Ropes that tell the belayer when they’re reaching the end, a biodegradable drinking bottle, an ultra-lightweight jacket and mountain trekking poles designed specifically for women were among award-winning products at the annual OutDoor exhibition.
Ten designs gained a gold award at the Friedrichshafen gear-fest, with 38 more picking up industry awards.
Two climbing rope manufacturers tackled a safety issue in slightly different ways.
Mammut’s 10.0 Sensor rope has hapatic, or touch-sensitive, as well as visual markings to warn both belayer and climber when they are coming to the middle or the end of the rope.
The jury of experts who chose the rope for a gold award said: “The end and middle of the Sensor single rope are different from the rest of the rope both visually and haptically.
“This provides better orientation for the belayer and prevents accidents when a climber is being lowered because the belayer can feel when the end of the rope is approaching.”
Edelrid’s approach to the same problem differs slightly in making each end, plus the middle of the rope thicker to give a hapatic feedback to belayer and climber.
The judges said: “The first and last 7m of the single rope have a thicker mantle or sheath and are 10 instead of 9.8 mm thick.
“This means that the belayer not only sees but also feels that the end of the rope is approaching when lowering a climber. This reduces the danger of lowering accidents significantly and also better protects the parts of the rope that are subjected to excessive stress from abrasion.”
Petzl’s Sirocco climbing helmet tips the scales at just 165g and also has a new magnetic buckle so the chin-strap can be fastened with one hand.
The jury said: “With the Sirocco, Petzl was able to reduce the weight of climbing helmets to a mere 165g. Absolutely amazing, and without any compromise in terms of ventilation or wearing comfort.”
Montbell’s Tachyon light and fast jacket weighs a mere 45g. While it won’t keep you dry other than in a light shower, it is a windbreaker and packs up to the size of an average chocolate bar.
The polychromeLAB fast forward hybrid jacket is made from three-layer material that is 84 per cent elastic and is waterproof to a hydrostatic head of 10,000mm.
With the black side on the outside, it is claimed to absorb 98 per cent of the UV rays; the silver lining on the inside reflects 28 per cent of the body heat and controls the wearer’s body temperature at the same time using a special membrane technology.
The company said this keeps the jacket dry even after strenuous physical exercise.
Judges said: “This jacket had us convinced with its hybrid approach: an extremely diverse piece of clothing that combines function, comfort, an intelligent choice of materials and high-quality workmanship with modern design and good looks.
“This makes it a product that is attractive to the constantly growing target groups of urban users who don’t participate in sports under extreme conditions but who perceive sports as part of their everyday lifestyles.”
Black Diamond’s Ultra Mountain FL W four-season trekking pole is designed specifically for women and combines sturdy construction, z-pole design and the new FlickLock Pro made of stainless steel. The length adjustment is adapted to average women’s heights and the wrist strap is ‘pleasantly soft’.
The jury’s verdict was: “The Ultra Mountain FL W is a trekking pole that can be easily folded up to be very compact and then expanded again in seconds.
“It is completely adjustable and exhibits high stability and light weight. The wrist strap is one of the most comfortable straps currently on the market. It can also be used while wearing gloves and looks stylish, too.”
The OA 33 50205 Biodegradable bottle by Portuguese company Discovery Sports has a 500ml capacity and under composting conditions, biodegrades within six months.
Jurors said: “This drinking bottle has very high environmental and sustainable value. It is made of non-fossil fuel, which protects valuable resources.
“In addition, it breaks down completely under composting conditions within six months. Its design is clean and simple. In this competition, it is the most convincing environmentally compatible product.”
Edelrid’s second gold prizewinning design is the Cable Vario, a via ferrata set that has a brake resistor that can be adjusted to the weight of the user.
SOTO’s Japanese-designed OD-1NP, Muka Stove is a hybrid petrol stove that needs no preheating. Judges said: “The Muka Stove is very easy to operate. Its design exhibits clean lines, is functional and reduced to the essentials.
“This perfect simplicity is immediately convincing. The manual valve, which automatically preheats the stove, is a special feature.”
Arc’teryx’s Covert ICO Case can be used traditionally as a suitcase, as a shoulder bag or as a backpack and offers 50 litres volume, weighs a mere 1,150g and is accepted as hand luggage for most intercontinental flights.
Judges said: “This case stands out by virtue of its good, clear-cut, simple design. It is very light, functional and practical. There are no unnecessary straps or eyelets, which results in quicker and easier handling.”
There were 322 entries, from which 48 prizewinners were chosen, with 10 gaining the gold accolade.
Among prizewinners were The North Face Verto Plasma approach shoe, which weigh just 410g.
The shoe is built specifically for alpinists, climbers and via ferrata hikers supporting heavy loads over uneven terrain. Constructed with proprietary Cradle technology, the Verto Plasma is engineered to provide revolutionary stability. Naturally absorbing impact, The North Face says the Cradle supports the perimeter of the heel, anatomically positioning underlying fatty tissues to give a biomechanically correct stride.
Berghaus’s MtnHaus designed Vapour Storm jacket also picked up an award at Friedrichshafen.
The company said: “The Vapour Storm jacket is the world’s first waterproof venting jacket and is Berghaus’ most ambitious multi-activity product ever.
“The design team has combined Gore-Tex Active with front, side and rear vents in a waterproof breathable jacket for fast paced outdoor activities. The jacket has been put through sustained lab and outdoor trials, with leading adventure racers using it to run, bike, trek and climb in eight countries.
David Heath, Berghaus vice-president of product and marketing, said: “The Vapour Storm jacket is possibly the most exciting MtnHaus product to date. It is a significant world first in its product category and we think that the innovation is exciting enough to warrant the patent that is pending.
“The team is delighted that the jacket has won an OutDoor Award – recognition of this sort from within the industry is a clear sign that we have good reason to be excited by the potential of the Vapour Storm jacket and the rest of the products in the new range.”