By Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
Most of the improvements in the gear we use are evolutionary; it improves one step at a time, making it lighter, stronger, warmer, more comfortable, more durable, more functional, more weatherproof, environmentally sustainable, etc. New technologies from materials suppliers are incorporated into new products by manufacturers. New products with appealing new features entice buyers, who in turn enjoy and benefit from the improvements. The evolutionary cycle goes on year after year. You would think they would run out of ways to improve outdoor products, but you would be wrong.
Our coverage of new technologies covers highlights from this show that we thought would interest backpackers. Please keep in mind that these are technology stories, not lightweight stories.
Pertex Simplifies their Fabric Line. To keep things simple, its now Shield or Quantum. Pertex wants you to know that each category is an array of fabrics, catered to manufacturer’s needs and specifications, so it’s not accurate to label them with a certain weight or function. That said, I would like to mention that we are now seeing 7 denier Quantum fabric in some top shelf sleeping bags and insulated jackets.
Down Prices Rising, Again. We visited the good folks at Downlite to find out what’s new in down insulation. The short answer is Bird Flu. The disease has especially affected white ducks in Europe and
China. Additionally, higher living
standards in China
are diverting more down to domestic uses. So down prices are going up,
especially scarcer premium downs. Options available to manufacturers are: using
duck down, down blends (with synthetics or wool), and recycled down. Their
Recharge recycled down can now reach 700 fill-power.
|Kovea Alpine Pot EZ ECO Stove Stores Fuel Inside. It’s heavy at 19.75 ounces, not including fuel, but the technology is interesting. This stove has an internal gas tank, so you can pre-load it with fuel for a shorter trip. Pre-loaded, it will allow six boils of 500 ml of water. One reason why I included this item is it’s a way to empty all those partial canisters that you have accumulated at home, or you can utilize inexpensive 8oz/220g Butane canisters used by caterers. A full review of this stove is available on Section Hiker. It will be available in early 2018. Another way to use up those partial fuel canisters is to get a simple canister fuel lantern, such as the Snow Peak Mini Flame, $40 and 3.9 ounces, and take it on car camping trips.|