For the last four days the UKC team of Mick Ryan, Alan James, Jack Geldard and myself have been in Germany at the Friedrichshafen OutDoor Show 2010 (although Jack had to nip off to Arco to sit on the jury of the Arco Rock Master Climber of 2009 Award).
Click on the photos to make them bigger.
For those not familiar with the OutDoor Show (15 – 18 July) held on the banks of Lake Constance in twelve massive exibition halls, it is where worldwide outdoor companies converge annually to show off their products to shops, the press and each other. This year there were about 860 exhibitors from 39 countries showcasing new and existing outdoor products that help us have fun and protect us when playing in the great outdoors whether we are running, walking, trekking, camping, climbing or mountaineering.
We were looking in particular, of course, at climbing and mountaineering products and over the next few weeks we will be showcasing new gear that will be of interest to the readers of UKClimbing.com. We all have long gear wishlists now!
Beal fan Alan James is keen to try the new DMM ropes (made by Beal to their specifications) once they have been athlete tested and are available, and we all wanted to pocket a few perfectly simple Black Diamond GridLock Karabiners ("We don't have to sell them, just ask how many people want," said BD UK rep David Noddings). We enjoyed hearing young DMM Design Engineer Elliot Tanner explain the months of effort, energy and sleepless nights that went into the creation of the Dragon Cams (video coming soon). I want a Petzl Meteor III helmet - this popular model is now certified for biking and paddling as well as climbing - and many people will be interested by the new, grown up Petzl Grigri, too - smoother, lighter, better.
Superlight was a strong theme at the show. Mick was particularly impressed by the Nemo tents and Yeti sleeping bags - both companies have 3-year long ownership rights to some amazing barely there yet durable and weather resistant fabrics. Then there were featherweight Patagonia down jackets, Exped mats and many more amazing products to lighten our packs. Keep your eye out at UKClimbing.com over the next few weeks for more reports about new climbing and mountaineering products that caught our eyes at the OutDoor Show 2010.
This year there were 412 entries from 28 countries, with 47 of those entries winning awards. It was great to see British designers and companies winning Gold awards - Inov-8 with their Bare-grip TM 200 off-road running shoes and Terra Nova Equipment with their 500g Laser Ultra 1 tent.
The judges were (see photo left):
Chris Townsend, TGO Magazine (Great Britain), Boris Gnielka, Outdoor Magazin (Germany), Mikko Lamminpää, RETKI, Finnish Outdoor Magazine (Finland), Christian Weiss, Transa Backpacking AG, (Switzerland), Mark Held, European Outdoor Group (Switzerland) and Martin Lotti, Nike Inc. (USA)
Below are the eight winners who were rewarded with a Gold award in recognition of their special achievements in design and innovation, plus a selection of climbing specific products that also won awards.
01. Winner: inov-8 Bare-grip TM 200 - off-road running shoes
Manufacturer: inov-8, Crook/United Kingdom
Design: Graham Jordison (inov-8)
The bare-grip™ 200 is an off-road running shoe that gives you the feel of running barefoot, but provides very solid support and protection for the foot at the same time. Because it has no mid sole, the natural speed and power of your foot is transferred directly through the shoe. Your foot is closer to the ground and has a stable, low profile in a natural position – this reduces the danger of injury and the runner can actually feel the ground below.
What the jury had to say: "It combines all the characteristics that you could want in a good shoe. It is comfortable, fits perfectly, gives great support, dries quickly and is very lightweight – that's running pleasure at its finest."
02. Winner: Ricosta Mountain WMS – multi-functional outdoor shoes for children
Manufacturer: RICOSTA Schuhfabriken GmbH, Donaueschingen/Germany
Design: Rudolf Alfred Scherf, Scherfdesign Concept and Development, Cologne/Germany
Ricosta Mountain is the first hiking shoe for kids to use the German WMS fit. The WMS system (wide-medium-narrow) takes the width and the length of children's feet into consideration during the growing phase. The shoelace system is made easy for children to handle and has fewer tying points (two-zone lacing). The hooks are large and easy to use. The molded soles provide for good footing on rough terrain but are still low in weight. The heel made of a hexa4grip rubber component has extra good gripping properties. The design focuses on easy handling for kids and has been deliberately reduced to a minimum.
What the jury had to say: "This shoe affords good protection for little feet. The design appeals to kids and encourages them to wear the shoes and be more active outdoors. Products like these, that motivate kids to get out and play, are very important today."
03. Winner: Black Diamond Equipment GridLock – safety karabiner
Category: Mountain-climbing equipment
Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment, Salt Lake City/USA
Design: Bill Belcourt, Paul Oddou, Paul Terry, Kent Dodge, Nick Rueff, Ben Walker (Black Diamond Equipment)
The warmly forged GridLock prevents the karabiner from twisting. The safety ring remains safely in the bottom part of the GridLock to prevent any lateral load. It weighs in at a mere 76g.
What the jury had to say: "The karabiner is a wonderful, very simple design solution – a typical Black Diamond – simple and beautiful."
04. Winner: Terra Nova Equipment Laser Ultra 1 – tent
Category: Camping equipment
Manufacturer: Terra Nova Equipment, Derbyshire/United Kingdom
Design: Andrew Dawson (Terra Nova Equipment)
Weighing in at less than 500g, the “LASER ULTRA 1” is the lightest one-person double-walled tent in the world. The design of this ultra-light tent (poles, outer wall, inner wall) is based on the use of a new, ultra-light but very hardwearing material. Despite its light weight, this tent is still able to offer lots of room, incredibly small packed dimensions as well as several different ventilation options. The traditional “laser” design stands up to even the worst weather and is the perfect choice for adventure racing and ultra-light backpacking.
What the jury had to say: "This tent is one of the most innovative products. It is much lighter than any tent ever was before – not only due to improved materials but also through the use of a completely new, exciting material."
05. Winner: Exped SynMat 7 UL – Insulated outdoor sleeping mat
Category: Camping equipment
Manufacturer: Exped AG, Zurich/Switzerland
Design: Exped AG, Zurich/Switzerland
This sleeping mat offers unrivaled comfort and warmth with a minimum in weight and packing size. Weighing in at just 470 g and offering a lying space of 183x50cm, but still with an impressive thickness of 7 cm, it achieves an R value of 3.5. And that within the packing size of a half-liter bottle. It is equipped with flat-valve technology – the inflation and deflation valves are separated – as well as with disposable flaps, which makes it particularly easy to operate. The flat valves are inserted soft and flat into the material, which makes them extremely robust.
What the jury had to say: "It is really revolutionary: very innovative, a lightweight, easy to pack, looks very comfortable – a real innovation! You see it at first glance, it's fascinating – giant steps were made in terms of progress here. The sleeping mat is simply an already good product that was made lighter and better. It's easy to understand and delivers what its looks and feel promise."
06. Winner: Adventurer Opti (Steripen) – portable UV water purifier
Manufacturer: Hydro-Photon, Inc., Maine/USA
Design: Miles Maiden (Hydro-Photon)
The Adventurer Opti UV uses light to kill viruses, bacteria and protozoa in drinking water. The pocket size version weighs only 103 g. With 2 CR123 batteries, it is able to purify a liter of water in only 90 seconds. And it can also be used as an LED flashlight. This long-wearing pen can replace the use of and prevent the pollution caused by 16,000 plastic disposable bottles. It is environmentally friendly and can also be used in combination with the SteriPEN solar-energy carrying case.
What the jury had to say: "This water purifier is an elegant and simple solution at the same time. It is very small, which means it can be easily taken along and is easy to use. A really important, convenient product because water outside of Europe often has to be purified."
07. Winner: Care Plus® Tick-Test – Self-diagnosis tick test
Manufacturer: Tropicare B.V., Almere/Netherlands
Design: Tropicare B.V.
This self-diagnosis tick test can be used on a tick that has bitten you to detect the presence of Borrelia bacteria. These bacteria can cause Lyme disease, which is a very serious disease. If the test is positive, a doctor can intervene immediately with the appropriate treatment with antibiotics. The main advantage of this test is that you know directly after the tick has bitten you whether or not you require further treatment. Without the test, you (might have to) wait for the appearance of the red ring (erythema migrans) before the (long-term) treatment is started. And that is actually already much too late because by then the infection is already chronic.
What the jury had to say: "This test helps to identify Lyme disease at a very early stage so that treatment can be begun early. The product also draws attention to a problem that is becoming increasingly common. Using the test is easy and inexpensive as well."
08. Winner: Klättermusen Ab Einriede 2:0 – Jacket
Category: Products of high ecological and sustainable value
Manufacturer: Klättermusen Ab, Åre/Sweden
Design: Peter Askulv (Klättermusen Ab)
The Einride 2:0 jacket is made completely of natural, non-toxic materials. It consists of 100 % organic cotton and is impregnated completely without the use of fluorocarbons. The reinforcements are made of 100 % recycled polyester. The hood is designed so that a helmet can fit underneath. The jacket is also equipped with ventilated pockets with mesh linings and asymmetrically cut sleeves and wrist straps without Velcro® fasteners. Asymmetrical, water-repellent zippers, folded seams and a compass and whistle afford extra protection.
What the jury had to say: "A sustainable product that stands out by the use of organic cotton and recycled polyester. The jacket doesn't use any extra gluing, which rounds out the picture of a sustainable wind-and-rain jacket. Klättermusen is a fascinating, exciting brand."
Other Award Winners
Millet Absolute Pro 9mm Rope (single, double and twin rope)
You can see more winners at the International Forum Design Website who administer the OutDoor Industry Awards.
We will have more gear news from all your favourite brands: Marmot, Montane, C.A.M.P, Petzl, La Sportiva, Scarpa, 5.10, The North Face, Beta Climbing, Deuter, Grivel, Wild Country, DMM, Black Diamond, prAna, Evolv, Metolius, Nemo, Arcteryx, Outdoor Research, Mammut, Aquapac, Primus, Steripen, Edelrid, Patagonia and more in the next few weeks.