Monday, October 11, 2010


Outdoor Retailer SLC, UTAH

Words/Images Judith Ecochard

Access to fresh drinking water makes our planet’s need for oil secondary. Any traveler/adventurer knows this…so portable hydration is a BIG deal.

And major at the tradeshow---and hitting retail shelves just about now…is the complete redesign of the CamelBak® reservoir …



This is a real retool IMHO. For starters, it’s lighter-with a lighter/larger fill port with easy open ¼ turn cap--- that’s the largest opening of any hydration system on the market - way easier to clean,

The reservoir has as a lower profile (28%),
A “Quick-Link" system (designed based on consumer feedback) means no re-threading.
Added dryer arms so we can hang it up to dry faster---a key feature when camping out.
An auto shut off---so we can leave the tube routed in the pack---No Leaks!
Customizable flow rates too in a Big Bite™ valve that’s ergonomically positioned.

SO---now every pack CamelBak® offers has been completely redesigned to fit the new Antidote…

…Featuring a new back panel that’s 50% lighter …with a soft flexible panel.

…  An easy to maneuver drop in slot for the reservoir…with an integrated fit---so nothing shifts around. 

---And durable, with 3D stitching so it won’t rip.

An example of a new pack available at REIs-the Octane LR™ ($89) that houses the reservoir at the base of the pack for easy refill without removal, shifting the weight around to the hips (stabile-good for trail runners) --- and allowing room for our other stuff. Plus under-arm tubing allows us to access the water over our shoulder or under-our arm

Lightweight too and durable---made with 70D mini ripstop, reinforced with panels of 420D nylon.



CamelBak® Groove™---in 100% BPA free tritan plastic ($25) or stainless steel $35)--- FOR: Filtered water on the go  /hydration on the move…that reduces the chlorine taste via a plant based (replaceable $25 for 6 pack) carbon filter that lasts about 200 refills. Saves the earth 250 disposable bottles---

PLUS: A chic contemporary design---and with CamelBak®’s acclaimed Big Bite Valve™…that allows for a higher flow rate-no squeezing required… and no spills.


 The first insulated Tritan reusable plastic bottle--- that’s engineered to keep liquids cooler (2x longer)---and engineered not to sweat---keeping hands dry.  Equipped with the Big Bite™Valve too for no spill, easy sipping...that flips shut for east storage too. ($20)

Available at REI…starts ship October.



25th Anniversary Product Intros!!!

We got to Granite Gear’s main hallway set-up just about when all of the OR Happy Hours were--- gearing up.

What got us most buzzed though…were the packs we saw last …cause if there ever was a backpack on our wish list…it’s the series of much buzzed about, chit chat-wise Tactical Gear backpacks by Granite Gear---designed for the military…and adventurers like us where on certain jaunts, equipment failure is def. not an option if we want to get on with our lives.


A multi-year development process working with Natick  requirements like---able to carry 100 pounds comfortably, survive a 40 foot drop fully loaded and weigh 7lbs or less…resulted in highly technical/versatile backpacks that are completely customizable too…

PLUS things like have a body armor compatible harness, be made of top notch American made IRR dyed materials, and durable like 500 D Codura® Nylon Fabrics for rip and abrasion strength, abrasion resistant coil zippers (IDEAL®), ITW Nexus GhilleTEX™ Hardware buckles that cloak infrared signals, and foam cushioning etc.=== able to withstand challenging combat conditions (EVAZOTE®).

Beyond cool, advanced gear with a frame that can flex, match and support those on the go… and pivot point hardware for easy body movement.



was designed with a contract through Natick’s Special Operations Office… and is available, with accessories ---for civilians. We felt, the pack was too big for us (BUMMER), even though the torso and shoulder harness are both adjustable…and it can haul up to 150lbs.

Additional tidbits…two vertical zips in the main compartment for rapid load/unload, hydration pockets on both sides, and the extra protective shoulder strap padding —is removable.

We found the pack available online for $374.99 to $499.

And oddly enough at the time of this posting--on eBay from a seller out of Ft. Benning GA...hhhmmmmm.


DOG GEAR---are their own fashion statement we thought…as we reflected on some canine owners walking their pooches all matchy-matched up on city streets. Logos laden attire and bling for all with heart beats.

More our style...Granite Gear’s new LONG HOWL Dog Pack is for the serious hiking kind ---with padded harness wraps that are adjustable and secure fit around the torso. The inside layer is stretch woven nylon for comfort and wrinkle free hauling ---and the harness doubles as insulation for the dog on cold days…with removable saddlebags. (Sizes XS-XL)

There’s also an ALPHA Dog Pack that’s ergonomically advanced to fit any dog. Smaller in capacity---with reflective visibility, interior zipped compartments, and an adjustable yoke with handle on top. (S, M, L)


There are a bunch of backpacks for throw and go ---to travel smart, day-trippers---needing some capacity. The Ancho 18, Serrano 25 and Haberno 28 ($54.95, $79.95 and $99.95, respectively)…have comfort in mind…with side compression instead of heavier webbing.

And the basics of the Ancho like padded shoulder straps, trekking pole attachment, sternum strap with whistle, internal mesh and external mesh zips…

PLUS: An assortment of pockets and dual bottle holsters, hydration port and sleeve for the Serrano…to a built in rain fly, single aluminum stay, dual tool adjustment, fleece line pocket plus…. for the Haberno.

Ultralight Packs get redefined in the Blaze A.C. 60 and Blaze A.C. 60 Ki-in short and regular torso lengths ($199.95).

 Go the distance with a unique AirCurrent suspension consisting of a 3-dimensionally molded alloy frame for quick adjustments, padded shoulder straps and a swappable hip belt for a custom fit.

Comfort-wise, heat gets vented and moisture dissipated via the molded air channels that work in conjunction with the molded foam pad and stretch mesh back…

And comes lidless with a top that can be cinched and rolled down tight to protect vs. the elements. The unique arched LineLoc compression system allows stuff to be cinched in every which way---for the ultimate in pack down portability without any extra weight. 2lbs, 140z…


(FYI: Can accommodate a top compartment ---the LINELOC LTD $39.95--- that buckles on top)

The other draw dropping addition to the Granite Gear lineup are the NIMBUS CORE ($259.95 – 3lbs 12 oz) and NIMBUS TRACE $259.95 4lbs with lid) with the ADVECTION BACK/PANEL TOPOFLEX FRAMESHEET.

… A fame/harness system that mimics the way the body naturally flexes (NOT via stiff cheap plastic or aluminum).

The Nimbus Core has versatile packing options that enables hard to fit gear like a tripod to be easily carried in the center part as easily as a sleeping bag, for example. How is with the two full length lateral pockets that cinch around whatever gets placed in the center section of the pack (CORE) …then a compression flap can be cinched down tight holding everything in place.

The Nimbus Trace has added stretch woven upper side zip pockets, a central lateral stretch mesh pocket (great for wet stuff or tents) and lower stretch mesh pockets   …plus a removable lid.

. Carry options allowing us to haul up to 40lbs of stuff.

And by using the arched LineLoc compression system instead of weightier webbing…the load can be cinched up in every direction too.


All that drysack, compression sacks, canoe and travel hauling gear.

COLORS---TIGER RED/JAVA BLACK/ CACTUS  GREEN/SLATE GREY/SKY BLUE/COCOA…and for Tactical- Multi Cam-camo (duh) and Coyote- a sandy beige shade.