KORS, Exped, Terra Nova Tarps, Inov8 and the people

We were down at the Kendal Outdoor Retailers Show, luckily missing the press day which is today. Get a few cans of Irn Bru down me and I’ll tell you who the exhibitors were and weren’t looking forward to meeting today…
All the kit has or will been covered elsewhere, the mags and proper websites will show folk the kit in detail. We were there mainly for the banter.
A couple of things had my spider-sense tingling though, Terra Nova who never stand still and should make the fact known more, have three tarps coming out at the start of ’09. The one seen here is the simple Tarp Shelter (178g), there’s a very livable looking Bivy Tarp with inner mesh (710g) and a Multi Tarp (560g) to make a porch for many of there other  tents, Voyager, Quasar etc.
They also got some other stuff including the Laser Space 2, which is mental looking and a new range of frighteningly light rucksacks (creeping in at the right of the photie).
I should get some hands-on with some of the kit in a wee bit.

I felt for Inov8. We had their shoes on, off, bent double, praised and criticised at lightning pace and with the requisite amount of swearing.

Their new packs are showing necessary evolution and we liked their wee stretchy gaiters and new colouring on some of the existing shoes. There’s an all new shoe called the X-talon 212 (the yellow blur in the photie) which we liked the look of. Targetting the LaSportiva Crosslite we think?

Lyon Equipment organise the show and we spent a bit of time going over the kit from their brands with Simon. Si is a good lad, and well used the er, informal approach we have to the kit and meetings. Exped (as you’ll see behind him) have a lot of great kit, most us are familiar with their drybags at least and I’ve been using their sleepmats for the past year. But next year Lyon are bringing in much more of the range, lightweight down bags, genius looking trekking poles and more.

He’s one of the blokes you never see, but still catches some of the blame from disgruntled shoppers.
You walk into Cotswolds and see racks of obviously coloured and branded stuff with a price tag, you finger some kit, mooch around and leave again. Why are we not psyched, why are we not tripping over each other to get to the till with garment “X”. The store buyers that’s why.
“We’re not bringing it in, there was no interest”. That’s a statement I hear from the reps of all the brands I speak to, and they’re always refering to the best, the lightest, the sexiest item in the range.
The reps are trying to get this stuff into the shops, (yes to make money, I’m no’ daft) and the stupids are thwarting their efforts.
How many times have you read on a forum “I can’t get a Prattokrat in this country, I’ll get one from the States”. The UK distributor may well have a sample Prattokrat and have taken it the length of the country and got the reply “You can’t walk your dog in that”.

I’m over simplifying, I know that, sales of top end technical kit are good. But chain store buying policy and bastard cheapskate internet overseas buying (I include myself as one of the bastard cheapskates here) can create a situation that’s near impossible to escape from.
Again, support your independents, they’re trying to push the envelope and get stuff into the country so we can use the esoteric and enjoy a UK warranty at the same time.

And again, why do people tell me things and them tell me not to tell anybody. Do you know that Rontopus are making their first graftoo out of chonto? Pimobo are having Trewsti make branded yurtew’s for UK conditions. We’ll see them late in ’09.

Christ.

43 thoughts on “KORS, Exped, Terra Nova Tarps, Inov8 and the people

  1. So, if you can tell us without having to kill us….

    Is there anything particularly cunning about the Terra Nova Multi Tarp that makes it work especially well as a porch extender for Voyagers and Quasars – or is it just a big rectangle of silnylon with a few loops to stick your trekking poles through?! :)

    I’d already heard about the X-Talon 212s – at that weight they have to be interesting.

  2. I like the look of the TN Bivvy Tarp, very tasty. Talking of supporting your local specialist retailers, have a thought for those of us living in Norway, a Rab Quantum 400 in my local shop will cost me the equivalent of £420! Who am I supposed to buy from now?! The x-talons look really good but where did inov8 shave all the weight from?

  3. Matt, the Multi Tarp is shaped to fit neatly over the tents and has various guys points etc, it’s kinda five sided. I might have it on the TN disc, I’ll get some photies sorted at some point if I do.
    And while we’re on TN, there’s a waterproof sleeping bag cover at 206g, the Voyager SL is even lighter next year, there’s a Quasar SL at 2.2kg, an Ultra Hyperspace expedition 3 person tent at 3.72 kg and million updates all over.
    Looks good.

    Holdfast, you are exempt for any criticism on your future purchasing :o)
    The 212s are mesh socks glued to a thin aggressive sole basically. There’s enough stuff glued onto the mesh to give it form and shape. I think if it fots your foot shape it’s be like running bare foot. I really hope they fit me.

    Craig, I never even mentioned Neutro Gali. That’s torn it…

  4. Damn, I’ve got the SL Voyager and SL Quasar already! I hope they haven’t really made them lighter…. please tell me they’ve only lopped 100g off the Quasar by supplying it with those ridiculous orange hairgrip pegs? :)

    If the sleeping bag cover is taped and genuinely waterproof then it’s a good saving over a Rab Survival Zone.

    The 212s are indeed sounding promising – I’ve got on well with Terrocs and Roclites (except the 390s – although they did ok at Kinlochleven) so here’s hoping.

  5. The ’09 Voyager SL is 1450g, which kind of makes an Akto superfluous? The current Voyager SL is listed at 1800g I think.
    The Quasar has still got proper pegs (5.5g titanium), it’s the fabric I think :o)

    The tarps are made out of Laser Photon outer fabric I believe, if it turns out I heard that wrong and I’m talking bollocks I’ll amend myself.

  6. “The ‘09 Voyager SL is 1450g” Have I read that right. Get one PTC and test it. Sounds awesome. Glad the Akto is getting pushed hard as we might see a fight back and a lean and mean – with hopefully more head room Akto? Bit like hoping for long back length OMM packs. You wait and hope and wait and hope and ……

  7. The weight is right :o)
    I should be getting some of the new Terra Nova stuff to test, so we’ll see!

    And, regarding OMM packs, there’s been some developments behind the scenes which should help the company grow and develop, so don’t give up on the longer back just yet.

  8. Mattc, I’m based in Bergen, plenty of hills on the doorstep for evening jaunts. There is a mahoosive amount of ‘nature’ (as they call the outdoors here) within 15 minute drive. We’ve only been here a week but I’ve already been higher than I’ve ever been in my life (not hard considering I used to live in Dorzet!). Yesterday we got up to 1360m. Wearing Roclites up there got funny looks from the locals. The 212s would blow they’re minds!

  9. Norway is awesome, Bergen too, although is it not supposed to rain in Bergen 300 days of the year or something ridiculous like that??? Did a walk in some place called arlundsjen or sommit like that, part of longer 5 day route to north of voss, was amazing,. Love Norway, your a lucky lucky man, but will have to go easy on the beer huh!

    On the whole support you local retailer vibe, I want to rant about the crapness of one certain big retailer in glasgow with a big store that has a waterfall in it and a cafe etc etc (am I legally safe now??), they suck, really really suck, I hate them, completely incompetent. Money was spent in footprints, if only they had the financial backing and store space of the crapso store, that would be awesome! Its a crime.

  10. The cafe is good in Tiso…

    Footprints are a good bunch of lads, Kev and Harry are actually out there doing stuff on foot and bike. If anybody wants to walk into an outdoor shop in Glasgow there’s really no other choice. And there’s a BeanScene next door as well, perfect!

  11. Crap, I’ve just bought a Voyager SL and they’re cutting another 350g off it? Why couldn’t they put an extra 350g on it so I could feel all smug?

  12. I took delivery yesterdaay of the newly released Terra Nova Moonlite bivvy bag / sleeping bag cover – it truly is a fully taped, waterproof miracle of tiny packed size and lightness :))

    Think Rab Survival Zone reduced to 200g and you’ve got it. I always like to take a bivvy along when I’m backpacking, both for emergencies and for grabbing the opportunity – now there really is no reason not to!

  13. Ah! I’m expecting delivery of the Rab Ultra Bivi. It’s supposed to weigh 182g… Didnae know about the TN one. It sure looks lovely and I’d have been tempted to go for that instead (although the Rab is cheaper by 30 quid).

  14. Interesting, I havent spent a night in something that minimal since my scout days in the 70’s.

    The corners you can squeeze yourself into though, makes the possibilities for spending the night endless.

    Might have to get me one of these.

  15. Ta, Matt. They must have put the price up since you bought yours… It’s £79 now… I’d be interested to know how breathable the TN is. The Rab Survival Zone is reasonable, but you still get a bit of dampness on the bag cover. I’ll let you know the actual weight of the Ultra Bivi once I get it and how breathable it turns out to be on the field. But that TN thingie sure looks great.

  16. So, I got the Rab Ultra Bivi in the post. It’s 183g, very blue, very light, *a lot* lighter (=thinner) than the Survival Zone. It’s really a bag cover rather than a bivi. The stuff sac is another 5g. I think I’ll go for the TN Moonlite anyway, that green is irresistible…

  17. Oh, and it packs down to absolutely nothing. It easily looks like half the size of the Survival Zone (although it probably is 2/3 of it…) Ah, the wonders of gear…

  18. Another TN Newsletter today – featured the Moonlite and the tarps. I must say the tarps look mostly pants! :(

    Also some great deals on 08 Lasers and SL Voyagers as they clear space for the 09 models – I’d like to see an 09 SL Voyager, but I doubt if I can justify trading up from my existing one… ;)

  19. Don’t want to know about great deals on 08 Laser Comps… I bought one (for £175) in the summer and haven’t had a chance to use it yet (crap weather at the tail end of summer). But what are the 09 tweaks? Double zips? But then how can they take the weight further down…? And will they find a better way to fix the pole hood (I know, I know: ptc* says there’s nothing wrong with it… And I’m planning on leaving it on permanently anyway)

  20. The TN tarps are getting a kicking all over. I was going to get one to test, but I never followed it up. I wonder?

    The ’09 teaks are some guying differences, but I don’t think the double zip made it through which is a pity. The pole hood is a bit odd, they could integrate it somehow and save a few grams probably. I leave mine on all the time as it does help with water ingress and adds a little tension (honest!).

  21. Good. Yep, I checked the website and it’s the Laser getting dumped. Phew. And if the tweaks only concern the guying, I can also rest content that I got it last year for cheaper than this year’s model. I can’t wait it to try it in earnest. So much lighter than the Akto and it takes no space at all in the pack. Got a few multi-day trips up North planned for May…

    And talking of weight: the interesting thing is that the Comp poles are about 180g or so, the pegs, well we know they weigh what, 12g or so, which means the tent on its own is about what, 750g? Now, the Tarpotron guy, Henry Shires, does the Sublite sil, a single skin tent, for 600g altogether (w/out poles, you either use walking poles or a dedicated pole). But with the Tarpotron (I pinch petesy’ nickname for it which I think is a great one!) you get a single skin tent which sag when wet, has a draughty base (it’s just mesh above the bathtub) and has no vestibule. If you think of it, it’s pretty amazing what TN can give you for an extra 150g… So, I’m resisting the temptation to further lower my base weight. The Comp seems really the perfect compromise between weight and storm proofness. Can’t wait for May to come along…

  22. Andy that’s the way I see the ‘comp. It’s hits a sweet spot of weight/ strength/ usability. Some would say it compromises itself to get there, but I’ve never found that at all. I think it’s found balance.

    The comp means this to me (it’s an oldie but a goodie :o))…

    Night Night

  23. Well, I went to the Backpackers Club ‘lightweight event’ at Ashford today – got a few little bits and bobs, but mostly had a good mooch around the tent exhibition…. Big Agnes didn’t show up, Vaude and Lightwave (don’t do it for me), Saunders (nostalgia value :), Golite (pants imo), and most interestingly all the Terra Nova ’09 lightweight models.

    I was most interested to see if the SL Voyager ’09 was worth upgrading to from my existing one, but on balance, no I don’t think so. The biggest plus seemed to be that they’ve tweaked the cut to improve (decrease) the flatness of the roofline). Part of the weight saving is in the provision of the 1g pegs, so pointless as I’d replace them with a reliable selection anyway. There are tweaks to guys and pegging points. But most of the weight saving seems to have come from switching it to the same lighter fabrics as the Laser Photon (the original used the ‘Comp’ materials) and I’m not sure I understand the reasoning. I thought the Photon was billed as a Comp for ‘specialist use’ i.e. adventure races and mountain marathons, where weight is all and robustness and longevity may be sacrificed? Whereas the Comp and the SL Voyager were very much backpackers tents. So why move the SLV away from that? It doesn’t really move it into the specialist arena as it still weighs more than any of the Laser models, but does it take it out of the backpacking mainstream? Would I trust the new SLV for a fortnight in Scotland or 2 months on the Pyrenean High Route? I’m not convinced. Are Terra Nova now reckoning those materials are robust enough?
    Anyway, apart from that they’ve removed one of the zips from the 3-panel porch so you no longer have a ‘zip-up-or-drop-down’ door, or the option of opening up any one of the panels for sheltered access and cooking, plus a more flappy tied-back door at risk from cooking stoves! To me that’s a retrograde step, a weight saving that reduces functionality, and for me that’s the definite deal-breaker – I won’t be buying the new one.

    Curiously the SL Quasar seemed to have retained the original materials and porches, so the claimed weight saving for ’09 presumably only comes from changing the pegs and guys…. phew, won’t need to buy another one of those either! ;O)

  24. Interesting Matt. Terra Nova do an awful lot of arse covering with their ratings, so I’d imagine the Photon fabric will be fine for harder use.
    I wonder if going to the new SLV having only really used the original if I would still get annoyed at the mods they’ve made? I should try and get a look at one so I can get a handle on it. I’m hoping to get Joycee back in a tent again now that Holly is a bit bigger and Granny and Grandpa will be overjoyed to keep her for a night. The SLV would be a great weight saver for that.

  25. Aye, sometimes I just don’t like change perhaps… :)
    Those 3-panel porches though do give so much functionality to a tent.

    Otherwise, the Voyager XL looked good, especially as I think you could fit a standard Voyager outer for weight saving and flexibility. The ‘rear door’ on the Laser is a good addition but it still looks pretty tight for two for extended use to me.

    The TN Tarp and bug-nest thingy didn’t tempt me! ;O)

  26. Whoops, just posted my Backpackers lightweight gear impressions elsewhere without reading this lot! mattc, thanks for the tip about the Voyager XL/Standard Voyager flysheet possibilities. That’s just about clinched it for me!

  27. Oops, I’ve just been checking and I think I’m wrong there – the Voyager and Voyager XL inners have different dimensions. They’ve widened the XL. Sorry.

  28. mattc: Ah well back to the drawing board on that one, something will turn up & I’ll just have to suffer the Nallo for a bit longer (never, ever really imagined myself saying that!). The one good thing at the moment is that I’ve currently no readies for impulse buying of big items. (I’m self-funding for a few months between walking out of the job & qualifying for my lump sum/pension. Trips, not gear have priority at the moment). You wouldn’t believe the number of “essential purchases” that have dropped off my wanted gear list recently, the NeoAir is the latest to go. Hopefully there’ll be more & better options available by the time the cash arrives. All that’s left for me now is to decide between an up-to-date Lasercomp or a Scarp & which PHD bag to go for in next years sale!

  29. mattc: Thanks, I didn’t know that, but August’s a bit too early for me to cash in. I’d have to wait ’til my significant birthday early next year & then REALLY treat myself.
    Strangely enough, the other half has just requested a 3-dayer backpacking around the Lakes in a couple of weeks. I assumed this was to check up on what I’d been up to on my solo winter outings (how many pubs I was recognised in?) but then a load of Greek holiday brochures just appeared (we norm,ally go September) & all became clear. At least I can camp high & cheap for future trips!

  30. thinkgreysky, it’s a bugger when the wish-list is all hefty items like a tent etc
    I came down to earth with a bump when I bought the NeoAir, £100? Good grief.

    Matt, it kinda looks like Terra Nova have been tinkering like crazy.
    And there’s more new stuff to come…

  31. I succumbed to a full-length NeoAir last week…. but only because F&T in Chester had it for £80 :))
    Alas they don’t think they’re getting the short one at all :(

  32. £80? Good lad.
    I got the regular as well, there’s only a few grams in it, so sod it.

    I was slightly disappointed in the somewhat less than luminous green. Conservative bunch :o)

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