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Daniel Neilson reports on innovations from Fjällräven, Rab, MSR, Patagonia and Nikwax

ISPO is a huge trade show that takes place in Munich every February to showcase all the upcoming winter releases. In this article, we look at new offerings from Fjällräven, Rab, MSR, Patagonia and Nikwax.

Fjällräven’s new Keb range

Why are they interesting?

Three Fjällräven products caught our eye at the show, all from the technical Keb range of clothing. The brand-new Keb Hike 20 and 30-litre packs were particularly interesting. The packs are designed as ‘four-season’ day packs – making them great for walking, ski touring and Alpine trekking. The material is a heavy duty version Fjällräven’s durable and sustainable G-1000 material and waterproof recycled nylon. Being a winter pack, all the openings are designed to be used with gloves on. We particularly liked the large main compartment that zipped all the way from bottom to bottom, and a large, waterproof front pocket – perfect for stowing wet waterproofs. The hipbelt can be removed on the 30-litre pack and stowed on the 20-litre pack. They will retail for £175 and £200.

Fjällräven Keb Jacket

Fjällräven Keb Trousers

We can also see the Keb Touring Jacket and Keb Touring Trousers being popular. Both items are softshells with G-1000 reinforcements where needed. The material has a great stretch on it, and they are treated with a PFC-free DWR treatment. Features on the trousers include knees with an opening if you want to put kneepads in, two zipped hand pockets and hip-to-knee ventilation at the sides. They will retail for £240. The jacket is made from the same material and has G-1000 reinforcements on the back and shoulders. There’s an adjustable hood which is fine for a small helmet and sizeable zipped chest pockets and handwarmer pockets. It will sell for £325.

Rab Ladakh waterproof, Microlight, and Neutrino Pro

Why are they interesting?

This is a brand-new waterproof jacket from Rab. It is designed to be particularly durable for winter hillwalking. It uses a breathable eVent waterproof membrane with a double layer at the collar where it wears out first. There are long vents under the arms and tab cuffs. A men’s large weighs a very respectable 534g. It will retail for £275. We’ll be testing it out soon. There are also matching trousers.

Rab Ladakh Jacket

Rab’s now classic Microlight insulated jacket – ten years old – has also been redeveloped. Improvements include pockets that are now at an angle, so they lie flat when they open. Similarly, the hood lies flat when not used (see picture), and an extra panel in the body of the jacket means it contours around the body better. The Microlight Summit version is a more technical jacket. A notable difference is the use of Pertex insulation with ‘Infinity Weave’ meaning that the baffles aren’t sewn or glued but woven into the fabric.

Rab Microlight

Rab Neutrino Pro

The Neutrino Pro is another new jacket that has descended from the Neutrino Endurance in the current range. It features a new 20d Pertex face fabric which allows the down to loft better and also helps shave 100g off the jacket to weigh 605g in a men’s large. A new hood also allows the down to reach the peak of the jacket. A new cuff design (see picture) makes it warmer. It will sell for £290.

MSR DynaLock walking pole

Why is it interesting?

Walking poles are peculiar products. It’s probably one of the items where a flaw in the design is emphasised most. An annoying vibration, holes that whistle in the wind, a stubborn lock can all frustrate. MSR has long made great trekking poles, and have now developed a new locking mechanism. The Ascent, Explore and Trail series of poles are designed for snowshoeing and winter walking. The Explore is perhaps most relevant to us, and they pack down to a very small size facilitated by two DynaLock closures. They weigh 552g a pair and extend from 63cm t0 140 cm. msrgear.com

MSR Dynalock

Patagonia Capilene Air

Why is it interesting?

Patagonia’s Capilene baselayers have been around for a while, but this new blend of 51 per cent merino wool and 49 per cent recycled polyester has been ‘exploded’ (bear with us!). In short, the yarn has been knitted into a thicker fabric but not at the expense of weight. Because the material is thicker, it insulates much better. The garments are almost seamless too meaning that there is significantly less material waste. The garments have a knitted look and are, well, rather lovely looking and feel great against the skin. The Capilene Air Hoody is our favourite piece thanks to the super-light hood.

Patagonia Capilene Air

Nikwax Hydrophobic Down sleeping bag

Why is it interesting?

As a publicity stunt, it was a good one. Take one outdoors journalist, put him or her in a sleeping bag that contains Nikwax Hydrophobic Down, and send them out to float on a pool in hall A4. It’s not new this year, but serves as a reminder of one of the most innovative developments in recent years: down that you can use even when wet. It is used by Rab, Therm-a-Rest, Alpkit and Berghaus.

Tomorrow we’ll be covering new products from OMM, Hanwag, Lowe Alpine and Mammut among others.