Top Products Seen at the 2015 Winter Outdoor Retailer Show
The Outdoor Retailer trade show is one of the most important events in our business, where our buyers meet with manufacturers and decide what we will be offering on Backcountry.com in the coming year. For the dedicated gear freak who can’t wait to see the latest and greatest outdoor gear, it’s four days of heaven. Our Community Manger, Lexi Dowdall, took a few laps of the massive show floor of Winter OR 2015, and reported back on some of the highlights of what she saw.
Photos by Re Wikstrom
Arc’teryx Lithic Glove
A close-up look at the 333D moto-grade fabric in the Lithic Glove
Arc’teryx’s new Lithic Glove combines incredible fit and dexterity with both durability and waterproof protection. It’s a three-layer, seam-sealed Gore-Tex glove unlike any other because it’s put together more like a jacket than a glove, cut from from a unique three-piece pattern. By contrast, most (if not all) Gore-Tex gloves out there use a one-piece glove-shaped PU insert, which adds bulk and makes it harder to shape the glove to your hand. A mix of three different weights of Primaloft insulation further reduces bulk and retain heat where needed. Constructed with a new, super-tough nylon fabric with incredible abrasion resistance and durability, the Lithic incorporates patches of sticky TPU on the palm and fingertips for unparalleled grip. The Lithic will also be available in a men’s and women’s mitten, and will be part of Arc’teryx’s lineup of 25 new gloves for next season.
Marker Kingpin Binding
Step-in convenience combined with tech performance
Marker is positioning the Kingpin AT binding as straddling the gap between alpine and backcountry touring, eliminating the need for multiple setups. The game-changing heelpiece is where the Kingpin really departs from other tech bindings on the market, offering the step-in convenience, AT DIN-certified (note this is not the same as alpine DIN) releaseability, and excellent downhill performance. Mimicking the elastic performance of an alpine binding the Kingpin clamps down on the edges of the boot sole, allowing it to maintains much better contact—and, therefore, power transmission—between binding and boot while a ski flexes.
The unique way the heelpiece interfaces with the boot allows it to flex with the ski
A six-pack of springs in the toepiece of the Kingpin (as opposed to the usual four in tech bindings) is designed to reduce the chances of pre-release. Available in 10 and 13 DIN models, the Kingpin has earned safety certifications for DIN/ISO from Germany’s rigorous TÜV testing organization.
Fischer PROFOIL Ski Base Attachment
A game-changer for climbing skins?
The Fischer PROFOIL Ski Base Attachment is a radically new product that very well could redefine the climbing skin category. It attaches to your ski like a traditional climbing skin (clips and glue), but is made from a very thin layer of polyethylene instead of nylon and/or mohair (which is why Fischer calls it ‘Ski Base Attachment’ rather than “climbing skin’). The fish scale pattern along the bottom features Fischer’s new Crown Technology, which can be found on the bottom of its Nordic skis. The scales are designed to not only grip but to glide better than skins, enhancing your efficiency; the pattern is such that you get extra traction on traverses, too. The material is completely waterproof so it won’t absorb moisture (or extra weight) during longer tours or multiple laps. The PROFOIL will be available for the Fischer Ranger and Transalp 2015/2016 ski lineups.
Patagonia Women’s Dual Aspect Hoodie
Soft on the inside, protective on the outside
I found myself irresistibly drawn to the Dual Aspect Hoodie because it looks so cool, but found that there is way more to it than good looks. Its Polartec Powergrid is soft and fuzzy on the inside, but on the outside it’s as protective as a softshell, with a DWR coating so you won’t get soaked through in a drizzle. The grid/waffle-like texture of the fabric allows water vapor to escape through the thin channels while heat is retained within the larger surface area of the squares; it also makes it easier to fold the jacket up nice and small to fit in a pack. Thinner Polartec Power Dry side panels have a bit of spandex that provides not only a lovely silhouette but excellent breathability.
Looks good, too!
Salomon MTN LAB Boot
Salomon brings its mastery of downhill performance and fit to the MTN LAB Boot, its new top-of-the-line AT boot. Solomon took the fit of the X-Max boot, the best-selling 98mm-last ski boot on the market, and retooled it to meet the demands of alpine touring. It’s Salmon’s lightest-weight offering by far, but features a 120 flex for uncompromised downhill performance. I recently skied with Chris Rubens at Revelstoke Mountain Resort as he tried out his MTN LAB Boots, and he could not stop gushing about their comfort and reliability. He was also really hard to keep up with—I could hardly believe he was sporting an AT boot.
Tentree is a brand that’s new to our Spring 2015 lineup. Their hoodies and tees are great, but what really got my attention is that for every Tentree product sold, the company will plant 10 trees to support one of 12 communities worldwide. To date, Tentree has planted over 4.5 million trees in 12 countries from India to Cambodia to Senegal. Every Tentree product will come with a unique token containing a tree registry number so you can learn about the projects and the community positively impacted by your purchase.