Editor’s Note: Read all the articles in this series:
- February 6, 2011 dispatch: International Delights
- February 7, 2011 dispatch: Powered By Nutella (this article)
- February 8, 2011 dispatch: A Smorgasboard of Worldly Flavors
- February 9, 2011 dispatch: Technical Treats
While in the land of beer gardens and lederhosen, we are forgoing all cultural temptations to report to you daily from ISPO. All temptations except one. With a high energy per weight ratio of 5.33 calories per gram, Nutella has always been a backpacking favorite of ours. Here in Munich, with the low cost of US$6.66 for a 1400 gram container, it is the main source of fuel to power us through the days of walking and talking, and the nights of writing and fact checking. We hereby nominate Nutella as our favorite European ultralight product. What comes in second place? You decide.
Terra Nova has been making waves in the ultralight world with their packs and tents. Now sleeping bags can be added to that list.
The Laser line will consist of three bags, all utilizing 900 fill down and half zips. Pictured above is the Laser 600, with all three bags hanging to the left, in their stuff sacks.
- Laser 300 – 8°C comfort rating, 130 grams of down, 330 grams weight, and 220£
- Laser 600 – 0°C comfort rating, 335 grams of down, 610 grams weight, and 360£
- Laser 900 – -10°C comfort rating, 620 grams of down, 920 grams weight, and 560£
- Laser 300 – 46.4°F comfort rating, 4.6 oz of down, 11.6 oz weight, and ~US$220
- Laser 600 – 32°F comfort rating, 11.8 oz of down, 21.5 oz weight, and ~US$360
- Laser 900 – 14°F comfort rating, 21.7 oz of down, 32.5 oz weight, and ~US$560
US prices will be nearly the same as British Pounds, as Americans do not pay a 20% VAT or import taxes. Terra Nova is also coming out with a similarly designed line of bags, called Voyager, utilizing 800 fill down and selling for about 10% less. The Laser and Voyager bags should be available in May.
Klättermusen’s light items were not the only things to catch our eye at this Swedish company. They try to make a light impact on nature, as well. Klättermusen puts a refund value on all of their labels. The items can be returned to the company for end-of-life recycling. The refund values are between 1€ (US$1.36) and 20€ (US$27.23). Each item also has an eco-index which states the degree of impact a product has on the environment, thus a measure of the product’s ecological footprint. UK and US customers can order Klättermussen products through the Scotland-based NordicOutdoor.
The Hugin pack is a 65 liter behemoth that tips the scales at a scant 950 grams (33.5 oz). The pack is made of 40 denier ripstop sil-nylon, with 420 denier recycled nylon on the bottom. The frame consists of two curved aluminum stays. It features two side mesh pockets, front pocket, padded hipbelt, sternum strap, thumb loops, and multiple attachment points. Klättermusen makes a nearly identical smaller pack, the Ran, which is 50 liters and weighs 900 grams (31.8 oz). The price has not been set, but the packs will be available in spring 2011.
The hipbelt and stays are both removable on all packs. Shown above is the Higin, which comes in only one size, but there are two attachment points for the load lifters to allow for some adjustment.
The Agir is the third pack in the series. This 35 liter front loader has the same features as the other packs and weighs 800 grams (28.2 oz).
Klättermusen packs feature a unique buckle design that is simple and robust.
Finally, Klättermusen makes several down garments, most uniquely the Idun shirt (left) and Heidrun shorts (right). Both pieces have 750+ EU fill down, horizontal baffles, Pertex Polyamide (35 g/m²) in the body and stretch Polyamide (73 g/m²) as reinforcement. They both use buttons instead of zippers, and the shorts have full side openings that allow you to take them off without removing your footwear. At 250 grams (8.8 oz) each, neither are ultralight but they are unusual designs. The Idun shirt has 90 grams (3.2 oz) of down and costs 201€ (US$274). The Heidrun shorts have 45 grams (1.6 oz) of down and will sell for 210€. They will be available in March.
Since GoLite did not exhibit at Outdoor Retailer last month, we decided to peruse their display for new items. We were pleasantly surprised to see that they have quietly released some outstanding new jackets – a down parka and a shell – that at are among the lightest in their class and offer another choice in a crowded market.
The Bitterroot Parka is another unbearably light down jacket. The women’s jacket weighs 340 grams (12.0 oz) and has 140 grams (4.9 oz) of down. The men’s jacket has 150 grams (5.3 oz) of down and weighs 370 grams (13.1 oz). Both use 850 fill power down and Pertex Quantum GL (25g/m²) on the inside and outside. Zippered-hand warmer pockets, an inner mesh water bottle pocket, an internal media pocket, and a two-way front zip complete the deal. The Bitterroot will be available in fall 2011 for US$375.
The Malpais Jacket uses GoLite’s three-layer proprietary Trinity WP/B and 15 denier fabric. The women’s jacket weighs 175 grams (6.2 oz), and the men’s jacket weighs 190 grams (6.7 oz). MSRP is US$250 and the shells will be available in March.
Born in the Austrian Alps, Pieps is a well-known maker of avalanche safety equipment.
The Pieps Vector is a four-antennae avalanche transceiver with built-in GPS. The addition of GPS allows the unit to find buried victims faster. A standard transceiver follows the flux lines of the emitted signal, generally leading the rescuer on a circuitous path. After a short time of traveling along the flux lines, the Pieps Vector uses the GPS information to calculate the direct line to the emitted signal, giving the most direct path to the victim. This functionality works regardless of the victim’s transceiver brand or model. Vector will be available in October 2011 with a MSRP of 500€ (US$681). Weight is approximately 200 grams (7.05 oz), including the three AA batteries.
Berghaus is a UK company that has long made quality clothing, but their more recent work with elite climbers has resulted in some nice ultralight options. Today we cover three of those items. Tune in tomorrow to learn more about the Mt. Asgard Smock, which they claim is the lightest Gore-Tex Pro Shell in the world.
The Velum Smock (left) weighs 312 grams (11.0 oz) and will cost 180£ (US$291). The Velum Jacket (right) weighs 360 grams (12.7 oz) and will retail for 200£ (US$323). Both jackets are made of Gore-Tex Active Shell. The hoods are helmet compatible and feature the new Raptor hood tightening system, which uses two elastic pull-tabs to get a really snug fit. The smock and jacket will be available in fall 2011.
The Rapide is a minimalist shell intended for active use. Hence, it is made with Gore-Tex Active. This hoodless jacket had a full-front zip, one zippered pocket, thumb loops and a microfleece-lined collar. A men’s medium weighs 220 grams (7.8 oz); the women’s weighs 200 grams (7.1 oz). These will be available in the fall for 130£ (US$210).
The Rapide uses a patented new zipper-pull which attaches at a slight angle (left), creating a very tight fit (right). This allows the garment to forego waterproof zips. The zipper was created in-house by Berghaus’ R&D team.
This small German company makes quality down sleeping bags, jackets, and air mattresses. Customers can contact Yeti directly via their website, where they can find less outrageously priced (and spec’d) products.
Yeti claims to make the lightest down sleeping bag in the world. However, it is unlikely they have read the MYOG forum on Backpacking Light! Yeti produces six lines of down sleeping bags, but it is their Passion line that we feature here. These “premium ultralight” bags use 900+EU (97/3) down with their proprietary Next to Nothing fabric, a down-proof nylon fabric that weighs 25g/m². Only the Passion Five has baffles; the others use stitch-through construction. Despite the great lengths that Yeti went through to build the lightest bags, they still use full-length zippers. That seems outright silly to me.
- Passion One – 10°C comfort rating, 125 grams of down, 320 gram weight, 400€
- Passion Three – 0°C comfort rating, 300 grams of down, 530 gram weight, 500€
- Passion Five – -7°C comfort rating, 500 grams of down, 790 gram weight, 600€
- Passion One – 50°F comfort rating, 4.4 oz of down, 11.3 oz weight, US$545
- Passion Three – 32°F comfort rating, 10.6 oz grams of down, 18.7 oz weight, US$681
- Passion Five – 19.4°F comfort rating, 17.6 oz grams of down, 27.9 oz weight, US$817
The Ambition (men’s version, pictured above) and Attraction (women’s) are as ridiculously light as they are warm. The Ambition is the warmest of a line that is constructed with the same shell and down as the Passion sleeping bags. These garments are available now.
- Vest – 80 grams of down, 120 gram weight, 300€, men’s and women’s
- Jacket – 100 grams of down, 230 gram weight, 400€ , men’s and women’s
- Coat – 150 grams of down, 270 gram weight, 500€ , women’s only (it has a much longer torso)
- Ambition/Attraction Parka – 200 grams of down, 370 gram weight, 600€, men’s and women’s
- Vest – 2.8 oz of down, 4.2 oz weight, US$409, men’s and women’s
- Jacket – 3.5 oz of down, 8.1 oz weight, US$545 , men’s and women’s
- Coat – 5.3 oz of down, 9.5 oz weight, US$681 , women’s only (it has a much longer torso)
- Ambition/Attraction Parka – 7.1 oz of down, 13.1 oz weight, US$817, men’s and women’s
Another German company, Vaude makes a wide range of outdoor, cycling, and lifestyle clothing. Liberty Mountain is their US distributor.
The Norrsken sleeping pad is 5.5 cm (2.2 inch) thick and uses 30 denier on the top and 75 denier on the bottom. Primaloft Infinity is internally attached to the shell at 45° angles, essentially dividing the air chamber in two. This dual-chamber approach is somewhat similar to the new four-season NeoAir pad which was reported at Outdoor Retailer last month. The air tubes on the side of the mat are thicker, to help trap air around the user. Vaude won’t give an official R-value because there is no universal standard. However, we spoke with the designer of the pad, who said it would probably be rated between 3.1-3.4. The Short pad is 150 cm (59 inch) long, 55 cm (22 inch) wide, weighs 500 grams (17.64 oz), and will cost 100€ (US$136). There is also a medium (183 cm / 72 inch) and large (196 cm / 77 inch). While this isn’t a revolutionary pad, it is a small innovation and a solid step in light direction from Vaude.
UK-based Rab is well known in the ultralight world, as their shells and down parkas have received a lot of attention at BPL and in the mainstream media. We were pleasantly surprised to find some new base layers that have mostly flown under the media radar.
The two main complaints of merino wool (durability and dry-time) led Rab to develop a new hybrid fabric, which they call Meco. Rab took Cocona fibers, created from recycled coconut shells, and combined them with merino fibers to create a hybrid fabric which can dry up to five times faster than pure merino when wet. The fabric will be made in weights of 120 g/m² and 160 g/m². The Meco short sleeve shirt, shown here, weighs under 140 grams (5 oz) for a men’s medium. We haven’t been this excited about a base layer in a long time. Prices range from 35-60£ (US$57-97). The full line of men’s and women’s tops and bottoms will be available in fall 2011.
Also this autumn, Rab is coming out with two shirts using Polertec Powerdry – a waffle-like patterned fabric similar to Patagonia’s R1. Danny is holding the Women’s Baseline Hoodie and wearing the men’s Baseline Shirt (size Large). Both pieces have one chest pocket and a deep chest zip; the hoodie has thumb loops. The men’s hoodie weighs 245 grams (8.6 oz) and the women’s is 225 grams (7.9 oz). They retail for 75£ (US$121).
This concludes our day two coverage of ISPO. Two more days remaining, and so much more ground to cover.