KORS 2009 Part 1

I was at KORS in Kendal a couple of weeks ago with Phil, and I’ll tell you it was along day. Even so we still didn’t get round everybody and missed out half of it. There were nice new Scarpa trail shoes for next year and I just had time for a quick squeeze in the passing, I missed HiTec, Primus and more. But it was great to see the stuff I was looking forward to as well as some nice surprises. Good to catch up with pals and put names and faces together as well.
The leisure centre grounds were filled with tents, in fact I haven’t seen so many tents pitched on lawns since my last look around the blogosphere…
Anyway, Part 1. Me and Phil shared photies duties, and the joy and the pain too. Head over to Phil’s for some kit that I didn’t get a shot of.

Terra Nova

Terra Nova had a fair few tents pitched from themselves and their Wild Country range, and there were a several that caught the eye.

The Bivi Tarp above has been a success and is still in the range for next year, and below is the Solar Elite which new. In the hall the inner was on display in its free-standing hubbed-pole way, and looked very American. Good to see Terra Nova taking on that style of construction and immediately coming in with impressive sub-kilo weights. The porch is small, but not tiny, so it’s very usable.

The bigger Laser tents are often overlooked, but the Laser Space 2 is ideal for bike touring with a huge porch and space for two to sleep.
The Laser Space 5 below is huge, Ali and Phil could ran about in the middle and not bump into each other. This is the kind of thing families, scouts and DofE folk should have, not the 17kg canvas horrors they currently endure.

Below we have the Laser Photon Elite, the worlds lightest “proper” tent. Light it is, and a wee bit smaller that a ‘comp in all dimensions. But, it’s lighter than most featured bivy bags, so what the hell would you want to suffer when you can sit in the mountains in this for the same weight?
We’ll find out in a couple of weeks.
By the way, the fast-fly footprint is made of the lightest fabric I’ve ever seen. It’s one step up from a spider web, a dyneema spider web mind.

Below Ali has the Laser 20 Elite pack, which at 210g has the be the lightest actually usable-with-features technical pack out there. The whole pack range has been tweaked, things like the daft bottle pockets have been addressed.
Looking good.

 Crux, Lightwave, DMM 

DMM are looking after Crux and Lightwave these days as well as their own climbing gear. Crux’s Torq eVent shell above impressed me with its slim fit, light weight and different features like the waterproof RiRi zips that feel great to use. It comes in Smock flavour as well. In general alpine gear is great lightweight gear as it.s straight to the point and functional. The Crux shell and insulation looks good, and the Torq models come in a woman’s fit.
Noddy below is a good lad, and a few years ago in his previous job he was the man who first showed me a pair of Montrail Namches which was one of the items that started a whole chain of events that brings me to er, here.
He’s holding the Crux RK 30, a super-tough climbing rolltop pack which Phil and I tried on and wanted to take home, it really is totally badass. Behind is the Crux eVent sleeping bags, a small but focused range of kit all round.

I had better luck with the Lightwave packs this time around, I think it may have been a back length issue with the Fastpack I tested last year. This time I had full mobility and it felt good on the back. We say it all the time but don’t necessarily listen to it “Fit is everything”.
Phil is clearly excited by the “Special Forces” range of climbing gear from DMM, and who can blame him.
Hollywood here we come.

Thermarest, MSR, Black Diamond

Above is the down quilt-come-topbag from Thermarest, the Haven. In essence it’s a Tyvek overshoe that slips over your outdoor footwear so you can walk into a factory cleanroom/a customers cream carpet. The sleepmat is your foot, and the overshoes is the down bag, but upside down and with a hole for your head. Look, I know I’m struggling with the description, but it’s nothing to what struggling with this bag will be in a tent.

MSR are looking good with their tents, the Hubba HP in the centre is a favourite, and now in lime green. The oddball in the background is a Skinny One, a quirky single skin tunnel tent. I’ve just tested one for Trail and lets say it didn’t take me long to make up my mind about it…
Below is an update of the Black Diamond Raven Ultra ice axe that I absolutely adored using last winter. This year’s it’s a little lighter with a slightly smaller head and an anodised rather than painted shaft.


From the Big Stone stand Phil’s got the coverage of the 5.10 footwear, and Smartwool I looked at a couple of weeks ago, but Arc’teryx I don’t get to see much.  They’ve got some nice lightweight packs for next year, backpacking below, and some neat looking adventure/multisport packs.
There was clothing but we were running horrendously late and had to keep moving. Ach!


We gatecrashed the Vaude stand after I saw these little kids sleeping bags above. They have slots in them that you can open and it fits into a child carrier as a warmer as well, genius. I look at a lot of this stuff, some companies made a big effort like here, and others make a token gesture. I definitely think it’s an all-or-nothing range, do it right or not at all.

Below is the Vaude Lasercomp Scutum UL. Actually, it’s resemblance to a ‘comp or an Akto for that matter is only superficial, this is a very roomy, lightweight tent. It’s going to be fine for two folks and it’s light enough to carry as supreme luxury for one. The Vaude quality and attention to detail is there and I think this is going to made a big impact when it comes out.

CAMP, Fizan

Below that swoopy, spiky wonder is the new CAMP X-Lite. It’s listed at 285g and it’s a step up in functionality to the Corsa variants I’ve been using the past two winters. The forged head feels great in the hand and is much easier to hold than the Corsa’s. The shaft is plain save for the little machined grooves as found on the Corsa and it has a proper spike for plunging into the snow without wearing away the end of the shaft.

Just into the UK are Fizan trekking poles. They’re an Italian independent with a huge range of poles, some of them both refreshingly different and incredibly light.
Phil’s holding the baskets that they come with, summer, snow basket, and swivel for snowshoeing. We liked the look of these, choice is always good in the marketplace and quality kit keeps everyone of their toes.

Ian who showed us round the gear (including the Kayland footwear behind) is hoping that last years winter is a sign of things to come and asked if we wanted to test this saw for making an igloo this winter. I’m hoping it might well come to that.
But if not, we’ll make good use of the CAMP XLS, a handle-less snow shovel in the vein of a Snowclaw, but lighter.

This is just a drop in the ocean, and I’ll have part two coming up soon. The wealth of great gear on show is frightening, and whether or not it makes the shops is unknown. Orders were coming in for some stuff, others were looking iffy.
As I’ve said, it’s all in the hands of store buyers. We’re doomed.

36 thoughts on “KORS 2009 Part 1”

  1. Ooh, it’s like a sweetshop! But what are those cool purple round things at the top? That’s what caught my attention and made me read this piece…

  2. It was never going to be the quality of the prose…

    I have no idea, “rope stuff”? Noddy explained that they were his-and-hers spaceship steering wheels at which piont the conversation broke into farce :o)

  3. Terra Nova packs, who knew? Look good, too. We might well get a decent chunk of those tents at EB, and with luck the sight of such lightweight pack design might induce a breakaway from our TNF pack range, which is just not very good and needs to be dumped swiftly.

  4. more orange gear yeey!

    that laserspace tent looks like fun, wonder what it’s like in the wind?

    one thing i wish TN would make is a footprint that fills the porch – i know it adds extra weight but its handy when its really really wet!

  5. I thought I had my shopping list all sorted but now…

    In the meantime I’ll have one of those purple steering wheels for Ryan to play with. :o) Oh and a wee sleeping bag for him too – I’ve a feeling he may be camping out here again soon!..

  6. Hmm, it’s all very shiny and new….

    I could easily tell myself there are half a dozen desirables there, each marginally different, maybe marginally lighter, than something I’ve already got.

    Or maybe I should tell myself to stick with the perfectly good models from the last year or two, spend the money saved on getting out somewhere, and do my bit for Innov_ex sustainability into the bargain….?

    I can see a niche for that TN Laser 20 Elite pack though! ;O)

  7. Seeing as my Macpac Amp Race 25 is finally falling apart – I may just give it a nudge and buy that 20ltr Laser. A quarter of the weight and probably a better size for me.

  8. Good kit aye.

    Terra Nova surprised a lot of folk by getting the pack range so close to mark first time. No pack heritage you see, they could do what the hell they like without upsetting existing customers. There’s a lesson there.

    The Scutum, it’s a cracker. It does make the Akto irrelevant, and it’s snapping at the heels of the ‘comp.

    Matt’s point about not needing but wanting the new is an inportant one. It’s the human element, from both designers and punters, the desire to make something better and then to enjoy the benefits, it’s what makes people great and it’s why we’re not still chasing mammoths for dinner.
    But it’s also what’s destroying the environment.

  9. The Scutum really does look like it could be the dogs danglies……

    Lots of other nice kit to drool over too……..

  10. Hello a Petesy virgin here,

    Sorry to change the subject slightly…

    Does anyone know when the Lim Barrier Pullover will be back in the shops? I missed out last time.

    I love the look of TN Laser Elite, people won’t miss you wearing that. It will go well with my Flo Yellow Featherlite Smock, so I have to buy one!

    Is the fabric similar to what they use on the Laser Comp Tent?

  11. I like the the look of the scutum too (read somewhere the name will be changed ,to stop the the schoolboy giggling presumably,which is a shame :)) Any idea when we will see it in the flesh ?

  12. The Scutum will have a name change for the UK, and we’ll see it Feb/March next year. They said they’d give me a proto to test once the tensioning was changed, so we might get to see on e sooner. If it works as well as it looks it’ll be a killer.

    Hi Kiff
    The LIM barrier puillover will be in the shops anytime, the winter kit is sitting tready to go to the stores (I’ve got some wonter Haglofs test kit in from the new stock). We’ve just got to wait until the stores clear sale stock and put the new season stuff out.
    One thing though, the LIM insulation series sold out really quickly last year and Haglofs not to make many spares so there’s not a lot of spare stock around, short version: if you want one and see it listed somewhere, buy it!

  13. The Scotum – given the it looks bigger and less faffy than the lasercomp for only a little more weight, might it be more than snapping at the heels of the Terra Nova (i.e chewing up and spitting up).

    I presume the proof will be in the stability/flapping.

    Matt – admirable sentiments. Do you REALLY need a 12th sleeping bag? ;-)

    Me – I like buying gear. And the outdoors industry stance is ultimately ‘greenwashing’, so I’d be better off saying “no new gear for a year” and spending the money on solar panels and upgrading the insulation instead.

  14. Thanks PTC

    Arrrhhh Sale Stock! I’ve just had a bad experience with a Montane Flux brought in the sales. They should give me a job in quality control.

    Lim Barrier: Point noted and credit card on standby. Hopefully Haglofs create a better customer experience.

    Any feedback on the TN Laser Elite 20lt fabric? We only have Blacks or Nevisport round here… Well need I say more.

  15. Spitting up works for me David :o)

    Kiff, I was think of the fabric info but for some reason didn’t write it…
    The pack fabric is a light rip-stop, and different from the tents. It’s actually very tough, on the preproduction pack sample I had last year it never even got dirty, it was the lycra and mesh that took a beating. The production versions are much better made though, good packs.

    Talking of fabric. The Photon Elite floor is made of Lasercomp flysheet fabric…

  16. Steady there, DavidG, I’m not even into double figures yet!! ;O)

    There’s definitely an element to slowing down on shiny new gear acquisition though, when you recognise that some of the previous year or twos’ ‘best new kit launched’ isn’t actually getting out of the cupboard very often on account of already having too much choice!

  17. Will be good to see those sample tents when they come in !
    I think I am yet again in the market for a new tent after the performance (or lack of) the genius gave the other night.

  18. Choice is indeed a bucket of treacle at the front door.

    Here Phil, I forgot you were going oot, you should have been in a ‘comnp!

  19. I’m deeply disappointed that the Scutum is having a name-change for the UK market. I might even have bought a tent that means ‘large slightly curved rectangular shield’ just for the name.

  20. Would be great if you got a scutum for test, two man tent for a kilo or thereabouts,hmmm. CT tested their power odyssee,same tech i think ,makers max weight 2460, CT weight 2900 ,bit of difference. I shall watch this space.

  21. No shit!

    Although, I have been making progress in the middle section. I expect very soon not to be holding my stomach in for the photies.

  22. I was wondering if there is now more to say about the Vaude Scutum/Power Lizard UL? I could do with a roomy proper tent for one that weighs only about a kilo and packs this ridiculously small. However, for me and my stiff old bones the deal maker or breaker is ease of entry. I cannot get into a Laser with any easy anymore, and the same applies to the Akto. The larger interior size of this Power Lizard might help, but only if interior height is also better than the Laser or the Akto, and if the entry is a bit larger or more convenient. So far the Helsport Ringstind seems best, but at the price of a rather heavier weight.

  23. I never chased up the test sample Willem (too much kit too little time!), but I’m supposed to be getting one at some point, so it’ll be good to see if it lives up to expectations.
    I struggled to get in an out of a tiny tent at the weekend, so I have some sympathy.
    Size/weight it’s always a battle there.

  24. The tiny tent you used is indeed not what I am looking for, or anyone, I would guess from your experience. This Easter weekend I shall be camping with a few dozen cycling friends, and I will use the occasion to have another look for interesting tents. Unfortunately many cyclists carry too much, and like unnecesarily large tents. Some of my older friends have gone ultralight as a way to make up for decreasing strength, and it was they who warned me against the very smallest tents like the Laser or the Akto, two tents that I had set my eyes on. So I did indeed try to get into them, and it proved just too uncomfortable.

  25. One that might suit you is the Big Agnes Copper Spur. I tested it last year and bothy the access and space inside were about the best I’ve seen on a single-person tent, certainly more than the Vaude.
    The only down side for me was it’s shape in an exposed mountain-top pitch, apart from that it’s a winner.

    I’m finding comfort increasingly high on my list of priorities!

  26. Hi!Would you recommend the new Vaude Power Lizard over the Terra Nova Lasercomp?
    Tks, D

  27. I’ve still not chased up a test sample.

    I think because it’s Vaude it’ll be good, well made and easy to set up.
    I just need to spend a night in one!

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