We were first introduced to Indigo Equipment in 2002 just before Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. PR guru, Mike Geraci, was all over their packs and we were treated with an Indigo Elvn to go head-to-head against the best backcountry skiing packs of the day. With streamlined styling and design that allowed you to carry all your backcountry gear (shovel, probe, etc.) inside the pack, the Elvn was ahead of its day. As it turns out, it was ahead of the competition in overall weight too. Well, not any more. For the 2005-2006 season, the entire line of Indigo backcountry skiing packs have been re-tooled for a lighter weight and more functional package. Innovations abound and demonstrate that these packs are the real deal.
Completely new for 2005, the Indigo Reve pack is an 1800 cu. in. pack that’s perfect for a day in the backcountry. Two notable features of the Reve are the new Lariat ski carrying design and the ultra-functional Cafe pocket.
The Lariat ski carrying system allows you to carry both skis back-to-back straight up the middle of the pack for an evenly-weighted pack. Near the bottom of the pack is a bright yellow plastic pulltab. Just pull that down and it reveals a coated steel cable loop that receives the tails of the skis. Then, near the top of the pack, you’ll find the interconnected ski strap for wrapping around the front of the skis and securing them in place. The ingenious thing about the Lariat is that both the cable and strap are connected, so the tighter you crank on the strap, the tighter the cable gets around the tails of the ski. No more flopping around because the tail loop is too large for your skis!
A second innovation on the Reve pack is the Cafe pocket. This pass-thru pocket is located at the base of the pack right at the lumbar. Think of it as one of those handwarmers you see NFL quarterbacks using, but only in the back and it’s not for keeping your hands warm. You get the picture, but if not, check out the picture of the Reve above to see the Cafe Pocket in action. This pocket is perfectly-sized for two Nalgene water bottles, or for a single bottle and your climbing skins. Because this compartment is sealed off from the rest of the pack, your skins won’t get everything wet and they can stay nice and warm deep within the pack. If you don’t need the Cafe Pocket, its divider is easily removed for a continuous compartment that’s spacious enough for Mary Poppins.
The Indigo Reve pack is destined to be one of the best and most innovative backcountry skiing packs for 2005.
Indigo Epic Telescoping Ski Poles
Just when I was beginning to think that poles were poles and that telescoping poles were a necessary evil in the backcountry, Indigo pulls a fast one on the ho-hum of the backcountry ski pole industry. Back for a sophomore season, the Indigo Epic poles are improved for 2005. Standard two and three segment backcountry poles can be the biggest pain in the can. It’s a great concept–adjust one pole for angled ascents and easily adjust them for various conditions. Well, it’s typically much easier said than done because in order to prevent slippage, you’ve got to crank the segments with all your manhood (or womanhood), as a result, adjustment on-the-fly becomes impossible without taking your gloves off and repeating your own personal version of the World’s Strongest Man Competition to loosen the deathgrip.
The Indigo Epic poles offer a vastly superior alternative to the twist and shout method from other manufacturers. Why not borrow from other interlocking tube technology like snow shovels and tents by having a push-button quick-release with set adjustment holes? Bingo! That’s a great idea. The “Slip-Not” adjustment system provides the most user-friendly experience in a bombproof package.
The lower shaft is made of 90% carbon fiber and the upper shaft is aircraft-grade aluminum. The Epic also has a dual-density grip with releasable strap–great for release in a slide or if your basket catches on an unassuming tree branch. The Epics come with an 85mm powder basket and long-lasting carbide tip. If you buy these poles, they’ll be the last poles you ever buy.
Indigo Snow Logic Shovels
The Snow Logic shovel line is improved for 2005. Most notably, they’ve added a much-needed D-grip handle for a more ergonomic, though bulkier, feel. We’ve all heard the arguments between aluminimum and polycarbonate shovels in the backcountry. some say that anything other than an aluminum shovel is just asking for trouble, while others swear by their Lexan blades–swearing up and down that it’s superior. I would have to say for myself that aluminum shovels are better for chopping thick, hardpack, but at the same time, an aluminum shovel blade can be suseptible to bending if you’re trying to use it as a lever. Not so with the Indigo Snow Logic blade. The blade has reinforced ribs down the face of the blade to provide added rigidity. The result is a super-strong blade that’s capable of being used as a pogo stick–try that with other plastic shovel blades. Also, the handle (available in two lengths) inserts through the shovel when not in use for compact storage.
Whether you choose to carry an aluminum or plastic bladed shovel, just carry one. I’d venture to say that it would be a good idea to have a variety of shovels in your posse. Different snow conditions may demand different shovel types. If you’ve got one Indigo Snow Logic shovel and another aluminum design, you’re good to go in any conditions.