Tent evolution and lightweight down clothing from Crux and Lightwave next year.
It's always good to catch up with Carol McDermott, the no-nonsense fella - yes, he's a bloke - behind small but perfectly formed UK brands Crux and Lightwave, not least because he's living proof that you don't need to be a global giant to produce innovative, well thought out kit.
Witness this year at Friedrichshafen where he launched what he reckons will be the first single-skin mountain tent to deal effectively with the condensation issues associated with such designs along with some seriously lightweight micro-baffled down, both from the Crux brand.
Crux X1 Tent
Singleskin tents have always had one big drawback, condensation, but the new Crux X1, says McDermott, gets around these by using a single layer of waterproof fabric, which has an internal coating containing activated carbon particles, which massively increase the effective surface area available to absorb and transmit moisture vapour.
No more warm air meets cold outer and creates instant dripping is the promise. It absorbs water he says, and still remains breathable at the same time. The advantage isn't so much light weight as simplicity of pitching and design.
There are three versions: the X1 Raid, a Bibler-style, crossed two-pole mountain bivouac tent with external poles sleeves and 8.6mm Yunan Ultralite aluminium poles. Weight is around 1500g for a two-person unit and price is expected to come in at around £299.
The X1 Strike is a roomier design using a third pole to increase internal volume at th expense of a little added weight. The two main poles are external, while the third is an internal brace held in place by Velcro ties. Weight is around 1750g, price around £349.
Finally the X1 Assault is basically a Strike but with an added porch - that's it in the photos from the show - and because the porch is made from ultra-lightweight Cuben fabric, there's relatively little extra weight for the added storage, just 200g or so for an overall weight of 1,950g and a price of £499.
All three tents have a tie-in loop in the roof of the tent to allow occupants to stay clipped into anchors while inside the tent.
Specialist stuff for sure, but if the fabric - developed originally for clothing use - works as well as McDermott reckons, the combination of lightish weight, simplicity, strength and the absence of condensation could make for an excellent high mountain tent.
Other New Crux Tents
Alongside the innovative X1 tents, there's also a revived X2 Bomb, basically an X2 Storm geodesic with an extended porch with some tweaks to the door lay-out. There are now two side doors rather than a single front opening. There are also now continuous pole sleeves and adjustable front and rear pegging points. Weight is a very reasonable 3,350g and price around £699.
Finally, the X3 Bunker is a wider version of the X2 Storm with a second vestibule at the rear of the tent. It's marked out by having an additional fifth pole in its main geodesic structure, which Crux says makes it significantly stronger than the competition. It sleeps three people comfortably, has a large front porch for storage and cooking use and considering its size is improbably light at 3600g. Price will be around £799.
The other noteworthy kit from Crux is a mini-collection of lightweight micro-baffled down. There's nothing particularly radical about lightweight down jackets, but the Crux ones use 900 fill power down for ultimate warmth to weight ration and loft. There are four weights of jackets in the range - around now - with the Pico tipping the scales at just 170g with 70g of that being fill. Bonkers...
All the new tentage due out in spring 2013, the down stuff is around now. More info at www.crux.uk.com.