Gear: Looking Forward This Year?

So, the New Year has well and truly begun. What gear innovations can we look forward to in 2013?

Gore Tex will be launching a new fabric this year (actually it is already in use by a couple of high end manufacturers but simply not branded). Outdoor industry people suggest that this fabric may be as much as 30% higher than its predecessor which should see a rap hike in costs. This seems a rather strange tactic and a couple of industry insiders have openly questioned whether Gore have lost it! No doubt, this will be launched with a free blogger trip to a Bavarian forest! It will be interesting to see how this story develops.

Polartec Neo Stretch  could be the fabric to benefit. Those who have tried this fabric have nothing but praise for it. Polartec may be a company that is big enough to take on Gore’s attempts to restrict their customers from using any other shell fabric. Currently the Neo Stretch jackets on the market are a little on the heavy side for me to give up on eVent. However, Rab will be joining Westcomb in producing a jacket that comes in at 350-400 grams although you’ll have to wait until the autumn for this to hit the shops. it will be interesting to see how the Neo Stretch market develops.

Jack Wolfskin are rumoured to be launching a super lightweight range this year. I’ve been impressed with them during the last twelve months. I’m told by those in the know that this German based company now has the institutional investment and financial backing to really make a big impact in a number of fields. A company to watch I think.

Industry Trends will continue to fascinate (well me at least).  Mike Parsons’ innov-ex conference (Lancaster University) seems to be set to deal with the big issues that have featured in discussion hee during 2012. Can we expect to see a shift away from the Chinese Manufacturing model to the benefit of both consumer and manufacturer?  I hope to wrangle a place at the conference and to cover it for the Outdoors Station. Watch this space!


No doubt there is much that I have missed. What are you expecting or looking forward to this year?


  1. I’m wondering what Hilleberg’s response to other manufacturers’ lightweight 1-man tents might be. The likes of Terra Nova and Vaude must have surely shook them up a bit in recent years. I had a chat with a well known retailer and he said the Hilleberg rep said that Hilleberg could produce a lighter weigh tent but refuse to compromise on their principles. Money talks though.. So lets wait and see. For tough conditions the Akto is still great, but there are so many other options for lightweight shelters now. Maybe a trimmed down design using their new Kerlon 1000 fabric is in the pipeline?

    • Jay, I’ve been told that a lighter weight Akto is in the pipeline but I’m not see whether I believe that or not!

  2. Mango Terrier says:

    I’ve always reckoned Jack Wolfskin product, ever since Master bought a JW Verdun pack sixteen years ago which saw great service on the Southern Upland Trail, GR11, GR20, three TGO Challenges and – on the backs of others – Patagonia and Alaska. Carried 15kg comfortably. He still uses a small JW day-sack – first put into service for a bimble up the WHW back in ’97. Have also used their mid and outer-layers – very well finished, tough and durable. Mainstream, but excellent!

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