Tuesday morning feels like eons ago — it’s been a long two days of hiking around the Salt Palace here in Salt Lake City, full of meetings, events, hugs in the hallways, and spending time with friends. Here are the very, very best of what I’ve seen in the first two days. I have a long list of “honorable mentions,” which I’ll write about down the road. This is just the cream of the crop.
Most of these products are previews — products in development for release in Spring 2010. When a product is available now, I’ll say so… I’m seeing some items at the show that I haven’t seen before, even though they’re on the market.
Before I get to the gear, let’s talk dogs.
Rockclimbergirl.com Dog of the Day: Torrent, with Joshua Tree Products, LLC
OR is QUITE the dog-friendly event. There are dogs all over the place. Canine exhibitors have badges, and they work hard keeping us all snuggled and licked, and demonstrating the panoply of dog toys and gear on the show floor. I didn’t pick a Day 1 dog of the day, but the clear winner for Day 2 was Torrent. I happened upon him doing some tricks in front of the Joshua Tree Products booth, and kneeled down to snap some pictures — he would have none of that, and came right over to give me kisses and snuggle in for a little bit of love. His boothmates, David and Laurel, provided some delightful anti-anxiety tea, and showed off their line of tinted lip balms — a perpetual climbergirl fave since if they’re tinted and sparkly, the boys won’t want to use ’em. Congratulations, Torrent — you inspired my Dog of the Day award, and you deserve it.
Petzl Elia Climbing Helmet (available March 2010)
This helmet is one of the items I’m most excited about (despite already having a stable of helmet options at home). This is a hard shell helmet, kind of like a lower profile Elios. The helmet is adjustable on the sides instead of at the back of the helmet, so that the dials don’t catch and pull hair like the Elios adjustment can; and, the helmet has a cutout in the back to accommodate a ponytail. The internal padding is higher in the helmet — it looked to me like you could wear it with a french braid without discomfort — and the lower profile means fewer head-whacks since it’s less likely to actually smack into stuff when you move your head. It’s available in Stone Grey, Sky Blue and White, and is available in one size (which I hope, hope, hope fits my unusually large head). Retail on it is anticipated to be less than $70, and I expect this to be a serious contender in the helmet market for women, and, men who it fits who want a nice, low-profile, hard shelled helmet. The guys who’ve seen it that I’ve overheard have been incredibly jealous of the adjustment on the side. In other Petzl news, they’ve got new headlamps coming out in September, including an updated Tikka Plus with red light options, helpful at night (imagine, sitting around a campfire being able to see by red light, without shining your headlamp in your camping buddies’ eyes. Sweetness.
Petzl is online at http://www.petzl.com.
Sea to Summit Bug Jacket and Pants (Spring, 2010)
As you know, I’ve spent a lot of time — especially this year — in mosquito and tick infested places. Eew. While cruising through the Sea to Summit booth I saw the packages for a new bug layer. There’s a “jacket” and “pants,” and I didn’t see the product itself yet, but I’m already excited. They’re little travel packs, just a few inches each. I’m excited to see the actual product — but I’m a big fan of Sea to Summit generally, and I’d expect this to be a great product. I’d love to have a “bug layer” to throw on over my apres-climb clothes for the evening, to help stay less bitten.
Sea to Summit is online at http://www.seatosummit.com.
Ahnu Wedge Ladies Shoes (Spring, 2010)
These are one of the cutest lifestyle shoe models, getting lots of attention among the ladies who visit the Ahnu booth. Like the rest of the line, these have removable insoles, and unlike a lot of shoes in this type of style, these don’t look too narrow for climbergirl feet. They’re just super cute.
Ahnu Footwear is online at http://www.ahnufootwear.com.
Julbo Monterosa 401 and Whoops 400 (Fall, 2009)
I’m not shy about my love for my Julbos, but the last few years they’ve been light on the performance models for smaller faces (aka, us girls). Luckily, that changes in the Fall. Julbo’s planning a mountaineering product for women (the Monterosa 401), which I got to check out an early model of, and they’re the best I’ve seen. They don’t look like mountaineering glasses — they’re a nice size, with the wide temples and tapering earpieces of many fashion glasses — but they feature snap-in and snap-out shades for the sides to provide extra coverage. They’ll be available two lens options and three colors.
I’m in LOVE with the Julbo Whoops 400, a “Freeride style” for smaller faces. The demo model was white with the Zebra lenses, Julbo’s photochromatic (light adjusting) lens. Technical features aside, these glasses are just SUPER cute. I like the tint of the photochromatic lens in the “lower light” base color, and they tint down to Category 4 when exposed to sunlight (aka, really dark – suitable even for mountaineering and snow conditions). They have a close fit, so would be great for biking, running, and climbing, and a very fashionable frame.
Julbo is online at http://www.julbousa.com.
Scarpa Vapor (Spring, 2010)
I’m stoked about what I saw today at Scarpa. Despite being widely adopted among climbing brands and resolers, I’m not a huge fan of Vibram for rock shoes. That may change with two new rubber formulations going on the Scarpa Vapor line for Spring of 2010. There’s XS Edge, reported to be just as sticky as other rubbers but more durable (read, good for those of us who really like edging); and XS Grip 2, designed to be more sticky than the original XS Grip.
I can’t wait to get my hands on a pair of Scarpa Vapor Lace-ups. Billed as a “performance edging shoe” (exactly what I like best, despite being hard to find), this is a relatively straight (only slightly asymmetrical) last, with the XS Edge Vibram. If they fit me, these may just be my dream shoe.
The Vapor line also includes a velcro version and a slipper, featuring XS Grip 2. I expect this line to get a lot of attention — they were, literally, the models that caught my eye right away when I walked up to the wall ‘o
Scarpa. Scarpa rock shoes are still, according to my meeting, built by hand in Italy, and the quality shows. I’ve got my fingers seriously crossed that the Vapor line fits me. They’re a unisex model, which looked like they’d be a good fit for medium volume feet.
Scarpa is online at http://www.scarpa.com.
GoGirl Female Urination Device (Available Now)
You read that right. I’m talking about an FUD, or, a pee funnel. I almost didn’t take this meeting, but thought I should learn something about such things, since I’ve got some trips in the works where upright urination without removal of clothing might be a real asset. When I arrived at the GoGirl booth, they whipped out a ziplock full of competing products for me to compare the GoGirl to, and the benefits of the GoGirl were clear. Medical-grade silicone, which folds down to fit in a small tube for storage, with a large “capture” reservoir that looks like it would function as promised. Sarah Dillon, the Girl behind GoGirl, is a hoot. Her advice to those of us new to FUDs is to practice in the shower first, and instead of holding it at the sides which seems instinctive to some, hold it at the front and back for a better “seal.”
Dillon offered up that she’d put the device to the “Four Beer Test.” Some devices “overflow” if the volume gets too high; the GoGirl is designed to pass the “Four Beer Test,” and Dillon says it passed in her testing. This is my kind of woman.
More information: http://www.go-girl.com
There you go. There’s a long list of honorable mentions, but I’ll do those write-ups when I’m a bit better rested. Right now, it’s time for some foot maintenance, and some food, and a bunch of water, and maybe some sleep. I’m not managing much nightlife here… bad climbergirl!
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