Wandering round the stands at KORS and ROKS, two outdoor trade shows held in Kendal every summer, I saw lots of tweaks and improvements and a few interesting new products – some of which were actually modern takes on traditional designs. Here’s some of the stuff that caught my eye. I hope to be testing many of these products in coming months.
Main image: Anatom Caledonia
Fjallraven was showing the award-winning Eco Shell environmentally friendly waterproof garments. Daniel Neilson did a First Look review of one of these but this was the first time I’d seen them. They look excellent and perhaps indicate the way waterproofs are going in order to be less damaging to the environment. I also ventured out into the rain to look at Fjallraven’s tents. The excellent design of these hasn’t changed much but the fabric has. It’s now nylon rather than polyester, which brings the formerly quite heavy tents into line with similar ones weight wise.
Zamberlan has quite a few new footwear models, including the good-looking and lightweight Trail Break GTX shoes (though I wish they were available without Gore-Tex), but it was some very old-fashioned looking boots that really caught my eye, boots with lines of stitching running round the edge of the sole. I haven’t seen welt-sewn hiking boots like this for many years. Of the various models the full grain waxed leather Tofane NW GTX (pictured) look magnificent, only the rubberised toe caps making them different from boots of many decades ago. With a PU midsole for shock absorption they’ll be more comfortable though.
Keela also had some new traditional-looking clothing in its Heritage Range including a Harris Tweed smock with waxed cotton shoulder panels. As the name suggests the Bushcraft Tweed Smock isn’t really intended for walkers. It does look good though. More practical for the hills should be the Ventile Smock (pictured) and Falkland Jacket, which both have Ventile cotton outers and Keela’s waterproof/breathable laminate linings. I’ll be interested to see how the two fabrics work together.
La Sportiva’s footwear definitely has a very modern look. No concessions to the past here. Or to dullness as the footwear is also brightly coloured. I liked the look of two new models, the ultralight Akasha (pictured) shoes and the slightly heavier Helios 2.0 shoes. Both are designed for running but I reckon they’ll be excellent for hill walking. Thankfully neither has a waterproof lining and both have EVA midsoles that look like they’ll give better shock absorption than the thin ones found on many shoes.
Anatom also has some good-looking new footwear, the Glenmore (pictured) and Caledonia trail shoes, with thick midsoles. Both are made from suede but the Glenmore has Anatom’s waterproof/breathable membrane and the Caledonia doesn’t.
Anatom are also the company behind the excellent Teko socks, well-known for their merino wool models. The latest Teko socks are synthetic ones though. The award-winning ‘Regenerate Me’ Super Cushion socks are made from nylon from rescued fishing nets. They can be remade into new socks when worn-out too. Teko call this process regeneration rather than recycling. Various people, including myself, have been given a pair of these socks and asked to wear them as much as possible for a year and then return them to be regenerated into new socks.
Vaude is another company that takes sustainability seriously and they have just made their own requirements more stringent. They’ve also updated their pack range and introduced some ultralight daypacks such as the Scopi 32 LW, a minimalist model with a zip opening and removable back padding. There are also some positive changes to Vaude’s tents, including a larger porch on the Taurus Ultralight 2p and a new venting system on the Power Lizard
Gregory has a new distributor in the UK, Lyon Equipment, which should mean the packs appearing in many more shops. New packs include two zip-access daypacks, the Salvo and Sula. The well-established Z and J men’s and women’s packs have been revamped as the Zulu and Jade (pictured), which have a new ventilated suspension system. Capacities range from 30 litres to 65 litres.