What will you be wearing on your outdoor adventures next year? Sarah Stirling reveals her top picks of the outdoor clothing and camping gear that will be tempting you in 2015.
OutDoor Friedrichshafen is the main European gear event of the summer, where outdoor gear companies show off products in the pipeline for next winter and the following spring.
Following on from the Made in Britain article in Summit 74 we sent Sarah Stirling along for Summit magazine. Her mission: to find out what you'll be wearing in 2015.
So, what'll be new next year? Outdoor gear is still going forwards by going backwards. Kit is getting even more 'stripped back’, ‘ultralight’ and just plain clever, inspired by the continuing trend for 'fast-and-light' activities that are 'done-in-a-day'.
This increasingly lightweight gear is providing keys for the new generation to redefine what's possible in the mountains. And even hill-walking is stepping it up too: 'Fast-hiking’ kit was everywhere at this year's show.
Our outdoor gear is getting lighter (check out Berghaus’ Hyper Smock 2.0), faster (check out MSR's Windboiler), and more clever: check out how 'body mapping' (i.e. using different fabrics in the same garment to provide the best breathability, abrasion-resistance, warmth etc) is taking a step forward with TNF's seamless-fusion technology.
Read the first report in our series here: Revealed the future of your climbing gear.
Check out our New Gear channel on BMC TV to easily watch all the video clips.
Mountain Equipment Squall Jacket: lightweight
In shops from Spring 2015, £100
This new Mountain Equipment jacket is designed to be the ultimate lightweight climbing and scrambling softshell. It'll be available in male and female-specific versions (310g in Men's Large).
WATCH: Mountain Equipment Squall Jacket on BMC TV
Mountain Equipment Kinesis Jacket
In shops from Spring 2015, £170
An ideal fast-and-light layer. This lightweight hybrid jacket has super-breathable Polartec Alpha synthetic insulation in the body. The Kinesis (325g size Men's Large) will be available in male and female-specific versions.
WATCH: Mountain Equipment Kinesis Jacket on BMC TV
Montane Axion Neo Alpha Jacket: Ultimate breathable AND warm winter jacket?
In shops this Autumn, £360 (matching trousers on right, below).
Well-known fleece manufacturer, Polartec, have branched out into new materials with staggering confidence recently, and to much acclaim. In 2012 Polartec NeoShell, their first 3-layer waterproof fabric, was touted as 'five times more breathable than 'the leading waterproof-breathable' (mentioning no names). In 2013 they described their first synthetic insulation, Polartec Alpha, as 'the first ever breathable puffy'.
Montane is one of the first manufacturers to combine these two very breathable Polartec fabrics in one jacket. The Axion Neo Alpha Jacket (only available in Men's; 980g size Men's Medium) promises everything: to stop you over-heating when moving fast, and to provide warmth when you’re standing still. Does it work? Gear tests will reveal.
Montane Axion Neo Alpha Jacket and matching (but non-insulated) Neo Pants
Rab Flashpoint Jacket: 180g 3-layer jacket and a new eVent membrane
In shops from spring 2015, priced £200
A brand new membrane means this proper 3-layer waterproof-breathable jacket weighs just 180g and packs down to a tiny size. Ideal for mountain marathons and fast-and-light mountain activities. Comes in unisex sizes.
WATCH: The Rab Flashpoint Jacket on BMC TV
Rab Muztag Jacket
In shops from Spring 2015, priced £200
Die-hard eVent fans: this all-round outdoor jacket features their brand new membrane, which is even lighter and more breathable. It'll be available in Men's and Women's sizes.
WATCH: The Rab Muztag Jacket on BMC TV
TNF introduce 'seamless fusion': the Fuseform Originator Jacket
In shops from Spring 2015, priced £260
The North Face have been working on fusing different fabrics together instead of stitching them. The benefit is a jacket that's lighter, stronger, more durable, more waterproof and less bulky. This step forward in body-mapping (using different fabrics in the same jacket, such as abrasion resistant patches and breathable panels) won TNF a prestigious Gold OutDoor Industry Award at the show.
The FuseForm is a 2.5 layer jacket, not a full-on 3-layer hard shell. That's partly so TNF can introduce the technology at a more affordable, entry-level price. Only available in Men's sizes; weight in Medium: 282g.
WATCH: James Pearson introduces the Fuseform Jacket on BMC TV
Sherpa Adventure Gear Lakpa Rita Jacket: what Kenton wears on Everest
In shops now, £280
This is Kenton Cool's favourite jacket made by Sherpa Adventure Gear. He's worn this top-end hard shell in the UK, in the Alps and on Everest. It's made of waterproof-breathable 3-layer eVent fabric.
WATCH: Kenton Cool talks us through the Lakpa Rita Jacket on BMC TV
Sherpa Adventure Gear scarf
In shops now, £25
WATCH: Kenton Cool shows us many ways and reasons to wear this attractive scarf on BMC TV
Berghaus - the world's lightest waterproof top just got lighter
All in shops from Spring 2015, £100
The Hyper Smock was already the world's lightest waterproof top when it launched this year, but next year's version will be even lighter, due to an upated fabric called 'Hydroshell Hyper' and thinner seam tape. A men’s Large Hyper Smock 2.0 will weigh just 75g; the women-specific version 67g (size 12). The Hydrostatic Head is an impressive 15,000mm - 10,000mm is typically considered plenty waterproof.
Berghaus won three awards at the show, including a Gold for the Hyper Smock 2.0. Another winner was the HyperTherm Race Smock (£130). It's clever reversible design provides either more wind resistance and warmth, or more breathability and less warmth. Their final winner was the new ECO Wovens clothing range, made using a pioneering dry yarn dyeing process, which uses 89% less water, 63% fewer chemicals and 62% less CO2 compared to standard processes.
Berghaus winners. L to R: Eco Woven clothing, Hyper Smock 2.0, Hypertherm Race Smock.
MSR - New award-winning Windboiler personal stove
MSR's new Windboiler (£110 / 432g) is similar to their existing Reactor, which was designed for alpinists, but has more comfort features for walkers and campers and weighs a few more grams (the same size Reactor is 417g/£140 and has a bigger burner head). The Windboiler comes with an insulated cosy, fabric handle, a gas canister stand and a bowl with a strainer/sip-lid (i.e. a hole in it).
Like the Reactor, the Windboiler stove completely encloses the flame and protects it from wind. The Windboiler apparently boils 500ml of water a full minute faster than any of its competitors. In a 12mph wind, it boils in 2:45 minutes, while the competition fails to boil at all. Lab boil times are: WindBoiler: 0.5L in 2:30; Reactor 1L: 0.5L in 1:45.
The new award-winning Windboiler
Primus - Winter Gas
Available Autumn 2014, £6.75 / 230g canister
Gas stoves work less efficiently and less quickly in the cold, but Primus have come up with a solution: paper inside gas canisters. The highly-absorbent paper (see pic) increases the surface area for the evaporation process, allowing gas to change from liquid to gas much more quickly and easily. Winter Gas is designed to work in temperatures down to -22.
Clever solution: highly-absorbent paper inside the canister
Lowe Alpine Zephyr 65:75 trekking rucksack: fully-featured sub-2Kg trekking/multi-pitch pack
In shops from Spring 2015, £150
This new trekking rucksack has lots of clever features for its sub 2 kilo weight, including Lowe's new Axiom adjustable back system.
WATCH: Lowe Alpine Zephyr Trekking Rucksack on BMC TV
Lowe Alpine Illusion 16 multi-pitch climbing pack
In shops from Spring 2015, £30
Due to customer requests, Lowe have a brand new, stripped-back, multi-pitch climbing pack to show you. it weighs 295g.
WATCH: Lowe Alpine Illusion 16 Rucksack on BMC TV
Millet - High-spec French outdoor gear now available in UK
You might have noticed Millet, an outdoor gear brand that’s popular in the Alps, creeping into outdoor shops over here. It’s proving really popular with Brits and is now stocked in five shops including Tisos in Scotland, Castleberg Outdoors in Yorkshire and Outside in the Peak District.
Don’t confuse Millet with the UK budget-brand of the same name - this French-designed outdoor kit is high-spec. Chamonix’s prestigious Compagnie des Guides rigorously test and help develop Millet gear. The brand's best-selling shoes are the Trident Guides (see below). These shoes are all about grip and can do it all: easy rock climbs, scrambles, and fast hiking on varied terrain. (£120/840g per pair, sizes 4-12; £140 in a Gore-Tex version).
Millet's best-selling shoes: the Trident Guides