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Gear of the Future

Click on the image at the left to launch a slide show of gear from Summer Outdoor Retailer 2012. Photos by Olivia Dwyer

The biannual Outdoor Retailer tradeshow in Salt Lake City just wrapped up. The Mountain mag crew ran the halls looking for innovative 2013 gear. Here are the highlights.



Mountain Hardwear and parent company Columbia Sportswear share a valuable resource: The Performance Innovation Team, or PIT crew, if you will. PIT’s four-year effort to create clothing that keeps you cool in hot weather was on display in Columbia’s Omni-Freeze ZERO and Mountain Hardwear’s Cool.Q Zero material. Small circles imprinted on the fabric contain a polymer that expands when exposed to moisture (read: sweat), creating a cooling sensation on the skin. Both brands offer running apparel and accessories with the new technology, which worked effectively on the trade show floor. Stay tuned—we brought home a visor and sleeves to test on the trails. 



Minimalist running shoe fans, start drooling over the Scarpa Minima (a road/trail hybrid with a 6mm drop) and the Montrail FluidFlex, a svelte trail runner with ample cushion and a featherweight upper. The Deckers Outdoor Corporation just acquired a minority stake in Hoka One One, so look for more innovations from Hoka’s ultra-cushioned line coming soon. Teva, also part of Deckers, debuted TevaSphere technology in outdoor activity shoes: Two cushion pods support the midfoot, while a spherical heel keeps strides rolling smoothly even when heelstrikes happen. Elsewhere, we were excited to find footwear innovation from the likes of mountain companies like Scott (a trail runner with just a hint of rocker in the sole), La Sportiva (the Ultra Raptor, a burly-lugged offering with a carbon fiber heel cup built for mud), and Mammut (look for a true trail runner reinforced with Dyneema webbing). 



La Sportiva‘s running collection uses swaths of Cocona fabric for its odor-resistant and moisture-wicking properties—and leaves the Euro look behind for a sleek but comfortable North American style. The fashion/function meld presents endless options for mountain lovers in 2013: Merrell‘s spring apparel adds subtle reflective touches for bike commuting; Redington makes the flannel better with breathable nylon that feels like cotton; Helly Hansen has upped the design and added snag-free material to its lightweight Alpine jackets; and Arc’Teryx and Icebreaker expand their wrinkle-free, envy-inducing travel/lifestyle offerings. 



Kelty debuted the inflatable AirPitch tent, while Big Agnes substituted magnets for zippers on the Fishhook SL tent to enhance durability and ease field repair. Cascade Designs integrated its sleeping bag and pad system; a lack of insulation on the bag’s back is made possible by the high warmth rating of Therm-a-Rest pads. Look for similar innovation from NEMO, which is launching an entire line of bags and comforters for car camping to minimalist. Several brands showed backpacks designed specifically for a teenager’s frame—but Gregory is offering a pack that adjust from pre-teen to early adulthood. Black Diamond‘s Vapor (186 grams with Kevlar, carbon rods, and EVA foam) and Petzl‘s Sirocco (165 grams of EPP foam only) shaved weight on climbing helmets.  —The Editors

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