Tuesday, 24 July 2007

After the Friedrichshafen Outdoor Show




Four days away from the endless rain of this British "summer" in the heat and sun of Friedrichshafen has been welcome, even if most time was spent indoors looking at equipment and talking to the outdoor trade. Merrell's tipi village was a good place to relax and gave an appropriate outdoor feel to the event. A tipi proved a far cooler place to sleep than last year's hotel too. The show itself is huge, 712 exhibitors filling ten giant exhibition halls. Even in four days there's only time to see a little of what's on show.

So what was interesting? A surprising amount for the lightweight backpacker, especially in shelters and shoes. GoLite has a completely revamped tent line, with some nice looking shelters that erect with trekking poles, Mountain Hardwear has an ultralight solo semi-geodesic, Terra Nove an even lighter single hoop and Mountain Equipment and Hilleberg lightweight solo winter tents. In shoes there are more models without membrane (hurrah!) and even, from Lowa amongst others, some with leather linings, which don't stink like synthetics. There are some good ultralight sleeping bags from Rab (the new Top Bag looks superb) and Mountain Equipment and a 418 gram stove with heat exchanger called the EtaExpress from Primus. There are brief descriptions of some of this gear on the TGO website by Cameron McNeish, who spent his afternoons at the computer while Judy Armstrong and I roamed the halls, and proper test reports will appear in TGO magazine over the next year as actual products become available.

The photo shows Cameron McNeish and Judy Armstrong relaxing in the Merrell tipi village. Photo info: Ricoh GR-D with 21mm lens adapter, f8 @ 1/250, ISO 100, JPEG, processed in DxO Optics Pro.

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