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Outdoor Retailer: Icon flashlights and more product highlights

by Tom Mangan
August 4, 2010

Icon LED Lights

A flashlight brand called Icon has a clever twist on LED technology: it uses a microprocessor that allows several levels of brightness from a single battery. In this video shot Tuesday at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010 in Salt Lake City, Icon sales rep James Schoelles pitches the company's flashlights and headlamps to a potential buyer:

Gadget geeks and flashlight aficionados are no doubt aware of these lights, which are already on the market (unlike many OR products, which will show up in stores months from now), but it was the first I'd heard of them, so I figured at at least a few Trailspace readers were similarly in the dark. The headlamps look the most promising with the obvious weight benefits from having only one battery.

Irix headlamp: light output: 35/5 lumens; run time: 72 hours; weight: 3.52 ounces; battery: one AA alkaline. MSRP: $39.99

Irix II headlamp: Light output: 50/5 lumens; run time: 100 hours; weight: 3.40 ounces
battery: one AA alkaline. $29.99


Product highlights: Eureka bags, pads

with Dualis Pad
Yours truly, trying out the new Dualis pad from Eureka.

Eureka is introducing two new ways to give backpackers a better night's sleep next year:

Dualis sleeping pad: Eureka joins the hybrid trend by putting a self-inflating foam pad on the bottom and an inflatable mattress on top -- comfort on one side and insulation on the other (it actually has two inflation nozzles).

Regular: six tubes, 1.2/2.8 inch foam tube, 72 x 20 inches, 2 lbs. 14 oz.; MSRP: $89.99.
Long: seven tubes, 2.0/2.8 inch foam tube, 78 x 25 inches, 4 lbs. 14 oz.; MSRP: $119.99

DualTemp sleeping bags: This idea is catching on: fat insulation on one side and thinner insulation on the other, letting bag owners better match their bag to the current weather forecast. These semi-rectangular bags wouldn't be the first pick of backpacking purists, but the small price tag might tempt beginners to give 'em a try.

10/30 Regular: 72 x 33 x 26.5 inches; 3 lbs. 15 oz. MSRP: $99.99.
10/30 Long: 78 x 33 x 26.5 inches; 4 lbs. 4 oz., MSRP: $109.99.
20/40 Regular: 72 x 33 x 26.5 inches; 3 lbs. 6 oz. MSRP: $89.99.
20/40 Long: 78 x 33 x 26.5 inches; 3 lbs. 11 oz. MSRP: $99.99.


Columbia "Ultra-breathable" fabric

Columbia Sportswear has an upgraded version of its Omni-Dry technology, designed to best the performance of all the "waterproof/breathable" fabrics out there. History has taught gear-watchers to look askance at all such claims, but this video with Adrienne Moser, Columbia's GM of apparel merchandising, shows an experimental demo that is at the very least intriguing.

Each of these little containers has air forced through the fabric and water droplets representing the waterproof side -- the one on the left with the most bubbles represents the new Omni-Dry technology; the one in the middle is the current Omni-Dry; the right is Gore-Tex.

Even if this new technology works as claimed, consumers accustomed to Columbia's mid-range prices are apt to get a touch of sticker shock: the Peak 2 Peak Jacket (men's) and Peak Power Shell (women's) will retail at $350 when the new line arrives in spring 2011.

Columbia also is adding an entire line of bug-repellent clothing, from infants to adults. Insect Blocker is described as a "synthetic version of an insect protection found in certain types of flowers" that should retain 90 percent of its effectiveness after 50 washings. Look for "Bug Shield" in the product titles when they start showing up next spring. 


Coleman camp soap, bug fighters

Coleman Camp Soap
Coleman's Camp Soap, and anti-bug Fogger.

Coleman is beefing up its bug-fighting efforts, launched last year in a partnership with Wisconsin Pharmacal, maker of StingEze, Potable Aqua, and a bunch more health-related items for the outdoors.

Additions include a 40 percent Deet spray and the Gear and Clothing Insect Treatment (both $6.99),  a Yard & Camp Fogger ($7.99), and a Citronella Lantern modeled on the classic Coleman North Star lantern ($8.99). 

I'm a sucker for anything handy that costs under five bucks, so I can't help but include Coleman's 50-sheet package of dehydrated Camp Soap ($3.99). It's good for washing hands, hair, dishes -- just about anything dirty. All these are already in stores.


Thorlo: skiing with recycled water bottles

Thorlo recycled materials
Thorlo turns shards of plastic, left, into pellets that are converted into fibers, right, that are spun into yarn for its Thor-Wick socks.

Thorlo and its competitors are fortunate that a few very hardy fibers (Coolmax, for instance) allow them to build socks that are all but bulletproof. Why mess with a winner? Well, like just about everybody making outdoor apparel these days, Thorlo is looking for ways to turn today's trash into tomorrow's products.

Thorlo's contribution is called Thor-Wick, made from chips of plastic from water bottles that are molded into little pellets, converted into fibers, and spun into thread. The new yarn will be used in Thorlo's reinvented collection of socks for skiers and snowboarders.

The ski/snowboard socks, which will be on the shelves in October, follow Thorlo's usual design philosophy of adding padding at key contact points. Using recycled plastic (often called PET) bottles, the company also conserves landfill space and the reduces energy required to produce yarns from their original sources.