Not sure if you’ve ever been before but the Neue Messe München exhibition centre in Munich is massive. Absolutely massive. Walking from one side of it to the other at ISPO can, at times, feel like you’re walking the length of a very big, very well sign-posted, country – a trek, let me tell you, that’s even more of a struggle if you’ve spent the previous night necking steins in a local beer hall.
While at ISPO 2019, in the brief moments between Mpora and Outdoors Magic‘s long bouts of walking, a load of our favourite brands took the time to show us their newest kit for 2019 and remind us of some previous favourites while they were at it (Paramo Velez Evolution Hybrid Smock, in the Cyan / Pumpkin / Rust colour set-up, we’re looking at you… *drool*).
OK. Who and what stood out? Well, The North Face‘s FutureLight technology looks very, very, exciting. It’s being touted as the world’s most advanced breathable-waterproof outerwear technology, potentially redefining the way we experience waterproof performance. After getting up close and personal with it, at an official TNF warehouse party no less, we can confirm that when there’s lights on behind it the clothing takes on a translucent quality; as if the actual jacket has died, and the one in front of you is but a ghost. Weird, exciting, and cool in equal measure – it’s dropping in Autumn 2019.
Also, big fans of the lovely aesthetic quality of the Torridon jacket from Sprayway. With retro styling that screams ‘Madchester 1990’, this is an update of the one your Dad wore on his hill-walks back in the day and promises to be a hit with hipsters and non-hipsters alike. Lovely stuff.
As a bunch of Filson fanboys, we very much enjoyed paying a visit to their stand (the brand were making their debut at ISPO). It was a great chance to catch up, see what’s in stock, and what the future looks like for them in 2019. Their down jacket, while not a new product, is a feast for the eyes and has more than enough chops to handle wintery strolls to your favourite countryside boozer. Fill power of 850, and with tough reinforcements on the shoulder, it’s the kind of jacket you put on and don’t want to take off. Somebody get me that log cabin in the middle of the American North West already.
Sidestepping away from the world of jackets and into the world of gloves, we were incredibly impressed by the Bitterblaze from Outdoor Research. On the market now, we tested them by picking up blocks of ice in a transparent box with a temperature set to, “Cor yeah. Bit nippy out,” -78c). With PrimaLoft Gold fill on the back of the hand and smart PrimaLoft Aerogel on the palm, it’s easy to see, especially after our ice touching experiment, how these would be seriously effective in a winter mountaineering context. Not hard to see why they picked up an ISPO Gold Award.
Lowe Alpine know what it takes to make a good pack and the Lowe Alpine Uprise, due for release in Autumn 2019, underlined that idea, then highlighted it, then constructed 23 big flashing neon arrows around it. A fast and light range of packs, the Uprise 30:40 and 40:50, with its stylish font on the side straight out of a Blade Runner film poster, has a stripped back appearance without skimping on the intelligent features. The roll top closure and, in particular, the clever wet / dry divider were two of our favourite things about it (apart from the Blade Runner font, of course).
It’s no secret that we’ve got a lot of love for Fjällräven on Mpora (personally speaking, I only reluctantly take off my Fjällräven Greenland jacket for weddings, and other formal occasions). Their stand at ISPO this year was another genuine treat. We liked all the kit we saw there but were particularly enamoured with the new collection of Singi backpacks. Available in a number of different forms, ranging from daypack to expedition size, the real selling point of these G1000 bags is their customisable nature. The packs come with loops on the front and sides that allow you to attach extra pockets. Bergshell waterproof fabric on the base will protect your kit when you put the bag down on wet ground.
Shoutout to 10 Trees, who make clothing and accessories from sustainable materials like hemp, organic cotton, recycled polyester, cork and coconut buttons. Not kit to climb the world’s highest mountains in but very stylish nonetheless. They’re looking to plant one billion trees by 2030. We also very much liked the experimental yet cool look of some of the Holden Outerwear stuff, and saw some great-looking sleeping bags that we’d not heard much about on the Grüezi and Patizon stands respectively.
For more on the show, have a look at the ISPO 2019 round-up on Outdoors Magic.