Looking toward spring 2013, Arc’Teryx will continue to develop some of the best-performing products in the outdoor industry. And while their price points are some of the highest, our experience with their line has proven that you’re buying a jacket, pack, or a lifestyle piece that’ll last a lifetime, not just a season. Here are a few things that have us excited.
The bag line will expand next spring to include a variety of travel packs, which will appear in three sizes, from carry-on to checkable. The duffle-style Covert line will be made of 500D Cordura and a burly double weave for solid weather resistance, and come with stashable shoulder straps, strategically-placed grab handles, and light-colored inner lining to help you find what you need quickly. Meanwhile, the new Haku Rope Pack is destined to become a climber’s favorite crag accessory. The medium-sized shoulder pack incorporates a massive tarp at the bag’s mouth. When you’re ready to haul your rope to the next crag or hike out for the day, you spread out the tarp, dump the rope on it, pick up the tarp by the corners, lift, shake, and—viola—the rope drops into the bottom of the pack. Then you just fold in the tarp, roll the bag closed like a dry bag, and you’re ready to go. No more stuffing and jamming to fit everything in. (We also think it may offer great last-minute travel packing solutions for the less OCD-inclined.) On the backcountry side, the newly designed Aristo packs look interesting; they incorporate “wingman” side pockets at both sides of the pack base for easy, on-the-go access, which lets the pack ride against the lumbar for on-the-trail comfort.
On the apparel side, they’ll playing with a mixture of fabrics, employing patches of Gore-Tex Pro and Paclite in the Theta SL Hybrid Jacket for targeted, on-the-body performance, and mixing up cotton and poly in their 24 lifestyle line. We also love what we saw of the women’s Codetta (pictured), a three-quarter-length hooded jacket made from Gore-Tex, with a hem vent and fashion-forward storm flap over the zipper. This urban, travel-friendly jacket will run for $369.
Klymit—one of the more innovative sleeping pad makers on the market—has partnered with Ultralight Adventure Equipment to make a backpack that uses an inflatable frame sheet, rather than standard plastic or aluminum, in a strategic effort to cut down on pack weight. Weighing in at 40 ounces, the air X is made from 210 ripstop nylon and boasts 4,600 cubic inches of storage space with a max load of 40 pounds. The quick-drying pad is removable and can perform double duty as a camp seat or pillow. The flexible pad allows the bag to perfectly contour to the natural curve of your spine, but we suspect back venting/breathability will be an issue. We’ll let you know as we test it out. The pad (also sold separately) will also be compatible with packs from Granite Gear and Gossamer Gear.
www.ospreypacks.com, 2 pounds, 3 ounces
When backpacking, comfort is king—and comfort often comes down to two things: weight and fit. And the Exos 34 wears the crown as one of the best packs on the market. The innovative trampoline back plays a big part in this regal distinction. It employs twin support poles that run on either side of the pack, creating a massive gap of air between the pack and your back. As a result the thing breathes better than a marathon runner, adds a bit of bounce to the overall feel, and won’t chaff if you happen to load the pack over the bag’s recommended capacity. The pack’s featherweight two pound, three ounces belies its 2,197 cubic inches of storage (in its largest of three sizes)—space enough to top-load gear for a long weekend, or even a full week or more if you’re a frugal packer. The Exos also has enough add-ons to satiate the most OCD trekker, including an easy-to-use anchor for your trekking poles, compression side straps that can customize to your needs, a detachable top pocket, easy-access external side zippers to the bag interior, sleeping bag straps, and agronomic, no-pinch sternum and waist straps. The lack of other distractions typical to backpacking (burdensome weight, pinching straps, awkward fit) are forgotten while wearing the Exos, so you’ll also notice other details, like the sewn-in hydration sleeve, zip pockets at the waist for easy access to your camera, external storage options for ice tools, and a generous, stretchy external kangaroo pouch. One die-hard ultralight-obsessed tester (the kind of guy who makes his stove out of cat food cans and saws off the handle of his toothbrush to save a few ounces) was shocked that a frame-constructed pack could be so light, so versatile. The rest of us are just happy this pack exists.