TGO headed to the Outdoor Trade Show this week to see what goodies the gear brands have ready for the coming year. We found a few surprises – and a lot of innovation
Amongst several new Petzl head torches, the one that caught my eye was the new BINDI. Petzl describe it as a ‘pumped-up e+LITE’. At only 35g, it offers 200 lumens – that’s quadruple the output of even the newly improved e+LITE!
It’s rated waterproof to 1m for 30 minutes, charges via USB, and has built-in red lighting. There’s also a lock to prevent it from turning on accidentally. Expected to retail at £50, this looks like a great all-rounder for the summer months. I think it will particularly appeal to ultralight backpackers looking for something with a bit more oomph than an e+LITE.
We had an interesting conversation with Páramo about their new products. As well as new, lightened-up versions of the Ostro windproofs (spotted by our Gear Editor Chris Townsend at the OutDoor show earlier in the year), I found the new Men’s Kili Shirt and Women’s Santorini Shirt very impressive. These are wicking, fast-drying, UV and insect-protective lightweight shirts for high-energy activities. They offer a range of ventilation options and hidden secure pockets for valuables. I think the Kili Shirt could be a good choice for backpacking. As with every item in Páramo’s upcoming range, these garments are guaranteed PFC-free, renewable and recyclable.
BioLite are best known for their innovative (if heavy) electricity-generating stove, the BioLite CampStove, but amongst several new items I noticed the BioLite Solarpanel 10+. This solar charger isn’t one of the lightest at 558g, but it claims a meaty 10W/hour output in prime conditions. It has an integrated 3,000mAh rechargeable battery, an adjustable kickstand, and a rugged design that has apparently been tested as a chopping board. Backpackers who consider solar chargers often carry a small power bank as well, so the real-world weight difference between the Solarpanel 10+ and its lighter competitors isn’t as much as you might think.
Nikwax are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. The company has always been committed to sustainability, and recently announced that they have become completely carbon neutral – yes, as far back as 1977! While their PFC-free Tech Wash and TX.Direct products remain core items in their range, they’ve recently introduced Sweatproofing and – of particular interest to backpackers – Tent & Gear SolarWash, which Nikwax claim can extend the life of tents by 50 percent by protecting lightweight flysheet fabrics against UV degradation while removing dirt.
New from AKU, the Tengu Lite GTX is a super-lightweight trekking boot weighing only 510g. I noticed that many footwear manufacturers are working to improve the comfort of ankle cuffs, and the Tengu Lite is no exception – it has a ‘Gore-Tex elastic sock fit’ that looked very comfortable. The boot, which is also available in a shoe version (the ‘Tengu Low GTX’), has a waterproof Gore-Tex lining and an aggressive sole. Although it’s marketed as a trekking boot it looks well suited to summer mountaineering and scrambling for those who prefer waterproof, supportive footwear. A natural fit for long days in the Cuillin, perhaps? RRP is £199.99.