In my final installment from Outdoor Retailer, I’ve got a handful of great products that will be hitting retailers as early as this Fall. Highlighting this bunch are the new hydration packs from Osprey, which look solid. Rounding out this set of products, you’ll find some odds-and-ends that will help complete your gear closet.
Great new products coming soon. Here are the highlights.
Osprey Hydraulics Raptor Hydration Packs
Available in 4 sizes (6, 10, 14 and 18) and sporting what’s called an Airscape Suspension (accordion-style back for torsional stiffness, breathability and conforming fit), the new Osprey Hydraulics hydration pack line consists of the Mantra line (for hiking) and the Raptor line (for mountain biking). I’m stoked on the Raptor line and the Raptor 6 in particular as it provides a streamlined form-factor, optimized fit for minimal “pack bounce”, an integrated and customized Nalgene bladder that features a solid back that locks into place inside the pack and a simplified helmet holder. For reference, the picture immediately below is the Raptor 14 showing the bungee helmet button system. MSRP will range from $79-$119 based on size and I’m told these should start hitting the shelves this Fall.
Platypus Platy SoftBottle
These flexible hydration bottles kick the whole plastic vs. stainless bottle debate to the curb by utilizing a soft, durable and BPA-free material that packs well and reduces volume as you use it. New for Fall 2009, the new Platypus SoftBottle will be offered in two, ultra-portable sizes (0.5 L and 1 L) with either a HyperFlow bite valve or a standard closure cap. This bite valve has a simple 1/4-turn locking system to prevent accidental spillage. With the bite valve, water flow is excellent and it easily doubles as a water gun to keep the kids cool on a hot summer day.
Bottles stand up on their own and the 0.5 L version is made to fit into standard cupholders. Each size will also come in three colors. Platy Bottles are available now, but expect the SoftBottles to arrive at retailers in September 2009 with prices ranging from $7.95 to $12.95 depending on size and cap option.
Merrell Spokes Commuter Bike Shirt
With more and more people bike commuting, the market is ripe for cool innovations like the Merrell Spokes polo shirt. On the surface, this shirt seems like any old polo shirt, but don’t let that fool you, it’s got some great features for bike commuters and loungers alike. Take the plaited Opti-wick material used in its construction, which mates soft cotton outside fabric with a polyester inside for moisture and odor management, add on top of that a grippy material on the back hem that prevents plumber’s crack and a small zippered pocket for lip balm or keys and you’ve got a solid shirt for the town or the trail. It’s not cheap at $69, but it’s got some unique features not found on other shirts.
Merrell ST Stamina 2 Running Shoe
Merrell recently jumped into the traditional road running market and continues to offer a handful of road-specific shoes in the line. As a refinement from its introduction, the new ST Stamina 2 looks to clearly set the stage for Merrell’s acceptance into the market. The running shoe market is flush with offerings from all the major players, but Merrell’s core following should latch onto some of the nice fatures of this shoe, including: improved stability (G3 Phase Pronation), increased breathability, more comfortable fit with optimized uppers and ample cushioning in the forefoot and heel. Expect these in stores this Spring at a $105 pricepoint.
Arc’teryx Accelero Jacket
Small tweaks and a full zipper makes the Arc’teryx Accelero Jacket a welcome improvement over the Accelero Pullover (one of my personal favorites). This lightweight and breathable material sheds water extremely well and breathes like a mesh shirt. Wind resistance is minimal–just enough to keep the chill off, but perfect for a cool morning or a light rainstorm. I love my Accelero Pullover, but the full zip should make this jacket that much better.
MSR Carbon Reflex 3 Tent
Building on the ultralight MSR Carbon Reflex 1 and 2 tents, it’s time to have a Carbon Reflex 3 tent for ultralight (as MSR deems it hyperlite) performance. Carbon fiber is stronger and lighter than aluminum–thus shaving precious pounds from your pack compared to similarly-sized tents. For example, the new MSR Carbon Reflex 3 has a minimum weight of 4 lbs. 7 oz. while the Mutha Hubba tips the scales at 6 lbs. 9 oz. A savings of over two full pounds! Even though it’s lightweight, the Carbon Reflex 3 is still liveable with plenty of room and two vestibules. The major setback here is price. This tent will cost a pretty penny at $600 (but did I mention how light this is!?!?!). Look for it to hit retailers in January 2010.