Swesport 2011 gear news

Swesport is the trade fair for the swedish sports and outdoor business. It's mostly about gear and wear for the next winter, but we found some nuggets for lightweight backpacking too.

By Martin Nordesjö

OR Transcendent Beanie. Some people look good in any headwear. Some don't.
Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Beanie
I've had seagulls land better looking things on my head, but this one might be really useful. 650 cuin down, packs down to the size of a... compressed down beanie, and the weight is probably negligible. Around 30 euro.

OR Versaliner, hiding a nice shell glove.
OR Versaliner Glove
Another creative product from OR is the Versaliner glove. It's a smooth fleece glove with a small zipper, hiding a lightweight shell glove in Pertex Shield DS. For summer use, the shell glove is probably enough. But like many other finger gloves with waterproof fabric, the seams are not taped. The overall weight is around 80-90 grams - about the same as a pair of windstopper fleece gloves.

Woolpower LITE crewneck on Sales Manager Christian.
Woolpower LITE
At Woolpower we finally had the chance to take a closer look at their new Lite series of wool underwear. They have invested a lot into this step into lighter and cooler garments (compared to their classic Ullfrotté). The best thing, apart from them being manufactured in Östersund, is that they will be more durable than pure merino wool since they contain 20 % polyamide (that's still distinctly within the odour-safety limit). They will also be cheaper than clothing from for example Icebreaker and Smartwool. Unfortunately they will only come in black, which can be a bit too hot in the summer.

Merrell Trail Glove to the right. Softshell version to the left.
Merell Barefoot Fall/Winter 2011
I came to Swesport to see Merell's take on the barefoot/minimalistic trend, the Glove series coming this spring. As an added treat they showed us the second edition. Nothing revolutionary for us lightpackers (I like the all black Trail Glove, though), but models with softshell and Gore-tex will maybe make good shoes for everyday use.

New Balance Minimus Trail. (Might be fall 2011 colours.)
New Balance Minimus Trail
The minimalistic outdoor shoe I look forward most to try is probably New Balance Minimus Trail. It looks like it's made for exactly our kind of terrain use. Hopefully we will be able to test some of these shoes in the coming season.

ME Arete. Just another down sweater, but maybe less expensive.
Mountain Equipment Arete pullover
No sportswear company came to Swesport without a lightweight insulated jacket this year. One of the most interesting was Mountain Equipment, who had a half zip version of the Arete. It's a down sweater with a price tag considerably below many competitors (around 170-180 euro). The weight is around 350 gram.

Another premier for me was Gore Active Shell. I tried a jacket on at Mammut, and it was definitely softer and more comfortable against the skin than my Paclite jacket. Active Shell could actually make a wind jacket redundant. But you will probably not save any money.


  1. I'm with you on the Minimus Trail shoe, looking forward to them coming out. I've tried on some New Balance running shoes recently and find their heel cup more comfortable than my current favourites, Inov8 330s.

  2. Yeps, those NB Minimus trailshoes look fine. I like NB shoes, they're pretty comfortable with good grip.

  3. Let's just hope that the material on the upper isn't a sponge.

    Another nice thing with New Balance (and Merrell) is that they probably will reach more "normal" stores than for example Inov-8 and Vivobarefoot. Given that the importers and retailers see the potential...

  4. I saw the down beanie at BPLs report from Outdoor REtail in the US. Did not know it was this close to being available. Black would be pretty cool, would it not?
    'Michelin head'...

  5. Swesport is a miniature Outdoor Retail Winter Market, so the Transcendent Beanie will not be available until fall 2011.

    I think I saw a black one too :)


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