Friday, 20 February 2015 14:58

The Winter Outdoor Retailer Show: Andrew Leary Reporting

"The Winter Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, Utah is one of the largest gatherings of outdoor gear retailers coming together under one roof. I was able to visit some of Polar Explore’s trusted gear partners to see what’s coming up for the 2015-2016 season.

First stop was the Baffin booth, where Karen gave me a great introduction to the new Guide-Pro 3 Pin boot for polar travel using three-pin style bindings. The new boot builds off the success of theExpedition 3 Pin, a boot released last year and put to the test by Polar Explores during the 2014 North Pole season and the 45-day South Pole Ski Expedition this past November.

The new Guide-Pro 3 Pin offers some nice upgrades like a reinforced 3-pin toe piece for breaking trail through aggressive terrain, as well as a buckled booster strap across the mid-ankle for increased heel pocket contact. The inner liner and nylon outer boot seem to be carried over from the first generation Expedition 3-Pin, offering versatility for those who prefer a customer liner or even the use of a foot bed insole.   In chatting with Paul Hubner, owner and CTO (Chief Testing Officer) of Baffin, he expressed a lot of excitement about the new boot, particularly the reinforced toe. Paul is a North Pole veteran himself, venturing up to the top of the world on a 2006 ski expedition. Annie and Rick (Director and Owner of PolarExplorers respectively) had the pleasure of spending time with Paul at Barneo Ice Base. The Polar Explorers team is looking forward to testing out the new boot this season on the ice. 3-Pin boots are definitely the way to go.


(Baffin 3-pin Expedition)                                                                      (Baffin Guide Pro 3-pin)

Next stop was over to the folks at Julbo Eyewear. Julbo has been going to the North and South Pole, as well as Iceland, with our teams for several years now. With Julbo as our new official eyewear partner, we are particularly excited to head back to the ice this April with Julbo’s fleet. I set out to find more about their new Aerospace goggle, which utilizes a mechanical venting system integrated into the lens frame to reduce heat build up and fogging during aerobic exercise. This mechanic system, as opposed to integrated turbo-fan designs that have surfaced over the last 10 years, does not require batteries or electricity to operate. The lens frame of the goggle simply pulls away from the body of the goggles, allowing airflow to carry water vapor from the lens. The proprietary Super Flow System can easily be used with liner gloves. With some practice, I have no doubt that operation using my ice mitts will be easy as well.

I gave the goggle system a homemade test to see just how efficiently a fogging lens becomes, well, un-fogged. While wearing the goggles, I cupped my hands over my mouth to simulate wearing my buff or Cold Avenger. Goggles fogged up as I expected, but water vapor quick dissipated from the lens, leaving me with a pretty clear view. While the true test will be at the subzero temperatures on the ice – the culprit when it comes to water vapor creating freezing fog on lenses – the promising technology will no doubt be a huge benefit to our teams.


Top: (Julbo's new Aerospace design)

Bottom Left: (Chris Maher and Annie Aggens sporting the Julbo Quantum and Meteor)                 

Bottom Right: (Three of our guides rockin' out Julbo Glacier Glasses on Vatnajokull)

This is Andrew Leary signing off, and until next time, go play in the snow.

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