As well as sneaking round the Cycle Show on build day trying to get a scoop, we split up in true Scooby Doo fashion today and sent Dave over to Kenilworth on his pushbike to have a gander at the Outdoor Trade Show taking place at Stoneleigh Park. He reported back that it was the last day and they were selling off muffins at a pound a go, but he also saw some interesting outdoorsy stuff. Here it is:
Brunton's new Solaris 4 solar charger certainly isn't cheap at £170, but it's a very interesting piece of kit. Portable solar chargers have been around for ages of course, but most of them are based on glass panels which are easy to break. Brunton's new technology is a solar panel that's flexible and mounted on a fabric base. It's far less easy to damage and gives an output similar to traditional units. There's an eyelet in each corner so you attach a bungee and sling it over your panniers to charge your gear as you go. There's a two-panel version avalable too.
Brunton also do a range of robust-looking backup batteries; this one will charge your iPhone twice over and costs £50. There's bigger ones in the range too if you like to take your laptop touring...
This was the first opportunity we've had to look at Silva's new bike lights first hand, and they look pretty good. The 1,000 lumen Singletrack light is aimed mostly at mountain bikers and packs out a hefty punch from a super bright central LED and four additional lamps. The light is up/down adjustable on the fly and there's bar and helmet mounts available, as well as a head harness if you're biking at night to your caving class.
The Velo looks like it'll be a good all-purpose town light with enough reach to navigate the unlit lanes too, and the Simi emergency light is a nice looking unit.
Silva weren't the only outdoor light manufacturers showing off a bike light; Petzl had their 530-lumen Ultra on display replete with handlebar and helmet mounts, although compared to the Silva it looked a bit bulky for the output. Again, it can also be head mounted.
Nite Ize had an interesting range of emergency lights. A couple them looked to be inspired by the Cateye Loop light and Orbit light, but talking to Ian from Nite Ize revelead that the reason for this is that Nite Ize actually make those units for Cateye. The Bikelit, which hangs from the saddle rails, was an interesting unit, as was the bike bug pictured above which features four flexible arms for a variety of mounting options.
If you're touring and you've got a shedload of gear to pack into your panniers, wouldn't it be great to be able to use one of those vacuum bags they advertise on QVC? You know, the ones that you suck all the air out of with a Hoover to save space. Well now you can, sort of. The Vac Ring will attach to any airtight bag, and if you're not within reach of a vacuum cleaner you can use a simple hand pump to reduce your payload. The ring itself costs about £13 and the pump is a fiver.
Titanium's everywhere; now you can get some Ti pans to match your Ti tourer, thanks to Primus. They're super light, of course, and available in 0.6l and 1l sizes. The 1l one costs £50. Also on display was Primus' top dollar Titanium dual fuel stove that'll run on gas cannisters or practically any liquid fuel. You'll need £175 for that one, but it's a lovely looking thing.
The Geigerigg hydration system was a double award winner at the show. It features a twin chamber bladder – one for water and one for air – and you can pump up the air section to pressurise the system; pressing the bite valve sends the water out in a jet. Why would you want to do that?
Well, it saves you sucking for a start, and if you want to share water with your mates it's a bit more hygenic as you don't need to bit the valve. You can give your dog a drink with it too, or wash out a wound... even have a shower, if you're patient.
On top of that there's an inline charcoal filter available so you can fill the bladder with river water, pressurise the bag and force the water through the filter to purify it. Great if you're in the middle of nowhere with limited access to clean water sources.
Whilst we're on the subject of hydration, Irish firm Contigo also had a nice looking bottle at the show, with an internal straw for upright drinking. The cap has a single handed operation: click the button to release the drink spout and you can push it back in for safe keeping once you're done. There's polycarbonate and twin-wall stainless steel versions available and all the bits are dishwasher-safe.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.