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Outdoor friedrichshafen
August/September 2011

OutDoor Show

breaks records… again

NELLE DU TOIT and CARIN HARDISTY attended this year’s OutDoor Show, held 14-17 July in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Each year the show keeps expanding, attracting more visitors, exhibitors and products than the year before. This year was no different. Here is their preview of the outdoor products to look out for

This year’s OutDoor Show yet again set new records, with a 3% growth (total of 890 exhibitors for 2011) and a 5% increase in visitors (total of 21 520 for 2011). With the increase in exhibitors, the exhibition space also grew, filling the available 85 000m2. Exhibitors showed over 200 innovative new products to visitors.

There was quite a buzz, with all the visitors and new products to see.

Industry strong

The outdoor industry is very resilient and the industry is still showing strong sales figures for Europe, said David Altberg, Eurpean Outdoor Group President and managing director for Lowe Alpine UK, during a press conference.

Despite the unstable European economy, the EOG is still positive about the industry. This is because the industry is weather dependent – and no matter the type of weather, good or bad, there is a part of the industry that covers it. With the current uncertain and stressful state of the world, consumers are more and more interested in heading outside to nature.

While sales are still doing fine, commodities prices are on the increase, which threatens profits: cotton is up by 60%, polyester is up by 40%, the cost of Chinese labour is increasing and so are the demands from Chinese companies on Chinese manufacturers, which means the factories are fuller with their local products, leaving less space for international brands. Therefore, people should expect a rise in the cost of products.

With more and more mergers and acquisitions taking place, Altberg pointed out that the sector is becoming increasingly attractive to investors who are not currently in the outdoor industry, but who see the potential of entering the market.

Industry Award

This year, 46 products received the OutDoor Industry Award with 11 receiving the Gold award for outstanding innovation and design achievement.

A total of 301 entries were submitted from 23 countries around the world; slightly less than last year’s 328 entries from 28 countries.

“The trend towards ultra-lightweight products continues. The use of material has been optimized, the design reduced and anything unnecessary is being eliminated more and more frequently. This also leads to ultra-functional design. There were exciting new products in all the categories,”said juror Mark Held, managing director of the EOG.

The Spinoza Jacket by Mountain Hardwear, locally distributed by Adventure Inc, received a Gold award in the Material Innovations category. It is a lightweight, waterproof, breathable jacket that is ideal for rock and mountain climbing in different types of weather. Its Dry.Q membrane technology allows for optimum air passage through the fabric shell. The unique false twist weaving technique enlarges the fabric surface and supports its ability to transport moisture.

Other winners Industry Award winners included:

  • Apparel/Helmets/Shoes: The adidas Terrex Fast R GTX hiking boot was marked for its degree of innovation, choice of materials and functionality. The new Traxion sole was developed in partnership with the Continental tyre company. The rubber compound is said to have exceptional grip in dry and wet conditions and provides ground adhesion at high speeds. Whilst the lightweight Fast R is designed for speed, adidas recommends the mid Terrex Fast R range for stability.

  • Backpacks and Travel Luggage: Pacsafe, locally distributed by Adventure Inc, won their second consecutive OutDoor Industry Award for their latest Ultimatesafe 32L backpack. In 2010 they won an Industry Award for their RFIDsafe passport protector. Mountain Hardware’s Summit Rocket 40, distributed by Adventure Inc

  • Mountain Climbing Equipment: Mountain Hardware’s Direkt 2 tent, distributed by Adventure Inc

  • Camping Equipment: Jetboil’s Sumo-Ti System gas stove, distributed by Ram Mountaineering. The Sumo Ti weighs a mere 12 ounces and features patented Jetboil Thermo-Regulate Technology that maintains consistent cooking heat to around -6˚C. End-user benefits include maintenance-free and lighter weight cooking solutions.

  • Accessories: Nikwax’s TX Direct Version II.I, distributed by Ram Mountaineering, was marked for its degree of innovation, choice of materials, environmental compatibility and sustainability. Silva’s Tyto safety light, distributed by Lite Optec, creates a highly visible 180 degree light on the back of a helmet, backpack, bicycle, etc. to make the wearer easier to spot from a distance.

  • Material Innovations: Mountain Hardware’s GhostWhisperer anorak, distributed by Adventure Inc

  • Brands show what they have to offer

    We spoke with the international brand distributors represented in SA about what new products and technologies they have to offer.


    Asolo, locally distributed by Himalayan Outdoor, groups their footwear into the following categories and ranges:

  • Alpine consists of the Expedition and Climbing ranges of high altitude (over 5 000m) climbing boots;

  • Backpacking, consists of Power Matic, Triple Power Structure, and Mountain Trekking (for multi-day treks) ranges;

  • The Hike category includes the Power Lite, Radiant, Matrix, Energy, FSN and Motion ranges;

  • The Access category, consists of is their entry-level ranges of Escape, Junior, Cross Walk and Sport Sandal footwear.

  • The Backpacking, Hike and Access categories fit the best with the South African market, as well as the lower climbing ranges in the Alpine category, says Marco Zanatta, chairman of Asolo Int.

    Zanatta explains that the Asolo brand is very focused on fit — they have a triple fit system (either medium, wide or narrow fit) as well as a dedicated last for ladies (designed with a narrow fit).

    Black Diamond

    Locally distributed by Ram Mountaineering, Black Diamond’s Gizmo, Cosmo and Moxie headlamps now feature two surface LEDs. Their proximity settings, designed to be used around the camp, has an output of 24-35 lumens.

    The Spot headlamp, which has an output of 75-90 lumens, is their number 1 selling headlamp in the US because of its new LED technology.

    The Icon headlamp, which is good enough to be used for safety and rescue purposes as it has an output of up to 200 lumens in a 100m range, will be released to retail in January 2012. It lasts up to 75 hours with a consistent burn.

    Black Diamond’s headlamps allow the wearer to access red LEDs, specifically designed for night vision, without toggling through the white light settings, which destroys night vision. Once the red night vision mode has been selected, the headlamp can be switched off and when you switch it back on it will return to the night vision setting.

    Black Diamond’s range of trekking poles, the Trail Backers, have the 3-piece aluminium flicklock system with a rubber grip.

    The Trail trekking poles feature molded foam grips for the right and left hand.

    The Trail Shock pole has a shock absorbing function with a softer bottom section, stiffer top section and stiffest middle section.

    The women’s Trail and Trail Shock poles, which are new additions to the range, have a narrow grip and extra padding on the grip.

    The Black Diamond Magneton carabiners, said to change the way carabiners are designed in the future, lock and close by using the powers of magnetic attraction. The Magnetron is an extremely secure locking biner on the market and made for simple, one-handed operation with either the right or left hand. They were launched internationally in July.


    Buff, locally distributed by Adventure Inc, has a range of new exciting colours and designs to look forward to for 2012.

    Buff introduced their new Infinity concept: a lengthy wraparound scarf that can be folded over twice to form a double layer scarf. Although this range has the same technical qualities one would expect from Buff, it will be marketed to a more fashion conscious consumer.

    The new Storm hood is a wind-stopping Gore-Tex hood with a traditional Buff scarf incorporated in the neckline. This allows non-hooded fleece and shell jackets to be converted into hooded jackets.


    Coghlan’s, locally distributed by Eiger Equipment, have new outdoor accessories for 2012:

  • their new trail compass has a more fashionable design and can be attached to a backpack;

  • the pop-up trash can folds down for easy storage and pops back up so that you can put the garbage bag in the zip around lid;

  • the collapsible 18.9L water container collapses to a flat surface for easy packing and storage;

  • their compact and lightweight double hammock can hold two people comfortably;

  • their wooden safety matches holds 250 matches per box and two boxes per pack;

  • their smores grill is a cracker with marshmallow and chocolate that can be melted over the fire and;

  • their survival horn can sound up to 120 decibels.

  • Coghlan’s have also introduced a small dynamo hand powered light that can be wound for 1min to provide 30mins of bright LED light.

    A popular camp-fire treat is the Coghlan’s corn-popper, a light-weight, compact, hand-held pan that can be held over the camp-fire to make popcorn. Their polypropylene dinnerware sets are also big sellers.


    Columbia, locally distributed by Wild Elements Apparel, will be incorporating new technologies into their apparel and footwear for 2012.

    Omni-Wick Evap is a moisture wicking compound that disperses sweat across a broad surface allowing moisture to spread out and evaporate quickly.

    Omni-Freeze Ice lowers the temperature of the fabric the moment moisture hits the surface of the fabric, which creates an immediate cooling effect.

    The OutDry waterproofing system is based on a lamination process that bonds a waterproof, breathable membrane directly to the back side of a glove’s outer layer, which seals the stitching and any other potential water entry points.

    This eliminates airspaces created by standard bladder methods where water, debris and mold can collect in between layers — which can increase the weight of the garment and reduce the insulation value and overall comfort.

    Goal Zero

    Eiger Equipment will now be distributing Goal Zero portable solar power systems in South Africa. “We will be distributing the entire range of Goal Zero solar panels, power packs and accessories and we are very excited as the technology is far superior to what is available on the market currently,” says John Fontyn of Eiger Equipment.

    Goal Zero’s key product features are solar panels that are 33-50% smaller, it has 12V, USB and three-prong electricity outputs and stores power received either from the sun, 12V chargers or three-prong electricity inputs.

    The Goal Zero range starts from the Guide 10, which can charge anything from AA/AAA batteries, cellphones, iPods, MP3’s, USB devices to GPS’s.

    The Sherpa 50, Sherpa 120 and Escape 150 can charge everything the Guide 10 can (except AA/AAA batteries) plus iPads, laptops, LED Lights and small LCD TVs.

    The Extreme 350 can charge everything the Sherpas and Escape can charge plus 12V heaters and electric coolers, large LCD TVs, desktop computers and multiple laptops.


    “Hi-Tec is going through an exciting time at the moment,” says newly appointed CEO Edward van Wezel. “We have employed the best industry talent to spearhead innovative products and we’ve moved our head office to Amsterdam to attract that talent.”

    Hi-Tec will be launching the Sierra light hiking outdoor boot in 2012, an evolution of the 1976 Sierra model, which at the time changed the athletically inspired outdoor hiking footwear market, says Simon Bryant, global range manager for Hi-Tec.

    The Sierra collection, which will be a lifestyle and hiking range, consists of a Vibram outsole and an ortholite footbed, which is moisture wicking, stops smell and helps create comfort.

    Hi-Tec and Vibram partnered to create a sole exclusively for Hi-Tec that consists of a rugged vulcanised rubber area surrounding an inner outsole area with activity-specific traction.

    Whereas the Sierra collection is currently only a men’s footwear collection, Harmony will be an women’s-only range designed by women consisting of sandals, mid boots and low cut footwear.

    Hi-Tec will be expanding their Infinity collection to lower price-ranged trail shoes — a shoe with the same outsole as the Sierra and another bottom-end shoe with a skimmed Vibram outsole that is a little chunkier and heavier and has an EVA wedge (not the Phylon that the top-end Infinity shoes have).

    “Infinity running is a strategic group of shoes for us from a branding as well as performance point of view and will remain our pinnacle footwear range which will help sell the rest of the lower end Hi-Tec ranges,” adds van Wezel.


    Zimbabwean born founder of Inov-8, Wayne Edy, explains that the Inov-8 brand is all about natural running. “We encourage runners to go barefoot through our transitional shoes,” says Edy. “We are the only company to have reduced our footwear to 3mm with no difference between the heel and forefoot.”

    Inov-8, locally distributed by Rebel Elite Fitness, started 8 years ago and was at the forefront of the barefoot/minimalist running trend. All their shoes are neutral and encourage runners to use their natural stride to achieve optimal running efficiency and reduce injury.

    Inov-8 has a comprehensive range of running and outdoor soles for different terrain; each offering a different function, whether it is a sole with spikes or a skin sole.

    Inov-8 has been working closely with SA triathlete Claude Eksteen to produce a shoe with no heel to forefoot differential, a broad forefoot anatomical last and a speed-lacing system as well as heel and tongue pull-tabs to quickly pop the shoes onto your feet during a triathlon.

    They have also launched a shoe specifically designed for the CrossFit personal fitness training concept with a 3.5mm outsole that has a low profile and facilitates the sensitivity of the foot.


    Jetboil’s Sumo Titanium cooking system won an OutDoor Industry Award at this year’s OutDoor Friedrichshafen show and was marked for its degree of innovation, design quality, workmanship, functionality and trendsetting character. The Sumo cooking system will also be available in a more affordable aluminium material as well.

    The Sumo range features patented Jetboil Thermo-Regulate and FluxRing technology that maintains consistent cooking heat to around -6 degrees Celsius. As the boiling time is reduced and heating efficiency doubled, fuel consumption is lowered as well.

    Jetboil’s Sol Titanium cooking system received the Editor’s Choice award for summer 2011 from Outdoor magazine and the Outdoor award at ispo.

    The true 4-season 0.8L canister cooking system weighs 8.5 ounces, works with a push-button igniter and comes with a drink-through lid with pour sprout and strainer.

    Jetboil is locally distributed by Ram Mountaineering.


    “One of the key areas for Karrimor Footwear is multi-sport,” says Simon Wilkinson, of Karrimor footwear international. Karrimor has developed a new outsole in conjunction with Vibram for their walking/mid-cut hiking footwear.

    They also report a lot of success with their footwear with women’s specific lasts, outsoles and designs.

    “One of the key updates of our summer sandals range is our double lasted designs, partnering with Vibram and Wolverine leather,” says Wilkinson.

    “Water shoes and closed-toe sandals have been an area of great success for us. Our top-end classic women’s sandals has proved a best-seller with their functional, yet slightly younger style designs. We are also bringing in more lifestyle colours into our functional sandals.

    “Our Micro-collection of sandals has all the technical attributes one would expect from the Karrimor brand, however we are trying to develop products that are more casual in its styling but would also be able to be suitable for all-day walking, hiking or traveling.”


    Eiger Equipment will be introducing two new products from the outdoor cooking company Kovea in SA.

    The Flame Tornado is a foldable pot support/stove with an aluminium body. It has manual ignition and its boiling time is rated at 3 minutes.

    Kovea’s new Alpine Pot Wide and Black Alpine are the latest in the Alpine Pot range. They are both 15mm wider than the original Alpine pot, a multi-functional stove and pot in one.

    The Alpine pot’s stove, cup and lid fits snugly into the pot and comes in a snug bag.


    Leatherman International has bought a majority share in LED Lenser, which might lead to collaborative products in the future, but Rachele Avolio, international sales and marketing coordinator for Leatherman, was not eager to give anything away.

    Leatherman, locally distributed by Awesome Tools, are launching their spring-loaded Wingman and Sidekick tools on the international market during September.

    These are the first tools to incorporate spring-loaded jaws. The Wingman is an indoor tool complete with 14 tools for indoor use, including a blister pack opener and scissors (which the Sidekick does not have), whilst the Sidekick is geared to the outdoorsman with 15 different tools including a serrated knife, wood saw, carabiner bottle opener, lanyard ring and leather sheath.

    Both tools weigh under 200grams and their primary blade length is 6.6cm long.

    LED Lenser

    LED Lenser, locally distributed by Awesome Tools, showcased their flagship headlamp, the H14, at the OutDoor show. It can be detached from the headband and used as a belt-worn LED lamp, a stand-alone camping lamp and a bike mounted lamp. The lamp is continuously focusable and can swivel in many directions and its Smart Light Technology offers several light programs with different functions.

    The H14 won the 2010 iF product design award and the prestigious 2010 Reddot design award.

    LED Lenser’s Smart Light Technology consists of computer-optimized micro-controllers that can access many different light programmes (such as dimming, blinking, SOS signals, strobe lights and defence strobes) and can optimize energy consumption.

    The patented Advanced Focus System (AFS) consists of a reflector-lens, a combination of reflector and lens, which allows a smooth transition from a circular, low beam to a sharply focused long distance beam.


    “Our barefoot running range (no heel-toe difference) has been our number 1 seller these past few years and in most countries they sell so fast we struggle to keep up with stock,” says Tim Selby, marketing director for Merrell international.

    Merrell, locally distributed by Medicus shoes, has expanded their Trail Glove range to include a road running Road Glove and Dash Glove (for women) shoe that has more support and cushioning than its trail running counterpart.

    They introduced their Bare Access range, which is designed for longer runs, or as a good transitional shoe between traditional and barefoot shoes.

    They now have an aqua barefoot shoe range as well as a barefoot lifestyle range of women’s sandals and men’s shoes. Their latest Mix Master is a trail running/multi-sport shoe with a Merrell sticky rubber-bottom sole with ovals for traction, minimal drop and a breathable upper. They have also launched a Merrell barefoot kiddies collection, to help children “start to run the right way”.


    Nalgene, locally distributed by Eiger Equipment, has hired a colour consultant to bring out five new colours (berry, sky, frost, keylime and bedlilac) to their range of Grip ‘n Go bottles.

    Nalgene’s OTF closure for their bottles was launched in 2010 to provide a leak-proof closure systems.


    Nikwax’s TX.Direct wash-in waterproof wash for wet weather clothing won an OutDoor Industry award in the Accessories category at this year’s OutDoor show. Nikwax, locally distributed by Ram Mountaineering, was praised at the awards ceremony for their waterproofing wash that is up to “five times stronger and lasts up to five times longer”.

    The TX.Direct waterproof wash is made from a lattice structure that stops water from entering the outside of a garment, whilst allowing moisture to escape.


    Pacsafe, locally distributed by Adventure Inc, won their second consecutive OutDoor Industry Award for their latest Ultimatesafe 32L backpack at this year’s OutDoor Friedrichshafen show.

    Pacsafe has four main security features in their products, which consist of slash-guard metal wiring sown into the straps, front and side panels of their travel bags, a locking function for the zips, a detachable lockable strap and their RFID shielding technology, which is now common throughout their product range.

    The RFID technology is a shielding fabric that prevents people stealing chip information that could be on credit cards, passports or other identity cards.


    Petzl, locally distributed by Eiger Equipment, has improved the power consumption on their headlamps and they claim their LEDs will now be anything from 30-50% brighter as they have upgraded their LEDs for 2012.

    Petzl introduced the Reverso 4, which is an upgrade on their Reverso 3 belay device for the climbing market — the 2012 model is 30% lighter than the Reverso 3.

    The Micro Traxion hauling pulley is a locking system that can haul another climber or bag from one side of the pulley and locks off on the other side. It weighs merely 85gm. The Micro Traction pulley is a smaller version of the Mini Traxion pulley previously introduced by Petzl.

    Petzl also showcased their latest ice climbing axe, the Sum’Tec, which is an axe that sits between the range of technical climbing axes and basic trekking axes. The Sum’Tec’s axe-heads can be interchanged, which is a new innovation for Petzl.

    Sea to Summit

    Sea to Summit, locally distributed by Adventure Inc, launched several new products.

    The compact, lightweight and waterproof Ultra-Sil Dry daypack is a new addition to complement their other Ultra-Sil bags and packs.

    “It is a great solution for keeping your gear light on the outside and dry on the inside,” says Malcolm Loos of Adventure Inc.

    “Just like all of our Ultra-Sil bags and day packs, it comes with its own stuff sack for easy pack-ability. Made of high-strength and lightweight Cordura fabric, it has been siliconised for water resistance and easier packaging.”

    A new nylon waterproof tarp poncho is ideal for temperate climates, emergency use, group use or ultra-light fast packing, explains Loos. It can also be used as a pack cover, tent awning or ground sheet. The waterproof fabric is lightweight and has been double-stitched and tape-sealed. The peaked hood has been ergonomically shaped and the poncho is wide enough to accommodate a large backpack. Reinforced attachment points make it easy to convert it into a two-person shelter.

    “A folding bucket offers the ideal lightweight solution for carrying and storing water in the outdoors,” says Loos. It is made from non-absorbent, food grade (PVC-free) fabric, coated so that it does not absorb water. Free-standing on a level surface, an additional handle on the base makes pouring easy.

    The Delta Spork (spoon, fork and knife combined) has been designed with ease of use and practicality in mind.

    “The integrated spreader knife has a strong cutting edge, thanks to our bombproof nylon 66, while the spork profile has been shaped to be comfortable in the mouth,” says Loos.

    The profile has also been designed to match inside curves of the Delta plate and bowl. And once you’re back in civilization, it’s safe to pop in the dishwasher.


    Silva, locally distributed by LiteOptec, presented a brand new bicycling headlamp portfolio at the OutDoor show consisting of an entry-level and commuter/high-performance headlamp.

    SIMI is Silva’s entry-level “to see, but also to be seen” product that will be launched in January 2012. It offers a battery time of 100 hours, has IPX6 certified waterproof capabilities and comes in different colours. The Velo headlamp is their headlamp targeted towards the professional commuter cyclist, it has IPX7 certified waterproof capabilities and an output of up to 110 lumens.

    The Silva Tyto, a visibility lighting tool that can be attached on various surfaces, won an OutDoor Industry award at this year’s Friedrichshafen show. Running on two CR2032 batteries, the Silva Tyto will provide 24 100 hours of light, depending on the light mode.

    The Silva Sprint headlamp offers the latest in Silva’s Intelligent Light concept, which incorporates a wide flood light combined with a strong focused light. The Sprint is also waterproof and can be attached to helmets or the bike frame.


    SteriPEN showcased the latest Freedom water purifier — their smallest, lightest and first rechargeable UV water purifier — which will be available in SA through Ram Mountaineering at the end of 2011.

    The SteriPEN Freedom can be recharged using a computer, AC outlet or compatible solar charger via a micro USB port and can also be used as a convenient LED flashlight. It is 13cm long, weighs a mere 74gm and destroys over 99% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa in just 48 seconds for 500ml of water at a time. It can purify up to 20L of water on one battery charge, which takes approximately two hours to recharge. Just be aware that you have to use rechargable batteries as normal batteries do not hold enough power.

    The Freedom is aimed at the business traveller.


    Suunto, locally distributed by Ultimo, showcased their latest fitness monitor, Quest, which enables you to create your own training programme, download it into the watch and share, plan and analyze the results at

    The watch monitors your heart-rate, speed, distance, running cadence, intensity, recovery and laps in real time. The Suunto Quest can be used with an optional foot POD, bike POD or GPS POD.

    The 2012 OutDoor Show will be held 12-15 July in Friedrichshafen, Germany. For more information visit

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