Today is the first day of the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market and if you’re a Black Diamond sales representative for the Rockies, it can be pretty challenging…if not impossible, to meet with all your accounts and show them the line in between the unending amount of socializing, posturing, partying and down right full schedule at the actual trade show. Lucky for me, our Black Diamond rep lives close by and always give us a preview of what’s new a week or two before the show. That day was a couple weeks ago and here’s some of what’s coming from Black Diamond in summer 2010!
First off, you may have heard that BD has been working on a new line of backpacks focusing around the light and fast crowd. Well they are, and the big interest seems to be focused around the new reActive and ergoActive suspension systems labeled “Active Form Design”…because they are very trick. (Check out the tech…here) To begin with, both systems use what are called “Swing Arm” shoulder straps. These are unique in that the both shoulder straps are connected via a cable underneath the bottom of the pack. While that isn’t that big a deal, they are also allowed to move freely back and forth with your arms and shoulders, which greatly reduces pinching and pressure points when hiking. One thing to note is that there is a limit to the amount that the straps are allowed to move back and forth.
The bottom half of the suspension system also is allowed to move freely with your legs and hips via a pivot point attachment of the hip-belt to the rest of the pack. The feature is found only on the ergoActive packs (the reActive packs have a de-tuned low-tech version that also allows the hip-belt to move with the hips) and is also adjustable for different torso lengths. I got a chance to walk around a bit with about 40lbs of weight in the Infinity 60L, and I must say that it was very different to feel the hip-belt and shoulder straps move with my body. I can see how this could really help on the trail.
BD’s million dollar investment into a new hot forging machine
pays off with lighter, stronger and cheaper carabiners.
While a little less obvious, it must be noted that BD’s million dollar investment into a new hot-forging machine is starting to pay off with it’s carabiners. Hot-forging (as opposed to cold-forging…more or less just stamping shapes out of steel stock) allows for more intricate and precise shapes, which can be beneficial when trying to maximize strength while keeping weight down. The new Hotwire carabiner shows this with a 20% reduction in weight and like nearly all of Black Diamond’s carabiners next year, will cost less than they did this year. Thanks BD!!
Black Diamond Couloir Harness.
A little skimo stoke for your mid summer blues, BD will begin producing the Couloir Harness. A slightly pimped out version of the much sought after bikini bod harness that Andrew Mclean was rumored to have made (in low numbers) back in the day. The Couloir harness will have a full strength belay loop, gear loops and a haul loop. All while maintaining the ability to be put on while wearing your skis. I suspect this harness will become very popular with skiers, as it is very light, has all the features one could want, looks to be a bit more comfortable than some of the other ultra-light harnesses out there and most importantly…it looks strong!
Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp.
Continuing to push their lighting program, the Sprinter headlamp is the latest entry into the line up. The Sprinter is geared for the daily fitness buff or headlamp user, and comes with a lithium-ion reachable battery and recharger with global adapters. While it’s not intended to be the headlamp of choice when you’re going out for a week long backpacking trip, it is perfect for those nighttime trail runs or daily commute to, or from, work in the dark. The Sprinter throws light nearly 60m on it’s “high” setting, which puts it somewhere between the 1-watt Spot and the 1/2-watt Cosmo/Moxie headlamps also in the line.
Black Diamond Titan Lantern.
And if you thought Black Diamond was all about the backcountry, they will prove you wrong with the Titan. A bulked up and boosted up version of the Orbit and Apollo lanterns, the Titan uses 4 D-cell batteries to produce 250 lumens which will light up any car camper’s abode and cooking area with ease. Look for some of these products to be released this fall, while the rest will have to wait for 2010.