This year’s Winter Outdoor Retailer showcased a wide array of new pieces of apparel and gloves to examine and try on. I have broken down the show into new technologies or innovative pieces, major trends, then followed that up with gloves. The major trends I found over the show were in environmental and corporate responsibility, retro styling and in developing collections designed for urban usage. So here’s the list:
Innovations and New Technologies
The first on the list is the Arc’teryx Alpha IS. This insulated piece is designed to combine better breathability with mid-level insulation so you can bring fewer layers. The breathability allows for higher intensity output without needing to pause to adjust layering. The women’s version has extra insulation in the chest as that is where women tend to lose more heat.
Arc’teryx also has the Shashka Pant. It’s a women’s specific ski touring pant that went through a lengthly process to design and make. From the fabric to the fit, and unique design details like the gaiter having an opening to thread your boot buckle into, these have been designed for women by women.
Patagonia has come out with a mid weight synthetic puffy jacket called the Hyper Puff Hoody to fit between their Nano Puff and Fitz Roy Down Parka. The insulation they are using is called HyperDAS and can spring back to full loft quite quickly due to its accordion structure. This means it does a good job of keeping its shape and insulating properties even after repeated compressions. The cuffs on the Hyper Puff and the Fitz Roy have been redesigned. Monte has jokingly dubbed them the sphincter cuff (lol), but the elastic inside keeps it snug without getting in the way of gloves.
Here’s the updated Fitz Roy Down Parka.
Patagonia has also come out with the hybrid Crosstrek technical fleeces with Polartec Power Stretch, with a fleece back, for a great layering piece that’s easy to move in. The mens version of the Crosstrek hoody is on the left. The womens bottoms are below.
Fjall Raven has a new mountaineering line from a hard shell jacket all the way down to base layers.
Adidas Terrex has a new line of synthetic insulated jackets. There are the Lite Down Hooded Jacket, and the Nuvic Jacket. The Techrock GTX Hooded Jacket is a Gore-tex Pro Shell, and is their most breathable, durable and windproof shell jacket. (seen below)
Ibex displayed their Catalyst collection – combining duck down with merino to create packable, warm pieces.
Helly Hansen’s Odin Veor Jacket has individual baffles and venting to maximize temperature regulation. This allows for heat to escape while still keeping you toasty warm.
Rab’s new Infinity G Jacket is their lightest weight big down jacket with 850 fill goose down. At only 488g, it packs down well and still has great insulating power.
The other awesome piece is the Alpha Flash. It’s a men’s layering piece made strictly from Polartec Alpha. It’s really quite neat to see the Alpha insulation on its own instead of in conjunction with an inner or outer layer.
Rab has also come out with a new technical shell and pants called the Latok Jacket and Bib. They are waterproof and breathable, and there is a secondary, waist, drawcord in the jacket.
Brooks Range announced the Ski Armor Jacket. This backcountry or resort-ready shell comes in both mens and womens and features a stow-able hood, wrist gaiters and core vents.
Environmental Responsibility and Fair Trade
Another major trend is different brands finding their own way to help the environment. Many companies, CiloGear for example, are advocating through the Access Fund including the PACT written out in every pack, educating and dictating what it means to be respectful in the outdoors so it may be accessible for future generations.
Royal Robbins has done their part by going into the factory and taking cutting room scraps, breaking them down, and reconstituting them into thread and weaving it into new fabric. The fabric is then used to make new shirts. Because scraps can come from anything, no two shirts will have the same colour.
The Parley Program by Adidas Terrex demonstrates a different perspective and plan for helping the environment. They have been taking plastic collected from the ocean, melting it down and making it into shoes and t-shirts!
Patagonia has garments that are Fair Trade Certified. Products sewn in this program help raise workers’ wages. There is also the A Better Sweater — a fleece sweater that has been dyed with a low impact process — less dyes, energy and water use to lessen the impact on the environment and on the workers.
Retro Styling / Euro Colours
Ortovox showed off Merino Naked Sheep Line. It includes lightweight shell pants and jackets for snow sports. The photo below is enough for you to get the picture of their design and colour schemes.
Helly Hansen has the Ullr Powder Suit – a One-Piece ski suit made with Helly Tech Professional 3L waterproof breathable fabric and their H2Flow system. Monte would absolutely love to sport one while in the backcountry!
Insulated or puffy skirts have shown up as well. Big Agnes has the Columbine Skirt and Zirkel Circle Skirt and Smart Wool has their own version for women. Unfortunately, there is yet to be a men’s version.
Although released earlier in 2016, the Thermarest Honcho Poncho was out in full force, worn by some of the booth staff. When not being worn, it can double as a blanket or be packed into its pocket and used as a pillow. After trying one on, I can see myself using one around the campfire after a long day of climbing.
The last trend that seems to be coming through is different brands coming up with technical pieces that have been designed for everyday living and styled for an urban setting.
Smart Wool has a number of pieces that combine merino fabrics with synthetic insulation in more urban silhouettes, like the Men’s Double Corbet 120 Pattern Hoody.
Arc’teryx has updated their 24 collection with some amazing insulated jackets, trench style rain-coats and more formal jackets, with the some of the same designs and features as their technical counterparts. This means you can go out for dinner in the city without looking like you just came from living in your van…
Ibex’s Pursuit collection displays 100% merino wool fabric that is naturally water and wind resistant. Monte is wearing the Pursuit Trench.
Rab’s Valiance Jacket is an 800-fill-power down jacket with a waterproof Pertex Shield outer fabric. With an MSRP of $385 USD, it’s an inexpensive, everyday, warm puffy. Unfortunately for Canadians, our dollar does not reflect this and the Canadian MSRP will be $500.
Black Diamond has some updates of their ski gloves and mittens. The new Helio Glove has a three-way system that includes a liner, a dyneema ripstop outer shell and a powder cuff to extend over the glove into a mitt. BD also has the new Shark Powder glove with a Goretex shell and Primaloft Gold insulation for ski days. The last one we looked at during our meeting was the Wind Hood Softshell glove. This is a breathable softshell glove with a stow-able weather resistant shell flap.
The new gloves at the Camp/Cassin booth were probably my favourite ones at the show. The Gecko Ice gloves have pre-curved fingers and full leather palms and light insulation. They look and feel great!
There’s also the
G Comp Racing Glove. They are constructed with a punched synthetic leather palm with an anti-slip treatment. Although they are meant for ski racing, I am hoping to get a chance to try them out for drytooling and mixed climbing.
Lastly, we happened to stop by this small booth of a company called Handouts. These gloves have a zip off feature that allows you to take your hand out of the glove to do more intricate things without having to take them off! – Very cool.