KORS 2011

The first thing we saw when we arrived at KORS was the big orange tent above, it was raining but the folks from Vango/F10 were safe enough inside and that was our first vist of the day. Modelling and photies duties were split between the two of us through the day.

It’s gloves off, F10 and Terra Nova are squaring up to each other. F10 are pushing their top-end tents further up the way and Terra Nova are having a look at Vango’s budget models. Should be fun.

The Helium models have always been nearly there, finally they’re got it together and the Helium is a real contender as the Helium Carbon above shows. Why? Look at the end nearest us, it’s now got a pole in it, both ends have internal space and I could lie inside it without face or toes touching the fabric inner.
Inner space in general is good as is the weight, the one-person is 800g and the tandem is 950g. The TBS internal guy system will keep it planted in wind and the detailing is good, carbon poles, as-one pitching, dyneema guys and end vents.

The F10 sleeping bags are looking interesting. The Endurance 800 is 1550g with a mix of down and synthetic patches at the head, foot and chest. The foot and head is a good call as these spots get wet from daft wee one-person tents, the chest patch is there to retain warmth at a vital area if the bag gets wet they say.
The bag has a lot of detailing, pretty much what you’d expect from a top-end bag, I’ll wait til I see one in a stuffsack before I make my mind up though.

The tent makeover continues with the F10 Nitro Lite. That’s the 200+ above, 1800g with pleny room for two, plus gear, a dog, a bike and a two- ring gas stove. Maybe. It does look good, I’ve got one person tents with half the space at a similar weight. There’s a regular 200 without that porch extension with the side door and it comes in at 1400g.

That’s the badass and heavy Vortex 200 below, ready for alpine and arctic adventuers at 4.5kg, How cool would this look pitched on a high snowy ridge with clear blue sky above it?

Terra nova have picked up the distribution for Ultimate Direction for next year. This is good news as the kit is quirky, individual and rather neat. I’ve used their packs, bottles and bladders and there’s features on all of them that you don’t get elsewhere, a wee er, teat on the botles that you pull out with your teeth and it’ll spring back down with a nudge, packs with mesh patches on your chest with pockets and bladders with internal baffles that stop them expanding too much when filled. It’ll be good to see the kit getting out there.

Terra Nova themselves are coming up with some great new gear, the Ultra Cuben fabric is speading to other tents and we’ll see bonding used in the construction as well, a 880g Voyager anyone?

Tha pack range is expanding and there’s some excellent looking new larger capacity packs on the way, that’s the Voyager below in early sample form. It’ll available in 30L/565g, 45L/680g and 55L/990g. Features look good, the 55 comes with a little extra back support with an alloy strut in it’s removable foam back, there’s plent pockets, bottle and hipbelt and some dyneema on the high wear areas, specifically where I’ll be putting my crampons.

The Quasar packs are similar but even lighter, a little more stripped-down too. They come in the following flavours: 30L/510g. 44L/595g: 55L/850g.
They won’t be white though which is a bummer, they’ll be grey. Ach. Still, these are worth watching.

The Field&Trek only Zephyr0s (above) goes on general sale now and it’s been very well received, don’t know what Phils making of it right enough.

My mind is on family outdoor kit quite a bit justy now so the Wild Country Etesian below caught my eye. Can’t remember that last time I was in a tent I could stand up in that I wasn’t dragging Holly out of in GoOutdoors.

70g tarp in Ultra fabric? Yes please.

The Markill legacy is in good hands with Edelrid. The Stormy EVO with the suspension attachment and 1.8L aluminium pot above is dead cool, it looks like it would be an oasis of simmering calm in the middle of a life and death situation.

The Clip Mug loses a handle is no worse for it, the single handle is thick and clips in to place securely, 70g.

We all know that most of the cookwear and the like is an exercise in branding rather than design, but it’s the little differences that make all the difference and Edelrid are specifying some neat finishing on the kit, highly polishing up the bits that go in your mouth for example. Aye, gritty titanium on my teeth, done it, no thanks.

 Phil and I loved this, the 224g 9.81 Velocity from Garmont. Super flexible, light, grippy sole unit, low profile mid sole, great heel cup, but will we see it in the shops? Ask your local short-sighted unimaginative store buyer.

This is the Dragontail Lite GTX, a neat wee approach/mountain shoe and as you can see below it has a proper sole unit on there so can use it on whatever terrain you fancy.
I like this trend of putting real outsoles on this kind of shoe that we’re seeing all over, they should have done it years age, more folk would have switched to shoes I think.

Above are the rock shoe derived and wonderfully named Sticky Beast, walk to the crag, fall off it, drink Irn Bru, one shoe for all of that. That might just be me, you’ll probably stay on the rock right enough.
The Vetta MNT Plus GTX is below, half way between a trekking mid and an alpine boot which makes it a winter lightweight contender at 595g.
I like Garmont, nicely individual, the UK shops shoe line up is way to obvious and limited. The amount of folk on forums asking for advice because their boots hurt their feet would indicate that we need better choice. Yes/No?

Lomer are an Italian brand with some nice looking footwear. The Maipos above are a light and flexible shoe with a nicely grippy outsole, the boot below doesn’t really match anything in the workbook but it might be a Vertical or a Magara. It caught our eye anyway.

Back to Edelrid for a minute, they’re doing some nice cragging clothing but also some technical kit. The McLane softshell above and below is a nice hooded, two chest pocket affair, nice slim cut with an internal cuff and soft elastic thumbloop which should fit under winter gloves better than the regular hole-in-sleeve types.

These are the matching Commander Pants. Velcro waistband, (bright green, yay!) internal gaiters and plenty pockets. The own brand fabric used on both pieces feels nice, not heavy, soft, if it’s breathable and has good weather resistance this would be a good combo.

Hoka footwear bucks the current trend for low profile shoes and barefoot running which makes it cool. Having used it I can only say that it’s very comfy, the sole unit is grippy and makes me well over six feet tall.
I’d happily wear the Mauna Kea Mids above just for cutting about with jeans on and below there’s a nice contrast to the Converse I turned up in.

We were quite taken by the Falke kit, both socks and base layers. Above and below are the men’s Mika in black and the women’s Naima in green, they come under the running banner as a second layer top, which for Falke means over a vest or sports bra (nicely detialed one of those below). They feel like a midweight base layer, good for winter or fast moving on cool days. The fabric is nicely zoned in a mix of synthetic fibres, nylon, polyprop and elastane has a good stretch on an already good cut for comfort and mobility and has nice touches like big cuffs and a proper chinguard in the collar.

Below are another move into the microspike field with the Veriga which will be in the UK next winter. Lots of choice in this area now, and more brands on the way too.
I like the success of these things for many reasons, not least that it pisses off a lot of folk who think they know better than we folk that actually use them.

Thermarest have gone Neoair nuts. They’re trimming down the original so it’s tapered which I think is daft, the square bottom end keeps my feet off the floor of the tent which is more important to me than saving a few grams.
The one below, the model name escapes me I’m afraid, is warmer and has extra silveryness, but it’s not the all season one coming out now, it’s something else. I lay on it and I did indeed feel the heat coming at me like a hot tin of treacle poured slowly onto my back by a young Rachel Welch. Or something.

We’ll also be able to buy a vintage reissue version of the self inflators next year. I love that logo, there’s so little humour and fun in the outdoor trade that this just makes me smile.

Black Diamond are making a neat slider-locking karabiner which was being guarded like the crown jewels. Light, easy to operate and has purple on it, just like the girly version of their Ultra Distance Trekking Poles below.

Mind you, just so you know they’re not patronsising womenwith the colour choice for geneder specific models they’ve fitted a special super tough all terrain wrist strap on the womens models. Oh wait, it’s purple fur. Ha.

Scarpa make great footwear, but it’s everywhere and none of it seems to be the interesting models like the ones here (the purple one is the Mojito, no idea what the others are).

Their range is huge and all you ever get to see are Manta’s, SL’s and ZG;s. Demand Scarpa variety from your local outlet I say.

That’s the lovely Sue from Brasher above with the Kuga GTX’s. They look like a chunky shoe but are pretty light with good sole unit and I’ve been getting well with them, write up in a wee while.

Some crossover outdoorsy/lifestyle on the way, the woman’s Roam GTX above has some fancy embroidery all over it which brought a grin and the blokes get the Tour GTX below. The sole unit is hardpack compatible, but the uppers are light, soft and breathable, I’d love to see these uppers on a trail outsole. Hint…

Jon from Outdoorsmagic was clearly emotional at the return of the Fellmaster name. That’s the new Fellmaster GTX he’s holding and it’s good to see the name back attached to a nice looking lightweight and flexible boot.

Socks too, and as you can see the insloes aren’t flat cardboard with a logo, there’s some comfort built in to the pressure points.
The socks are hims and hers Travel Lite’s, on the thinner side which is always good with elasticity to help them stay put and keep their shape.

Rab was dismantling their stand around us but we still grabbed a quick look at a couple of things. The Volt Jacket above comes in at 360g for the large and is cut from Pertex Shield stretch fabric. The fit , hood and features are excellent, not sure about the fabric choice, hopefully the waterproof Pertex is getting better as time goes on.

The PodSacs Lux range does look nice, the fit was spot on for me as well, Nice big side pockets, hipbelt pockets, lid and capacities from 10 to 45 litres which covers pretty much everything

That’s it, some real highlights above and a lot of not much happening out there too. Some of the brands are shrinking their lines, models are being dropped all over the place due to lack of orders, colour options are being shelved and there’s a nervy atmosphere in many places. The high street is in trouble and the trade folk seem to be either rising to the challenge or sitting back and waiting for the end.

Anyway, we spent so much time on a handful of stands or gabbing to folk over cuppas that we never got round everything and we did miss some good stuff. I’ll hopefully catch up with some of that at OTS in Stoneleigh in a couple of weeks. That’ll be the southest I’ve been in a while.

21 thoughts on “KORS 2011

  1. Hmm, not a whole lot to get excited about at first glance… unless you’re Imelda Markos! Those Lomer Maipos remind me a lot of 5.10 Guide Tennies :)

    I thought I was interested in the new Neoairs but I’m not sure about the rounding, and it’s not as if the originals break your back. I reckon the new,lighter Exped Downmats may be a better bet for cold season comfort…

  2. Which version of the F10 helium carbon is in the photo? Porch space looks very good if it’s the same on both for an ultralight 1 man and dog tent! Nitro lite 200+, well it might weigh a little more than what I currently use but for somthing that has enough internal space to play fetch in with a dog on a wet day it looks good! Think I’ll wait until my trusty voyager superlite falls apart 1st though!

    Garmont, it used to be really easy to get a pair, all I had to do was ask at one of the local indepenant outdoor shops, the owner of which was always happy to order in any item not normally stocked if asked and usually for free.

  3. Really interested in the Ultimate Direction stuff. Can you buy it in the UK currently? Looking for some grab bottles for some shorter offroad runs / races – the one pictured looks good (very like the Nathan stuff).

    Any smaller packs from TN? Would be good to see them really take on Raidlight et al in the ultra running sector, especially with their super-lightweight fabrics.

    Hope you’re well,

    Paul

  4. Pingback: Interesting new tents « blogpackinglight

  5. Ooh, shoe based goodness. I like the Scarpa/Garmont/Lomer climbing approach shoe style, but then I really would look like I work in an outdoor shop. The Scarpa rep had the Mojitos last time he was up for our training. They looked fab.

    My experience this summer has been that Brasher is not selling as well as it should. And the Kiso/Kenai boot is a bargain! In shoes, a great many folk go for the look and branding of TNF/Merrell over the performance of Brasher/Scarpa.

    (Or perhaps I’m not selling it well enough to overcome this.)

    On the down side, no, I don’t expect to see any of the above in an outdoor shop near me any time soon.

  6. Matt, I reckon the changes are Thermarest reacting to everyone else catching up and them not knowing quite what to do other than fidgeting with the current models.

    Moggy, it is a nice range.

    Ant, I’m sure it was the 100. I lay down inside it and had plenty of room, it’s much better than the current matchbox.

    Pyllon, Ultimate Direction have been distributed in the UK by Man O’ Leisure for a few years and all they’ve done is a get a few of the bottles in some shops, so there might be some stuff about.
    Lots of small packs from Terra Nova, I’ve got a 20L (here http://www.petesy.co.uk/terra-nova-laser-20-pack/ ), light, small and super stable. Crap bottle pockets, but they fixed that for the production versions, well worth a look, I use mine all the time.
    All is well!

    Sarah, nice insight there. Agree on the Kiso/Kenai, one of the few boots I wear after I’ve done my write-up.

    It’s not all doom and gloom, there is stuff happening and I didn’t cover everything.
    I had lunch today with a combination of Phil, Stuart from Gore Tex and Rob from Montane and while it’s all in the open now that the trade is hurting, bothe Gore and Montane are pushing like crazy. Just you wait and see.
    Talking of which I’ll have new stuff from both those folk coming up.
    Phil? He’s racing the Nokia C2C on Saturday, wish him luck.

  7. I’ve been wondering where Phil was. He’s hiding in tents!
    I was thinking about you two when I was doing the pedal for Scotland bike ride on Sunday. (Gla-Edi). Was a good day. Blew some cobwebs away.

  8. Pete, thanks for the report. That Helium Carbon looks really like my Power Lizard, but maybe the TBS will help keep the fly tighter.

    I like the look of some of the new footwear. I am suffering from pain on the pad of my feet these days and cannot find the right footwear. I think I will go and see a podiatrist to see what the problem is, but the trend to more supportive trail/approach shoes may help people like myself.

  9. Ange, well done!
    Not been much action from me and Phil the past few months, both of us have been so busy with other stuff. It’s great being busy, but I really miss the hills.

    The new Helium shouild be good mark, the biggest issue has been sorted with that extra pole and the lighter fabric makes it feel much more pleasant inside, the same thing that saves the Terra Nova laser Ultra from feeling like a shoebox!
    Foot pain ruins everything, you’ll get sorted though, getting someone to have a look is never a bad idea, then it’s trying every shoe in every shop until they ban you from coming in the door :o)

  10. OK some advice then possibly from what you’ve seen. What’s the lightest really, really stable one/two man tent. Able to withstand a good hoolee & a bit of room in the porch to cook. Not the Hilleberg thank you. I know that you’re out in winter in something that I wouldn’t take to a campsite in high summer but I’m a wimp.

  11. MSR Hubba HP, brilliant tent, roomy, tough and has done well in the wind in the past.
    The new F10 stuff above looks good, the basic design is already excellent in the wind.
    Terra Nova Voyagers are excellent, but they’re end-entry which I don’t like as much I did a few years back.
    Er, Hilleberg :o)

  12. Thanks for that. I’ve been thinking though of something geodesic. A tad heavier perhaps but possibly better in windier conditions? Less guying too which put me off the Hilleberg (HOW MUCH!!)

    Perhaps a one man might be too small on reflection. Having to argue with a husky means I’m liable to get the porch !!!!

    There is something possibly lightweight & geodesic above but the pictures won’t load. Nitro lite 200 maybe.

    Something a bit lighter than my M.H. Vango Which will withstand a hurricane but takes three sherpas to carry it.

    Any further thoughts much appreciated.

  13. Alan, as a dog owner I know exactly how difficult it is to find a suitibaly sized lightweight tent for use with a dog. and that’s having a small collie! I’ve got a superlite voyager which is the best tent for the job I have been able to find, with a decent sized inner and porch.

    Assuming the dimentions of the Nitro lite 200 are the same as that of the standard nitro then it looks like a very good option for those of us with a dog, espeically multiple dogs or larger dogs. assuming of course you can wait until it appears in the shops!

  14. Yep ANT arguing with 23kg of wet husky as to who will sleep where is always fun. Trouble is my sleeping bag seems more attractive than a wee bit of vet bed.

    Don’t know about you but I prefer a tent to a bothy. What with my snoring and the pooch mouse hunting it tends to upset the genteel clientele.

    Maybe I’ll wait as you suggest.

  15. I suppose I’m lucky by comparison, my dog prefers to sleep on her own bed a small picnic blanket from the £ shop, well that’s only if I’m not in the sleeping bag.

    Closest I’ve come to using a bothy is camping outside Rowchoish bothy on the WHW, not a fan of sharing with people me, If we stayed in a bothy she’d be barking at everyone who came in after us too! so it’s for the best that we camp!

  16. Of course, I did get my Radical Designs Wheelie in the porch of my Lasercomp. But it doesn’t walk round in a circle before it beds down for the night.
    The Vaude Power Lizard is anothe if you sort the guying out, it’s a wee bit vulnerable to wind.
    The Lightwave t0 XT has a huge extended porch, rattled and whipped around in the wind but stayed up. Light too.
    Got a two man Mountain Hardwear tent here, I’ll get something up on that at some point!

  17. Notice that the one thing those tents have in common is that they are all in one/outer pitch tents, which are defently a far better choice for those of us with dogs. Being able to partly or wholly remove the inner is a big advantage especially if it’s a tent with a large inner but small porch (laser photon 2 comes to mind) biggest problem with inner pitch tents is that you can’t remove the inner without it falling down so your stuck with a fixed ammount of space.

  18. Just seen the dimentions of these vango tents on their website, The Helium carbon 200 Has suddenly become the tent I’d most like considering how little it weighs, yet it clearly has enough space for me and dog! Although the Nitro lite 200 would be the choice if I got another dog, or wanted a bit of lightweight luxury.

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