TGO’s Gear Editor Chris Townsend reports back from Europe’s largest gear exhibition, the OutDoor Show, where he’s been chosen as one of the judges
Two days into the OutDoor Show in Friedrichshafen and themes are beginning to emerge. One is the dominance of shoes over boots. Companies have more of the former and are keen to show them first. There are more shoes without waterproof linings too, which pleases me. Weights are down too due to lighter sole materials, all said to be durable.
On this second day I saw good looking shoes from Haglöfs, Mammut, Aku, Oboz, and The North Face. Of these I particularly liked the look of the Aku Libra Plus and the Mammut Alnasca Knit Low, and also The North Face Flight AKT. TNF also had an interesting brightly coloured lightweight boot, the Ultra Fastpack III Mid GTX.
The other trend is for zip opening daypacks, 20-30 litres, with no lids and mesh front and side pockets. I saw quite a few of these, all looking much the same.
More interesting is Osprey’s venture into ultralight packs, the 45 and 60 litre (pictured above) Levity models. The 60 weighs 850 grams and is meant to carry up to 14kg.
The North Face also showed the Apex Flex jacket which they claim is their most breathable jacket ever. It is Gore-Tex but has a thick wicking lining that would make it too hot in summer. Looks great for a Cairngorm blizzard though.
Also for cold weather is a new Montane jacket filled with Primaloft’s Thermo Plume insulation which mimics down. It looks just like a down jacket with micro baffles. It’ll be available in September unlike much of the stuff on show which won’t be in the shops until next spring.
Finally, a curiosity. The Trekmates Switch Robe, a microfibre towel with a waterproof shell and a hood. What’s it for? Changing in a car park in the rain after a day on the hill.