My search for the latest and greatest gear for Spring 2010 continued at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009 in Salt Lake City. The tradeshow rolled on strong despite the economy with upbeat manufacturers showing off their wares to retailers and media. It’s always a good time visiting with industry friends and learning about new brands and innovative products.
I’d say this year was more of a refinement year with not much in the “entirely new” category coming down the pike. Here’s a quick overview of a handful of great products coming your way later this Fall and into Spring 2010.
Montrail Rockridge Trail Runners
Hot on the heels of the award-winning Mountain Masochist trail runners, Montrail is introducing a handful of trail runners including the all-new Montrail Rockridge. This shoe is built on a low-profile last for excellent trail feel, but still sporting plenty of cushioning with neutral support for the long-haul. Traction is provided by Gryptonite rubber with center deflecting lugs with perimeter traction lugs. The entire liner of the shoe is also seamless for superior comfort. MSRP is $90 with an early 2010 release date.
Mountain Hardwear Fluid 10 Hydration Pack
With all the hydration packs currently on the market, there are only a handful that I can totally recommend (Deuter comes to mind). But, the new Mountain Hardwear Fluid 10/18/26 hydration pack lineup looks like a great foray into the market. The best feature is the frame sheet, dubbed HardWave, which looks like an accordion going top-to-bottom for a back-conforming fit, but still providing torsional rigidity. Another bonus of this design is its ability to conform to the contours of your back while providing excellent breathability.
An additional innovation on this pack is the OTF (On-the-Fly) Compression system that allows you to cinch down the entire pack from the hip. This ingenious design has long been needed in the market. I always complain when packs don’t have compression straps to cinch the load, but this one takes simple compression straps to the next level by allowing you to cinch the entire load down from the waistbelt. Capacity is 600 cu. in. and weight is 1 lb. 4 oz. with an MSRP of $80.
Patagonia Tsali and Nine Trails Trail Running Shoes
Honestly, I was totally impressed with the trail running lineup from Patagonia. I hadn’t explored their shoe line much previously, but both the ultralight Tsali and the supportive Nine Trails look to be killer shoes for Spring 2010.
The Tsali tips the scales at just under 10 oz. each, but still provides excellent cushioning and support in a fast and light package. One of the coolest features is the proprietary Dynamic Lace System (shown below) where the two uppermost lace eyelets are criss-crossed for a more snug fit. At $100, the Tsali is a solid player in the lightweight trail running space.
The all-new Nine Trails offers a tad more support than the Tsali, yet still tips the scales at a respectable 11.2 oz. With a medial post for extra support, Dynamic Lace System and a bit of sticky rubber in the toe/heel for smearing, the Nine Trails will get you there for $110.
GoLite Comp Trail Running Shoes
An interesting story indeed, GoLite shoes approach the shoe-building process upside-down. While the rest of the shoe market builds cushioning that’s built to squish the foot to the hard outsole or tread, GoLite’s patented “Soft Against the Ground” design actually keeps the foot stable and cushioning happens from the outsole-in. Think of it this way… you’ve undoubtedly ridden in a truck or a bus and seen the driver’s suspension captain’s chair, right? Well, that’s like traditional shoe cushioning… seems silly eh? Now think of a car’s suspension. Everything is built to keep the frame of the car stable and cushion the tires/rims as they compress towards the rigid frame. Sounds better, right?
With that in mind, let me introduce the GoLite Comp trail running shoe. This trail runner is offered in both mesh and softshell designs with an exoskeleton for supportand interchangeable inserts to increase or decrease toebox volume depending on your preference. The only downer is the price as these shoes are a bit more spendy than others in the market at $130 for the mesh and $140 for the softshell.
Princeton Tec Remix Headlamp
With a variety of LED bulb options to both extend battery life and provide just the right lighting for the situation, the new Princeton Tec Remix headlamp is the choice for all situations. With a large on/off button and easily-rotated lamp body, the Remix looks great for winter dawn patrols. The new Remix sports 3 – 5mm LED’s and 1 Maxbright Rebel LED to deliver a bright 45 lumens with up to 200 hours of burntime. MSRP is $44.99.
Outdoor Research Helium Jacket
Another great offering in the lightweight jacket world, the all-new OR Helium Jacket tips the scales at 6.8 oz. (Men’s) and features waterproof/breathable Pertex 2.5 fabric. Built with a full hood and minimalistic design, the entire jacket stuffs down smaller than a can of soda with the built-in stuff pocket. Look for the Helium in Spring 2010 at a $140 pricepoint.
Oboz Dash Trail Runner with Enhanced Footbed
I’ve been excited about the progression of the Oboz brand over the years. For Spring 2010, look for an entirely-new trail runner called the Dash. Utilizing the same outsole as the Ignition, but modified slightly to provide a more supportive overall feel, the Dash comes standard with a few little niceties not found on many shoes on the market. For starters, the Dash will feature a thin EVA padding on top of the footboard, which serves to provide just a tad more comfort. Add on top of that, a fully-supportive, proprietary insole that puts other stock insoles to shame.
The goal is to get this insole into every shoe and not raise prices. Looks like feet everywhere will rejoice in the added stability, control and comfort, but wallets everywhere can relax because that footbed will come with the $100 Dash trail runners in Spring 2010.