Samson is back at it again, with his top favorite 5 products from the Winter 2014 Outdoor Retailer Trade Show. The winter show is always second fiddle to the summer show in terms of new climbing products, so we had to dig a little deeper, and even selected one product that has a skiing focus, because it is so innovative. Here are Samson’s picks.
[Samson's Top 5 photo courtesy of Michelle Mulder collection]
The 5.10 Hiangle. Retail: $120
A sporty addition from 5.10 with a new concept: an entry level, affordably priced, high performance down turned shoe. Based on the idea that beginners are learning to climb indoors, and almost immediately climbing on overhanging terrain, this shoe caters to those who are new to the sport. It also has inlined leather, for a comfortable fit, as well as the new, knuckle bubble, a floating, molded section of rand designed to alleviate pressure on the big toe. The sole of the shoe is stiff compared to other models of downturned shoes 5.10 offers. While they are marketing this shoe for beginning climbers, I’d be willing to bet it would suit your moderate sport climber with years of experience as well. We’ll let you know how they perform after we test some review pairs out on the rock this spring. Available Fall 2014.
Petzl’s new crashpad series: The ALTO, CIRRO and NIMBO Retail: $280, $399, $79.95 respectively
Petzl never makes a subpar product, and their new series of crashpads certainly caught our eye at the OR show. Petzl’s first entry into the world of pads, there are three total in the series.
The ALTO is a regular sized crashpad, with some sweet features. Something we noticed immediately is the zippered flap closure to create a closed system. Having a shoe or chalk bag fall out of your crashpad while moving from boulder to boulder will no longer be an issue with these Petzl pads. Touted as “an excellent compromise between protection and bulk” the 118 x 100 x 10 cm size should make it an ideal pad for bouldering at a moderate level when you’re not falling off your highball project. Triple layer foam, and comfortable wide adjustable shoulder and waist straps ensure it will be worth considering if you’re in the market for a new pad.
The CIRRO is the large, fatty crashpad in the series. This is the one you will want for your highball project. It has all the defining qualities of the ALTO with quite the landing zone: 148 x 118 x 12.5cm. One thing we didn’t mention that both the CIRRO and ALTO share: a patented folding system designed to lengthen the life of the foam while providing a storage space when the crashpad is closed.
The NIMBO is a complimentary pad, designed to be used for sit starts and and for protecting a space between two crashpads. Firm foam for solid cushioning, pad people will surely want this to compliment their CIRRO or ALTO.
Rab, Strata Hoodie Retail $225
There was a lot of products using the new Polartec Alpha insulation, and this jacket was one of our favorites. Rab combined the Alpha technology with a Pertex Microlight outer fabric to create the Strata Hoodie. And what are they trying to do with this mix? Create a jacket that performs well while moving quickly in cold conditions. The outer fabric provides wind and water resistance, while the Polartec Alpha insulation allows for breathability. Can’t wait to fully test this jacket out.
The Rab, Strata Hoodie is currently available. The Strata is also available as a jacket and vest.
Arc’teryx The Alpha Comp Pant Retail $299
The Alpha Comp pant combines breathable GORE fabric technology with an Arc’teryx Fortius 1.0 softshell. This pant, which seems perfectly suited for ice climbing, has articulated patterning and a gusseted crotch, enabling freedom of movement. The waist adjustment uses a low profile metal hook to reduce the potential for snagging, and the unique three position leg gusset can be adjusted for a low profile, crampon compatible fit. An easily accessible thigh pocket sits below the harness.
The men’s and women’s version of this pant will be available in a limited Spring 2014 release on February 15th, and at Arc’teryx retailers in the Fall of 2014.
Black Diamond Jetforce Technology Airbag Backpack. Retail: estimated $1,000
This new airbag from Black Diamond is a total game changer. A battery operated fan based airbag allows for easy refilling on the spot. This will allow for skiers to be less hesitant to pull their airbags, and in turn save lives.
Expected for Fall 2014.
Honorable Mention: The K-Bone Memorial Tribute Shirt. Last summer after the Outdoor Retailer show we gave Kevin Volkening aka K-Bone a nod for his wolf t-shirt that he wore every Friday. Sadly Kevin passed away in a climbing accident just a month later. These shirts were made to pay tribute to K-Bone. We miss you and love you buddy!
After the show we decided to breathe some fresh air in Moab, and do some climbing. Here’s a few shots: