Having escaped the Salt Palace and survived the domestic air travel system, I've finally had a chance to catch my breath and review my notes. Here are a few interesting tidbits I picked up over the weekend:
- Several companies traditionally associated with the snowsports market were present at Outdoor Retailer. Ski maker Rossignol and technical skiwear company Spyder were both displaying lines of “outdoor lifestyle” clothing. (And, to my eye both were more “lifestyle” than outdoor. Casual clothing seems like a strange niche to be targeted by two companies known for their technical gear.) Meanwhile, Salomon (“The Mountain Sports Company”) and Under Armour (the compression clothes company) both unveiled more-technical, hiking-specific clothing and outerwear lines.
- Primus has put the performance of their EtaPower and EtaExpress into a stove system built for two. The Eta PackLight features a one-liter pot and comes with a plate and bowl set that nest snugly with the pot and stove components. Like the other Eta stoves, the Eta PackLight includes a windscreen and built-in heat exchanger to maximize efficiency.
- Black Diamond has redesigned the popular Raven Pro mountaineering axe. The 2009 version will be lighter and the redesigned head will include two clip points for easier anchor construction. Black Diamond is also bringing their ferrata gear, previously available only in Europe, to the U.S. for the first time.
- Brunton is introducing a coated aluminum water bottle (BPA-free, natch) with a standard 53 mm wide mouth.
- British tentmaker Terra Nova, best known for their lightweight tents, is making a push into the U.S. market. With four retailers already on board, the Terra Nova crew is hoping to significantly expand their U.S. distribution in the coming year. The company is making its entire product line available to American retailers and for Spring 2009 is introducing a line of ultralight packs designed for adventure racing, trail running, and fastpacking.