Here at Trek Tech, we love our gear. It doesn’t matter if we’re wearing it or destroying it; the bottom line is that shows like Outdoor Retailer make us itchy with anticipation. After all, where else can you find so many toys to play with? We scoured the show floor to find the most unique and (hopefully) indestructible products in the fall 2014 lineup. Here’s what we found!
Columbia Sportswear’s TurboDown
Slated to launch in September, this “down on steroids” looks to be a potential game changer. As availability of goose feathers has gone down, the cost of the fluffy warm stuff has increased, causing the company to look for alternative ways to make a warm jacket. The result is TurboDown.
Columbia created a layering system that combines premium down with their Omni-Heat thermal insulation, all wrapped up in the same baffle. To up the toasty factor, the jacket is lined with those magical silver dots, Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective, to bounce body heat back at you. The jacket will be offered with varying levels of fill power and insulation, aptly named Gold, Platinum and Diamond. The price will range from $130-$325, depending on which layer of warmth you choose.
Symbioz by TSL Outdoors
Typically, you don’t hear a lot of big news from the snowshoe department, and that is exactly why the new Symbioz HyperFlex is such a big deal.
TSL has created a snowshoe that will conform to your foot and the surrounding terrain with an uber flexible platform and binding. Seriously guys: this thing curves and twists in every direction! Independent claws have been carefully placed around the bendable frame, allowing users to have complete traction, regardless of the topography or angle of the snowshoe. Even more unique? The new Easy Ascent heel lift is built into the binding and drops down rather than the traditional method of lifting up from the frame.
A single helmet that can do it all, look good and clock in at 0.7 lbs? It sounds too good to be true!
The new Route snow and bike helmet is the lightest snow certified helmet on the market, and trust me: it feels like a feather in your hand. K2 used Ultra-Cored Technology with 59 carefully placed ventilation holes to offer up this crazy breathable crossover helmet. The multitude of holes help with sweat management so the Route can be worn while skinning up that steep mountain, and the ear flaps are removable in case you don’t need to wear those for your bike commute home.
The helmet should be easy to fit to your noggin since it uses the Boa 360 Wrap Fit System which accommodates all head shapes, and will be competitively priced at $150.
Black Diamond Halo Jet Force
One of the most hyped gadgets on the show floor, the Black Diamond Halo Jet Force avalanche airbag is the first to use an electronically controlled jet fan for inflation. Yup, you read that correctly: the battery-powered fan in the Halo sucks air from the surrounding environment.
Guys, this is huge! Avalanche airbags have become a more commonly purchased backcountry item, but they have always been a royal pain to travel with. To date, all packs have relied on gas canisters for inflation, and these canisters are not TSA approved. Additionally, each canister is only good for one airbag inflation and is crazy expensive to refill. In short? You’re glad you have it when you need it, but the current avalanche airbags are not exactly user friendly.
Black Diamond aims to improve upon this problem with their Halo Jet Force. The Halo is approved for travel on airplanes and can be activated four times before the battery needs to be recharged. Additionally, the airbag is about as idiot proof as they come. Users turn the pack on with a button, and lights confirm that it is ready to go. Should you need the pack in an actual slide, just pull the lever and the balloon will inflate with 33% more air than other packs. The fan will keep pumping the bag for three minutes, which is hopefully enough time to keep you on top of the snow. After that, the fan will reverse all the air and deflate the bag. Theoretically, this would expose an air pocket for you if you were buried beneath the snow.
Release date is still unknown on the Halo, but we don’t imagine you’ll see it any earlier than next shred season.
Salomon S-Lab Hybrid Jacket
In a word? This jacket is absurd.
Weighing a mere 120 grams—less than five ounces—the S-Lab Hybrid features a waterproof body and a myriad of extras. Most notably, the Hybrid transforms into a waist belt of sorts so runners can shed heat while on the move. It’s fairly easy to remove the arms of the jacket, roll up the body, and cinch the material around your hips. Additionally, the hood uses a headband to hold tight on the head which is a step-up from the alpine-inspired drawstring hoods. The jacket is pricey—MSRP is $275—but some of these features will likely trickle down into more affordable models.