A quick report from the Soltex Trade Show in Manchester including first pics of Gore's Comfort Mapping clothing plus kit from Icebreaker, Helly Hansen, MHW, Aku and Wild Roses.
We spent Monday at the Soltex trade show at the fabulous
G-Mex centre in Manchester. It was mainly full of snow sports stands
and weird-looking folk in very baggy trousers, but there were a few
outdoor companies braving the chills of Manchester, so here's a quick
report on what we found...
The nice people from Icebreaker were there with their latest
merino wool clothing. To be honest, the material's pretty much as
you'd expect - pure merino wool - in different weights, but they have
some nice new colours and styles due out later this year.
This includes some neat, patterned prints aimed at the women's
market and lots of stripes. The rather lovely Coronet - a mid-layer
merino with neat styling stripes - is joined by the Pinnacle,
which has similar stripes, but plain shoulders and normal cuffs
rather than thumb-looped ones - see below:
There's also a plainer top, The Tornado, in the same weight of
fabric and a more seriously techy top which really caught our eye.
The Ignition Zip uses stretchy Eyelet side panels - still 100
per-cent merino, the stretch is in the knit - along with a drop tail.
It all looks very nice as does the range of hats which is out now.
We also got a sneak preview of the autumn/winter 06 MHW kit. It's
the stuff that'll be out late this year, but there were a coupe of
interesting bits and bobs we thought you might like to know
The GTX 2.5 Jacket takes the membrane and accompanying grey
scrim from Gore-Tex Paclite and laminates it onto a tougher more
durable face fabric, which should create a material that combines
decent moisture handling with greater toughness.
also has a lining of PimpChimp lightweight fleece at shoulders and
middle back which is attached only at the edges to minimise the
effect of glue on breathability. Looks interesting and will retail
There's a new G50 softshell, which is effectively the
technical-looking Synchro, but minus the taping, so it's highly water
resistant, but not waterproof, but more affordable at £130.
Of the kit which is appearing in the shops now, the most
interesting stuff looks like being the new Offwidth Jacket -
right. It's very similar to the Velocity Jacket, which we like a
lot, but uses an own-brand fabric instead of Schoeller. That makes it
a lot cheaper at £100, but it should still give good wind and
water resistance with excellent breathability for fast movers.
Check out the new Cordillera Pant too. It has a seamless,
chamois-lined conical waist, like the old Pack Pant, but uses a
lightweight fabric with four-way stretch and looks a bit more modern
with it - should make a good, all-round mountain walking pant we
HH team have been busy too. They've very excited about a new
waterproof softshell with welded seams, but more interesting, we
reckon, is a new version of their Lifa baselayer due out next
It's an interesting one, using a new version of their
polypropylene fabric, but with hollow fibres to trap more air,
apparently it's based on polar bear fur. Then the Thermic Tube
Technology (T3) is combined with merino wool for additional
insulation. The T3 is on the inside and the merino outside with the
ratio being 38/62 between the two, that's more merino than
Feels nice and soft plus we have some to try so we'll report back
later in the year.
Wild Roses and Gore
Wild Roses is a women's-specific brand that you'll hopefully be
seeing a bit more of in the shops this year. The company makes kit
purely for women right across a range of outdoors sports from full-on
mountaineering through to more leisure-orientated stuff. The idea is
kit that works well and also looks good.
Their stand was also the first place we've seen any of the new
Gore-Tex Comfort Mapping kit in the flesh in the form of the
Body Mapping Jacket and Pant. Body Mapping aims to combine different
Gore-Tex fabrics to suit the demans of different areas of the
In the case of the Wild Roses jacket, that means a mix of Gore-Tex
3-layer XCR with XCR stretch and 3L Softshell. The latter seems to
use small squares of a microfleece-like material laminated onto the
lining of the garment, presumably to provide insulation in those
areas. Anyway, here's what it looks like... More details of the
comfort-mapping stuff next month.
This is the Zenith boot which kind of caught our eye. It's
available in Gore-Tex and plain vanilla, non-Gore-Tex versions and
looks like a really nice allround walking boot at a very light
claimed 1350 grammes or so per pair. Nice low profile too thanks to
the Aku internal mid-sole system which effectively reduces the
thickness of the sole unit by putting the hard lasting board under
the EVA cushioning instead of above it. Out now.
Congratulations to Aku as well for winning a Soltex award for
their full-on mountaineering boot The Spider due out next winter.
We've been using a pair and they combine incredibly light weight with
great comfort and performance. More about them soon.
Discuss this story