Outdoor activities appeal because they represent a counter trend to the hectic, fast pace of modern life. Touring the exhibition halls of the OutDoor trade show, which opens its doors on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 for four days makes one thing very clear: outdoor activities are wide ranging and mean much more than just hiking and mountaineering. 960 exhibitors from 40 countries show that climbing, trail running, canoeing, cycling, paragliding, bouldering, camping, backpacking, travelling and even the daily commute to work also inspire people to experience nature and push the industry forward.
Marmot has been setting benchmarks in the outdoor industry since the 1970s. It invented the 3-layer jacket, the functional hood, the pit zip, pioneered softshell design and remains legendary for its down products. For 2017, the American brand is presenting a comprehensive climbing collection. No surprise really, given the company’s history – its founders were climbers. Marmot’s team athletes, including climbing icon Stefan Glowacz are involved in product development and personally test new products in Frankenjura, Germany’s most famous climbing region and home to Marmot Europe. And at the end of the day, if you’re too tired to climb any more, the new Marmot sleeping bag collection is there to offer you a comfortable night’s sleep.
Sophisticated simplicity – that’s how you could describe Lightwave/Crux products. The company is a one-man show: Carol McDermott (mountaineer, designer, marketing- and sales manager, owner and managing director of Lightwave/ Crux). Carol McDermott is a New Zealander, the company is registered in England, he lives in France and his products are highly praised and used all over the world. Carol is not doing anything extraordinary – “we stick to conventional designs”, “that work best”, “we don’t follow trends – they are superficial and irrelevant”, “we only sell to niches – the mainstream doesn’t need my products.” Despite, or maybe because of this, his products are highly functional and always special, for example tents made of spinnaker sail fabric that is stronger than steel, fully waterproof climbing packs or equally waterproof down sleeping bags. Not for everyone, but niche products for specialists.
Unlimited freedom of movement is something we can only dream of. We are restricted by the limitations of our own bodies. Sometimes, the clothes we wear restrict our ability to move too. Swedish brand Houdini plans to put an end to this for good with its 2017 collection. To make this possible, Houdini Sportswear has gone back to the past. Working together with the Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Boras it has re-examined traditional handcrafted tailoring. The resulting Made to Move collection pairs these techniques with two-way stretch fabrics to offer clothing that does not pinch, rub or restrict. Feel good, feel comfortable, even during the most acrobatic moves. Houdini is also widely respected for its pioneering work in other areas. The brand is one of the leading proponents of sustainable apparel. It says, “Our goal is zero negative impact. Our timeline: as soon as possible.” It might just be the company with the greatest percentage of recycled material and recycled products in its collection – that covers all three layers from functional underwear via fleeces to membrane jackets.
Most people associate Dynafit with winter sports. The company is known for inventing the frameless ski-touring binding and high-quality functional clothing. But what do you do for the rest of the year when there is no snow? Dynafit’s answer: trail running. For a company whose natural home is Alps, this makes perfect sense. Trail running is one of the most important outdoor trends and is on display at the OutDoor in the new running village. Wherever you look, mountain races and ultras seem to be popping up like mushrooms. To provide trail runners with the right footwear and functional apparel, Dynafit offers a head-to-toe trail running collection. The new Alpine Pro shoe is a particular highlight. Using compact EVA, carbon and a unique rubber outsole developed exclusively for Dynafit, it weighs under 300 grams and gives dynamic performance on rugged trails.
Water filters are no new invention, yet the American company LifeStraw has revolutionised drinking when travelling. LifeStraw filters are small, lightweight, affordable and handy. The Lifestraw can even be used to drink from a puddle. How does it make this possible? The core component of the LifeStraw filter is its hollow fibre membranes that physically remove bacteria and microbiological contaminants from water. The advantages: it can be used immediately, is robust and requires no maintenance. In addition, for each LifeStraw product purchased, the company ensures that part of the purchase price flows into the “Follow the Liters” project. This has made it possible for schools in developing countries where there is little or no access to clean drinking water to receive large LifeStraw community water filters. The project started in Kenya in 2014 where 1,646 water filters were installed which provided 157,000 school children with clean drinking water. Since then over 360,000 school children in 630 schools in West Kenya have benefited from the “Follow the Liters” programme, which has now been expanded to India.
OutDoor 2016 is open to industry visitors only from Wednesday, July 13 to Saturday, July 16 (Wednesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).