Monday, March 31, 2014

ENDURANCE SPORTS ESSENTIALS Spring 2014-Hydration Belts-FITLETIC

Sprinter is here---meaning there is still snow on the ground -for long runs…and no water fountains are on- or available (depending) to quench thirsts...

Portable liquid solutions (convenient and necessary)-for those on the go-include, handhelds, running belts, and vests with hydration holders-plastic bottles or bladders.

IMO-what to drink is just as personal as how to haul it all.

interior stretchy pocket-keeps stuff dry like id card or cash. For us that means a metro card for NYC runs-in case we fade…
WHAT we use when its warm enough out to sweat…therefore need more liquids -which in our case is water-is helpfully satiated by a FITLETIC solution…a company we saw at a tradeshow-that offers a bunch of carry options-for electronics, personal stuff, water etc.
silicone grippers eliminate bounce












dual adjustable belt and stretchy--with a hydration add-on

Window armbands-keep weather/sweat out- synch up via bluetooth-all those smart watches/smartphones-never miss a stat. $23.95
stuff the pocket with Clif gels and a  Clif Builders protein bar-
 WE TRIED: The two bottle Hydration Belt-(comes in 12oz $39.95 or 16oz $43.95 options)…very ergonomically designed --meaning a REALLY no-bounce solution to carrying fluids and other necessaries for the long run- tricked out with a gel reflective tab on either side of the pouch,that's stretchy + zipped--- with an interior pocket---plus race bib toggles.

Our first use-on a recent cold Thursday night in Central Park-an evening we finally saw running clubs packing the Drive-this year.

Just because it was freezing…doesn't make runners any less thirsty…we felt envious glances from other pacing humans as as we easily took a bottle at of the Quick Draw bottle holster (there are two), pulled out the Quick Flow race cap top with out back teeth-withut missing a beat-sipped ---and effortlessly put the bottle back again in the holster.

There is a tiny bungee cord like string to keep the bottle in place-but it's really not needed-the holster is designed perfectly to hold the bottle snuggly. We also left the top of the bottle open after the first pull-and did not lose a drop. Bottles-are BPA free and dishwasher safe.

reflective pops---belt is black with trim color options---
THE FIT: Starting out with the belt positioned so that the bottles were in front…we found this to be noticeable-not annoyingly so…but not super snug-since we have a 24inch waist -we wanted a more secure fit…SO better yet was when we reversed the belt-and positioned the holsters on our lower back…sliding the belt down to snuggly fit right on the top of our hips bones. Then we didn't even notice the belt at all-even though there was the added weight of fluids. The belt itself is super lightweight.

The stretchy neoprene zipper pocket was big enough to hold 3 gel packs-our energy on the go choice…and a Clif Builder's Protein bar-plus 3 keys and a Metro card inside the interior pocket.

Our BF tried our belt out also-wore in the bottles in the front-fit his torso length- just fine.

FYI: Belt comes in two sizes-S/M for 24-36 inches, L/XL 29-42 inches. ALSO we hand washed in warm water…no problem.

FITLETIC's other options include "plain" race bib belts $8.95, race belts with gel loops,  neoprene single or double zipped pouch (no holster)…and add ons-like a bottle+ holster (6oz $11.95, 8oz $12.95) and Window Phone ($18.95)-to customize for long or short runs…and replacement bottles.

PLUS:Color options …and reflective accents.

BTW-when we were at the tradeshow booth- a lot of cruising by attendees, stopped in their tracks-and wanted a Fitletic belt on the spot. Probably could have sold the entire show inventory---to runners, hikers and gym goers.





Sunday, March 30, 2014

Outdoor Retailer New Gear F/W 2014-Black Diamond Eagle Creek, Boreas

UPRIGHT, WATERTIGHT+LIGHT-Black Diamond, Eagle Creek, Boreas

SLC/Utah

Another tradeshow-another breakthrough product from Black Diamond.

The HALO 28 Jetforce-joins the avalanche airbag systems available to backcountry adventurers. Uniquely- in collab with its owned PIEPS- the "JetForce Technology" - a battery powered jet fan that inflates the 200 liter airbag in 4 seconds.

Up to four inflations with a fully charged lithium-ion battery brings the cost per use, lower and allows for a easier test run without the hassle of replacing a gas canister-commonly used in other systems. The Cordura® airbag material is puncture tough-but the fan keeps running a minute to keep inflation up in case of a slash.
7.2 lbs-plug in to recharge.

Added plus---the airbag automatically deflates after 3 minutes to create a potential air pocket-removes risk of ice/snow smothering -and helps those digging you out.





pull to deploy

Three backpack styles-two torso sizes per- for the Halo 28 Jetforce---
$1100-http://blackdiamondequipment.com

Whether the above Halo 28 JetfForce battery in the airbag passes airport screening---as carry-on? We don't know ---but …carrying it on board---in the new Eagle Creek 22 inch Tandem Warrior-that impresses with the 2 bags in 1---convertibility…gives the TSA screeners maybe something else to -in wonderment, ponder.
Eagle Creek's patented Morpheus technology seamless integration of two bags that separate and are then two fully functional haulers on their own. Lightweight-in slate blue…roll-on- or carry - grab handle

ExpandStand-durable-wheels navigate any terrain 


easily zip offs-features durable, lockable, self repairing zippers, contoured shoulder straps, padded compartment for electronics, plenty other pockets keep life organized, carry straps sash away, made of Bi-Tech™ and Bi-Tech™ Armor fabrics…weather and abrasion tough. 
plenty of pockets, mesh back panel-daypack, both  expand out to carry MORE


the other-a functioning daypack-$299




It has been a few seasons- since 2010---that
Boreas Gear™ launched its insanely lightweight, 'its not complicated' backpacks.
Waterproof Series In Canyon Blue-right to left=Monterey 2lbs, 3oz, Echo 1lb 12.8oz, Yuba alb 4oz



















New for Fall 2014-the Waterproof Pack Series-in 35L, 25L, 15 L lightweight backpack / dry bag styles- with watertight double hull construction …so no need for rain cover.

Reflective panel-Lava Black

roll close/open waterproof skirt, double hull construction interior construction, 

minimal hidden Boreas DNA daisy chains, keeps a clean design

easy access, tuck away suspension, TPU fabric, external expand fabric

straps-perforated, molded EVA foam

http://boreasgear.com

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Green Festival-America's Largest/Longest Running Sustainability Show- Launch Party

Media Preview
Environment Furniture
350-352 Bowery, NYC 


Environment Furniture---repurposed wood-stunning design WIN WIN.
A new Euro team (Messe-Stuttgart) with non profits Green America and Global Exchange is taking the annual Green Festival across America-to even better than ever- (re)acquaint attendees to the benefits of an eco way of life-effortlessly, we might add. 








From non-toxic household goods, healthful food (vegan, vegetarian that really has mainstream appeal), organic beer and wines---to Fair Trade accessories/clothing, and skincare/beauty/grooming---the NYC version on April 26-27 at the large Pier 94 (10-6PM)---will have something for everyone. 





Violets Are Blue-skin care with pronounceable healing natural ingredients-with liquids smartly packaged in violet reusable/recyclable glass bottles-something common in Europe where BPA in plastic is banned---but not here. Hmm. This NYCer -Cynthia Besteman-cancer survivor developed gentle to use serum/wash/lipbalm good for super sensitive skin-including skin of those going through chemo treatments.  We lent our serum sample to a gal pal with dry skin. She loved! Plus 10% proceeds go to Mt Sinai Hospital-NYC. Priced from $12-$45

Not in a buying mood-no worries-there's entertainment, family activities-and ways to chill out like taking in a street chic fashion show, getting a downward dog pose perfected at yoga demos, or learning to master a culinary challenge at a workshops.
Muffetta Naturals -Vegetable Wash-reduces microbial load, removes soil, wax, dirt and other contaminants-cause even organic veggies need a scrubbing. Sulphite free too-as are the aromatic All Purpose Cleaners especially good way to avoid inhaling toxic chemicals when cleaning the home. Wish it could do what chlorine nukes out in the pools we swim in. Ha. Refillable spray bottles. And all the ingredients are clearly explained on the label. Bravo to that.
www.muffettanaturals.com

















Jamaican native Muffetta Krueger---founder (left)
---And of course the aforementioned alcohol. 


Anna's Potions and Lotions (by Debbie Miller-fyi)-cruelty free, vegan-made with organic and natural ingredients-no dyes, synthetic colorants, phthalates, sorbates or synthetic preservatives. our ample of the Sweet Rose Moisturizing Creme $26 with Organic Bulgarian Rose Oil---as the main ingredient-is addictive- scented splendidly and richly soothing. No yech petro or mineral oil either-only the real deal here-made in small batches only.www.annaspotionsandlotions.com
Samplings at a media preview-was a lot of fun---and packed with enthusiastic vendors---all home grown entrepreneurs who have a non-toxic passion for living- a greener way---and started a business, accordingly.
Jill Riley's Alapure-smart-uses the healing, anti-oxidant packed Marula Tree Oil from Africa (and for this company-Fair Trade sourced)--- in all of its products…paraben free and nicely loaded with other ingredients that rejuvenate, heal and moisturize the skin. Marula Oil-is the latest 'it' healing oil-that like argan- multi-tasks naturally. Priced from $6 -$21.99
www.alapure.com

NICE

 



































What Else---Bonus points go to Born In Brooklyn, USA SoapBoy™ 2 in 1 shower gel-has a light spicy scent we adore. Sulfate and paraben free, head to toe usability, 8fl oz. $15 www.showertothepeople.com

What We Ate ---some non GMO-vegan treats that were terrific=TerraNut Nut Punch, Raw Revolution-USDA Organic with energy booting Spirulina, Beanfields Bean&Rice Chips-gluten free and vegan-better than potato chips-4grams protein and 4 grams fiber. 

FYI---No chemicals. GMO +Gluten free, and no preservatives---but with calories. You've been warned.
Amazingly tasty-don't expect any of these treats to last. We devoured the Vegan Gluten Free, non GMO Chai Spice Macaroons in a NY minute. Packaging is mostly bio based fil meaning the plastic is derived mostly from plants 87% not petro oil and is biodegradable too)…and of course, paper is recycle friendly. www.emmysorganic.com

GREENFESTIVAL
FYI: Green Festival 2014 = New York City, (April 26-27), Washington, D.C. (May 31-June 1), Los Angeles (September 12-14), Chicago (October 24-26) and San Francisco (November 14-16). 

Sponsor we love already-Clif Bar …committed and examples of corporate responsibility we hope is contagious---

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fabrics Drive Design A/W 2014-Outdoor Apparel/Footwear

Outdoor Retailer, SLC + NYC

From a fashion perspective---we bet several successful apparel designers would admit  -that nothing 'new' is delivering  -silhouette-wise----akin to Christian Dior's breakthrough New Look-nipped in waist, full skirt to mid calf that made fashion history at his collection's debut in 1947.

What has changed big time though- and drives the more exciting breakthroughs in apparel/footwear are the fabrics+materials=innovation.

The Outdoors industry has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting the latest technologies with respect to textiles-or risk being irrelevant.

So whether its to keep warm, dry, cool, weather/sun protected, go faster, stay connected or more affordable (all those down/synthetic---merino wool/synthetic blends)…the needs of customers (consumers, the military, space explorers, to name a few) are changing and lots of companies are providing solutions.

FABRIC DRIVEN:


New Cool Fabrics and Warm Fabrics from Schoeller® Textil with temperature regulating schoeller® -PCM™ technology-caught our eyeballs at the most recent Outdoor Retailer tradeshow.

Aspen employees keep toasty and sweat free….
Ensuring comfort climate in clothing is critical for sporty types. Schoeller's  -PCM™ technology can be applied to city sophisticate woolen fabrics or athletic soft-shells---resulting in more heat retention when needed (the PMC™ becomes liquid, storing body heat-keeping wearer cooler…and conversely-it gets cold out-the PMC™ solidifies-relasing the heat to the wearer).

Visually---think the need to keep warmer on a chairlift up the mountain vs. need for seamless moist wicking heat release as we snowboard down the slopes. Or wearing a running jacket during a marathon-keeps one cool yet delivers warmth after one crosses the finish line-standing around afterwards, waiting for the free beer.

Another key Schoeller fabric finish -is washable and abrasion resistant- ecorepel®-water and mud repellant technology that is free of fluorocarbons and biodegradable-(unlike  bunch of DWR finishes used by the outdoor industry as Greenpeace pointed out in 2012-that got a meaningful reaction- things changing from companies mentioned).

Versatile too-ecorepel® can be applied to various fibers-wool, cotton, and synthetic fibers---including staples like denim, fleece and soft-shells.

rather creative---these imaginative prints---with WB -400-great hand feel-and takes soft shells fabrics to another level. 

Schoeller®-spirit spacer fabrics---






We got most excited by WB-400-water -windproof/breathable treated fabrics-that allows for fantastic prints, and 3D imagery. Applied to washable wools, sportswear fabrics, and combined with other Schoeller offerings like the wind/weather protective c_change™---WB-400 allows for rather eye-catching options. IMO-Pantone aside-we think performance wear is ready for some of the dazzling effects we see in the fashion industry---and winner here-Schoeller is eco minded-bluesign® certified!
Mt Borah racing suit---with Schoeller®-custom, semi-custom

Schoeller's knitted Eschler technology-A COMFORT SYSTEM warmth, protection -sweat free…. -demo model-moisture wicking inside...


http://www.schoeller-textiles.com




RE-BRANDING is key to keeping consumers aware of how a company has evolved and grown. We mentioned the PrimaLoft® refreshed marketing initiatives for its Performance Down Blends (Gold and Silver-down and PrimaLoft microfibers)…

Another overhaul took place-and expect the new hangtags for Fall 2014 deliveries-from 37.5---the former Cocona-who has a new name to better reflect how its products keep "…the ideal microclimate" for humans-that's --so clever here…an environment with 37.5 relative humidity…and a core body temperature of 37.5ºC.

37.5's is acclaimed for its tech (patented) of active particles (coconut hard shells in the mix) permanently embedded at the fiber level for excellent moisture management that actively responds to body heat-converting liquid to vapor that increases drying time.

Applicable to just about any fabric -natural or synthetic that we can think of ---delivering faster dry times, UV protection and anti-odor capabilities.

Also offered-waterproof breathable laminates with excellent moisture management is available in 2.5 and 3.5 (!!!!) layers-that move vapor fast-keeping the wearer dry inside and out…permanently too.

AND

insulation products with 37.5 in varying weights (40g, 60g, 100g, 160g).

http://thirtysevenfive.com

Hangtags are a big deal in the outdoors industry-those can't miss pieces of thick paper help sell a product--- tells a brand's story-on apparel, footwear, gear---giving consumers a quick synapsis of what the item does-and how it performs.

It is rare in the fashion labels we cover---to see hangtags like we do in the outdoor industry. Supposedly that customer is not persuaded by what's in the mix.


Lately though-especially with sporty labels that design savvy streetwear inspired by their athletic heritage---we see hangtags. The items are selling REALLY well-particually the  collabs with fashion designers- Adidas+Stella McCarthy…

... and exclusive collabs with retail outlets-Lacoste-Urban Outfitters-joint efforts quite common in fashion but something we don't remember ever seeing in outdoor apparel beyond retail exclusives, here and there.


available now












There are separate lines -Ralph Lauren's RLX collection---or Norma Kamali's Active line----most likely made with textiles worthy of performance hangtags---but deliver without.



Delivering Fall 2014-other colors available now...
In footwear-like Lacoste -one of our admired favs for building a brand based on a winning French tennis player dude accomplishments from back in the day- NOW often uses OrthoLite footbeds-very visibly printed…and clearly value 'it' as a selling point. Rare in fashion footwear.


HOWEVER:
Amazes us how our NYC based colleagues who really know and report on fashion apparel+footwear styles from A-Z are clueless about hi-tech fabrics, finishings, laminates or treatments. 

So maybe lack of hangtags don't matter for a sale---but we think this really is a marketing opportunity.
maybe not a new silhouette-but for backcountry label Dynastar-new to us- this down skirt




stretch side panels, insulating front/back does not add bulk-two functional and eye catching zippers-this is the best down skirt  we have ever seen.

































Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Outdoor Retailer Trends A/W 2014-DIALING IN=BOA-ed SNOWSHOES

Outdoor Retailer/SLC

The convenience of a dialing closure system -instead of tying up laces, or wrestling with a strap/buckle-w/w/o gloves -is massively appealing.

Boa® Technology, founded by a So-Cal surfer transplant to Steamboat Springs- owns this segment of techy know-how…with various options for different products that we have meaningfully paid up for.

In snowshoes…the pop out, turn, push in system is surprisingly really lightweight, durable (aircraft grade stainless steel cable the dog can't chew through), provides even pressure, a quick release (love this), and a super secure easy fit-adjustable on the fly (saving precious T1/T2 seconds re: tri bike shoes)- from toe to heel.



DIAL IT RIGHT-BOA
Louis Garneau of ginormous bicycle fame- has surprise to us-high- end snowshoes tricked out with Boa technology for a few seasons…(like the aforementioned bike shoes).
Course-men's 1.59 lbs-pictured above... 7075-T6 aluminum anodized frame, +Attack crampons also made of 7075-T6 aluminum -360º traction, Reflex Pro pivot for natural efficient stride-shock absorbing suspension, contact fit harness-so it stays with you no matter the terrain. Frame shape at the top-perimeter frame enhanced for hold. Made for guys weighing from 100-220lbs. We guess that has to include-the 6lb layers of winter clothing needed in Polar Vortex situations. $249.99


Course-Momentum frame-narrower-optimal surface area










For Fall----the brand continues to add to it four categories of snowshoes: 

Backcountry-Deep Powder snow-mountain terrain

Day Hiking-Hardpacked and powdered snow-rolling terrain

Trail Walking-Hardpacked snow-flat terrain

Running-Hardpack snow-flat/rolling terrain













…AND some with soooo convenient... dial it closures-including the Backcountry Yeti, Blizzard and Black or White Everest---all high performance snowshoes for steeps ascents and summiters (or wannabes)…with grippy crampons, pivoting systems, step up heel raisers for calf relief when going up, and front/backs that are shaped to shed(shred) the snow.




Transition-women's come in white-6061-T6 aluminum anodized frame. Patent pending-new...Instinct pivot natural stride, Contact fit harness-holds any terrain, Assault crampons 7075-T6 aluminum for 360º traction. 2.12 lbs. Perimeter frame
YETI: 7075-T6 aluminum anodized frame, weave decking-puncture proof, abrasion resistant-attached with connect faster system in an optimized lateral traction, Traxion SS front crampons, stay up heel raiser $249.99


Freeflex pivot-harness system with EVA padding


V-Rail Crampons-grip-up down sideways




secure fit too


Black Everest-Backcountry hiking-made with polymer molded deck-sturdy and resistant to -40Cº…Zero Boundary HCS crampons and V-Rail (see below pic)…made of high carbon steel for great grip on any terrain/condition, Freemotion pivot $184.99



V-Rail Crampons, U Bar technology-U shaped profile reinforces deck structure. Very cool.

We look forwarded to demo-ing---!
www.louisgarneau.com


Tubbs introduced a Flex VRT backcountry snowshoe ($249.95) and Flex RDG ($189.95) at OR's Demo Day that also uses the Boa Closure System.
FLEX RDG w/ Tubbs’ new easy-to-use CustomWrap™ binding---all mountain ready---heel strap is incorporated into binding's construction
FLEX RDG-


FLEX VRT


DynamicFIt™ Binding-
Super easy in out-we tried out a pair (forgot which one) on a guided jaunt with Utah Mountain Adventures…and positively loved how the snowshoe practically floated on top of the powdery snow---and gripped well when it came to the more packed  stuff. 

Lightweight and snow shedding-we barely noticed them on the way up the mountain… no click clacking, crossing over either. Yippy. Noticeable ease, comfort and flexibility vs. the pair we usually use.

On the way down-unfortunately-the Boa thing kept popping out- annoying to say the least.

When we talked with the Tubbs rep afterwards-it turned out the production of the test model was a WIP---and we have no reason to doubt that the deliveries and performance of the snowshoes-will be retail ready and---  flawless.



HA HA---surprised we were allowed to go yonder with this pair as is though…guess the guy didn't know we have 5 insurance lawyers in our family.
backcountry---but we can see using these on flat or rolling terrain…the crampons grip 
Tubbs’ signature FLEX Tail™ design eases stress on joints---barely notice the weight on your feet-at all. Really impressive.


TUBBS

Bottom Line-snowshoes are great way to get out on the snow-if one can walk-one can snowshoe---and they last practically forever-airline baggage tough????

Curious-we checked out the TSA website-no snowshoe specific mentions anywhere in the sporting equipment category but since those crampons probably qualify as a "sharp object"-imo wrap up -get some padding action---and check them in---like skis.