks good to us, we love the Reactor, but it's a little focussed for general use. This could fill in the void.
Therrm-a-Rest has been busy too, going back to self-inflating basics with a new 480g self-inflating mat using foam rather than crackly stuff. It's all put together int an atmospheric chamber to optimise foam density and mixed with air gaps. Feels comfortable on the stand.
World's Lightest Waterproof: Winner!
Oh, and don't forget Berghaus. The new Hyper Smock 2.0 is the world's lightest waterproof shell for fast and light folk with a weight of just 76g - did it win an award? Too right. More about that later as well.
And finally for now, Haglöfs has done ultra-light LIM sleeping bags complete with a venting, drawstring foot. Interesting. And is that the time? We're off to look are more new stuff! More later.