In this final look at new gear from the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show, I cover a collapsible kayak, a Schoeller-ensconced mountaineering boot, and an REI backpack made for teenagers.
Kick some alpine butt with these beefy expedition boots. A full boot-wrapping gaiter made of Neoprene and a Schoeller soft-shell fabric provides extra warmth, while the footbed is packed with Primaloft for insulation from below. A Vibram outsole is made for climbing rubber-to-rock, or clip on crampons to the sole's heel and toe grooves and you can work your way up a vertical wall of ice.
$549.95; available March 2009; www.kayland.com
REI Passage 65 Backpack
Made for teens, the Passage 65 is touted to grow as your kid grows. The pack has a highly-adjustable suspension system to fit a range of body sizes, from the scrawny 13-year-old hiking his or her first trail to the buff high school senior trekking out alone. REI didn't skimp on components, using the same quality straps, zippers and fabric as seen in its adult line. Nice touches include a top lid that detaches and can be used as a lumbar pack, and a pre-curved hip belt to better match your youngster's anatomy from day one. $149; available spring 2009; www.rei.com
Crumpler's Bumper Issue
Australian messenger-bag maker Crumpler has entered into the hydration pack world with its Bumper Issue, a water-resistant nylon pack that accommodates all common hydration bladder setups. It'll come in four "exciting colourways," as the Aussies put it, including red/orange/ yellow, lime/royal blue/white, brown/white/lime and black/gun metal/orange. Features include a main flap with a quick-release clip; three internal compartments; side clips for a bicycle pump or trekking poles; and reflective sections for added visibility while travelling at night. $95; available in November; www.crumplerbags.com
Pakboats XT-15 Solo
It stows away into a 26 x 18 x 16-inch package and weighs just 39 pounds. But unfold and assemble the XT-15 Solo and you have a 15-foot sea kayak the company says is fast and high-performing. In construction, individual sections are locked together by clips with stainless steel pins, and clips are mounted on the cross ribs, making a rigid total structure. The stems at each end of the frame expand through lever action to tension the skin (a 600 denier PU-coated polyester rip-stop material), which secures to the sides with Velcro strips. Disassembly and packing of the boat takes about 25 minutes, according to the company. $1,775; available in October; www.pakboats.com.
Black Diamond Climbing Harnesses
Deploying a liquid-crystal polymer that's been used in NASA spacesuits, Black Diamond's new men's and women's Ozone, Aura and Chaos harnesses are advertised as taking climbing gear a quantum leap ahead. While most harnesses use strands of padded nylon webbing for support, Black Diamond's build distributes the pressure when a climber hangs on a line throughout the harness's entire structure. The result is a look and feel that's slimmer and lighter than most anything else on the rock today.
Harnesses start at $99; available March 2009; www.bdel.com
Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for eight U.S. newspapers; visit thegearjunkie.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog and an archive of Regenold's work.