Walking poles, safety lights, climbing sacks, and other new year treats are on their way ...
We’re still digging out news from Friedrichshafen, the big outdoor trade show in Germany this summer where all of the big brands showcase next year’s gear. This week, it’s Petzl’s turn to fall under the spotlight, which is quite appropriate really, as Petzl are really rather good on lights …
Yes, it’s a headlamp that’s the keystone of Petzl’s innovations for next year – and for once it’s an innovation that won’t require you to put your hand too deep into your pocket. Never mind buying the latest down jackets, lightweight tents, and other costly bits and bobs, this is a new toy that retails for a mere – wait for it - £10. Yes, £10.
It’s called the Signal and it’s part of Petzl’s safety lighting range, along with the e+LITE emergency light. At a measly 22g it won’t break your back, and the main idea is to wear it as a flashing red safety light when you’re out running or biking at night – or just stumbling home from the pub after a day in the hills.
It’s water resistant down to 1m, just in case you get caught in a good old Yorkshire deluge on route, and it comes with an integrated clip and a detachable, adjustable strap. So, you can either wear it as it stands or else clip it to the back of a traditional headlamp strap, or even a helmet, bag, your arm, or anywhere else that’s nicely visible.
Petzl claim it can be seen from 1000 metres, although you might struggle to find a straight stretch of road that long in most of Britain’s upland areas.
And if you want to be in good company with your new Petzl Signal, you might like to know that Snowdon MRT are planning to put them on rucksacks and dogs so that if a member of the team puts a rucksack down in the dark – or indeed a dog – they won’t have to waste any time working out where they put it when they want to move on again.
Other upgrades on the headtorch front include a brighter LED in the Myo XP giving 50% more light than the current version and with a better battery life into the bargain – you can’t say fairer than that. Look out for it in the shops from February – March 2008.
Petzl Charlet Trekking Poles
Also new for 2008 is the brand’s first range of walking poles, called the Compact series.
It’s made up of three models. The Compact Standard, for the average punter, is made of aluminium, weighs 554g per pair and retails at £55. For a step up the market, there’s the Compact Plus which is made of an aluminium alloy, weighs in at a slightly lighter 504g per pair, and retails at £75. And if you’re off on a full-on expedition you might want the Compact Composit which is made of carbon fibre, weighs 426g per pair, and retails for £100.
All three are adjustable using a lever lock mechanism, rather than a twist mechanism, so there’s no danger of them slipping once you’ve adjusted them to the right length. That can be anywhere between 105 and 140cm, in case you were wondering.
There’s also some rather nice Sealskin-type grip on the Composite model, beneath the handle, which feels pretty good and, well, grippy.
As you’d expect from Petzl, there are a few upgrades to the climbers-only part of the range as well. One piece of news is that karabiners will be coming down in price from now on as they’re going to be made in France, rather than the USA. So, if your pockets are feeling a little empty at the start of next summer’s climbing season then don’t despair.
And while we’re on the theme of broke climbers, there’s a new climbing rucksack in the line-up for 2008 that retails for only £35. It’s called the Bug and it’s a simple, non-nonsense affair, but still with plenty of handy features. For example, the zip across the top is shorter than usual so your gear can’t fall out if you open it on a belay ledge. There’s also a handy pocket where you can stuff your guidebook and platypus. Sounds interesting for the not-so-well-heeled crag-lover.
There might also be a new self-locking belay device on the cards, although we didn’t tell you that, right?!
That’s about it for Petzl 2008 – look out for all the new gear in the shops from the new year onwards and as usual you can find full details of the current Petzl range on their website.