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Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights

In Backpacking Light's first ever coverage of this massive trade show, we're highlighting the innovations not generally available stateside.

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by Danny Milks & Kristin Tennessen | 2011-02-06 23:16:00-07

Editor's Note: Read all the articles in this series:


We are delighted to report from ISPO - the International Sports Trade Show in Munich, Germany. This is the first year Backpacking Light has covered ISPO, so we’ll ease you in with a few facts. ISPO has over 2,200 exhibitors representing 45 countries. 64,000 visitors come from 117 countries to attend the four-day event. In comparison, this year’s winter Outdoor Retailer had 6,875 attendees representing 33 countries, plus 10,061 people working at the exhibits. ISPO began 71 years ago, while Outdoor Retailer is 22 years young.

Our focus during the next few days will be reporting on lightweight and innovative gear and apparel that is generally not available in the US market. Since the companies that develop these products might be unfamiliar to many readers, we will add a little extra background information for context.


To ease ourselves into the day, we started at CAMP, an Italian company which has recently made inroads into the US market. Their most exciting equipment comes from their ski racing line, as the products are very light, utilitarian, and efficient in design.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 1
The Hotmit’n is a serious cold-weather mitt that was designed to keep hands warm during rest breaks in backcountry ski races. The mitts have 50 grams (1.8 oz) of 650 EU fill down and weigh 176 grams (6.2 oz) per pair. The light nylon shell is the same that is used on the Windmit’n (a 12 g / 0.4 oz per pair wind-proof mitten previously covered at OR). These mitts will be available in October for 90€ (US$122).


SkiTrab may be lesser known in the US, but this innovative Italian company makes outstanding ski racing equipment.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 2
The Overglove Warmup Alp (78g/2.8oz) is intended to be worn with a thin linger glove for pre-race warm-up, as the name would suggest. The stretchy hole in the palm allows you to quickly free your hand without having to take off the mitten, as shown above sans liner glove. The benefits are numerous: you can make adjustments to your boots, packs, or camera, your hands stay warmer, and the wind won't steal your mittens. Additionally, the lack of fabric on your palm would give you a better grip on poles while you are wearing the mitts. These retail for 50€(US$68) and are available now, though there will be slight modifications made for the fall 2011 model (most notably, a change from black to bright orange fabric for the outer shell).


The best deals of the day were found at Milo, a 17-year-old Polish company that creates clothing and gear for mountaineering and climbing. Milo uses Gelanots, a waterproof/breathable fabric developed by Tomen Corporation and sold to Toyota in 2003.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 3
The Shawan Jacket is a full-featured three-layer shell that retails for US$110. The athletic cut and long arms, combined with the stretchy Gelanots fabric, give the shell a very slim but comfortably unrestricted fit. For 400 grams (14.1 oz), you get Velcro cuffs, two-way full front waterproof zipper, two chest pockets, one shoulder pocket, reinforced shoulders, pit zips, and a helmet-compatible hood. Now go back and read the first sentence again - this jackets costs US$110. It is available now in a few color schemes (apparently not everyone appreciates the bold color combination shown here). Also available are the Shawan Pants that weigh 550 grams (19.4 oz) and also retail for only US$110. Both the pants and jacket will be available by March 2011. Otay is the name of the female versions that are available for a few dollars less.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 4
Another garment that piqued our interest was the Hetta Jacket. This super warm parka uses 130 g/m² weight Primaloft. This thick jacket does not feel bulky and sports a full front zip, zippered hand pockets, a small front chest pocket, and a noggin-hugging hood (read: not helmet compatible). The men’s version is pictured here; a women’s version is also available. At 500 grams (17.6 oz) for the men’s Large, it’s not the lightest synthetic jacket, but at US$66, it’s the most budget friendly substitute for a down parka, or a lightweight upgrade from a 200 or 300 weight fleece. Available in March 2011.

Climbing Technology

Climbing Technology is the brand of Aludesign, an Italian company with over 25 years of subcontractor experience in the international production of personal protective equipment. Aludesign saw the focus of the market emphasizing profit margin rather than quality, so they decided to fill the niche starting in 2004 with their Climbing Technology brand. All products are designed and created with the highest quality in their modern 4,000 m² building in the province of Bergamo.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 5
Climbing Technology (CT) caught our eye with the above product - a combination of a snow shovel and ice axe. The ASD package includes an ice axe and shovel blade, plus a steel cable which is intended to be used as a dead man anchor in the snow. Hence, ASD stands for Agile Shovel D-Man. The ASD Plus Kit, pictured above, includes a steel axe and weighs 820 grams (28.9 oz). The ASD Light Kit uses the aluminum axe and weighs 700 grams (24.7 oz). Both axes are 45 cm and UIAA approved, though the steel axe has a more aggressive pick and spike. These are available now at a cost of 120€ (US$163) per kit. The axes and shovel blade are also sold individually.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 6
To attach the ice axe shaft to the shovel blade, you simply pull back on a metal tab, insert the shaft, and let go of the tab. The shaft is firmly locked in place. Structural stability is enhanced with the six-sided shaft design. This axe-and-shovel combo looks ideal for spring hiking or ski touring trips, when there is a chance you might need an ice axe on a snow-covered pass or there's a possibility of camping in the snow.


Montura is a small Italian apparel company that began as a very technical brand, with the founder believing that high quality products speak for themselves, thus little need for a large advertising department. Montura won two Polartec European APEX Awards in 2010, and this year’s products appear to continue their high level of innovation.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 7
According to Montura, the Super Nova is the first completely stitchless jacket using Polertec’s NeoShell fabric. The jacket has two zippered hand pockets, one external chest pocket, built-in thumb loops, and a light fleece lining. The jacket feels svelte thanks to the athletic cut and stretchy fabric. Montura couldn’t tell us the weight, but this welded-seam beauty will sell for 550€ (US$747) when it comes out in the fall of 2011.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 8
This stretchy synthetic baselayer, called the Ski Sky Pullover, has a very large two-way front zip. This allows you to release heat from your core while keeping your neck and face covered. Weight and cost were not available, though the Montura reps did say it will be available in the fall.

Red Fox

Red Fox Outdoor Equipment is a company based in St. Petersburg, Russia. They manufacture a full line of quality products, such as mountaineering tents, sleeping bags with welded seems, Arctic-worthy down jackets and pants, and Gore-Tex shells.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 9
The most expensive item of the day was found at Red Fox. Danny is wearing the Belite Jacket filled with Eider duck down. This insulation reportedly costs from 3,680-11,000€ (US$4,999-14,944) per kilo. The feathers are collected by hand from the nests of wild ducks in northern Russia. The Eider duck feathers stick together, creating an almost uniformly-thick insulation and reducing the need of structure-supporting baffles. The Eider duck feathers do not have sharp tips like goose down feathers, which can poke holes in ultralight fabrics. Only about 30 of these jackets are custom made per year, and with 100 grams (3.5 oz) of down, cost about 2,200€ (US$2,989) each.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 10
A clump of the Eider duck down, clinging together.

Inov-8 Ltd., UK

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 11
Inov-8 are well known for their trail shoes, but they also have an excellent selection of ultralight race-inspired packs. All packs are frameless, under 600 grams (21.1 oz), and range in size from 12-30 liters. The Race Pro 30, shown above, has an innovative zippered-bottom pouch that holds a two-liter water bladder. In addition to ensuring easy access to the bladder, the H2Orizontal Hydration System has a few advantages. By placing the bladder around the hips, the center of gravity is lowered and pack sway is reduced. The Race Pro 30 weighs 590 grams (20.8 oz) and costs US$105. The horizontal bladder (167 g / 5.9 oz) is US$28 and is sold separately. The pack has two side mesh pockets, a stretchy zippered lid pocket, hip-belt pockets, and anatomical shoulder straps.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 12
There are many functional add-ons to the Inov-8 packs. Attached to the shoulder straps of this Race Pro 30 is mesh-lined storage that has three zippered pockets and a map pouch.

ATK Race

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 13
Will and Janet covered a super svelte La Sportiva ski setup at the most recent OR. The bindings in that setup, though, are actually made by ATK Race specifically for La Sportiva. In Europe, ATK race sells their own three-way release, Dynafit-compatible ski bindings. The SL bindings, shown here floating away from my hand, weigh in at a paltry 110 grams (3.9 oz). MSRP is 415€ (US$564), and they will be in stores in October.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 14
ATK Race displayed a few custom race-specific designs, such as the above carbon fiber shovel, probe and skis. You can’t buy them.

Sir Joseph

Sir Joseph is a family-run Czech Republic company, with 35 years of experience producing high quality outdoor apparel and equipment. Sir Joseph uses their own proprietary fabrics. We were drawn to their Super Light Series, and pleasantly surprised by their new Kid’s Collection, which includes sleeping bags and a novel jacket add-on.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 15
The Jacket Expander is an elegantly simple product. Dual #3 YKK zips allows the product to be inserted into most jackets, allowing extra room to carry and insulate your baby. There is a draw cord at the bottom and a pocket for the baby’s feet. The expander uses Softex ECO, which is comfortable to the touch, and is insulated with Thermaloft Q. The Jacket Expander can even be used by pregnant women who need a little extra room. Weight is 100 grams (3.5 oz), cost is 40€ (US$54), and it is available now.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 16
The Koteka Down Jacket has 220 grams (7.8 oz) of 800 EU fill down. The inner and outer shell are Softex Micro, a fabric exclusive to Sir Joseph. The jacket has horizontal baffles, zippered hand warmer pockets, two-way front zip, and an interior chest pocket. This 490-gram (17.3-oz) wonder retails for 269€ (US$365) and is available now (though the hood will be slightly modified in the fall 2011 model). If these stats are true, they put the jacket as one of the best-in-class for ultralight down parkas, rivaling the Rab Inifinity.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights - 17
The Koteka Vest has the same horizontal baffles, fabric, and quality down. The single-layer loft is nearly 5 cm (2.0 in), which is the same as the jacket. The vest has 140 grams (4.9 oz) of down and weighs 320 grams (11.3 oz). It is available now for 179€ (US$243).

We hope you enjoyed our first day’s coverage of this overwhelmingly enormous sports trade show. We will certainly be stumbling upon new light gear and clothing in the three days to come, and we look forward to bringing you all the details.



"Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights," by Danny Milks & Kristin Tennessen. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2011-02-06 23:16:00-07.


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Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights on 02/06/2011 23:29:47 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Sir Joseph on 02/07/2011 03:32:45 MST Print View

I have a Sir Joseph Koteka Down Jacket, and am not liking it heaps. Yes, the weight is good, but the zipper and the hood are not very well build. I need on average about three minutes to get the zipper closed, that is annoying if you're at home but not acceptable when making a break on a windswept lake at -20°C.

Danny Milks
(dannymilks) - MLife

Locale: Sierras
Sir Joseph on 02/07/2011 04:21:24 MST Print View

Hendrik - let us know what year your jacket was made. We had no problems using the zippers at their exhibit, so maybe the newer models have addessed this issue. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Jeff McWilliams
(jjmcwill) - M

Locale: Midwest
Shawan Jacket on 02/07/2011 06:12:55 MST Print View

The Shawan jacket certainly looks interesting, especially at that price point.

Any idea how their waterproof fabric compares to eVent, Neoshell, or GoreTex Active Shell?

Will we be able to get this jacket in the US?

Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Re: Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights on 02/07/2011 06:24:19 MST Print View

An excellent addition to BPL's coverage, great write up!

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Winter ISPO 2011: Day 1 - International Delights on 02/07/2011 06:27:41 MST Print View

That shovel/ice combo sure is interesting. It looks like one of the few lightweight shovels that can be kicked into the snow.

Dwight Mauk
(melnik) - M
Beer halls on 02/07/2011 08:52:33 MST Print View

Since this is in Munich, will there also be a report on the beer halls?

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Sir Joseph II on 02/07/2011 09:41:41 MST Print View

Danny, it is the current edition of the jacket. Don't get me even started on the hood... All in all, quite disappointing, especially if you consider that it is a whopping 270€. Lets hope they get the new version right.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
hmmmmm on 02/07/2011 09:56:24 MST Print View

14 oz cheapo rain jacket without pit zips ... $750 neoshell jackets ... $3000 down jackets ....

i actually believe that a separate ice axe and shovel may weight about the same as that fancy gizmo ...

gimmicky IMO

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: hmmmmm on 02/07/2011 10:22:32 MST Print View

Eric, I'd like see that combo. There are some that come very close, but the top of the blade is rounded, so you can forget about using your heel to drive the shovel into the snow. Even if the weight wasn't so competitive, I'd like not having a handle swinging around on the back of my pack.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
ice axe on 02/07/2011 11:07:48 MST Print View

corsa nano ... 250g ... note that it is a longer axe at 60 cm vs 45 cm ... so itll likely be a tad more useful

voile XLM shovel 450g ....

total 700g .... you can say that the fancy gizmo has a wider shovel ... but then the corsa has steel reinforcement and is a longer axe ... my view is that if you were serious about a "real shovel" anyways you wouldnt be using one with a 45 cm shaft length ... youd get one with a real extension, stomping on one with a short extension aint fun unless yr the hunchback of notredame ... price is roughly around the same

also less faff to deal with with 2 separate tools ... always a consideration when wearing gloves in cold temps

Edited by bearbreeder on 02/07/2011 11:11:11 MST.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: ice axe on 02/07/2011 14:18:57 MST Print View

I do agree that 45 cm is short for an ice axe. I'd still like to try it out though. I'm trying to find out if the head of the axe is aluminum or steel. The axe only weighs 195 grams, so chances are that it's aluminum...not good. I probably would have gone with the steel axe anyway, and that version comes in a 55 cm length which I'm already comfortable with as an axe.

Whether this combo is good or bad as is, it's an idea that I hope they refine.

Danny Milks
(dannymilks) - MLife

Locale: Sierras
Answers? on 02/07/2011 17:18:21 MST Print View

Jeff - We'll ask Milo about purchases from the US. We're asking that question of all companies on Days 2-4.

Both Milo and Gelanots say that the fabric is 20,000 mm/h2o and 20,000 g/m^2/24h. I believe this puts it on par with standard Gore-Tex. I will look into this more.

There is another company or two at ISPO that use Gelanots, and we are meeting with them in the next two days. We'll let you know what we find. In the meantime, someone from the BPL community may chime in with more info.

Devin - Thanks!

Eugene/Eric - Yes, there may be a slightly lighter separate ax and shovel on the market, but the idea behind the combination was the novelty here. Maybe someone at BPL will see this and make a better, lighter version. Several of the things that we report on are good ideas, but not necessarily ultralight. Who knows what this community can do with it!

Dwight - Alas, no. Unless you can convince Addie that we need to stay an extra day here . . .

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Answers? on 02/07/2011 19:12:43 MST Print View

I like the looks of those mitts. Very clever design, with the whole in the middle. The other mitts sound great as well. I would like to hear more about that company, if those mitts are typical of what they make.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
novel on 02/07/2011 22:21:51 MST Print View

danny ,,,

grivel i believe makes a shovel blade that can go on an axe as well ... the problem with that one is that the blade isnt much if any lighter than a small alum shovel ...

id love to have a good alum blade that can fit on an ice axe that weights no more than 300g ...

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
eider down on 02/07/2011 22:31:33 MST Print View

eider down was wat was in the jackets that went to the top of annapurna in 1950...

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
CAMP on 02/08/2011 00:38:31 MST Print View

Ross, CAMP is from Italy but they have a US Distributor, is the website. They make excellent gear of the highest quality, and if you're into fast & light climbing and mountaineering you won't get around using their stuff. Of course it works fine for backpacking as well =)

Martin RJ Carpenter
(MartinCarpenter) - F
Gelanots impressions on 02/08/2011 06:57:48 MST Print View

A good place hunt for reviews of stuff using Gelanots is the Kamleika stuff that OMM have done in England for a little bit now.

cf this review (of an updated model):

I'd be a bit surprised if there weren't also sundry other impressions/reviews about the place.

Danny Milks
(dannymilks) - MLife

Locale: Sierras
Answers Part 2 on 02/08/2011 08:20:31 MST Print View

Eric - The Milo Shawar does have pit zips. We forgot that detail among the plethora of other features on the jacket.

Jeff - Milo products are currently available in 30 countries, but not the UK and US. Milo is rebuilding their website and it should be up and running by the end of February. Check their website and maybe you can find a distributor that would ship internationally.

Ross - Hendrik's assessment of CAMP is spot on. CAMP is an excellent company that is pushing into the US market with their lightest equipment and clothing. About half of their products can currently be bought in the US, from companies like ProLite Gear. BPL is working on getting some CAMP equipment and clothing for reviews.

SkiTrab is another Italian company that has similar mitts, and there are probably others, as the ski racing culture here is very strong.

Martin - We're trying to track down OMM at the show. They don't have a booth, but their reps are here wandering the halls. We are keen to take a look at the Kamleika Race Smock. Stay tuned for more . . .

Frank Oliver
(FrankOliver) - F
Sir Joseph Koteka jacket on 10/01/2011 00:46:05 MDT Print View

Does anyone have a source for this jacket in the states yet? Thanks.