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Best New Gear Winter 2016 – ISPO Show Special

Our epic round-up of what's new from the top brands for winter 2016 direct from the recent Munich ISPO trade show.

We’re back from the orgy of down jackets, crampons, winter trail-running shoes and other new kit that is the annual ISPO winter outdoors show in Munich, Germany where we discovered not only some cracking new gear, some interesting sausages, and the odd wheat beer,  but also found that we’re not the only country with yo-yoing winter conditions.

Rather than deluge you with multiple products, we’ve picked out one or two top items, most of them due out in autumn 2016, so around August to September. There’s so much to look at that it’s hard to know where to start, so just scroll through the image thumb-nails, browse through virtual show style, or if you’re interested in a particular brand, use the links here:

Finally, bear in mind that the kit in the article isn’t due in the shops until September 2016, so we haven’t gone into exhaustive detail. Enjoy a look into the future!

AKU | Arc’teryx | Berghaus | Black Diamond | Columbia | Falke | Fjällraven | Haglöfs | Hydro Flask | Icebreaker | Jack Wolfskin | KEEN | La Sportiva | Michelin | Montane | Mountain Equipment | Mountain Hardwear | Nikwax | Osprey | Paramo | Petzl | Polartec | Primaloft | Rab | Salomon | Scarpa | Sprayway | The North Face | VauDe | YKK | Zamberlan

AKU’s Zero-Impact Leather Footwear

What’s New?

The brand’s using new zero-impact, Italian-made leather which eliminates nasties from the tanning process and offsets it carbon debt. And there’s a neat kid’s version too.

In Detail

Nice story from Italian footwear specialist AKU which is using Italian-made Dani ‘zero impact’ leather. The tanning process is chromium and heavy metal free and reduces CO2 emissions by 5% with a reforestation programme further minimising environmental impact.

The leather features in the lining of all AKU models with a ‘Plus’ in the name. These models also feature recycled soles produced by Vibram, components are geographically traceable and the boots and shoes are made in Italy by AKU. The range includes a brilliant little AKU kid’s boot – above – which looks great, but at a price, some £110.

More info: www.aku.it.

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Arc’teryx Embraces Air Permeable Insulation With New Proton Range

What’s New?

The Proton is another take on synthetic insulation that’s been designed for high tempo active use in cold conditions thanks to breathable insulation and fabrics that combine protection and the ability to shed moisture vapour fast. Wear it and move…

In Detail

Lots going on at Arc’teryx including a revamp of the top-end Alpha SV super-burly shell which gets tougher fabric and a bunch of cunning detail tweaks, a neat new zip pull design and minimal seams, but the newest addition to the range was a selection of ‘Proton’ garments, synthetic insulation designed to be breathable and comfortable enough to be used on the move.

Yes, sort of like the Patagonia Nano Air or the Black Diamond First Light already covered here. On the outside there’s tough but reasonably air-permeable 40D plain-weave face fabric, while on the inside, there’s a more permeable material aimed at getting sweat and steam out and away as fast as possible.

The fill is a continuous filament synthetic to reduce seams and improve durability, which Arc’teryx says is excellent. There are two weights of the Proton in the pipeline, the lighter 65gsm filled LT and the warmer 95gsm AR version.

Fit, as you’d expect from the Canadian brand, is technical and svelte, which means it should be ideal for layering under a close-fitting shell jacket when things get gnarly. Prices range from £180 for the hoodless LT Jacket through to £210 for the Proton AR Hoody.

On the weight front, a Proton LT Hoody is 420g with the AR apparently just 35g more at 455g. And yes, that green is retina-burning bright…

More info: www.arcteryx.com.

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Berghaus Extrem 8000 Pro Jacket

What’s New?

The waterproof mountain shell that Leo Houlding reckons is the best he’s ever used now with added ISPO show gold award…

In Detail

No big surprises on the Berghaus stand given that we saw the award-winning 8000 Pro jacket on home ground a few weeks ago, but it was good to see the Mt.Haus-designed shell walk away with a Gold ISPO prize thanks to its use of carefully-developed fabrics, an innovative magnetic hood – oh yes there is – Cohaesive cord adjusters, and an unusual pleated back which allows improved reach without adding stretch. Serious jacket, serious winner.

Also new is the revamped version of the cunningly-zoned Ramche down jacket complete with new internal reflective mesh technology that ups the insulation value by a whole 2˚C with no significant weight penalty, plus a new Nikwax hydrophobic down treatment that’s so durable that they gave up testing it after 1,000 minutes had elapsed.

More info: www.berghaus.com.

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Black Diamond First Light Hoody

What’s New?

The First Light Hoody is a neat alpine insulated hooded jacket designed to be used on the move thanks to PrimaLoft Active insulation fill and carefully chosen protective but breathable fabrics.

In Detail

As you can see, things were getting wonky by the tine we reached the Black Diamond stand where the big news was all about the new First Light Hoody. It’s a cold-weather insulated top that’s designed to be breathable enough to be worn on the move, but also decently tough and durable.

The face fabric is a stretch Schoeller one with Nanosphere water-repellent treatment, while the insulation is migration-resistant Polartec Silver Active that retains ‘91% of its warmth when wet’. Inside there’s a nylon woven mesh fabric for better breathability.

Other stuff includes a helmet hood, pocket that doubles as a stuff-sac and a weight of around 440g claimed. If it all sounds familiar, it’s a similar concept to the Patagonia Nano Air, but with a much neater fit and a tougher, more wind-resistant outer, ideal for layering under a shell if necessary. Coincidentally Arc’teryx has a very similar type of jacket heading up its range too.

How much? Er, £250, that’s how much. But we have one to play with and it seems very nice and first impressions are that it’s an upgrade on the Nano Air.

More info: blackdiamondequipment.com.

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Columbia’s Waterproof Down Jackets

What’s New?

Fully waterproof, lightweight down jackets using Columbia’s new OutDry Extreme fabric technology complete with heat-bonded baffles. Don’t fear the rain…

In Detail

Interesting stuff from Columbia which has taken its innovative OutDry Extreme waterproof fabric – no need for a DWR – and used a similar laminated / heat-sealed process to sister brand MHW to create a range of fully waterproof down-filled jackets – above.

The fill is 650 fill power down, they should be fully waterproof and weigh around 400g. Price approximately £230 once they’re available next winter. Mildly intriguing. Like the OutDry Extreme waterproofs, the fabric has an unusual slightly rubbery, vinyl look that’s a bit of an acquired taste, though the technology works really well.

More info: columbiasportswear.co.uk.

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Falke Does Silk/Merino Baselayers

What’s New?

A baselayer fabric that’s a mix of merino wool and silk and feels a little bit awesome…

In Detail

You might know Falke as the manufacturer of arguably the world’s most technical socks – stuff like the Achilles Sock which includes devious nobbles designed to massage the area around your achilles tendon and break down crystallisation in inflamed muscle tissue, they say…

But the brand also does some super swank baselayer kit made from a mix of 30% silk and 70% merino wool, all of which sounds, well, mmmm… That’s it being worn by the cyborg-style dummies in the pic and it feels fantastic in a ‘softer than merino’ sort of way.

Its due out in February and available in various format from vest through to long-sleeved shirt via panties at prices ranging from £34 up to £76. Well, you didn’t expect a mix of silk and merino to be cheap, did you?

More info: falke.com.

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Fjällräven Polar Endurance 3 Tent

What’s New?

Beefed up version of the new tents from the brand out this spring with stronger fabrics and construction to cope with brutal polar and high mountain conditions.

In Detail

Swedish brand Fjällräven redesigned its tent range for Spring 2016 and for this autumn it expands again with the new Polar Endurance versions of the tents designed for extreme polar and high mountain use. They use super-gnarly 75D fabric with a four times applied silicone treatment throughout and come with two sets of DAC poles so you can double-pole them for increased strength.

There’s a snow valance, as you’d expect and expanded anchoring loops so you can use skis or snow pickets instead of conventional pegs. Zip-pulls and tags are over-sized so your can grip them with bulky gloves and the door has vents designed to allow you to reach out and collect snow for melting without allowing driven snow to join you in the spacious vestibule.

There are no fewer than ten storage pockets dotted about the tent as well. Weight is somewhere around the 5.4kg mark and price for the Polar Endurance 3 in the pic will be £1100. It’s all very orange with added reflective bits too and lots of condensation-busting venting.

Other news from the brand is that it now has its own (small) flock of sheep to play around with Bo Peep style, apparently it’s an experiment in determining best practice in wool sourcing. The sheep are based at Fjällräven HQ, but have a very limited managerial reach.

More info: www.fjallraven.co.uk.

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Haglöfs – The Spitz Is Back!

What’s New?

Haglöfs has resurrected the classic Spitz waterproof mountain jacket with the original features and styling meeting modern fabrics and construction techniques. Hell yeah!

In Detail

The original Haglöfs Spitz was a cracking, nicely cut, state-of-the-art Gore-Tex mountain shell that became a bit of an object of desire in its time. We actually still have one hanging up alongside the more modern stuff and it’s still a very decent jacket with great, clean looks. Time moved on though and the Spitz was elbowed aside by newer jackets with different names.

Until now… because this winter 2016, the Spitz is back in a new and improved contemporary form that Haglöfs hopes will become a ‘modern classic’ thanks to a mix of the original’s features and new fabrics and construction. As you can see from the pic above, it’s still a classic-looking bit of kit, but it now uses the latest, more breathable version of Gore-Tex Pro, the seam-tape is the latest weight and bulk-saving microtape and while the cut is still quite fitted, its a little more generous than the original.

Other than that, it’s just like old times with big, harness-compatible Napoleon-style chest pockets, a small zipped sleeve pocket, pit-zips and a substantial helmet-compatible mountain hood. Could the modern Spitz be the jacket to put Haglöfs back at the top of the mountain shell mix?

More info: www.haglofs.com.

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Hydro Flask In Many Colours…

What’s New?

Hydro Flask specialises in lightweight, tough, insulated bottles. That’s basically all it does and it’s very good at it. Oh, and it has loads of colours…

In Detail

Good to meet the guys from HydroFlask and their multiple-coloured insulated bottles. They look great and, in our experience, they work well too. The basics are double thin-walled, lightweight vacuum construction with a stream-lined design. They keep stuff hot or cool and there’s also a one-handed opening flip-top version that makes a neat commuting coffee flask…

More info: hydroflask.com.

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Icebreaker Real Fleece Gets Textured

What’s New?

Icebreaker’s merino-based Realfleece gets a textured inner surface to trap more air and up efficiency in several different designs.

In Detail

Looks like some sort of textured, gridded fleece right, but the Icebreaker Descender Jacket is actually made from Real Fleece, a hybrid fabric which wraps merino wool warm around a Nylon core before brushing it to give a fleece-like look and feel.

It’s going to be available as a zip-tee, a jacket and a gilet plus as a hoody for folk who want a fleece look and quality but with merino characteristics. Really rather nice, though initially for boys only. Sorry…

More info: uk.icebreaker.com.

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Jack Wolfskin’s Multi-Functional Crosser Packs

What’s New?

A range of day packs that are claimed to be as good in an urban commuting environment as they are on a windswept mountain – carry a hydration pack and a tablet with equal ease and own just one pack instead of two.

In Detail

Plenty of justifiable satisfaction on the Jack Wolfskin stand over the brand’s ISPO award for Eco Achievement recognising its efforts to maximise sustainability. Plenty of new gear too including the Crosser range of packs which will come in 18, 26 and 34-litre sizes and are intended to be just as useable for commuting as they are in the mountains.

What does that mean? Well, you get a proper ACS Tight Suspension System complete with stowable  hip-fins and waist belt, so the pack carries properly but you also get internal sleeves to carry a 15″ lap-top and a 10″ tablet, with the notebook compartment also providing a hydration reservoir sleeve. Lots of compartmentalised gizmo storage, but also an integrated rain cover and urban-friendly reflective flashes.

Tough, lightweight technical fabrics keep the weight of the Crosser 26 at a very reasonable 1170g. Meanwhile the largest 34L version has a conventional top opening as well as the zipped-panel access of the 18 and 26L Crossers.

Makes a whole lot sense to us – most urban packs are compromised for real outdoors use – these ones have pole holders, bottle pockets and more, while most outdoor packs aren’t particularly commuter friendly. The Crosser does genuinely look likely to do both well. Result.

More info: www.jack-wolfskin.co.uk.

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KEEN’s new Lightweight A-Phlex Trail Shoe And Mid

What’s New?

Lightweight trail-walking shoes and mids from KEEN with a look that’s somewhat different from their traditional shoes.

In Detail

The stand-out new model at KEEN was the A-Phlex trail shoe (above) and matching A-Phlex Mid. They’re very definitely lightish trail-walking rather than running shoes and they look a little different from the KEEN norm. Lots going on: underfoot there are two densities of EVA cushioning and an outsole with multiple grip zones.

The heel counter is super hefty for maximum stability on rough ground, like really solid, and the uppers use a PHL EXOSKELETON construction connected directly to the lacing system for maximum foot and heel hold – all pretty clear from the pic above.

Both the shoe and mid use KEEN.DRY waterproofing. Retail will be £120 for the mid and £110 for the low once they launch in autumn 2016. Looking forward to giving them a try.

New Madeira Boots

Also on the way from the brand are the new Madeira Peak and Madeira Trail, essentially Nubuck leather versions of the European-made, three-season, Liberty Ridge. Both look great, less shiny than the Liberty Ridge, with the Peak being waterproof and the Trail not, but having a full leather lining. £150 and £140 respectively and out this March 2016.

More info: keenfootwear.com.

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La Sportiva’s Leather Trango TRK Hiking Boot

What’s New?

The recently launched Trango-style TRK boot with fabric uppers is joined by a leather version for next winter.

In Detail

Short, sharp and simple . Following on from La Sportiva’s Trango range walking boot launched last year, there’s a new Trango TRK leather boot, essentially it’s a leather version of the original boot, with classic La Sportiva technical styling and fit, but aimed at hikers, trekkers and backpackers rather than alpinists.

In classic continental boot brand style, ‘backpacking’ is shorthand for ‘quite stiff and supportive underfoot’ and there’s plenty of technical stuff going on including the 3D Flex ankle design and a Vibram outsole that gives a firm nod in the direction of the brand’s mountaineering heritage with a climbing zone blocked-out toe area.

Arguably the climber’s hiking boot.

More info: lasportiva.com.

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Michelin Does Outdoor Soles For Hi-Tec And Others

What’s New?

French tyre specialist Michelin is working with a small number of brands including Hi-Tec to create custom compound outsoles using its decades of rubbery expertise.

In Detail

It’s not unheard of for car tyre specialists to get involved in the outdoors – Continental cooperates with adidas to produce grippy sole unit and sticky climbing rubber was first based on aircraft tyre compounds – but it’s a new venture for French specialist Michelin working with several brands including Hi-Tec and Salewa.

The basics are that Michelin is using its longstanding expertise in rubber compounds to produce sole units that are tailored to individual brands and models to give an optimal balance between, say, grip and durability. It’s not just that thought, take a close look at the sole unit above and you can see that the tread pattern is borrowed from a specific car tyre, in this case something called an XAS, which is designed for older cars and includes siped lugs for improved grip and ‘biting edges’ at toe and heel.

Interesting development, we look forward to seeing if road grip translates to trail traction…

More info gb.michelin-lifestyle.com.

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Montane’s New Gore-Tex Collection

What’s New?

Montane has become the first new UK outdoors brand to get a Gore-Tex licence in living memory and has a whole new range of Gore-Tex waterproof jackets along with a Gore Windstopper soft shell collection too. No more eVent from the brand from this autumn 2016.

In Detail

One of the biggest UK stories at the show was Montane’s launch of its brand new Gore-Tex collection of waterproof shells for autumn 2016. It’s all change with the brand’s long association with eVent being show the door and a whole range of new kit using Gore-Tex Pro, C-KNIT and Active fabrics being ushered in.

Why the change? Well, there was talk about a ‘natural progression’ towards using another premium brand alongside the likes of Pertex and Polartec, but there’s also a feeling that it might help the brand broaden its appeal in Europe. Montane says its carefully picked out the ‘lightest and most breathable Gore-Tex fabrics’ for its new range. Incidentally, it’s the first UK brand to be granted a Gore licence in around eight to nine years.

The Jackets

We’ll go into a little more depth elsewhere, but the new range falls into three distinct areas: lightweight ‘Spine’ jackets and smock made from Gore-Tex Active. We have one of these and it’s a really nicely cut balance of weight and protection that we’re looking forward to using. The Smock version has interesting permanently open by waterproof vents at the rear by the way.

There are also a pair of light-ish mountain walking shells made from the Gore-Tex C-KNIT fabric, a sub-400g Gore-Tex Pro jacket designed for either walking or mountaineering and finally, a full-on, technical mountaineering shell with heavy duty reinforced abrasion zones, four pockets and pit-zips.

All of the jackets bar the top-end mountain shell and the Spine Smock are available in both men’s and women’s versions and there are various matching waterproof overtrousers to match.

More info: www.montane.co.uk.

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Mountain Equipment Prophet Jacket With Gore Thermium

What’s New?

Lightweight waterproof synthetic-filled insulation using a new Gore fabric called Thermium – a bit like Windstopper but lighter and taped in this case.

In Detail

The big news on the Mountain Equipment stand – apart from Rich Bailey’s lost notebook – was the new Prophet Jacket, an insulated mountain top aimed at UK climbers and mountaineers and pretty much waterproof thanks to a new technology from Gore called Thermium.

The Thermium fabric is very thin and light – a sort of lightened-up Windstopper – and has taped seams, which combined with a hydrostatic head of 15,000mm, means the jacket is effectively waterproof. Inside there’s 80gsm PrimaLoft Gold synthetic fill and it features a fully-adjustable helmet hood and chunky VISLON zips.

At 510g it’s lighter and more packable than the classic 645-gramme Fitzroy, but not quite as warm due it its lighter fill, which should make it ideal for faster-moving climbers who want a waterproof and insulation layer in one. It will retail for £270 once it’s available in autumn 2016.

Transition Jacket

Also new is the Transition Jacket which is designed for ‘active use’ – viz, you run about a lot – and has super breathable synthetic Polarloft Duo insulation housed in a shell that’s mostly windproof, but has densely woven Pontetorto Tecnowool side panels which still, apparently, take the edge off the wind, but improve breathability. Weighs 350g, packs into its own pocket and will sell for £160.

More info: www.mountain-equipment.co.uk.

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Mountain Hardwear’s New StretchDown

What’s New?

It’s down, there are no stitches and it’s stretchy. What’s not to like?

In Detail

It was all about the down at MHW with not just one, but two innovative developments. First the new range of StretchDown jackets use down channels formed using the same heat-sealing technology as the brand’s Lamina sleeping bags. No stitched seams mean better wind-proofing and, says MHW, more consistent insulation with fewer potential cold spots.

And then there’s the ‘stretch’ bit. There are two versions: StretchDown – above – features stretch fabrics inside and out, while the ‘StretchDown RS’ versions have a stretchy liner, but a Rip-Stop – hence ‘RS’ non-stretch outer. Inside there’s Q-Shield, 750 fill power hydrophobic goose down and there are hooded and non-hooded versions of each.

We reckon they look great – see above – and there’s also a StretchDown Plus version with bigger down channels and more down for cooler conditions / wusses.

Weights for men’s hooded versions are: 423g for the lighter Stretch RS, 540g for the Stretch Hooded and 576g for the Plus Hooded model. Prices range between £200 and £240 depending on the model.

Is there any advantage to have a stretchy down jacket? We’re not sure, a close internal fit could be more efficient by minimising cold spot and stretch can give a more mobile feel. Wait and see we reckon.

More info: mountainhardwear.eu.

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Nikwax Tech Wash Improved

What’s New?

Redeveloped wash for technical clothing is now kinder to DWRs, so you can use it more often without needing to reproof your waterproof jacket or softshell.

In Detail

Nikwax launched a new, improved  V.16.1 version of its Tech Wash cleaner for technical clothing. It’s still designed to be used for waterproofs and soft shells with DWR water-repellent treatments, but it now claims to double the time between reproofing is needed.

Before Nikwax recommended re-applying a DWR every three to five washes, with the new version, that goes up to six to ten washes. It also, they say, cleans better and of course, being Nikwax, it’s fluorochemical free. Ironically it should mean that Nikwax actually sells less of its other, reproofing products… that’s selfless dedication for you.

More info: www.nikwax.com.

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Osprey Sojourn 60 Pack

What’s New?

How about an adventure travel pack that combines bombproof wheels with Osprey’s latest proper back system?

In Detail

How about an adventure travel pack that combines sturdy wheels with precision sealed bearings and a state-of-the-art carrying harness based on the innovative AntiGravityTM trampoline suspended mesh back-system? That’s what you get with the new Sojourn 60 and 80 models.

The wheels are part of the HighRoad chassis and claimed to ‘allow a smooth rolling motion on almost any surface’ and if things get too busy just unzip the full-spec harness and stick it on your back. It also has Osprey’s fold-in StraightJacketTM compression with foam sidewalls and is compatible with clip-on Daylite & Daylite Plus day-sacks.

One seriously mixed up pack in a good way. The Sojourn 60 is going to £200 and the 80, some £220.

Also this autumn, the Momentum commuter pack gets an overhaul with an updated back panel, bottle pockets and a ventilated stretch yoke and load lifters.

The one we really like the look of is the new Radial active commuter pack with a mesh ventilated back system and a ‘kick stand’ feature that means it’ll stand up on its own so you never have to lean it against walls or lamp-posts. Neat.

More info: www.ospreyeurope.co.uk.

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New Jackets From Paramo

What’s New?

There’s a brand new version of the light-ish weight Velez from the south coast Analogy cult, plus the mountaineering Enduro jacket gets a slightly longer cut and a funky asymmetrical look.

In Detail

Great to see distinctively British brand Paramo making inroads into the continental market and they had two maybe one-and-a-half new jackets to have a look at.

On the right is the redesigned men’s Enduro technical mountain jacket. We can’t claim it’s entirely our responsibility, but the new version is cut longer by around 2″ to give a little more crotch protection, it has a ski-pass pocket on the sleeve and, check that, a new choice of cool-looking colours. Blue and black as above, and red and blue. Loving the asymmetric look. Price around £350.

Also new is the redesigned Velez Jacket – not smock – on the left. It gets new vents to channel air down the sleeves, core vents which double as pockets, but have two zips for maximum versatility and zones both Analogy and Analogy Light fabrics for maximum effect. You can just about make out the different colour shades.

The thicker fabric sits in abrasion zones. The inner is zoned too with areas of perforated pump liner where things are under pressure. Great to see Paramo moving forward, both jackets looked great in the flesh.

More info: www.paramo.co.uk.

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Petzl’s Headtorches Get Bluetooth Control

What’s New?

Upgraded top-end headtorches featuring Bluetooth compatibility, which allows you to control them using a dedicated iPhone app. And the Nao gets even more brightness.

In Detail

Interesting stuff at Petzl with the launch of several Bluetooth headtorches along with a smartphone app, which allows you to adjust lighting parameters on the go – it’s a lot like Petzl’s OS desktop app, but on a phone – and see at a glance how much battery power you have left.

Neat idea. You can tailor output to suit the expected mission time or choose from a selection of pre-loaded profiles, you know the thing, ‘Nocturnal Ballet’ or ‘Himalayan Mountaineering’. Two of the compatible torches are a rebadged Tikka RXP which will be called the Reactive + and the latest version of the Nao, the Nao +.

The latter not only gets bluetooth, but also an output upped to 750 lumens max compared to 575 lumens for the current version and a piffling 350 lumens for the original Nao. Other changes are an elasticated headband cord and a very welcome rear-mounted red LED to ward off speeding deer and over-eager race rivals… Due out in July.

More info: www.petzl.com.

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Polartec – Rab  Alpha Direct Jacket

What’s New?

Polartec’s Alpha insulation loses its inner layer to expose its fleece innards with the benefits of reduced weight and improved wicking efficiency. And it looks cool.

In Detail

Fabric maestros Polartec were showing off a new version of the Alpha insulation sandwich, but the new Alpha Direct fabric does away with the liner fabric so you can see exactly what’s going on inside. It’s like a sort of Danish-style smorgasbord open sandwich and intended to move moisture faster.

It also looks super cool in a furry, fluffy gridded way. The garment pictured is Rab’s Alpha Direct Jacket with highly breathable Pertex Microlight fabric on the outside and is designed to be used either as a stand-alone outer or layered under a shell when the going gets nasty… wonder what happens if you rip the liner out of a Strata Hoodie eh, bet it’s not a nice blue colour inside. Price will be £180 when it launches later this year according to our barely legible notes…

More info: www.polartec.com.

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New Stuff From PrimaLoft – Gold Insulation Active

What’s New?

More synthetic insulation that’s designed to be breathable enough to be used on the move without you stewing in your own sweat.

In Detail

The big news from insulation giant PrimaLoft is the launch of a new ‘Gold’ level version of its Active fill. Active first appeared this winter in garments like the Montane Fireball Verso, and is designed to be used for, well, active use really with better moisture transmission than normal PrimaLoft plus the ability to be used with more breathable fabrics.

It’s slightly stretchy and is going to be used by three brands: Rab, Adidas Outdoor and Bergans of Norway, above. Sounds good if you want to move fast in really cold conditions, which seems to be a bit of a theme next winter with both Black Diamond and Arc’teryx launching synthetic-filled insulation with wind-resistant, but very breathable fabrics wrapped around it. More about that later on.

More info www.primaloft.com.

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Rab’s New Zero G Jacket With 1000 Fill Power Down

What’s New?

Rab uses super high-lofting 1000 fill power down for the first time with a new lightweight and ultra-packable, but decently warm mountaineering jacket. Plus lots more besides.

In Detail

Loads going on at Rab – we really like the Alpha Direct Jacket featured earlier – but arguably the star turn was the lightweight Zero G down jacket, which marks the first time the brand has ever uses super high-lofting, 1000 fill-power goose down.

That down is super rare – the only people we know of using it regularly in the UK are PH Designs – and Rab has left it completely untreated to maximise loft. The outer is lightweight Pertex Quantum GL 7D – the lightest Pertex Quantum GL out there – and the end result is a jacket with a helmet hood that weighs just 310g.

The hood is helmet friendly with the brand’s malleable polymer peak, the YKK Vislon main-zip gets an insulated zip-baffle and cuffs and hem are elasticated to save weight and bulk. Even the stuff-sac is made from that Quantum GL 7D. Looks good.

Loads more going down at Rab too. There’s the Alpha Direct Jacket, a new, mid-weight mid-layer all-rounder made from Polartec’s Power Wool in a thicker version than we’ve seen so far and a new Xenon X insulated jacket that uses the more breathable Primaloft Active fill for better comfort on the move.

More info: rab.equipment.

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Salomon – New Off-Road Running Shoes

What’s New?

Two big stories: the ever-popular Speed Cross is revised wth more grip and a closer, more ‘athletic’ fit plus there’s a new winter-friendly S-LAB series mountain running shoe with an integrated gaiter.

In Detail

The big news from French trail specialist Salomon was a pair of top-end, off-road running shoes. Up there is the new S-LAB XA Alpine, complete with an integrated gaiter with water-resistant zip and an outsole featuring a blocked-out climbing zone up front for all-round ‘fast mountain running’ it says here. Legs allowing obviously… £200 to you, sir or madam. Ouch…

There’s lots going on though, it won a show award and while you can’t see it, it has a carbon fibre chassis and EVA padding.

Looks like it should make a great winter running option – until the water gets in anyway. Next to it is the revamped version of the classic Speed Cross trail-running shoe, the Speed Cross 4. It gets a new, closer-fitting, ‘more athletic last plus a grippier, more aggressive sole featuring full lugs all round. Plus Wet Traction Contragrip rubber compound is claimed to do what it says on the tin.

It also has a slightly lower heel to toe drop than before at 10mm rather than 11mm. Two versions, the Gore-Tex, waterproof one at £125 and the non-waterproof at £100.

There’s other new stuff too. The X-Chase Mid is a super fast and light hiking mid based on the Wings Flyte TR shoe and looking mean and light in black. Plus Salomon has jumped on the reversible insulated jacket express too with the Drifter Mid Hoodie using PrimaLoft Active insulation – windproof on one side, more breathable on the other, £130 for the hoodie.

More info: www.salomon.com.

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Scarpa Adds Gaiters

What’s New?

Scarpa’s added integrated OutDry waterproof gaiters to some of its trail-running shoes for winter use.

In Detail

Over on the Scarpa stand, someone’s been very busy adding integrated gaiters to yet more trail-running shoes. The Atom S Scarpa’s 4mm drop, lightly treaded shoe gets a completely waterproof integrated OutDry gaiter and a price tag of £200.

More adaptable in UK conditions, we reckon, is the Neutron Gaiter – above – which again uses an OutDry waterproof integrated, erm, gaiter with an ergonomic curved zip. It has 6mm heel to toe drop and the chunky lugs look like they’ll be well up for the some UK moorland mud-bashing action. Spine Race anyone? They’re going to be £170.

More info: www.scarpa.co.uk.

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Sprayway Does Down Jackets

What’s New?

A nice range of sort of midi-baffled duck down all-round lightweight insulated jackets at a decent price.

In Detail

Not to be left behind by virtually everyone else at the show, Sprayway had a small but perfectly formed selection of down jackets. Using 700+ fit power, 90/10 duck down in a sort of ‘midi-baffled’ format, the jackets feature twin hand-warmer pockets and insulated collars and will be available for both men and women. Price a very reasonable £140.

And if you want UK-friendly synthetic fill, the Grendel and Vela jackets have been redesigned to eliminate the wind-porous side-panels, so the entire jacket is now shelled with Gore Windstopper. Makes sense. Keeps you warmer. Prices will be £160 and £150 respectively so it pays to be a girl…

More info: www.sprayway.com.

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The North Face Flight Series Fuse Running Jacket

What’s New?

Fuseform gets lightweight with an intriguing lightweight running jacket featuring perforated areas for better breathability. More integrated gaiter running shoes too.

In Detail

The latest application of TNF’s Fuseform technology is this award-winning lightweight running jacket which uses a multi-textured fabric to reduce weight and eliminate seams. The internal illumination emphasises the semi-translucency of the 2.5-layer fabric.

It also underlines the perforated membrane which is designed to improve breathability without compromising protection. It’ll set you back a cool £200 once it’s available in autumn 2016.

Other stuff from TNF includes a full-gaitered winter trail-running shoe featuring something called Vibram Ice Track, which improves grip on ice thanks to metallic particles embedded in the rubber of the sole compound. There’s no stiffening Snake Plate in the chassis on the basis that rock protection isn’t needed when you’re running on snow. Woohoo!

More info: www.thenorthface.co.uk.

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VauDe’s Larice Jacket Ensemble

What’s New?

Co-ordinated technical soft shell and waterproof jackets for folk who like some aesthetic continuity in their outdoor gear choices.

In Detail

The jacket on the right is the current Larice Jacket, a lightweight, stretch-zoned softshell with a DWR, what’s nice is that VauDe has developed a matching new 2.5-layer lightweight waterproof shell, also called the Larice, to supplement it. It has an eco-friendly DWR, twin pockets, pit-zips, a pack-friendly design and internal mesh pockets for additional storage.

It’s designed to be teamed with the original Larice when the weather gets irritable and has the same neat style lines and colour palate. We like the thought that’s gone into it and the Bluesign approval ain’t bad either…

More info: www.vaude.com.

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YKK Fix A Shape 3D Zip

What’s New?

Pre-shaped zips that contour round awkward curves like, erm, chins, developed initially with French alpine brand Eider.

In Detail

Funny things zips, they mostly like lying around in straight lines rather than following curves like the ones you find, for example, in the chin-piece of a jacket. Not any more though that up there is the new YKK Fix A Shape developed with French brand Eider which – and we quote – ‘locks into a curve that follows the shape of the chin without compromising comfort and mobility’.

We had a try and it certainly does seem to follow the contours of your chin in a way that normal YKK VISLON zips don’t.  It’s not super, super flexible, more pre-curved to allow designers to sculpt that area of the jacket to fit a more sinuous silhouette or something like that.

Also new from YKK is an ultra-lightweight, flexible zip designed to be used on light and stashable waterproof shells, which allows you to stuff them into a small ball with minimal fuss. Nice.

More info: www.ykkeurope.com.

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New Apine Colours From Zamberlan

What’s New?

Zamberlan’s alpine boots get funkier with new colours for next winter.

In Detail

Whoah! Pass the sunglasses. Italian footwear specialist Zamberlan may be best known for traditional brown leather walking boots, but things are changing with new colours, names and sole designs particularly in the alpine range. For example, this is the women’s Baltoro, a B2-rated crampon boot with heel and toe protection, Vibram Mulaz Evo outsole and multi-density EVA mid-sole which helps keep weight reasonable at around 800g for a single size 42 boot.

Don’t despair if you want something a little quieter on your feet. There are also more discrete grey versions and a ‘somewhere in the middle’ blue-uppered option too. Nice to have the choice.

More info: www.zamberlan.com.

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