Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trendspotting at OutDoor

Published by www.sportstrader.co.za

The OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen is the annual showcase of new product trends and developments in the outdoor market. Products successfully launched at this show, are usually seen in the local market within the next year or so.

This year, a South African company was among the 925 exhibitors in Friedrichshafen.

KwaZulu Natal textile manufacturer Gelvenor Textiles had a closed stand at the show. “We’re still trying to get credibility in the European market,” says Sefton Fripp. “It therefore made more sense for us to have the presence of a stand with our details, leaving us the freedom to move about on other stands to introduce our company and what we can offer. We were pleasantly surprised that quite a few companies have heard of us.”

They would like to have a manned stand in the near future, together with their African CMT partners from Mauritius and Madagascar. “This would present a more complete picture.” They are currently also looking for a CMT partner in Europe, to make it more viable for European companies to use Gelvenor’s products.

They are not only looking for international support, but are also very interested in forming partnerships with South African brands and retailers.

“On technical fabrics, we’re very price competitive,” Fripp points out. A local manufacturer is also able to provide quicker turn around speeds on orders, compared to overseas manufacturers.
Tim Macartney-Snape (left), director of Sea to Summit, and Eric Riemann of local distributor Adventure Inc with the Industry Award-winning ComfortPlus sleeping mats.
Sea to Summit
Sea to Summit won an OutDoor Industry Award for their ComfortPlus sleeping mat at this year’s show. This award given to the most innovative products exhibited, is one of four industry awards this sleeping bag has won so far this year: at the OutDoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City they won the Gear Patrol — Best of Outdoor Retailer award, the Gear Junkie — Best In Show Award, as well as the Gear Institute — Best New Gear Award.

The brand, locally distributed by Adventure Inc., says this is their warmest and most comfortable sleeping mat yet.

“This air mattress is not only comfortable, but also has a compact pack size, weighs little, crackles hardly at all and has a structure that largely eliminates cold spots and better insulates the upper body. So it ticks all the boxes,” was the statement from the OutDoor jury panel.

Other jury panels were impressed by the innovative air pockets that compress independently under pressure, to give the sleeping mat a pillowy feel.

Previously, the comfort of a sleeping mat was measured by its thickness. “Not anymore,” says Tim Macartney-Snape, director of Sea to Summit.

Their Air Sprung Cells function similarly to those in a pocket spring mattress: the cells deform to allow the mat to conform to the user’s body shape. This means more comfort and an even dispersion of pressure.

The mat consists of two layers that can be inflated separately, which means that the bottom layer can be inflated firmly and the top left softer, if desired.

The mat is made of 40D nylon with extrusion laminated TPU in an aeronautical-grade facility. It is available as insulated and non-insulated. Their new valve design should bring collected sighs of relief from users who have tried inflating their previous mattresses by mouth: it allows for quick and easy in- and deflation.

The new technology won’t only benefit the outdoor market. It will also benefit hospital patients through the company that worked with Sea to Summit in the development process.

The Sea to Summit brand, which first exhibited at the OutDoor show in 1997 with just a sleeping bag liner, offers a variety of handy accessories for the outdoor enthusiast, such as the new collapsible pot that can be used on a cooking system. It is made of simkin material and has a steel base, which protects the material. The lid can be used as a strainer. The pot and lid have been designed in such a way that the user can lock the lid down by bending a part of the pot over.

Sea to Summit also offers handy accessories for the stand up paddler in the form of a SUP cart, connection loops for dry bags etc., handles and wheels — all of which easily attaches to the SUP board with suction pads. These accessories are bound to make carrying the board a whole lot easier, as well as carrying items along on the board itself.
Kevin Hamil, director of international sales for the Leatherman Tool Group Inc., is very excited about the new Led Lenser NEO headlamps.
LED Lenser
LED Lenser’s NEO headlamp, which is launched globally mid-September, is designed specifically for runners. LED Lenser is available in South Africa from Awesome Tools.

The headlamp features a 16:9 light beam. The new ratio provides a wider beam and allows the runner a better peripheral view.

On the back of the headlamp is a red light that blinks, helping to alert others to the runner’s presence.

NEO is available in five trendy, vibrant neon colours: yellow, orange, pink, blue and green.

Their M3R rechargeable torch has been designed for users who don’t want to carry a recharging device with them. The torch — LED Lenser’s smallest to date — runs on rechargeable batteries.
Hi-Tec’s stand was a popular attraction during the OutDoor show.
“Hi-Tec tries to appeal to as wide an audience as possible,” says Helen Durant of Hi-Tec international.

Walk Lite is a range of comfortable walking shoes that features the lightweight V-Lite construction and the Vibram RGS (RollinGait System), which has been designed specifically to help improve the wearer’s gait, reduce muscle fatigue and to help the wearer walk further for longer. The shoes also have Ortholite insoles and the uppers range from full leather waterproof, to suede or nylon and mesh. The range has been styled to have a lifestyle look. Locally, Hi-Tec SA will be offering the Walk Lite Witton.

The V-Lite Rio range of adventure travel shoes and sandals has been designed to cater for the traveller’s needs. Because of the V-Lite technology, the shoes are lightweight. The iShield technology ensures that water and dirt are repelled from the footwear, is resistant to stains and adds to the breathability. Vibram’s outsoles provide the necessary durability and traction so that the shoes will see their wearer to the destination and back.

The Rio Race and Rio Quest models will be available from Hi-Tec SA.
Black Diamond’s new range of apparel drew a lot of interest.
Black Diamond
Black Diamond, locally distributed by Ram Mountaineering, had a big presence at this year’s OutDoor show with a large stand to display their ever-growing range of products.

Black Diamond is very excited about the new range of women’s and bouldering clothing. Overall, the apparel range is very colourful. There has been a focus on giving the women’s apparel range a fashionable and trendy appearance. These pieces are equally at home working hard in the outdoors as they are while looking good in the mall.
Black Diamond’s Ion headlamp is now operated by a touch sensor, instead of buttons. The user slides a finger for the different settings, for example left for a white light and right for the red. By holding down on the sensor, the user can lock or unlock the device. The headlamp’s light intensity has been adjusted to help save battery light: the 80 lumen light will go on at 75% of its brightness, instead of at 100%.

The popular Sprinter headlamp, which was designed specifically with runners in mind, has been given an update. It is rechargeable via a micro USB, has 130 lumens and features both a solid and flashing rear light.

The rechargeable Revolt headlamp has received an upgrade to its lumens, which have increased to 130 lumens from the previous 110. Revolt has a unique system, which allows it to recognize if the user is using alkaline or rechargeable batteries.

Ember is Black Diamond’s first entry into the handheld torch market. The torch has several useful attributes, for example it has a USB port, which allows the user to charge other devices from the torch’s lith mi-ion battery. The torch is also designed to decrease unnecessary battery drainage: by twisting it, the user not only places the torch into lock mode … the battery also disconnects.

The Icon headlamp has also received a lumen upgrade. It now boasts with 320 lumens.

Wiz is a headlamp that has been designed specifically for children. It features child-friendly elements such as the ability to be worn upside down and still do its job correctly — simply tilt it into position.

Moji is a small camp lantern, which Black Diamond expects to do well, because it is roughly half the price of a usual lantern. It has a new design and is small enough to be placed or hooked onto just about any suitable surface.

The lightweight Z trekking poles, available in carbon fibre or aluminum, have proven to be very popular and successful. Black Diamond have now introduced new grips, which are lighter and increase breathability.

The brand has introduced the first metal flick-lock system for ski poles. While the system has been available before, it is the first time that metal is used in the system for the ski category.
Jetboil’s various new cozies made for a colourful display.
Jetboil, available in South Africa from Ram Mountaineering, has developed products to make outdoor users’ lives easier and more enjoyable.

“When we designed MiniMo we asked ourselves What can we change on our cooking stove to make it easier to cook with?,” says Jeffrey Megivern, lead product development engineer for Jetboil.

MiniMo packs a variety of updated features in its small frame — it measures 127x152mm and weighs 415gm.

The needle on the valve gives the user more control and flexibilty on the intensity of the flame and makes it easier to reach a simmer. Before, there was basically just an on and off setting, but the needle now allows for that lower flame.

Jetboil’s latest cooking system has the diameter of their Sumo pot and the volume of Flash (1 litre), which all boils down to a shorter, but wider pot, making the MiniMo easier to eat out of. MiniMo is regulated, which means the flame won’t lose its power when the gas starts running out. The system also works consistently all the way down to -6oC.

The new metal handles, which fold away for easy storage, make the pot easier to grip.

The entire MiniMo cooking system packs away compactly into the pot.

Consumers can now also customise their pots with the new accessory cozies. Flash’s cozy, for example, is available in black, blue, camo print and tartan.

Caffeine lovers are in for a treat with the Grande coffee press, which fits the Sumo and MiniMo. Not only is the press ideal for a cup of coffee — users can also use the bottom filter as a steamer inside the pot.
Karrimor showed off their products on their distinctive stand displays.
Karrimor footwear
Karrimor’s Dynagrip outsole has been designed for grip and durability. The chevron-shaped cleats face forwards on the forefoot area and backwards on the heel to achieve maximum grip for going both up and downhill.

The lightweight Minimus sandal (available in men’s and ladies’) features a sturdy, minimalist, Vibram outsole and anti-microbial and anti-bacterial Polygiene straps.

Karrimor’s Islay eVent boot (available in men’s and ladies’) features a waterproof nubuck upper, Vibram outsole and Frameflex midsole. The Frameflex technology provides support, rigidity and flex throughout the walking or running gait cycle and takes the different genders’ lasts into account. eVent makes sure that the footwear is both breathable and waterproof.

Karrimor is locally distributed by Brand-ID.
Nikwax launched their new technology during the OutDoor show and there was so much interest, it was difficult to get near.
Nikwax, available from Ram Mountaineering, has a new Fleece and Windproof system, which is a two-part PFC-free treatment-free waterproof clothing technology, which helps clothing to adapt to abrupt climate changes.

On their own, the technologies are useful: Nikwax Fleece Fabrics offer protection against mist and humidity while staying cool due to the high air permeability and breathability, and works at a temperature range of 0-15oC. Nikwax Windproof Fabrics protects both against a gale force wind or with a baselayer against light showers, and works at a temperature range of 0-25oC.

But combined, Nikwax Fleece and Windproof offers full waterproof protection (up to five hours of heavy rainfall) and extends the temperature range to -10oC to +15oC. The jackets have a combined weight of less than 1kg.

The system is made of 100% polyester (therefore recyclable) and its waterproofing can be restored indefinitely by using a care product.

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