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Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009)

Lots of good stuff in our day 3 roundup: a 2.4-ounce day pack, a new integrated canister fuel cooking system, new 3-pound internal frame backpacks, and 11-ounce mid-height hikers, to mention a few.

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by Will Rietveld | 2009-07-24 00:10:00-06

Editor's Note: This article was opened to the public on July 22, 2010. To subscribe and see Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010 articles as they are published, click here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We finished another full day at the trade show and came up with another batch of interesting gear and technologies. Its much akin to a treasure hunt - we need to know where to look and be able recognize something interesting or truly innovative when we see it. There is something of interest to most everyone here, and as usual, we present it in no particular order. All items are new for spring 2010 unless stated otherwise.

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 1
The GoLite booth is always a good place to look for lightweight, exciting new gear, and the good folks there came through as expected. GoLite will add a second quilt called the Ultralite 1+ Season Quilt (left, 20 ounces, three lengths, $200-$240) to their Ultralite sleeping bag line. It's insulated with 800-fill down and rated at 40F. The current quilt will be packed with a little more down to drop its rating to 20F and will be renamed the Ultralight 3-Season Quilt (right, 25 ounces, three lengths, $255-$295).

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 2
GoLite will also be adding the Peak Backpack (2318 cubic inches for size M, 27 oz, $125) to their Ultralite backpack series. The new Peak is a smaller version of the Jam (2857 cubic inches, 31 oz, $150), and both packs feature a new recycled nylon fabric (still with Dyneema gridstop), revised padding in the backpanel, and a new hipbelt that wraps around the hips better. Note it will be called the Jam, rather than the Jam2. With the new Peak, the frameless Ultralite pack series will offer three pack sizes (Pinnacle, Jam, Peak) to meet the needs of most hikers.

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 3
At this OR, we decided to concentrate more on really lightweight mid-height footwear for a possible future article for Backpacking Light. Salomon has several shoes in this category. We reported on the Salomon 3D Fastpacker Mid GTX (left, 15.2 oz/shoe, $150) in our coverage of summer 2008 Outdoor Retailer. This time we found the new Salomon XA Pro 3D Mid GTX Ultra (center, 13.2 oz/shoe, $160) and the Salomon Wings Sky GTX (right, 18.7 oz/shoe, $200). The latter appears heavy, but the weight is actually not bad for a full-height boot. All of these shoes are based on trail running platforms to minimize weight while adding cushioning and support. Salomon knows that many buyers prefer Gore-Tex shoes so their feet won't get wet (!), but we would prefer a more breathable shoe rather than a waterproof one that traps moisture inside. Many footwear manufacturers (including Salomon) offer two versions for that very reason.

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 4
First we had the Jetboil, then the MSR Reactor, and soon we will have the Primus Eta-Solo. It looks quite similar to the Jetboil. Jetboil's stove used the Primus Micron burner for a long time, which was very reliable. Then they switched to a burner from a different source and ended up having a lot of problems, which led to a recall. Now, ironically, Primus is introducing their own integrated canister fuel solo cooking system utilizing the Micron burner. The Eta-Solo has a 0.9 liter pot with a flux ring attached to the bottom, similar to the Jetboil and MSR. The pot cozy is made of a durable fabric with a Velcro closure. The unit shown is still a prototype, subject to change, and an MSRP is not yet available. They hope to have it ready by spring 2010. (Didn't MSR say something like that about the Reactor?)

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 5
***(PHOTO TO BE PROVIDED ON MONDAY, JULY 27)*** REI is an exhibitor at Outdoor Retailer, and we always enjoy meeting with their talented product development team and seeing their new REI-branded gear. A standout from our visit this time is the updated Half Dome Tent (4 pounds 14 ounces trail weight, $179). Yes, the weight is a little high by our standards, but you have to consider what you get: a downright spacious double-wall tent with two doors and two vestibules for $179. And the updated Half Dome is roomier, lighter, and stronger than ever. Most of the sub-4 pound tents with the same configuration that we find elsewhere are tight - minimal floor space, interior height, and vestibule space. The Half Dome is a wonderful design, roomy, and value priced. The Half Dome 2 Plus ($209) is 10 inches longer and 4 inches wider.

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 6
How about a 2.4 ounce day pack? At the Sea to Summit booth we found the UltraSil Day Pack (1200 cubic inches, $28). The arrow points to the pack stuffed into its stuff sack. It's made of a very lightweight proprietary high tenacity Cordura ripstop silnylon and has a zippered opening on top and unpadded fabric shoulder straps. This pack would really work well as both a stuff sack and a day pack for sojourns from camp.

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 7
Sea to Summit also has a new range of TPU Map Cases and Accessory Cases coming out (0.07 to 3.6 oz, three sizes of each, $15 to $35). TPU stands for Thermo Plastic Urethane, which is very strong, clear, flexible, and foldable (even in cold temperatures). Their new map cases have a zip-lock closure and are definitely the lightest to be found (0.07 to 1.2 ounces), and the accessory cases (1.8 to 3.6 ounces) have a clip closure and protect things like cell phones, i-Pods, and GPS units.

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 8
END Footwear is a new company that makes a range of very light trail runners and hikers. The name stands for Environmentally Neutral Design. In our search for really light mid-height hikers we found the END LT-365 (left, 11.6 ounces/shoe, $110, available December 2009) which is built on a trail running platform and has an Ion Mask treatment making it water-resistant. The END Stumptown LT (right, 11 ounces/shoe, $95, available now) is the same shoe without Ion Mask treatment. These mid-height shoes are designed for lightweight hiking, with a midsole TPU plate to provide rock protection and moderate stiffness.

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 9
Black Diamond reinvented their larger pack line and developed their ErgoActiv Suspension System, which provides both fore and aft and side to side flexibility of motion. Fore and aft freedom is allowed by a bike cable system connected to the shoulder straps, and side to side freedom is allowed by means of a large hub on the backside of the hipbelt (shown in left photo). New backpacks based on this new technology are the Infinity 50 and 60 (3 pounds 8 ounces/3 pounds 15 ounces, $179.95), which are respectably light. The main story in these new packs is their innovative suspension system, beyond that, the packs are a traditional top loading design with durable fabrics.

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 10
At noon, yours truly was honored to be a judge at the Jetboil Cookoff, where three contestants combined their choice of twelve ingredients to create a camp meal. It was really fun - like a camp cookery version of Iron Chef - and the audience was really into it. All of the creations were very good, but a tasty curry dish by Allison Woods (foreground) had the edge. The other competitors, from left, were Jeremy Collins and Malcolm Daily.

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 11
Would you believe a miniature crank light that weighs just 0.5 ounce? The eGear Dynamo Dyno-Mite Keychain Light has two LEDs and no battery; one minute of winding produces five minutes of bright light. Measurements are 1.6 x 1.2 x 0.6 inches. MSRP is $8.95, and it's available from essentialgear.com.

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 12
3M Thinsulate, the company that provides "warmth without bulk" insulation for many insulated boots, has developed the Thinsulate Thermal Insoles(3.2 ounces/pair, about $20) to provide underfoot warmth. The insoles are a sandwich of four layers: 1) an abrasion-resistant top layer containing an antimicrobial treatment to reduce odors and wicking technology to help keep feet drier; 2) a comfort layer of memory foam; 3) a Thinsulate insulation developed for underfoot applications; and 4) a bottom foam layer that absorbs shock, suppresses odors, and wicks moisture. 3M Thinsulate will likely OEM the insoles to various footwear manufactures for use in their insulated boots.

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 13
Therm-a-Rest will be introducing a new sleep system called the Haven Top Bag (22 ounces, $240 size regular). The Haven has a mummy-style hood, no zipper, and the center underside is not insulated; the shell and lining are 20 denier nylon. It's insulated with 700-fill down and rated at 20F. Entry is through the hole in the bottomside. Simply attach the bag to a sleeping bag with two straps on the lower part of the bag, slide your legs into the foot of the bag as far as they will go, then pull the hood over your head like donning a sweater. A thinner pad can be put inside the bag for a tighter seal on the bottom.

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 14
At Granite Gear we found their new Uberlight CTF3 Drysacks. They look exactly like Cuben fiber, but Granite Gear calls the material "high strength composite." The bags will be available in 7L, 10L, 13L, and 18L sizes. All have glued seams and a drybag closure. The MSRPs (are you sitting down?) are $39 to $49 each. Amazingly, Granite Gear omitted the weights in their brochure on an "uberlight" product, but their representative said the weights are "slightly less than one-half the weight of their eVENT Sil-Drysacks," which means they are pretty darn light. However, they should float on air for that price!

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 15
We also discovered two new lightweight internal frame backpacks at Granite Gear. The 52L Vapor Flash (3 pounds 1 ounce, $180, available now) is based on the Vapor suspension with fixed shoulder straps, two body and harness sizes, and four hipbelt sizes. All suspension components have soft padding that is wonderfully comfortable. The women's version is the 48L Vapor Flash Ki. The second new pack is the Escape 60 (60 liters, 2 pounds 15 ounces, $200) featuring a new Escape suspension, which is a next generation of the Vapor suspension. The Escape has vertical shoulder strap adjustment and is distinguished by a large zippered stretch pocket on the front of the pack and LineLoc compression straps. A women's Escape 60 Ki will also be available. Both of these new packs are really sweet, and it's especially gratifying to see the increasing number of three-pound 60L internal frame packs that are hitting the market in recognition of the growing interest in lightweight backpacking.

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) - 16
The new Jacks 'R' Better Mt. Washington 3 Under Quilt works on any hammock; it's shown here under a JRB Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock. It attaches to a hammock in under a minute with the included JRB Suspension System. The shell is 1.1-ounce rip-stop nylon with a DWR treatment. Constant height radial cut baffles are filled with 800+ fill power down. The Mt. Washington weighs 22 ounces and comes with a JRB silnylon compression sack that allows it to be stuffed to 7 x 7 x 8 inches.

This is our last blog dispatch on our summer Outdoor Retailer findings. Janet and I covered a lot of ground and found a lot of great gear, but of course we couldn't be everywhere and undoubtedly we missed some good things. It was a lot of fun - OR is exhilarating because of all the positive energy everywhere - but at the end we feel drained. Several nights with only five hours of sleep will tend to do that. We hope you enjoyed our coverage and the format we used; it enabled us to cover more items faster. Give us your comments below!


Citation

"Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009)," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/orsm2009_thursday_dispatch.html, 2009-07-24 00:10:00-06.

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Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009)
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) on 07/24/2009 13:37:19 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009)

Ryan Linn
(ryan.c.linn)

Locale: Maine!
Golite? on 07/24/2009 14:03:13 MDT Print View

Huh? The new quilts are a 40 degree quilt for 20 oz, or a 20 degree quilt for 25 oz?

So I guess I should send back the Ultra I just got on sale and trade in for the newer and better product. Because my old one weighs 19.5 oz and is rated to 20 degrees? Hmm....

Wait a minute!

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) on 07/24/2009 14:28:34 MDT Print View

I believe the Ultra 20 has been confirmed as really a 30 degree quilt but I may be mistaken.

I am shocked to hear the Jam now weighs 31oz! What is the Pinnacle? Over 40? Without frame! Wow. Why the weight increase?

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Golite? on 07/24/2009 15:25:40 MDT Print View

Yeah, most people have found the current Ultra 20 to be more of a 30ish degree bag than 20. Still, they could've just added a couple of ounces of down and been fine. I think the new fabrics and the "stretch" baffles are making up the majority of the added weight.

Ryan Linn
(ryan.c.linn)

Locale: Maine!
Re: Golite? on 07/24/2009 16:50:28 MDT Print View

Yeah, I know. My first thought was "maybe they just made the quilt more suited to the temp rating." But still. It's just amusing to see things getting heavier for the same rating.

So are they imitating montbell's super stretch line with stretchy baffles?

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 on 07/24/2009 17:26:53 MDT Print View

I'm happy with my Ultra 20 as a 30 degree bag. Guess I could bump it up, I've gotten good at opening baffles and adding down, after buying some Luxurylite seconds.

So, will people go all ape over the Thermarest Haven Top bag, like they did over what most thought was the first air mattress ever invented for backpacking, the Neo-Air? does the Thermarest name carry that much clout, or are the vast majority that uninformed?

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 on 07/24/2009 17:33:06 MDT Print View

The NeoAir got most of its attention because of the weight. With that said, POE has a new mattress that is around the same weight but mummy shaped and carries a slightly higher r-value.

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
eGear Dynamo Dyno-Mite Keychain Light on 07/24/2009 18:50:35 MDT Print View

These Dynamo Dyno-Mite Keychain Lightlights have been out in OZ for a while,they are under the "elementaL" brand

I have four of them and love them but I have not tried them in the field yet.

Mine weighs 21g with key ring and 18.5g with key ring removed.

As for perfomance it is far better than reported on above, while the led's might loose maximum brightness after a few minutes, mine stays bright for over an hour and the LED's have some glow left after 2 hours 30 minutes.

Tony

Dynamo light

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Gear Treasure Hunting on 07/24/2009 20:49:28 MDT Print View

I am stoked about the new Eta-solo stove.

My brother-in-law tested the Eta Express and as we share a stove I used it for four months with him. Once the test ended I have stolen it from him, I like it that much. I can’t wait to see one of these new ones in action.

Thanks for the Good Hunting Will... (Groan)

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
POE on 07/24/2009 21:47:36 MDT Print View

Chris,

Do you have a model name for the POE?

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: POE on 07/25/2009 05:30:03 MDT Print View

Ether Elite 6.

R: 2.0~4.0
Weight: 14 oz
Msrp: 74.95

That's for the 72 inch.

Edited by simplespirit on 07/25/2009 05:53:54 MDT.

Curt Peterson
(curtpeterson) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
POE on 07/25/2009 09:27:03 MDT Print View

Any news about a wide version of the Elite? I'm really addicted the 25" pads and all but the NeoAir version (19oz) are very heavy. I'd buy one from POE in a second!

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: POE on 07/25/2009 10:13:52 MDT Print View

Looks like only 20".

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: POE on 07/25/2009 10:24:00 MDT Print View

Chris,
Can you provide a link to the POE Ether Elite?

Or is it still vaporware?

Thanks.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
No Ultra 20 buyers remorse here on 07/25/2009 10:38:21 MDT Print View

GoLite is doing some confusing stuff lately. First their Jam packs jump up in weight over 50% (20oz to 31oz) and then they introduce these new Eden tents which look nice, but +5lbs (for a 2 person) is crazy.

Then comes the quilts. The old Ultra 20 may not have been toasty all the way to 20F, but it is easily a 25-30F quilt, so it seems to be a much smarter choice than the new 1oz heavier 40f quilt. Really, a 25-30F rating is a pretty ideal for 3 season use. It seems they've replaced a great quilt with a somewhat heavy 40F quilt that is really only good for one season and then a 25oz 20F quilt that doesn't offer much weight savings over a 20F bag.

I understand that shaving weight isn't everything and I'm sure these new products are really nice, but it would be nice to see a little load lightening innovation from GoLite.

Edited by dandydan on 07/25/2009 10:41:49 MDT.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Gear Treasure Hunting: Day 3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009) on 07/25/2009 10:43:33 MDT Print View

I was scanning the pictures and thought I saw a McDonalds cup. I had to take a second glance and saw that it was the new Primus Eta-Solo.

When is Granite Gear going to come out with something lighter than a Vapor Trail? Meridian Vapor, Alpine Vapor, Vapor Flash, Escape, all heavier.

Edited by Coldspring on 07/25/2009 10:51:23 MDT.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: POE on 07/25/2009 10:54:57 MDT Print View

POE Link

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
POE on 07/25/2009 12:32:49 MDT Print View

Neat mattress....I wonder how much it's going to cost. I can see this being popular if they under cut the NeoAir significantly.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: POE on 07/25/2009 12:38:40 MDT Print View

MSRP for the regular size on the Outdoor Retailer site is $74.95.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Hmm on 07/26/2009 00:27:13 MDT Print View

Hmm...that's pretty competitive...only half the price of a NeoAir! I wonder what the R-value is. That link lists it as "2.0 - 4.0' which is a huge range. Even at 2.0, it compares quite well to the NeoAir. It's the same thickness, virtually the same weight, similar R-value and half the price. The only advantages to the NeoAir I can think of are:

1) Possibly higher R-value
2) Horizontal baffles may be more comfortable?
3) Contoured shape (of POE pad) may not be for everyone.

If the POE pad matches the R-value then this pad looks like a no brainer. Even at a 2.0 R-value it's almost a no brainer.

Edited by dandydan on 07/26/2009 11:13:48 MDT.