I spent the better part of half a day at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in July. Outdoor-focused retailers from all around the world displayed their soon-to-be-available products for retail buyers and media to drool over. While the show is certainly about much more than trail running the focus of this recap is on the trail running-focused products that caught my eye. If it’s not available already most of what you see below will be available for Spring 2018 (i.e., for sale starting in December 2017 – March/April 2018).
If I’m honest there was no company I was more excited to preview than Raidlight. This is because I’ve read a couple of reviews about the Responsiv 10L vest touting how wonderful this pack fits. Well, I got to see this pack up close and it looks pretty awesome. What I also learned is that Raidlight makes a really comprehensive line of apparel, shoes, and gear as well. Highlights included:
- Responsiv 10L: This pack appears to be the total package. 10L of storage in a mid 6oz package with fabric that is four-way stretchable. Add in the ability to make micro-adjustments from the Boa-styled enclosure on the fly and we might have a winner. Note: I also saw about 2-3 different demonstrations for pole-carrying options – very cool!
Raidlight Responsiv 10L (available now and to be updated in 2018 also)
- Both the Ultralight and Hyperlight jackets got my attention. Both, I believe, are fully waterproof and pack down really small. The Hyperlight in particular might be a winner as it is fully UTMB compliant (in terms of waterproofing and breathability specs) in a miniscule 90g (3.2oz) package.
Raidlight Ultralight Jacket
Raidlight Hyperlight Jacket – fully waterproof in just 90g!
- Compact poles. I’d have to check the official specs but I’m not sure there is a pole that breaks down any smaller than the Carbon Compact pole from Raidlight.
Raidlight Carbon Compact Pole
I spent a lot of time at Camelbak talking with two members of the marketing team about packs, waistbelts and handhelds. The two products I suspect trail and ultra-runners will be most excited about includes:
- Camelbak Nano Vest. Some smartly redesigned front pockets, as compared to the current Ultra Pro vest, plus a newly redesigned pole carrying design are the highlights here. Collapsible poles can be quickly stowed in the back with one under each elastic shoulder strap.
Camelbak Nano Vest (front) – similar to the Ultra Pro but with smartly redesigned right shoulder pocket
Camelbak Nano Vest (rear) – collapsible poles can be stored quickly on this vest
- Camelbak Nano Handheld. A nice, minimal option for hand-carrying softflasks.
Camelbak Nano Handheld
I could probably write an entire article on the new and updated products I saw on the way from Ultimate Direction. The big highlights here included:
- Signature Series v4. There is a fully updated men’s line of the Signature Series packs as well as, for the first time, a full line of women’s specific packs. Four options for men, three options for women – nice! We see some nice updates in the fourth iteration of these vests with lighter, more breathable materials used throughout including a new Comfort-Cinch system for on-the-fly adjustment of the fit. Smartly redesigned front pole carrying straps are the icing on the cake. Note: just yesterday I received samples of the new Jurek vest (the Ultra Vest) as well as the new Bakwin vest (the Adventure Vest) and I’ll be testing each over the coming months and report back once I have put adequate time in each.
Updates everywhere in the fourth iteration of the Signature Series vests. Pictured here is the updated Jurek (Ultra) vest.
The Comfort-Cinch system is the big feature Ultimate Direction is touting with these updated vests. The materials used are also lighter, softer, and more breathable throughout.
- UD has updated their Ultra Jacket, and added a pair of Ultra Pants. Additionally, UD is going to offer two additional jackets and pants are different price points and feature sets. The Deluge shell and pant will be a competitively-priced jacket and pant made for heavy rain while the Breeze Shell is a wind shell designed for maximum breathability. My go-to race and big training day emergency jacket has been the original Ultra Jacket so I’m particularly excited to see how well the new jacket(s) and pant(s) perform. Just like the original the updated version is UTMB-compliant.
- Other stuff. UD doesn’t make poles you say! Wrong – they do now! First up we’ll see a fixed-length carbon-pole in a larger diameter than most competitors. Buzz Burrell, the lead innovator and designer, talked me through why they went this route with the design and it all has to do with carbon strength. Increasing a pole’s diameter has a significant multiplier effect on the pole’s overall strength and rigidity so I got a quick lesson in physics here. Thanks Buzz! We will also see Skimo vests, an ultralight tarp, an ultralight bivy (FKTs anyone?), gaiters, and a slew of updated handhelds and belts.
Salomon continues to innovate and improve their products year-to-year. The updates we see for Spring 2018 are no exception to this trend.
- Salomon S-lab Sense Ultra 2 (300g; 8mm drop; $180). Big changes to the upper see new materials and design features. Very few changes to the midsole, drop, or outsole.
Salomon S-lab Sense Ultra 2
- Salomon XA Elevate (295g men, 255g women; 8mm drop; $130). A new shoe for Salomon. Similar to the currently available XA Enduro, sans gaiter, this should be a great option for more aggressive terrain.
Salomon XA Elevate – 1 of 2 men’s color options
Salomon XA Elevate – 1 of 2 women’s color options
- Salomon S-lab Speed 2. Utilizing the same hydrophobic upper material seen on the S-lab Sense Ultra 2 this was a sleek-looking shoe for wet and sloppy conditions.
Salomon S-lab Speed 2
- Salomon X-Alp 2. Updated version of Salomon’s alpine / mountain running hybrid shoe. Want to pretend like you are Kilian? Here you go.
Salomon X-Alp 2
The North Face:
The big news here is a line of shoes, jacket, and shorts with design support from Rob Krar. All three items will be impressively light with unique design choices.
- The North Face Flight RKT Shoe (ABCg men; ABCmm drop; $TBD). The lightest trail shoe The North Face has ever produced. We’ll see high levels of cushion with a really light and breathable upper.
The North Face Flight RKT Shoe
- The North Face Flight RKT Jacket and Shorts. The jacket appears to be a super light windbreaker with some built in cut outs to promote breathability. The shorts appear to be quite unique. I don’t yet know the exact material used but it’s supposed to be hydrophobic. Meaning that when they get wet they actually won’t stick to your legs. Excited to see if this help with breathability or if it’s just a gimmick.
The North Face Flight RKT Jacket and Shorts
The Best of the Rest:
Below is a compilation of everything else that caught my eye. Lots of great, new products coming our way in early 2018!
Altra DUO. An impressively light, and extremely wide, road shoe on the way from Altra with max levels of cushion.
Adidas Terrex Two Boa. Boa enclosure in a lighter package with a Continental rubber outsole. The white color is because they are using no dyes to minimize manufacturing waste.
La Sportiva Lycan. A model from La Sportiva with a more forgiving fit in a lighter package compared to the majority of their mountain running shoes.
More breathable merino / natural fiber combinations on the way from Icebreaker
Columbia Omni-Shade apparel. We’ll see a full line of apparel utilizing an extremely shiny fabric that is supposed to reflect the sun. It was definitely shiny!
Petzl Bindi. A headlamp designed specifically for running. 200 lumens in this tiny, little package.
Updated Black Diamond Z Poles. Everyone’s favorite collapsible poles have received an update.
Speaking of poles Leki has a fully updated line as well including carbon, collapsible options with adjustability.
Sleek looking new handheld from Hydrapak
A full line of Buffs including lots of new hat options. These looked great!
Questions, comments, or feedback on what you see above? Please share! And thanks for reading.
Note: Patagonia, Arc’Teryx, Hoka One One, New Balance, and a few other companies were not present so I don’t have any information yet on new products on the way from those companies.