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Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats

Stoves, shovels, poles, crampons, harnesses, and more: oh my!

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by Danny Milks & Kristin Tennessen | 2011-02-09 20:43:00-07

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


Since ISPO is a winter trade show, the focus is on snow and ice activities, as well as garments that insulate and protect. By now you may have had your fill of down jackets and 7-ounce smocks. So today we bring you some of the more technical gear from the show. Unfortunately, we did not discover anything new in lightweight shelters. We hope you find something interesting in the following run-down of stoves, shovels, poles, crampons, harnesses, and more!


The Japanese stove company Soto has made a splash in the backpacking world with their cold-weather worthy OD-1R Micro Regulator Canister Stove (74g/2.6oz). However, they have a new product that may cause many backpackers to rethink their opinion of the liquid fuel stove.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 1
The good people at Soto gave us a full demonstration of the new OD-1NP Muka Stove, due to hit shelves in March. The stove atomizes liquid fuel, so there is no need for priming (there’s not even a priming cup!). Flame control and simmering is actually possible. There is an air release button to eliminate fuel from the fuel line, used when turning the stove off. Flame control is on the pump, which minimizes the risk of hand injuries. The pump is mostly made of aluminum, has a pressure indicator, an emergency stop button, and other innovations. The stove burns all types of fuels, burns with less soot, is lighter and packs smaller, and has a more stable pot support than the standard liquid fuel stove. Basically, it fixes all of the common gripes about liquid fuel stoves. We wouldn’t have believed this if we didn’t spend 25 minutes learning about and playing with the stove, which was burning unleaded auto gasoline!

The stove weighs 160g/5.6oz, and the pump weighs 160g/5.6oz. The pump is only compatible with Soto fuel bottles, which are also new and have been specifically designed for this stove. The cost in the US will be US$150; prices elsewhere will vary. Photos of the actual stove were not allowed.


Speaking of stoves: Providus is an 83-year-old manufacturing company in Italy that was displaying a few of their camping items, like lightweight aluminum canteens, aluminum stoves and... the world’s lightest canister stove?

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 2
The FM300G is a 90g/3.2oz aluminum stove that looks like a lot of other stoves on the market. Almost hidden in the display case was a titanium version (pictured above) of the FM300G that weighs 63g/2.2oz. The display case was sealed, so we couldn’t take a closer look at the stove. Cost, availability and details were unavailable, even after multiple inquiries. We are waiting to receive the product catalogue through e-mail.


This Italian company focuses on ski racing gear.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 3
For ski racers, Dynafit will be making the Broad Peak Ski Poles (190g/6.7oz per pole). These are adjustable, two-section, all carbon poles with baskets and wrist straps. These pretty pieces will set you back 500€ (US$684) per pair when they become available next fall.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 4
The Broad Peak will use Dynafit’s newly developed Safety Snap. To adjust pole length, flip open the lever and slide to the newly desired height until you feel a divot, then close the lever. The poles have slight indentations every few centimeters and the Safety Snap aligns with these indentations to provide 100% slip-free security. So, it’s a discrete adjustment, not continuous like Black Diamond’s Flick Lock.


Fizan is an Italian company that has been making poles since 1947. They were the first manufacturer to make aluminum ski poles, and they still make a wide variety of trekking and skiing poles in their factory in northern Italy.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 5
Fizan claims that the Compact are the lightest three-section telescopic poles in the world at 158g/5.57oz per pole. These trekking poles have EVA grips, carbide tips, neoprene wrist straps and removable 50mm baskets. The poles use very thin 7001 aluminum and adjust from 58-132cm. Fizan poles are available in 30 countries, including most of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, parts of South East Asia, and Kazakhstan. But not the US. The cost is 60-70€ (US$82-96.


Founded in 1818 and located at the foot of Mt. Blanc, Grivel is one of the oldest mountaineering brands and is well-known around the world. What may not be so well-known is the great efforts of the company to protect the environment. Grivel’s entire factory roof is covered with 7000m² of solar panels and is able to produce more energy than it consumes.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 6
We wrote about the Climbing Technology ASD ice axe and shovel combo on Day 1 of ISPO. A fellow BPL reader brought our attention to the Steel Blade (398g/14oz), which is similar in concept and has been on the market for two years. Lighter snow shovels may exist, but this versatile design is notable for three things. First, the shovel can be used with a regular Grivel ice axe (above right) or a standard handle (above left). Second, the shovel blade can be effectively used without a handle (above center). Third, the shovel is made from plastic, but has a steel blade (hence the name). Using plastic in the shovel body saves weight and allows for more intricate forms. The steel blade cuts into hardened snow better than plastic or aluminum. The Steel Blade retails for 45€ (US$70).


This Austrian company manufactures snow sport equipment like avalanche shovels, ski skins, and packs.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 7
Another shovel variation: the X-Light Shovel (weight unknown) has a novel feature in that the handle can be easily and securely inserted into the blade (top right). This would be handy when digging snow caves and quinzees. This shovel is available now throughout Europe for around 50€ (US$68).


Arva is a French company that specializes in avalanche safety equipment.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 8
The Snow Pure Light (295g/10.4oz) shovel has a carbon fiber shaft and polypropylene blade. This shovel is ISMF certified and will be available in September for 70€ (US$96). Arva products are available in 34 countries, including most of Europe, parts of South America, India, New Zealand, Canada, and the US (through Wasatch Ski Distribution).

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 9
The Snow Pure Light is reinforced with aluminum pieces on the blade and on the back where it connects with the shaft. The shaft is 44cm and the total length of the shovel is 59cm.

GV Snowshoes

Continuing with our carbon fiber theme, we came across the company GV Snowshoes, which has been making snowshoes in Quebec, Canada for 50 years.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 10
The Carbon Tech Snowshoe has a one-piece frame and Entech deck. The snowshoes have been around for a few years, but this newest version has moved to an all-carbon frame, with the addition of a front toe stopper and padding on the front straps to reduce foot pressure. It also features buckles made from only two molded pieces of polycarbonate material that is 40% lighter. There is a heel lifter too. All components are tested to work down to -50C/-58F. The 20x61cm/8x24in version is 2130g/4.69lb and the 20x73cm/8x29in model is 2240g/4.94lb. These sell for US$280, CAN$300, or 350€. These snowshoes are widely available in Europe and Canada, and in the US through Cabela’s.


Our search for ultralight technical gear led us back to our friends at CAMP.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 11
The Race 290 (290g/10.2oz per pair) are super minimalist 10-point crampons that require Dynafit-compatible ski boots. These aluminum wonders are color coded to be easily distinguished from each other - orange is left foot, black is right foot. The removable anti-bot plate is included and weighs a few extra grams. These will be available in September for 143€ (US$196).

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 12
The Race 290 uses webbing instead of a metal bar to connect the front and back plates. The crampons have a much smaller volume when compacted. CAMP wins points for having the ONLY scale in the entire show.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 13
CAMP also debuted their new Blitz Harness (205g/7.2oz). This ski mountaineering harness is made from hydrophobic fabric, has buckle leg loops, and four gear loops. This barely edges out Black Diamonds Couloir Harness (230g/8oz) as what may be the lightest mountaineering harness on the market. The Blitz will be available in September for about 60€ (US$60-65).

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 14
For those of you who haven’t yet seen CAMP’s really light harness, here it is: the Alps 95 (95g/3.35oz), the lightest UIAA-certified harness is the world. This gossamer beauty is made for randonee racing, and as such, has only two micro gear loops. Each gear loop is big enough to hold one carabiner. The Alps 95 is available now for 45-50€ (US$50).

On The Softer Side of Things

Companies are really experimenting with different types of blended fabrics. On Day 2 of ISPO we reported about Rab’s new 65% merino wool / 35% Cocona blend. Today we stopped by Icebreaker and learned about their GT line which incorporates 3% Lycra into their merino wool products. Icebreaker is adamant about not increasing the synthetic composition of their garments any further than 3%. For comparison, SmartWool garments range from 75-100% merino wool.

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 15
Devold’s Active Line uses 54% Thermocool, 37% wool, and 9% polyamide. The Thermocool is on the inside of the garment, which helps channel moisture away from your skin, to the wool layer on the outside. You can see the two layers in the photos above: the Thermocool is light grey, and the wool is black. Additionally, this unique garment also has wind-blocking fabric in the front. This piece is named the Active Man Boxer with Windblock, and the fabric is 205g/m².

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 16
The Air Vest, also by Devold, has a windblocker membrane sandwiched between two layers of wool. The complete fabric is 420g/m². This unique vest will be available in August in Europe for 200€ (US$274).

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 17
Klättermusen makes three jackets that utilize organic cotton with fluorocarbon-free impregnation that make a highly water resistant shell which is ten times more breathable than eVENT. The crew at Klättermusen are devotees of the jackets, but also admit it’s a hard sell to a public that wants high tech clothing to match their high tech gear, especially when this company is going against market giants like Gore-Tex. The Einride Jacket (560g/19.75oz) is available now for 365€ incl. 25% VAT in Sweden (US$500).

And Finally, A Question of Style Versus Utility

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats - 18
Jackets with angled front zippers were a fairly common sight throughout the show. The benefit is clear - the zipper is moved away from the wearer’s chin. However, it remains to be seen whether this is done for comfort or style, and whether this trend will (or has?) spread beyond Europe.

That wraps up our coverage of four days at ISPO here in Munich, Germany. We hope you enjoyed reading about these new products and innovations.

We’d like to thank Will for helping us prepare for this event, and Addie for doing such a fabulous job making the information available to the Backpacking Light community.


"Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats," by Danny Milks & Kristin Tennessen. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2011-02-09 20:43:00-07.


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Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats on 02/09/2011 20:59:39 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Winter ISPO 2011: Day 4 - Technical Treats

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Thanks! on 02/09/2011 21:18:57 MST Print View

Danny and Kristin, I hope you got to sample some beer before leaving!

Special thanks to Addie for working late to post these articles! It's 9 pm where she is and 5 am in Europe!

Interesting series of articles!

Edited by hikinggranny on 02/09/2011 22:46:21 MST.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
sideway zippers on 02/09/2011 22:29:22 MST Print View

Arcteryx did it first on the sidewinder jacket. 5 years ago and is still made.
North face has on on its sedition GTX jacket for the past 3 years
Patagoina has one on the R1 hoody for years
Eddie bauer has on on the expedition weight hoody and the bat hang hoody.
and many more styles...

they've been around for a while and are on more jackets every season.

Edited by rcowman on 02/09/2011 22:30:18 MST.

Martin RJ Carpenter
(MartinCarpenter) - F
Klattermusen perhaps? on 02/10/2011 03:16:16 MST Print View

Not important at all, but I wonder if Klattermusen didn't do it first. Certainly nearly everything they do has angled zips and they're the sort of slightly insane people who could well have done such things early.

Like that mithril kevlar sweater they do made entirely of Keprotec.... (Objectively pretty insane of course but amusing.).

Kristin Tennessen
(ktenness) - MLife

Locale: Sierra Nevadas
Re: Klattermusen perhaps? on 02/10/2011 04:11:20 MST Print View

Klättermusen zipper designs are definitely about function, not fashion. Their top layer garment zippers run from left hip to right shoulder. Their bottom layer garment zippers run from right hip to left shoulder. You can see the difference here. The rep told us this layering design is for weatherproofing, and to prevent bulk.

Edited by ktenness on 02/10/2011 04:11:50 MST.

Danny Milks
(dannymilks) - MLife

Locale: Sierras
Angled zippers on 02/10/2011 05:10:34 MST Print View

There is a difference between the angled zippers (pictured above, and used by Klattermussen) and perfectly vertical zippers with a curve at the top (R1, Arc Teryx, etc) which avoid the chin.

I am not sure if there is a more technical name for angled zippers. If anyone knows more about this, please chime in!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
tech crampons on 02/10/2011 08:44:40 MST Print View

Those Camp race spikes are great! The web center bar seems like a decent idea (presumably the spikes are alu and thus not meant for walking on talus), but using the tech heel for security is fantastic. Should work better than any other heel attachment.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Winter ISPO 2011 on 02/10/2011 13:05:44 MST Print View

Great coverage of an interesting trade show! Thanks so much. I love looking at gear from companies not well-known here in the U.S.

I'm really interested in the Soto stove.

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: tech crampons on 02/10/2011 13:14:23 MST Print View

I wonder if they work with Tele boots as well - It looks like they could, if the front bale were wide enough.

. Callahan

Locale: Stoke Newington, London, UK.
Ortovox Cougar! on 02/10/2011 13:29:41 MST Print View

The Kohla X-Light Shovel handle fitting is simply a copy of the Ortovox Cougar!

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
shovels on 02/10/2011 15:51:56 MST Print View

someone needs to do a test on these hybrid shovels to make sure they can be used in avi conditions .. hard packed icy snow, ice chunks, etc ...

plastic shovels are known to be inadequate ... hopefully hybrids will prove to be otherwise ... without such test, IMO lives are at risk due to fancy marketing and the the quest for a few ozs

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: re: tech crampons on 02/10/2011 17:59:53 MST Print View

Aaron, the tele boots would have to have tech heel fittings.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
"Tech" bindings on 02/10/2011 19:40:48 MST Print View

I'm looking at a pair of Scarpa Spirit 3, Dynafit-compatible ski boots as I type (well, between typing). There are two grooves in the heel, which spread out into a "T" shape. The Dynafit binding (called "tech" ever since the patents expired) has a heel piece with two horizontal prongs. To get into the heel piece, one positions the boot heel above the prongs, then steps down. Now the heel is locked down. For free-heel skiing, one rotates the heel piece so a little platform is below the boot heel, and one can proceed like using 3-pin bindings, BUT telemarking is NOT possible, because the toe piece couldn't take the twisting forces. Maybe someday.

Douglas Ray

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Soto Stove on 02/10/2011 20:43:21 MST Print View

I'm quite interested in the soto stove. I've been fairly happy with my inverted-canister set-up for winter but it does have it's disadvantages, particularly for long trips. The pump unit is a little heavier than some but it needs to hold more pressure to make the atomiser work I presume, and it looks sturdier than msr's latest offerings.

I could see this stove being excellent for programs that have been using liquid fuel stoves for years due to fuel cost. If it solves the efficiency problems of traditional white-gas stoves it could be a real weight-saver on a long trip with lots of cooking, or a long winter trip where all of your water comes from melting.

Madeleine Landis
(yurtie) - MLife

Locale: Central Oregon
loving that women's wool underwear on 02/10/2011 23:52:33 MST Print View

Since Ibex never got their wool sport top produced w/o flaws this winter, sob, those 2 companies you showed were interesting. The Norwegian Devold's strap top and hipster look divine for our endless OR winters.. and ditto the wool fleece bra. Oh how I've longed for something like that for xc skiing... will you be letting us know if/when they become available in the US? Thanks
Madeleine aka Bling

Marco A. Sánchez
(marcoasn) - M

Locale: The fabulous Pyrenees
Camp harness on 02/11/2011 02:14:34 MST Print View

The Cilao OZ 22 Ultra Race harness is an even lighter CE and UIAA-certified harness (82 g / 2.9 oz)

However, I prefer the "heavier" Camp harness, since I don't like Cilao's velcro closure.


Danny Milks
(dannymilks) - MLife

Locale: Sierras
Kohla vs. Ortovox; Soto, Devold, Cilao, and more.. on 02/13/2011 08:49:17 MST Print View

Callahan: this is the shovel you are referencing: Ortovox Cougar Avalanche Shovel. The blade is made of lexan polycarbonate, it weighs 630g and retails for $52 in the US.

Ortovox Cougar Shovel

Kathy and Douglas - The new Soto stove looks really promising. It should be available in the states in March.

Medeleine - We will be keeping track of Devold and let you know if, and when, they get US distribution. You might be able to find some specialty internet shops or UK-based companies that would sell to you. Of all the wool companies at ISPO (and there were a ton!)we only found that Devold and Aclima made wool bras.

Marco - thanks for adding the link to Cilao race harness. It iss good to know that there is another option for people who think CAMP's 95gram harness is just too darn heavy :)

Thanks everybody for the comments and questions!

Edited by dannymilks on 02/13/2011 09:06:51 MST.

F. Thomas Matica
(ftm1776) - F

Locale: Vancouver, WA
Soto Stove vs MSR Whisperlite on 02/16/2011 10:46:12 MST Print View

I've always wondered why MSR hadn't built a better simmer feature into the Whisperlite stoves....and lightened them up by the way. Maybe this will give them the incentive. Thanks to Japan again! I've learned to manage with my Whisperlite, but may go to the SOTO after I learn more about. Maybe in a test from BPL???

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Soto Stoves on 02/17/2011 12:12:42 MST Print View

I wonder can the Soto Multi fuel stove can be used with Gas canisters.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Soto Stoves on 03/20/2011 12:26:08 MDT Print View

It looks like the Soto stove has a name now. It's the Muka. It looks impressive. Has anyone tried it yet?

Soto Muka