Back when it was actually winter and not comedic early spring, I popped over to Edinburgh to visit OTS North, the outdoor trade show. It used to be ROK and hosted at Ratho, now it’s a different name and a different venue, bit with lots of the same brands on display. It was good to catch up with some familiar faces I hadn’t seen for a while and talk about what’s coming up in the world of outdoor gear. Here’s a quick view of some of the highlights.
Wigwam socks are a staple here at ScoMo and rightly so. These guys know their stuff and their material choices are second to none. Coming soon is a new crew version of the Hiking Outdoor Pro. These are my go-to for 3 season use, they shift moisture away from the sole very effectively. For hot weather they have the Ultra cool lite crew pro, with Coolmax. It’s hard to get excited by socks, but this is good stuff. Get your feet sorted and life out there is a joy, get them wrong and your trip becomes a sufferfest. I’ll be reviewing these later in the year.
Next is Viking, a Norwegian brand. They have some interesting footwear, what caught my eye most was insulated wellies for my winter log chopping activities and the Anaconda trail shoe for my gadding about activites. It seems very light and the Boa fastening system is smart. They remind me of Salomon in terms of build, if they can manage Salomon comfort without the slippery sole units of death then that could be a big win.
From OMM, the creators of many great things, we have the Phantom 25CL pack which weighs the better part of FA. Obviously tailored for the mountain marathoner, but lets be honest that’s pretty much what we do, just not against the clock. That’s a lot of features for the weight.
From Yeti we have a crazy light down vest, the Cavoc. Really warm and super packable. I like this a lot for layer on spring camps.
Away from lightweight for a second, Eno the makers of hammocks lured me in with the comfiest camp chair I’ve ever tried, the Lounger DL.
At 2kg, I wouldn’t carry it up a mountain, but for car camping with the kids it’s excellent.
Next up is a brand I haven’t seen before Oriocx. Their trail shoes are definitely worth getting a look at. The Malmo is targeted at swim/run so has an excellent channel drainage system. In summer I wear trail shoes all the time and drainage is a key factor, I’ve just never thought of wearing stuff targetted at triathlons. Most interesting. The Sparta looks like it could give my Inov8s a run for their money too.
Si from Lyon was there with some very familiar brands. GSI Outdoors is one of my favourites. They make stuff that you don’t need, but you really want and is just cool AF. They tend to be decent on price too. I’m sure I’ve mentioned their Infinity Mug before, I love it. It’s these little things that can make all the difference in the fun factor.
The Bugaboo cup comes in purple and orange and weighs 52g for 12 quid. Why wasn’t I told of this?
Check our this array of fun. Any outdoor company that has a ‘Partyware’ section gets my vote. There’s a cheeky wee flask called the Boulder which is square cut with a silicone bumper. Fits beautifully into a slide pocket on a pack and is very suitable for dram transport. In orange too. Sold!
Petesy took an interest in the Glacier Stainless nesting wine glasses. Tired of your Malbec tasting faintly of plastic when camping? Mountain middle-class here we come.
From Exped we have some excellent camp slippers with synthetic insulation. They do a bootee too. These will be coming out to play with me soon.
Petzl are always of interest.The Ride axe is a ski touring axe at 240g, which I’ve seen before but on the right is the Gully, a proper technical axe at 280g. Seems worth a look for low grade mountaineering outings.
What also caught my eye was the modular Dart crampon, which seems like something we should have had before now. Instead of having multiple pairs of crampons, why not have one where you can swap the points out as you need to. One set of crampons that does it all? Smart. How about a crampon pouch that is sturdy but very light at 50g? Maybe time to retire that bulky crampon wrap I’ve been using for years.
Petzl lighting has always been innovative. They’ve standardised the Core approach across the range, so you can switch batteries around willy nilly and have more USB charge cables to lose in your house. The wee Bindi seems like a solid choice for the weight (35g and 200lm)and the modular approach is working here too, with a nice wee bike mount so you can multipurpose at the drop of a hat. Nice.
All in all a decent event with some interesting stuff to talk about and interesting people to talk to. I’ve even got some site visits organised now, so there will be more detailed gear news to follow.