We’re overflowing with gear news here at Adventure Travel HQ – July and August are trade show time in the outdoor world, which means we get a preview of all the fab stuff that’s coming up in the next couple of seasons. There’s an extra gear scoop in the next edition of Adventure Travel (the Sept/Oct edition, out in about a week) and here’s some more….
Starting with Icebreaker, the merino people from New Zealand, there’s lots going on. The company is launching a new, super-plush range of sweaters called Black Sheep, made from a very fine merino wool. This is part of its lifestyle range called Journeys – lightweight and good for travel – and the jumper I’ve been testing is brilliant, but dry-clean only which is a pain. Icebreaker kit doesn’t generally get sweaty, but I made the mistake of standing next to a bonfire so it will eternally stink of smoke.
But of most interest to AT-ers will probably be the new additions to the GT and GT Bike active ranges for running, adventure racing and biking. From spring/summer 2012 the GT Bike range will use GT150 – Icebreaker’s lightest weight of fabric – for summer-weight tops perfect in the heat. And for all sports there’s a new range called Quest, for both men and women, including short-sleeve tees, short-sleeve zip tops and long-sleeve zip tops; plus new running shorts for women.
Next up is Arc-teryx, which is launching new base layers for autumn and winter called the Phase Base Layer Collection. The range is engineered with what the company calls PHASIC technology, designed to wick away perspiration, dry quickly and resist odour (due to encapsulated anti-bacterial silver ions, apparently). They also give UV SPF 50 protection and are anti-chafe.
The Phase collection will come in three weights depending on the weather and what activity you’re doing:
SL – (Super-light) Silk feather-light tanks, tops, tees and boxers (main picture) for warm/hot weather activities like trail running and adventure racing.
AR – (All-Round) Lightly-insulated, pill-resistant singlets, zip-necks and crews for ‘fastpacking’ and other demanding activities in cooler temperatures.
SV – (Severe) Moderately-lofted hoodies, boot cut bottoms, crews, and zip necks perfect for snowshoeing and Nordic/backcountry skiing in winter weather.
And lastly for now is The North Face, which is launching a new range of gaiters and its first crampon-compatible mountaineering boot, the Verto S4K. The Verto S4K uses TNF’s CRADLE technology which is said to absorb impact, stabilise the foot and promote a biomechanically correct stride, all making the boot more stable on difficult terrain and more comfortable to wear. It’s also got a stiffened shank and toe to help carry heavy loads and they weigh in at a light 745g per boot. They won’t come cheap though, at £230.
On the gaiter front it’s offering a top-of-the-range Gore-Tex lined gaiter, excitingly named The North Face Gore-Tex Gaiter, which features reinforced protection from a rubber called Hypalon in areas that are likely to see the most wear. It's part of TNF’s extreme Summit Series range and will retail at £75. As well as the Gore-Tex Gaiter there will be new lower priced, lower specced versions – the HyVent Gaiter (similar to the Gore-Tex one but using The North Face's HyVent waterproofing and plastic buckles rather than metal) which will retail at £60 and the Nylon Gaiter for £45.
The gaiters and the Verto S4K will be available in shops from March 2012.