Mountain Hardwear - New For 2015
Latest in our ongoing series of reports from the recent OutDoor 2015 trade show is a look at what's new from Mountain Hardwear for next spring with highlights including a waterproof day-pack using OutDry technology, updated Lamina synthetic sleeping bags and a selection of new clothing.
Scrambler 30 OutDry
The Scrambler 30 has been around for a few years now as a multi-purpose mountain day-sac, but for spring 2015 it gets a makeover and becomes fully waterproof thanks to the use of the Mountain Hardwear / Columbia OutDry technology.
Already used for footwear and gloves along with some larger mountain packs, OutDry works differently from other waterproof methods as it's applied directly to the inside of the item under centrifugal pressure. That means there's no need to tape seams, which is an expensive and time-consuming process, but still gives complete waterproofing.
The brand also made a decision to use a conventional lid-opening rather than a roll-top closure because they felt it simply made the bag simpler and quicker to access and while it means the pack isn't fully submersible, it should cope fine with normal rain and has been rain room-tested for more than 12 hours without leakage.
The lid, as you can see from the image on the right, incorporates a pocket, which is also waterproof, but in this case using taped seams. Other stuff includes an external hydration sleeve, rope strap under lid, deep side pockets and a claimed weight of just 770g. The back system is a sort of semi-vented foam with a central channel, see image above.
Price for the new waterproof version of the pack will be £85, a tenner more than the current version, which seems like a good deal to us.
New HyperLamina Sleeping Bags
Mountain Hardwear's Lamina sleeping bags are arguably the best synthetics out there thanks to a welded construction which eliminates seams by substituting Lamina welding for stitching making them impressively warm for their weight.
For 2015 the range three new souped-up HyperLamina versions with some interesting new features. First, there's a more efficient, tapered fit allied to a new, body-mapped insulation concept with extra graded Thermal.Q fill around the torso, foot and head areas where its most needed.
Also new is a central half-length front zip to suit those who sleep on their side. It's doubled-ended too, so you can use it for strategic venting while keeping the neck fastened for warmth and neatness. Obviously not so good if you want to team up two bags but better, says MHW for solo use.
Other upgrades over the standard Lamina bags, which remain in the range, include new lighter fabrics and an ergonomic draft collar to block the escape of warm air. There are three bags in the range: Torch, Flame and Spark, geddit? With the Torch claimed to be 'the highest performance synthetic bag on the market' and rated to a comfort limit of -17˚C with a weight of 1474g around 500g less than the similarly rated standard Lamina -15.
The Flame has a comfort limit of -7˚C and the Spark, rated to 2˚C is just 737g in weight, not bad for a three-season synthetic bag we reckon and around 300g less than a Lamina 35. Interesting for anyone pondering cold, wet sleeping conditions...
We've been using the current Optic 25 tent and really liking its big window panoramic views and easy pitching - full review to follow - but for next year there's a new family-friendly Optic 6 version with the same open, airy architecture, but scaled up to sleep a notional six people and gear.
We'd say it's a fair weather, base camp tent - with a weight of around 6850g you won't want to carry it too far without yak assistance - with the same USP of huge doors on inner and outer tents to give a majestic view, but also incorporating a hanging internal divider to allow you to create a separate bedroom area.
Lots of storage pockets too and a vestibule flap that handily converts into a shady awning. At £450 it's also pretty competitively priced for a big old tent.
Ueli Steck-inspired Jackets
MHW has been working with Swiss Machine Ueli Steck for several years now producing super-light but fully functional technical mountain clothing with his help and the range gets a couple of new additions for next spring.
First is the new Stretch Ozonic Jacket in both men's and women's versions. It's a neat 2.5-layer waterproof that weighs a claimed 276g in the men's version, has lots of 4-way stretch for easy movement - in the flesh it feels like a soft shell rather than a full waterproof, even though the Dry.Q Active fabric is that and is designed primarily for hiking and backpacking.
The face is a tough but light 40D Nylon, theres's a simple hood with stiffened brim and, to save grammes, just the one chest pocket. It has a plastic-toother Vislon zip for classy looks and proper clean lines. There are matching pants too.
Further up the mountain, as the marketing bods say, there's the new Steck-developed Quasar Lite alpine shell jacket which uses a 2.5-layer version of MHW's top-end Dry.Q Elite fabric. It's a simple, sleek affair with two harness-friendly pockets, a helmet hood and a cut designed for climbing use - no hem lifting says MHW.
The men's version weighs just 340g and the women's a mere 306g claimed making it ideal for teaming up with a technical soft shell with the waterproof kept in reserve just in case. Waterproofing and breathability are reckoned to be right up there with other top-end fabrics too and at £180, it won't break the bank.
Those are the main highlights, but watch out too for the brand's more general clothing including the neat, stretch-fitted women's Dynamo Pants for all-round outdoor and active trekking, hiking use along with yoga, bouldering or whatever else you can think of. They're going to be £50 and look good.
All the above products are due out in spring 2015. For the current Mountain Hardwear range see: www.mountainhardwear.eu