Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New Lightweight Gear on the Horizon

For most of the year, I've been quite content in my belief that the lightweight outdoor industry had slowed in sense of product development. A cuben Haven or Vamp by Six Moon Designs never came out nor did a similar shelter from Gossamer Gear - both of which I figured would be out by now (although I believe we'll see them by next year at the latest). Even products which were debuted at other earlier shows this year, such as the Ridgerest Solar which I mentioned in another entry, still hasn't made it to the consumer market.

Fortunately, this time of year brings with it a variety of outdoor shows both in the U.S. and abroad which have offered some new products worth once again hoping to see in the consumer market. Giving credit to where credit is due, and have both done great jobs at posting observations for you and I to appreciate. Below are a couple of things that caught my eye:

Terra Nova is coming out with a cuben version of their Laser 1 making it officially the lightest double-walled tent on the market which will come in at just over a pound.

Sea-to-Summit is coming out with a tent that is very similar in appearance to SMD's Vamp and/or Haven...which to be fair, is a very similar design to other tents too. With tents, it is tough to reinvent the wheel. The Specialist, coming in both a solo and duo version, is a silnylon tent that will come in at 22 and 29.8oz respectively.

Terra Nova is also working cuben into their pack line with their Ultra 20 100g pack.

Probably one of my favorite products is the new Pacific Outdoor Equipment Peak AC inflatable pad. It should compete quite well with the NeoAir which has both detractors and followers. The Peak AC, like the NeoAir, uses a radiant barrier to increase the r-value and will start at $65 for a 10.75oz version.

I also like the Pacific Outdoor Equipment Peak Oyl Lite sleeping pad which boasts a 3-4 r-value and will no doubt compete with the BPL Torsolite which I found to be laughably small...although the Peak Oyl is only 37"x18" for 9oz.

For those of you who like to carry a more substantial knife than just a Swiss Army mini or a razor blade, check out the Baladeo knife which comes in at just 1.19oz for a knife with 4+ inches of blade. I should mention that I personally wouldn't carry this knife principally because it seems a little too frill-less to me (dangerous) and I also think the locking mechanism isn't as robust as it could be, but it may very well be a good option for some of you. Personally, for a lock blade, I like the Benchmade 530 at just 1.8oz.

Sand Socks Inc. is coming out with "Grip Socks" which is a product for folks that want some basic footwear whether for camp or water. It is literally nothing more than a neoprine sock with some foam at the bottom. A pair of mediums weigh 3.3oz.

Trail Designs has listened to their customers and redesigned their wonderful Ti-Tri system into a cone that fits into a 1.3l, 900ml, and 600ml pot which makes packing a lot easier. Hopefully Titanium Goat will follow suit.

There are a lot of other unique and interesting things on the horizon to include quite a bit of new clothing (ultralight down and rain options) and even new sleeping pads such as the redesigned NeoAir and superminimal pad called the Inertia X-Frame by Klymet which claims a weight of around 9 oz , but I just wanted to identify a few things that I found interesting. Hopefully we'll see some of these innovations by early spring if not sooner.


Anonymous said...

Easton has the product pages for their new tents up:

Easton Kilo Tent

2.0 pounds pack weight for a two-layer tent. Just think how light it would be if they made a cuben fiber version!

Anonymous said...

There's an interesting thread about the Easton Kilo here:

Jolly Green Giant said...

There are two things with the Easton that I'm waiting on: (1) the true strength of the newly designed poles, and (2) the legitimate functional length. I'm not a huge fan of tents that get pulled to a corner without any kind of riser because the manufacturer can claim a certain length but in most cases it results in the ceiling laying on my quilt or otherwise causing me grief. So in this case...we shall see, but it is enticing.

Limo Lori said...

Now I like the sand socks. On the last section hike, I left any idea of camp shoes at home. My new trail runners were comfy enough in camp, but I did miss having something softer on my feet in camp. I used to use Crocs, but gave them up because they are too bulky. Took up too much space in the pack, and I HATE having things dangling off my pack. If it doesn't go inside, it doesn't go.

OceanMountainSky said...

Didn't get a chance to see the new pad by POE but Exped had a nice lightweight pad without insulation. That would be a great Neoair substitute for summer backpackers. Saw lots of great stuff at the Outdoor Retailer show this year and can't wait for them to hit the market.