Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010: Day 4 – OR Winds Down in the Final Day – But the Good Stuff Keeps Coming!

We present our final lightweight gear finds and summarize the trends we noticed at this Outdoor Retailer.

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by Will Rietveld | 2010-08-07 00:00:00-06

Overview

The final day of the show is a shorter day, ending at 3:00 pm. Attendance is lower as people leave to get home in time for the weekend, and we enjoy the thinner crowds. When 3:00 rolls around, it’s amazing to see how quickly the booths come down and everything is cleared out.

Here are our finds from the final day of the show.

Meet the 3.2-Ounce Powermonkey, a Portable Solar Charger to Power Up iPods, Cell Phones, and More

This deviates from backpacking a bit, but since so many people carry electronic gadgets nowadays, I thought this would be of interest. Whether you are backpacking in a remote location or just forgot your charger on a business trip, there are few things as frustrating as listening to a mobile device beep at you or flash a warning icon as it loses battery power and shuts down. The Powermonkey-eXplorer combination (the eXplorer is a 2.4-ounce/68-g storage device) is capable of holding enough power to provide an additional 96 hours of standby time on mobile phones, 40 hours of playtime for iPods, 48 usage hours on PDAs and 6 hours on MP3 or MP4 players. Equipped with compact solar panels, the Powermonkey-eXplorer can also be used to charge your devices directly from the sun.

ORSM2010 Day 4 Winds Down Good Stuff Keeps Coming - 1
The Powermonkey-eXplorer is a combo unit. The Solarmonkey solar collector weighs 3.2 ounces (91 g), and the eXplorer storage unit weighs 2.4 ounces (68 g). You can use the solar panels of the Solarmonkey to charge your devices and the eXplorer to hold a charge so you don’t always have to get out the panels when your device needs some juice. Designed for lightweight versatility, the Powermonkey-eXplorer is water resistant and comes with an included Velcro strap so it can be attached for sun exposure on a backpack to charge devices while you are on the go. The Solarmonkey will also power up under incandescent light such as a regular table lamp. MSRP is US$130. Available now.

New Balance Introduces a Versatile Insulated Boot

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New Balance will enter the insulated boot category this fall with the debut of the NB 1000. It’s waterproof and insulated with 200 gram Primaloft. A special feature of this new boot is its Vibram Ice Trek outsole, which provides maximum grip on snow and ice and in extreme cold. The 1000 is gaiter compatible and has a heel counter that is snowshoe compatible. Weight 15.4 ounces/boot (437 g, men’s size 9), 12.4 ounces/boot (352 g, women’s size 7). MSRP US$100, available October 2010.

Baladéo Introduces 22- and 34-Gram Knives to Establish Itself in the Ultra Lightweight Knife Category

Based on the growing demand for lighter and lighter equipment, the French company Baladéo launches two lightweight pocket knives that do not compromise the essential functionality expected from a fine blade: a flawless edge, a safety catch, easy accessibility, and an excellent grip.

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22 Grams and 34 Grams are the weights and the names of the Baladéo knives. They are 9 and 11 centimeters (3.5 and 4.3 inches) in length respectively. The design has been optimized to save every possible gram while maintaining optimal functionality and esthetics. The blade is claimed to be impeccably sharp. The angle of the blade, known as "chiseled", presents no risk in the closed position: the only sharp edge remains snug against the plate of the knife. An integrated belt clip on the handle allows the knife to be clipped to a bag, belt, or pocket. Made of 100% stainless steel, the knife offers exceptional resistance to oxidation, even in humid conditions.

Takeya Debuts Fashionable/Functional Eco-Friendly Glass

Water Bottles

Just when we think we have seen every possible spin on water bottles (including one that reminds you that its time to drink), there comes a new one, this time glass water bottles with a silicone sheath. The product information does not say anything about their being break-proof!

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Takeya Glass Water Bottles will be available in several sizes with colorful silicone jackets that feature see-through windows for checking fluid levels. The patented silicone jackets also provide a soft, non-slip grip and protection from accidental breakage, unless you drop it. They are derived from Takeya Japan’s extensive expertise in producing silicone accessories for popular video game consoles worldwide. Both the silicone jackets and water bottles are dishwasher safe. Absolutely no BPAs or flavor contaminants. The weight for the 1L size is just 2 pounds 7 ounces (1.1 kg). Just kidding!

Sole Exhale Slipper Provides Comfort and Insulation Après’ Sport

As the name implies, Sole makes insoles and footwear that mold to your unique feet perfectly. The EVA footbed contours to your unique foot shape without losing its supportive structure. The shaped, EVA phylon midsole ensures that the orthopedic shape is maintained once the footbed layer contours to your feet.

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The Sole Exhale Slipper is a comfortable, warm slipper designed to be worn after the heavy ski boots or hiking boots come off your tired feet. The footbeds heat or pressure mold to the shape of your feet. The upper is insulated and has a ripstop nylon shell with DWR. Polygiene helps combat foot odor. Available fall 2010 in men’s and women’s sizes for US$75.

ZebraLight Puts Out 200 Lumens, Weighs 2.1 Ounces (Got your attention?)

This small company exhibiting in a far corner of the Outdoor Retailer show has developed the world’s brightest single AA battery all aluminum headlamp. There are several models shown on their website at www.zebralight.com, but the one that caught our eye is the H51, which runs on one AA battery.

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The ZebraLight H51 Headlamp has light outputs from 0.2 to 200 Lumens and runtimes ranging from 19 days to 0.9 hour at those brightnesses. The weight without battery is 2.1 ounces (59 g). We asked about the beam width and were told it has a fairly wide beam, 80 degrees. The ZebraLight is made with a precision machined unibody casing from premium grade Alcoa aluminum bar stock. Its heat sinking design bonds the LED board directly to the unibody aluminum casing, providing unblocked thermal paths to over 94% of the surface area. MSRP is US$64; available September 2010.

5.3-Ounce Soto Muka Liquid Fuel Stove Does Not Require Priming, Does Not Flare Up, and Does Not Clog When Burning Gasoline

If all these claims are true, the Soto liquid fuel stove could make using a white gas stove much more appealing. The stove burns liquid fuel that is blended with air when ignited, so it starts like a canister stove (no flaring) and burns with a blue flame right after igniting. It’s also claimed to be able to burn unleaded gasoline without creating sludge deposits in the generator. It has a thin flexible fuel line.

The Soto Muka Stove (sorry, we were not allowed to take a photo because patents are still pending) burns white gas or unleaded gasoline, and is claimed to light directly without priming, not flare up, and burn right away with a blue flame. If that’s all true, a liquid fuel stove just got a lot friendlier. The claimed weight is 5.3 ounces (150 g) without the fuel bottle pump. The claimed weight for the pump is 0.73 ounce (21 g), but it seemed to be heavier than that. We did not weigh the stove to verify the weights.

Sawyer Hollow Fiber Membrane Water Filter Weighs 1.7 Ounces, Will Filter 1,000,000 Gallons; Anyone Want to Test That?

This is not a brand new product, and there has been quite a bit of discussion about it on the Backpacking Light forums, but (to my knowledge) it has not formally gotten onto our radar screen. Sawyer mentioned that they expected a lot more excitement over this filter, but to date it has not seen much exposure in the media. The specifications look great: its very lightweight, it filters down to 0.1 micron, it’s easily backflushed on a home faucet to restore it so it will filter up to a million gallons, and it's versatile (can be used in a filter bottle, inline on a hydration pack, on a home faucet, or a simple ultralight setup with a short straw.

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The Sawyer Hollow Fiber Membrane Water Filter model SP149 is sold as a four-way water treatment system, so it can be used as a filter bottle (shown), inline in a hydration system, at home attached to a faucet, or ultralight with a short hose to act as a straw. The filter itself weighs just 1.7 ounces (48.2 g), as a filter bottle system it weighs 5.4 ounces (153 g), and as an ultralight straw it weighs 1.9 ounces (54 g). MSRP is US$55.

Sawyer’s Hollow Fiber Membrane Filter is derived from technology used in medical dialysis equipment. Its 0.1 micron micro fibrous tubes are claimed to be absolute, meaning they don’t vary. Because the filter can be cleaned by backwashing, Sawyer claims there is no end to its useful life, so they guarantee the filter for life! So, why isn’t this the most popular water filter in the world?? I guess we need to test it to find out if it has any shortcomings… Readers, please weigh in on this!

DriDucks Emergency Poncho Weighs 2.8 Ounces, Costs US$3.99!!

If you’re looking for a really lightweight and really inexpensive rainwear alternative, look no further. Although it’s sold as an emergency poncho, we looked right past that. This is a pretty darn nice, fairly durable, ultralight poncho. It’s not perfect of course, for example there are no snaps to close the sides, no hood adjustment, and it’s not longer on the backside to cover a pack, but what do you want for four bucks?

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The DriDucks Emergency Poncho is made of a very lightweight and fairly durable ProPore-like fabric. It has an attached hood, but there are no closures or adjustments. Measurements are 44 inches wide x 40 inches long (112 x 102 cm) when on. The weight is 2.8 ounces (79 g), and MSRP is US$4.

For hikers who want a more durable and featured alternative, DriDucks also has the UltraLite2 Poncho with waterproof-breathable fabric, side snaps, drawstring hood, and sealed seams. It’s made of the same fabric (ProPore) as regular DriDucks. The weight is 8.2 ounces (232 g) and MSRP is US$12.

Rab Infinity Down Parka and Cirrus Pull-on

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New for fall 2010, the Rab Infinity Down Parka is insulated with 210 grams of 850+ fill-power European goose down, a first for Rab, and the shell is 10 denier Pertex Quantum GL, which is the newer lighter version. It has a Lycra-edged down-filled attached hood, hand warmer pockets and hem drawcord with two adjustors. Men’s and women’s versions are available. The weight is 18 ounces (510 g), and MSRP is US$280.

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The Rab Cirrus Pull-on, modeled by Brad Groves, is  hoodless with a half zipper, and available men’s and women’s models. The fabric is 15 denier Pertex Quantum. The Weight without a hood is 3 ounces (85 g), US$85; the hooded version with a full height zipper is the Rab Cirrus Wind-Top; it weighs 5 ounces (142 g), and MSRP is US$110. Available spring 2011.

Cyclops Micro Mini LED Clip Light

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In the handy widget department, we found this really bright clip-on light. The Cyclops Micro has five LEDs, weighs 0.4 ounce (11.4 g), and costs US$10. I know, someone is going to scream that it weighs twice as much as a Photon, and is not rechargeable like the Photon ReX, but it is lightweight, inexpensive, bright, and clips onto a hat brim to free your hands. It makes a good camp light or provides plenty of light for a midnight trip to the bushes. It has a built-in 15 degree tilt downward, but the tilt is not adjustable.

It’s a Wrap!

The Outdoor Retailer Summer 2010 Trade Show is over, and this completes our coverage of individual gear items of interest. Overall, it was a very good show, and we feel successful in finding plenty of good gear items to write about.

Some interesting trends emerged in this OR:

Barefoot Technology Shoes – It seemed like every shoe manufacturer is rolling out a new line of minimalist running shoes. They were everywhere! So, it looks like the manufacturers like the concept; one thing for sure is that they're capitalizing on the idea! We asked a number of people, including ultra runners, what they thought of these shoes, and everyone was skeptical. All felt that going directly to these shoes, without a transition, is a recipe for injuries. Many felt that it’s a current fad, and will evolve to more mature and lasting technologies. So, right now the technology is like electric cars; the manufacturers are rolling them out, but no one is really sure how well the technology will be adopted.
Sleeping Pads
– Several new lightweight sleeping pads surfaced this time, from companies of all sizes. Just a few years ago, we had a relatively limited selection of lightweight pads; we will have quite a few by next year. The gear testers will provide us with some data on how well they perform and end users will determine which ones are their favorites.
Manufacturers Understand What Lightweight Is
– Finally, after years of calling 5-pound tents “ultralight,” most manufacturers are dropping the hype (a little of it, anyway) and are developing truly lightweight products in certain categories. They know that lightweight backpacking gear is a growth area, and are developing competitive products in categories like canister stoves, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tents, packs, rainwear, windwear, water treatments and filters, water containers, baselayers, insulated clothing, handwear, headwear, etc. No one manufacturer produces lightweight versions of everything, rather it’s a hunt and pick situation where the end user needs to research the alternatives and choose the best one.
The Number of Small Companies Making Lightweight and Ultralight Gear is Multiplying and Getting More Competitive – At this stage, I would say the increasing number of online sellers is a really a good sign, and any serious competition does not really exist yet. In general, their products are sufficiently different that they are not directly competing with each other. Rather, they offer hikers more choices so they can match their individual preferences and needs.

Citation

"Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010: Day 4 – OR Winds Down in the Final Day – But the Good Stuff Keeps Coming!," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/orsm2010_day_4_good_stuff_keeps_coming.html, 2010-08-07 00:00:00-06.

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Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010: Day 4 – OR Winds Down in the Final Day – But the Good Stuff Keeps Coming!
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010: Day 4 – OR Winds Down in the Final Day – But the Good Stuff Keeps Coming! on 08/07/2010 11:53:51 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010: Day 4 – OR Winds Down in the Final Day – But the Good Stuff Keeps Coming!

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Zebra on 08/07/2010 12:22:53 MDT Print View

I like that headlamp!!

Edited by FamilyGuy on 08/07/2010 12:23:25 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
SOTO claims - more spin on 08/07/2010 16:05:40 MDT Print View

> The stove burns liquid fuel that is blended with air when ignited,
This has to be 100% marketing spin *as it is written*. I will stick my neck out and label it false. Liquids do NOT burn: they have to be vaporised first.

> so it starts like a canister stove (no flaring)
Many white gas stoves start like this in warm weather - the fuel at least partially vaporises at the jet because it is warm. Try that in the snow however ... I guess if you spray liquid fuel into warm air it will vaporise near the flame.

> and burns with a blue flame right after igniting.
So do most of our fuels. The blue comes from the combustion process.

> It’s also claimed to be able to burn unleaded gasoline without creating
> sludge deposits in the generator.
An outcome of the elimination of lead in petrol. The current additives mostly vaporise, and don't leave much sludge at all. Most any white gas stove will do the same.

> It has a thin flexible fuel line.
Well, if by that they mean thinner and more flexible than the current batch, it would be very nice. I'll go for that.

Forgive my scepticism. The claims for the regulator on the OD-1R were hyped beyond reality. These claims seem even worse. But ... get me one to test, and I will report faithfully. (Even if I turn out to be wrong.)

cheers
-----------------------
Edit, added March 2011
Apparently they use a very high pressure in the tank (lots of hard pumping) and an 'atomising' jet to create a very fine mist of fuel. As each micro-drop will have vapour around it, this can ignite fairly easily.
Is this new? No, I saw a stove using it in the mid-80s. It is definitely 'old' technology.
But it may be worth testing.

Edited by rcaffin on 03/20/2011 17:57:16 MDT.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Zebra on 08/08/2010 01:47:39 MDT Print View

I do too.

Paul Wozniak
(PaulW)

Locale: Midwest
Cyclops mini LED on 08/08/2010 08:25:04 MDT Print View

I purchased this little unit at Gander Mountain and was skeptical. But for $10- why not. I wear a ball cap style hat and liked the clip no feature

Had it out on an overnighter and can tell you it is bright! It has only one mode (full on) and I don't know the burn time yet but this has potential.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Cyclops mini LED on 08/08/2010 10:46:46 MDT Print View

Had to dig to find the information but evidently it takes 2xCR2016s, which assures the battery life will be fleeting indeed. It will be more of an "emergency" light than even the so-named Petzl e+lite because the Petzl has several power-saving modes to extend the burn time.

Button-cell lights all suffer from these problems to some degree. None can sustain its initial high output for even one minute, specifically due to the power supply.

Rick

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: SOTO claims - more spin on 08/08/2010 11:00:11 MDT Print View

One never knows, Roger. Perhaps clever engineers have suspended some pesky rules of chemistry and physics. ;-)

I'm also very leery of any claims of easy adaption of automotive gasoline, since "unleaded gas/petrol" formulas vary vastly. Local markets, seasonal reformulations, emission standards, ethanol content requirements, choice of octane boosters, quality of the crude supply, type of refinery, this week's reading of the chicken entrails.... On any given day California alone has several cocktails being sold across the state--nationwide and worldwide there must be thousands.

My limited experience burning California auto gas is that it's smelly and clogs stoves readily. Nevertheless, if you literally cannot find "white gas" it's still good to have the option, but I'd always consider it a roll of the stove dice and they'd best offer a way to field-clean the generator and supply tubes.

Cheers,

Rick

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: SOTO claims - more spin on 08/08/2010 13:18:20 MDT Print View

Rick, if that is not bad enough... try going overseas and buying white gas. It is a gamble. Once in Argentina we bought "gasolina blanca." When burned in an MSR stove, it was at least one color hotter than white gas back home.

--B.G.--

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: SOTO claims - more spin on 08/08/2010 14:37:05 MDT Print View

Fellow cynic- I too have learned to approach manufacturer claims with what I call "a shaker full of salt," not just a tin grain. I interpreted the stove lit somewhat differently, though. As a retailer I get some complaints about the priming process of msr liquid fuel stoves. People prefer the turn on 'n burn use of canisters. I can see where Soto's marketing department might have gotten hung up... Ie, they wouldn't want to say their stove lights without priming like any number of Coleman stoves have. Something new like this, they don't want it sounding like old tech. But in the end, I think that's basically all they were trying to say.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: SOTO claims - more spin on 08/08/2010 15:11:59 MDT Print View

Hi Brad

To some extent I agree with you. The problem is usually that the marketing department has little knowledge of what they are talking about and a great willingness to hype anything they can, with little regard for the truth. Me, I am a great fan of 'truth in advertising', but the diet is slim.

Nonetheless, where I see spin and hype, I will say so.

Cheers

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: SOTO claims - more spin on 08/08/2010 16:02:48 MDT Print View

It is very rare that a marketing department will allow itself to be hampered by accuracy and truthfulness when they concoct advertising.

--B.G.--

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: SOTO claims - more spin on 08/09/2010 19:35:52 MDT Print View

I'd like to see Roger test it and report back to us.

I'm sure they would love such an opportunity to prove their claims.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
zebra lights on 08/09/2010 23:54:43 MDT Print View

Zebra makes good stuff, nice to see them finally working more with common battery types.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: SOTO claims - more spin on 08/10/2010 00:02:19 MDT Print View

For now I'll guess that they're using a variation of fuel injectors like you'd see in automobiles. Those allow vaporization without preheating. Unfortunately I have no idea how that would work in a stove since there's no vacuum or airflow. Maybe it could work if it was used to start the stove and then switched to a conventional system.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Sawyer Life Span on 08/11/2010 16:43:12 MDT Print View

Will,

I have been using the same Sawyer Filter as my only source of water treatment for 3 years now.

In fact, just came back from a 5 day/50mile trip in Sequoia National park using it without any problems.

Was able to quickly and easily back flush the system.

As long as it does not freeze to damage the hollow tubes and as long as I don't crack the body of the filter, it should last forever.

Just updated my detailed review of the product here, if anyone wants to learn more.

My review also has photos of the inside of the filter and of what the tubes looks like.

Surprised that this is not more popular.

-Tony

Craig Gulley
(cgulley) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Sawyer Life Span on 08/12/2010 11:39:43 MDT Print View

I have also been using the sawyer filter for years, found it in an online search for filters. the filter itself is only about 1.2 ounces and I use a 2L platypus bag for dirty water and the sawyer filter in a short inline set up to a 1L clean bag. This way I can just go get water and not have to worry about filtering at the stream or pond and then filter in a more convenient place. Just squeeze the 2L bag through the filter and out comes pure water. I just completed a 62 mile SHT hike with some of the worst looking water I have seen, no problems at all. After coming home I backflushed it and it is ready to go again. The whole filter systems weighs about 3.4 ounces.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: SOTO claims - more spin on 08/12/2010 21:36:08 MDT Print View

Roger, Bob, George... I hear ya! I think the spin and hype is thick most places we look; I just try to look past it at the "guts." But it can be frustrating! Perhaps that should be a new college program... developing engineers who also know how to produce entertaining, attention-grabbing, people-friendly marketing that is also completely factual. I won't hold my breath, but we'll see.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
DriDucks poncho on 08/22/2010 18:23:52 MDT Print View

Anyone know when the DriDucks poncho is hitting the market?

Currently out of stock: http://www.froggtoggs.com/?outerwear/driducks/DDP1714

todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: DriDucks poncho on 08/22/2010 20:43:48 MDT Print View

Matt,

Isn't that the one Jacks R Better sells?