Interesting stirrings north of the border as Force Ten reveal some neat new kit that's coming your way in 2005.
The other week we popped up to sunny Glasgae for an early look at
what's coming your way for 2005 from the mighty AMG collective -
that's Vango, its top-end off shoot Force Ten, Teva and family tent
AMG asked us to wait a bit before publication, but now we can
reveal all, or at least the more interesting new stuff, because
believe us, the sheer scale of the Vango / Force Ten range has to be
seen to be believed.
So anyway, on with the show, here's what's coming your way from
Force Ten in 2005. More soon.
Force Ten Packs
Just in case you've not noticed, Force Ten, once a range of tough,
traditional and usually orange, mountain tents, is now a brand in its
own right. It's touted as bombproof mountain kit, that may not always
be the lightest thing out there, but gets the job done.
The AMG guys are proud, for example, that Alan Hinkes used a Force
Ten tent on Dhaulagiri earlier this year and there's something
resolutely Scottish about the whole brand. Quite no-nonsense, just
like the old tents in fact. Or that's the idea.
We told you about two new waterproof packs from Berghaus a couple
of months ago, but they're not the only ones to grab hold of the
idea. Vango now has its own waterproof packs.
Normally all packs will leak in heavy rain because the seams
aren't sealed, but Vango has tackled the problem by using
ultra-sonically welded seams, a roll-top waterproof opening up top
and, in the case of the two big packs to get the treatment, a totally
waterproof zip opening to the lower compartment using a genuine, and
very expensive, immersion dry-suit zip.
The top of the range Expedition
70+10 is, as you might have guessed, a great, big
no-nonsense expedition pack and it's backed up by a smaller 60 + 10
version, which uses the same design. It's an impressive thing to look
at using the latest, swank, diamond rip-stop fabrics, an adjustable
back system complete with air mesh and a 3D hip-belt.
Not the lightest packs in the world at 2.6 and 2.5 kilos
respectively and not cheap at aorund £180 and £160, so
they'd better be good. You're paying around a 50 per-cent premium for
the waterproofing says AMG, a fair bit of that is the dry-suit zip
which costs around 35 quid on its own...
waterproof technology also gets an outing at the smaller end of
things with the welded construction popping up in the neat little
Hydro Plus - right -
hydration packs in 10 and 15-litre sizes. These seem pretty well
specced for small packs with the welded construction backed up with
heavy duty PVC base material, air mesh lined harness and belt and a
water-resistant zip entry to the main compartment.
Should go down well with moutain bikers and fast-moving walkers /
runners who like to keep their kit dry.
New Alpine Packs
Alongside the waterproof stuff, there's also a new range of alpine
packs that look really, really neat - particularly alongside the
slightly barrel-like Expedition items. Dubbed the Couloir - a
good alpine name if ever we've heard one - they comes in three sizes,
30+8, 40+8 and 50+10 and is aimed at providing no-nonsense alpine
You get an adjustable back system, which isn't always the case
with mid-sized packs, plus standard issue compression straps, ice aze
loops, daisy chains, so you can pick daisies, expansion side pockets
and even a detachable waterproof cover. Weights are between 1.7 and
2.0 kilos and the emphasis is on durability. Prices are £60,
£70 and £80 respectively and they look like good,
Force Ten Tents
As with the packs, Force Ten puts the emphasis on no-nonsense
toughness and emphasises that their designs are tested in a
wind-tunnel to make sure they stand up to the worst conditions.
The robust, but slightly weighty geodesics - Vortex, Spindrift,
Ascent and so on - soldier on for another season in the snow, but
there are a few interesting new models coming our way. Joining the
four-pole geodesic team is the new
Baltoro. Priced at £280 it
shares the same top kwoll DAC alloy poles and Hytex SPU-Xtreme nylon.
It's not quite as full-on as the Vortex or Spindrift and lacks the
Fly-Support-System add on triangulated pole supports, but looks like
it'll be a good all conditions UK tent in the Quasar way of
New Lighter Tunnel
Also new is the Serac Light a
development of the existing Serac tunnel tent, but withou t its great
big porch which means it loses a pole along with nine kilos of weight
producing a tough-looking two man tunnel with a claimed minimum
weight of 2.1 kilos. That should put it into the ring with the likes
of Macpac's Minaret and other tough tunnels. And at £250, it's
And Even Lighter...
One for the weight watchers and adventure race crowd, the new
Vitesse is a two-person tent
weighing just 1.3 kilos. When we say tent, perhaps 'shelter' would be
a better word. It's a single-skinned beastie that rather cunningly
uses a pair of trekking poles in lieu of proper tent poles. You get a
ground sheet and taped seams, but it's definitely utility over
comfort. Price is £120.
The high quality down bags - Proton,
Neutron and Electron - roll over into 2005 using 95/5
white goose down with a 700 plus fill power, the super lightweight
Pertex Quantum fabric and trapezoidal baffles.
For next year, the hood design's been modified with a cunning dual
thickness cord arrangement so you can work out which one you're
tightening in the dark. They're different colours too. Not cheap, but
an impressive spec and well worth a look if you're after a top
quality sleeping bag. Force Ten emphasises that all its bags are lab
tested in France to ensure that the temperature ratings given are
Brand new to the range are a new
X-Wave synthetic bags, four of
them, using a mix of hollowfibre and anti-microbial, silver -based
X-Static insulation with an advanced shingle construction removing
any thin spots and overlapping the filling in crucial areas. Ratings
go from two-season to four-season with the top-end 550 model being
good down to a nippy -24 C in extreme circumstances.
Prices range from £70 to £130 and again they look like a
good bet in their class.
The kit described here will be available early next year in most
cases, however you can find information about Force Ten's current
range at their web