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Less is more - go lightweight

More and more outdoor companies are offering ultra-light apparel and equipment

Friedrichshafen - As everyone travelling with a backpack and sleeping bag knows, the less weight you have to carry, the better. Minimum weight, but maximum robustness for four-season use - this is the motivation behind many of the new products being showcased at the OutDoor trade show in Friedrichshafen from July 10 to 13, 2014.

"If you plan to go high, you pack light,” - accepted advice for mountaineers planning a big ascent. However, lightweight apparel and equipment offers real benefits for all climbers and hikers, not just professional alpinists on expedition. Large numbers of outdoor manufacturers now adhere to the maxim that "less is more” and have developed entire collections with this in mind.

Take for example, Deuter’s Air Contact Lites (ACT Lites). Weighing from 1450 to 1580 grams, these backpacks have a capacity between 35 and 50 litres. This makes them some of the lightest, robust trekking packs on offer and yet they still provide plenty of storage space. The sporty, slim-design Silhouette is a new addition to the collection. It’s based on a tried-and-tested carry system that can be quickly adjusted for optimal positioning. Special ventilating material at the back creates a pump effect that circulates air through the contact system. Additionally, the height-adjustable lid pocket allows volume to be increased by up to ten litres.

When it comes to sleeping bags and camping mats, pack size and pack weight can make all the difference on a multi-day trip. The Swiss company Exped will be turning heads at the OutDoor with its bright orange, ultra-light, fibre-filled inflatable mat - the Synmat Hyperlite weighs in at just 330 grams (180 cm length). The intelligent chamber design ensures optimal insulation and great comfort. In addition, its contour shape guarantees a minimum pack size. Haglöfs from Sweden are introducing their new mummy-shape L.I.M. Down and L.I.M. Synthetic sleeping bags. Both models offer unparalleled warmth-to-weight performance, are designed for temperatures down to -13 degrees and have a minimal pack size to fit in any backpack.

"Go lightweight” - this motto applies from head to foot when it comes to mountain sports. The lightest item of clothing ever produced by Haglöfs is the L.I.M. Wind Pull. This new windproof top weighs just 65 grams and yet is extremely robust. Ideal for when conditions worsen and temperatures drop.

Light enough for the summer and yet suitable for four-season use, that’s the idea behind the new Croz 3L Jacket from German outdoor expert Vaude. The active-stretch, 3-layer alpine jacket weighing around 300 grams has a technical polyamide face fabric that is robust and also - thanks to its PTFE-free Ceplex membrane - 100 per cent waterproof and windproof. "The highly breathable membrane and venting zips ensure a pleasant wear climate,” says Benedikt Tröster from the press department. And it has large, raised front pockets that can accommodate a map or cap and remain easily accessible when carrying a pack. The Croz 3L comes in fresh colours and is available in both a men’s and a women’s version.

The classic black, featherlight Essence Pants made by American manufacturer Marmot would make the ideal accompanying leg wear. Similar to the dense skin of the company’s namesake, the NanoProTM technology provides reliable protection in the event of a deluge and excellent breathability. Further details include articulated knees and the ankle zips. "The Essence Pants weigh only 142 grams,” says Marmot PR Manager Sarah Seeger.

Swedish company Houdini is setting trends with its new stretch T-shirts. Both the women’s Swifty Tee and men’s Vapor Tee are made of a super-lightweight, fully recyclable polyester mix fabric. Weighing 74 and 106 grams, these short-sleeved T-shirts feel like a second skin. Extra-flat seams and tiny venting holes in the surface guarantee superb wear comfort. They come in contemporary colours suitable for everyday use and with reflective logos for additional visibility at night.

Underwear is probably the most important item of functional clothing there is. With its Revolution Technical Silk x-light, Swiss company Odlo is setting a new benchmark. The innovative fabric combines polyester fibres with fine silk. "This hybrid fabric is fast drying, extra-light, has a soft hand and is also remains pleasantly cool in warmer temperatures,” explains Junior PR Manager Stefanie Waltenspül. The women’s models have lace detailing that also provides additional ventilation.

Anyone out and about in mountain boots knows just how good it is to slip on light and airy footwear after a day in the mountains. US manufacturer Keen has now developed a sandal unlike anything seen before - the Uneek. "It has a two cords and a sole that combine lightweight with fit, function and style,” explains press speaker Sabine von der Heyde. The new design provides good grip and safety and also makes the Uneek a real eye catcher. And weighing just 290 grams, it is guaranteed to fit in every backpack. It would seem that less really is more.

The OutDoor 2014 will be open to industry visitors only from Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 July (Thursday to Saturday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday from
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). For more information, please visit: www.outdoor-show.com.

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