Outdoor Retailer is a great time to reconnect with colleagues and fiends while looking at the latest gear. At Winter Market 2017, I was primarily getting a sneak peak at the items that will hit the shelves next fall, but I did get to see a number of items that will be available sooner. Here are a few highlights.
The North Face Summit L3 Ventrix Hoodie
We’ve all seen and worn the latest in lightweight, breathable active insulation. Since the introduction of Polartec Alpha, nearly every manufacturer has launched an insulated softshell for active pursuits. The insulation used is highly-breathable yet still warm. It’s then coupled by a breathable softshell for the ultimate do-it-all jacket.
The North Face is taking things one step further by introducing Ventex, which makes their active insulation even more breathable. They do this by cutting vertical slits into the insulation. When sitting still, these slits are essentially closed off, but when active, these slits open up to allow more moisture to escape. The design makes complete sense and should take their active insulation to another level of breathability. Ventrix will be available in the Summit L3 Ventrix Hoodie in fall 2017 which features 80g insulation combined with dynamic venting and will retail for $280.
Fritschi Vipec EVO 12
Fritschi is stepping up their Tech Binding game by adding a new step-in paddle to their TUV/DIN-certified toepieces. This new update will be found on both the Vipec Evo 12 and the new Tecton 12 bindings. The latter will also feature a more standard step-in heelpiece. Excellent improvements in both function and safety abound.
Black Diamond First Light Hybrid Hoody
I can’t say enough good things about the latest crop of lightweight and breathable insulated jackets. They are my go-to and the First Light Hybrid Hoody is going to be something special. It’s made with Primaloft Silver Insulation Active in the front, shoulders, and sleeves, Schoeller on the sides and back and body-mapped merino wool. The BD crew is notorious for dawn patrol missions here in the Wasatch and if I know them, this jacket will be the bomb for backcountry touring and all-around active pursuits.
Merrell Agility Glacier Flex Ice+
I’m always a sucker for winter running shoes — especially those with built-in gaiters that make suiting up in the snow a cinch. The upcoming Agility Glacier Flex Ice+ have all that and also feature the Vibram Arctic Grip outsole for superior traction on ice without the need of spikes. They also feature a 6mm drop and have Merrell’s latest fit and performance features for a comfortable and responsive shoe. Retail price will be $180 this fall when they become available.
Altra Timp Trail Running Shoes
Any shoe named after my favorite mountain is in instant winner. The Timp sits right between the Olympus and Lone Peak on the cushioning side for the perfect combination of cushion and trail feel. The 29mm stack height should be on point and the water-resistant uppers will help keep the elements at bay. You’ll note that they do also have an asymmetrical lacing system and a contoured last. These will be $130 and will hit the shelves in May.
Primaloft Black Insulation ThermoPlume
Synthetic insulation has traditionally been sewn into the jacket instead of being blown in like down feathers. Primaloft is aiming to change that with ThermoPlume — a new blown-in synthetic insulation material. The new Montane Phoenix jacket on display had an awesome feel to it and down-like loft. I’m told that ThermoPlume is already Primaloft’s most sampled insulation yet, so look for it in many more jackets soon.