What’s going on

A trip to the mountains

The Blue Mountains near Sydney always make for an interesting trip and a great way to escape the bustle of city life. There are some great little corners and hidden pathways and it seems like everyone who heads up love going on adventures.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a new 16-35mm wide angle lens with the intention of taking more landscape photography again. I also pulled my 360 panoramic tripod head out of retirement and took it up with me. It was a bit of a rush job setting it up and it certainly needs a bit of fine tuning but they seem to go well together.

I also noticed the Autumn colours starting to kick in so I might just have to make another trip up to the Blue Mountains get some of those lovely oranges and yellow hues maybe even another 360-image or 2

Posted by Richard in Landscapes, What's going on
The Willo ’19

The Willo ’19

The Southern Highlands, home of wombats, numerous antique stores and the Willo Enduro. This year around 500 came to race. It has three different lengths of 1, 2 or 3 laps.

It’s always a fun race to shoot. It tends to be fast and furious on the first lap with each lap getting a little bit quieter until it is just a slow trickle coming through. There are some beautiful native forests to shoot in. Being part of an active state forest it tends to also have sections that are logged occasionally meaning from year to year the track may vary slightly.

Posted by Richard in What's going on

f-stop gear Competiton

F-Stop Anja - Pack Review
Fstop Gear Anja backpack and large ICU

As many of you may know I have been a fan of f-stop gear backpacks for some time now. It’s quality gear that handles all the mistreatment I can throw at it, and I do throw a fair bit its way. You can check out a gear review I did of the f-stop gear Anja backpack for the Tyres and Soles crew here on my website here

Now is your chance to get yourself some of their kit by entering their contest. go throw your name into the pool by entering the contest here

Posted by Richard in What's going on
Outdoor Retailer Australia 2018

Outdoor Retailer Australia 2018

I met up with Jason Lorch from Tyres and Soles last week and we went to the ORA (Outdoor Retailer Australia show) to check out the new products hitting our shelves in the next few months. Here are a few words he put together to go with my photos from the event.

It was our second year at the ORA show and ran from the 17th – 19th June at Hordern Pavilion and Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park Sydney. Although a little quieter than last year, there were still plenty of interesting brands and products on display.

We didn’t shoot everything as some items are still a little hush, hush, but we managed to snap a few that the exhibitors were comfortable for us to share.

Hoka One One

Hoka One One produces incredibly lightweight and technical hiking and trail running shoes. It was the first time I’d actually got up close to this brand and was blown away. The shoes offer the same levels of technical features as you’d expect from an alpine boot but using different materials and technology, they are so much lighter and less cumbersome.

Hoka One One and their latest ultra mountain runner.
Hoka One One offer a hiking boot that can match any high alpine boot on the market, but at about half the weight

Marmot

Marmot has been around since 1974 and is a well-known brand in the outdoors scene. There were a few key items that caught out attention on their stand this year, but the star for us was what Marmot are calling their Ultra-Light rain jacket.  We like to call it the Uber-Ultra Rain Jacket because it weighs in at under 300grams!

Otter Box

Otter Box are best known for their number one selling smartphone cases, so we were excited to discover that they have now just launched a range of cooler cases. The cases come in a soft and hard version and a number of different size specifications. Each case has a set of add-ons to that you clip to the case, such as bottle opener, waterproof pouch, small cutting table and a side table and can keep items cold for up to 10 days!

Products on display at ORA
What we really liked was the backpack version, which immediately frees up your hands to carry other gear.

Injinji

Although they still give me the creeps, the Injinji socks do offer something over traditional socks. The Injinji socks helps reduce excess toe rubbing which can lead to blisters, by wrapping each individual toe, just like a glove. Their latest designs have a certain Australian flair to them.

Injinji have released an exciting and colourful new range. Check out the Aussie prints!

Spibelt

Spibelt offers a discreet and convenient way to carry your phone, keys, credit cards, and ID while running or on the go. The belts stretch to accommodate a large number of goods. We were surprised. We can see these move into the MTB scene at some stage. There is an opportunity here. We did drop a few design hints to the exhibitor, hopefully, it sunk in.

Products on display at ORA

TOPO

TOPO make a range of very comfortable trail running shoes. The design is similar to the Altra shoe, with a wide toe box area allowing your feet to splay out naturally, rather than crammed into a narrow shape, which most running shoe manufacturers are still developing. This reduces foot fatigue and plants your foot in a much more natural and logical position.

The TOPO men’s and women’s range. TOPO offer one of the lightest fully waterproof trail running shoes in the world!
The men’s TOPO “Terraventure”.

Ultimate Direction

Ultimate Direction are well known in the trail running world for creating highly functional and lightweight running packs and vests. The Marathon Vest will be one of their lightest and adjustable running vests coming out soon. This was a sample version, so the final product may look slightly different. Be sure to stay tuned for this release!

Products on display at ORA
Stay tuned for the release of this beauty!

Power Buddy

Power Buddy are going to be launching a range of silent, mobile lithium power stations. They will feature a dozen different output ports built-in, including 240V AC, Cigarette Lighter, Quick Charge USB, Type C and 12 volt DC to run and charge multiple devices while off the grid. These are so powerful that they will pretty much blow all other power banks on the market, out of the stratosphere.

We had a great chat with the creator of these models and are very excited to see the launch of these into the market, later this year. We’ll be running a test and review on these, so stay tuned!

One of the latest Power Buddy power stations, almost ready to hit the shelves.

Adrenalin

Adrenalin is an Australian brand based on the Northern Beaches. They have been making, among other things, very high-quality wetsuits and thermal-wear for years. This year they have released a thermal jacket using their 2P technology. The jacket has outstanding breathable and wind resistance qualities, ideal for not only coastal activities but any outdoor adventure. From what we saw and felt of this product, we can safely say it will be a highly sought after piece of kit. Get in touch with them to find out more.

The thermal and wind resistant jacket from Adrenalin.

So iLL

So iLL have moved the indoor climbing industry out of the dreary, cold warehouse walls and into the sizzle of unchartered terrains. They have a unique blend of fashion, art and climbing all mixed into one. Their design, brand and ethos are inspiring. They are a truly exciting brand worth checking out if you haven’t already.

Products on display at ORA
So iLL approach/fashion shoe. Achingly cool.

Sierra Designs

Sierra Designs are a massive outdoor company and have been on the scene for many years. They offer a range of entry-level products all the way up to the extreme end for the more experienced and hardcore adventurers out there.

We particularly liked their new Cloud 800 zipperless sleeping bag that has a fold over flap on the entry section, instead of the, sometimes, claustrophobic zip. This is a hybrid mix of a mummy and quilt design, giving you freedom to open up if you begin to overheat. The toe box also has a cooling down feature, with a small slit where you can slip your feet out of.

In addition to these two features, the bag also has small flaps on the rear so you can attach it securely to your sleeping mat, stopping it from slipping off. We also really liked the Australian colours.

The Cloud 800 zipperless bag.

Gregory Packs

We don’t often see the Gregory brand out on the Australian trails, so we were happy to check out some of their latest packs. Gregory knows a thing or two about pack design and we’ve always appreciated their elegant and ‘essential only’ design features.

Gregory doesn’t only focus on hiking activities, they also offer a range of packs for mountain biking as well. Check out their Endo and Avos range.

Gregory, elegant and highly functional packs.
Gregory have an exciting new range for 2019.

OzTrail

OzTrail always has a large presence at these shows and although I generally just do a quick glance over what they have, this year, however, I noticed a change in their display. It seems there have been some changes in the business and this has opened up some new verticals.

One of these was a 4K video product, which to me, looks like a GoPro but with the OzTrail branding. In terms of price point, that wasn’t discussed but it would need to be competitive to go up against the other major brands who have been in this sector for quite some time. Stay tuned!

Oztrail is taking on the giants in the adventure mini camera sector.
OzTrail’s 4K adventure camera.

Conclusions

All in all, it was a good show with a lot of interesting brands and products on display. It was much quieter than last year and we weren’t sure why this was. I think it could do with a bit of a revamp to be honest, a new location, fresh approach and some more marketing pre-event wouldn’t go amiss.

If you’re in the outdoor industry or are interested to see what goes on, then this is one you should have on your list. For more information, check out the ORA website.

Posted by Richard in What's going on
Hunter Valley Balloon Festival

Hunter Valley Balloon Festival

  A couple of weeks I was up at Dungog shooting the final round of the Fox Superflow series. Nearby in the Hunter Valley was the annual Balloon Aloft Balloon Festival. I had been eyeing this up for a couple of years but had missed it previously due to other commitments. This year, being only an hour away I was determined to get there.

  The ballooners meet in one of the vineyards early in the morning to determine the location of the takeoff. This is decided on the morning to ensure the weather is optimal and they know exactly which way the wind is blowing. They then head out to the chosen field where around 30 balloons start inflating. The organisers are fantastic about letting people wander around and enjoy the sights.

  It’s a fantastic sight that could only be topped by a flight in one of the balloons . Perhaps next year I might have to make that happen. If you are in the area next year I highly recommend you swing by and take a look. It’s guaranteed to put an early morning smile on your face

Posted by Richard in What's going on
SF Super Series

SF Super Series

There are some things that are definitely worth throwing your support behind, SF Super Series is one of those things. It’s actually a collection of challenges  

There’s some great events held in some fantastic locations. There’s the Surf Coast Century, a 100km trail run held on the Surf Coast in Victoria for the, Gears and Beers in Wagga which ties a 130km bike ride in with the local craft beer and cider festival , Big Feet, Little Feet which will see you walking across a car-free Sydney Harbour Bridge and of course the Endure 24, the 24hr crossfit event held locally at Crossfit Manly Vale. Their are plans afoot to try and get more events on board as well..

 Each event aims to raise money to help the Sanfillipo Children’s Foundation in the fight against Sanfillipo syndrome.Sanfillipo is a genetic disorder which is rare and sadly fatal. Children affected with it have a life expectancy of between 12 and 20 years. Although there is no signs in the early years of childhood an enzyme deficiency prevents the body from going through its normal recycling process, causing cellular malfunction.

If you want to get involved swing over to either the SF Super series website here and sign up for one of the events or go to the Sanfillipo Childrens Foundation website here and throw your support to them directly.

 

Posted by Richard in What's going on, 0 comments