The UKC team of Alan James, Mick Ryan, Jack Geldard and myself spent four days at The OutDoor Show recently, finding out what new gear is in the pipeline. Most of the gear we videoed will be available next Spring.
Other news items in this series:
Lowe Alpine was recently acquired by Equip, the Derbyshire-based company who also own Podsacs, Rab and Outdoor Designs. The brand's international headquarters are now in Kendal, and the pack development team have been busy. Their first new line since the buy out is a new generation of their popular mid-size AirZone backpacks. The new packs have clean, clutter free designs and RRPs range from £125 to £55.
In the video above, Clive Allen talks us through Lowe Alpine's new Mountain Attack packs, which arrive next spring, too. These are designed as all-rounders, for everything from alpine hut-to-hut touring to multi-day mountain routes. Available in 45:55 (i.e. 45 litres with an extendable lid adding 10 litres), 45:55 XL (i.e. longer back length) and 35:45 litre versions, RRPs are £110/£100. Plus, the brand is launching a completely new generation of beltpacks, with design input from top fell runners. These will range from 2 to 7 litres in capacity, and from £15 to £28 in price.
For Spring 2013, Arc'teryx are redesigning two of their pack ranges. In the video above, Ian from Arc'teryx's Canada-based design team talks us through the features of the new Miura packs (a 35 litre model priced at £110; and a 45 litre at £120), which are more than 50% lighter (about 1kg) than their predecessors. They are still padded all around and offer clever storage for gear, rope and hardware. The Miuras also feature a zip that opens the whole pack or offers side or top access, and a side handle. The Altra trekking packs have also been completely redesigned with a slimmer, more pear-shaped silhouette, and more pack sizes ranging from 35 litres (£150) up to 75 (£290).
Montane's new pack range, which launched last year, was well received. You can read Steve Long's review of the Medusa 32 here. So guess what? More new packs: Grand Tour 55 (£120); Ultra Tour 22 (£65); and the Torque 40, which is designed for climbing and mountaineering (£110) and features in this video. Plus two Transition duffle bags (100 and 60 litres).
Blue Ice, founded four years ago in Chamonix, make technical products for mountaineering, rock and ice climbing and ski touring, with an emphasis on simple and minimalist designs. There are new rucksacks coming next year: look out for the new larger sized Warthog Pack (38 litre, £110), and a new range of 'Yeti' packs, available in 30, 45 and 60+10 litre sizes, designed to be fully equipped and versatile, yet streamlined and light for alpine climbing.
Deuter's popular Guide Packs, as used by the guides at Plas y Brenin, have been revamped. The shape is cleaner, although there are still plenty of features including a detachable rope lashing strap, compression straps, reinforced ski attachment straps at the side, daisy-chain, top lid attachment rings to store extra gear, gear loops on the waist belt, plus loops for the helmet holder. The ice axe holder has been improved, as has the fit, which is noticeably more body hugging to prevent side-to-side sway. The packs are available in 35+ (£120) and 45+ (£135) litre sizes, and there are also women specific SL models (flowers denote women's packs in the photo) in 30+ litre (£110) and 40+ litre (£125) sizes.
Exped's Mountain Pro packs, originally developed in conjunction with Swiss mountain guides, have new lighter-weight alpine style siblings. The 'Mountain Lite' packs are availabe in 20 and 30 litre sizes (£100/£110). They features lightweight but waterproof 210 dernier ripstop nylon fabrics, thermoformed back panels and removable padded hipbelts, plus attachments for ice tools, trekking poles, helmets etc.
In other news we liked Exped's new simple 'Ventair Compression Bag' design solution: a venting fabric panel allows air to escape during compression, while maintaining waterproofness.
Grivel have a full new range of rucksacks designed to offer a good balance of light weight against useful features for mountaineering and ski touring. There's a Tofane 45 (£110, 1340g), Lavaredo 35 (£100, 1260g), Brenta 30 (£90, 1130g) and Marmolada 28 (£65, 730g). Features include a hipbelt with side pocket and accessories loop, hidable crampon pocket, two ice axe carriers, two tool carriers, side and top compression straps, front access zip and a simple sliding weight distribution system.
We saw the little Mago 12/14 (£30) at ISPO this year and liked it - ideal for when you just want to carry shoes for the descent, car key, water, snacks and a layer! Featuring a padded pack, single Air mesh shoulder strap and a cell phone pocket, it weighs in at 252g. Tidy.