Last week, the leading outdoor trade show in Europe took place in Friedrichshafen. The show is generally a big opportunity for outdoor brands and manufacturers to showcase new innovations, and products for the coming year. In the run up to the show, we spoke with Cascade Designs about some of the interesting products that they were due to announce under their brand names; including MSR and Thermarest.
There appears to be a lot of new gear coming from the Cascade Designs camp, from new water filters to a new line of dry bags. Below, are some of the highlights – most notably from MSR and Thermarest. Although perhaps one brand name you may not yet be familiar with, also peaks interest.
The main product that Cascade Designs seem to be proud of is their new MSR Guardian water filter. I must say it does look like an impressive bit of kit. A little on the bulky side perhaps, but that’s not the be all and end all when it comes to water treatment. In particular if you’re wild camping – having clean water once you have set up camp is very important.
The MSR Guardian water filter is the end product of 6 years of research and development for the US Military. In 2009, MSR were asked to produce a device capable of keeping US Military service members safe from water borne illness virtually anywhere on the globe. Reading the specification, it sounds like MSR have come through.
Touted as the worlds most advanced portable water filter, the MSR Guardian is capable of transforming even the most challenging water into, micro-biologically safe drinking water. Using custom engineered, medical grade, hollow fibre to block pathogens and physically remove viruses, protozoa, bacteria and particulates – the MSR Guardian filters at a rate of 2.5L per minute. A pretty impressive figure for very little user effort. The lifespan of the filter has been measured at 10,000 litres.
The unique feature of the MSR Guardian is that it cleans itself. Yes, no need for in field maintenance, no need to back flush or scrub the filter to remove contaminants. The way in which the filter does this, is quite clever. The diagram below explains in more detail, but to try put it simply; 10% of the filtered water is used to back flush every time you use the pump.
The MSR Guardian has been subject to rigorous testing in the MSR labs. It is said to be able to withstand both very high, and freezing temperatures be dropped from 6 feet (onto concrete) and still bouce back, and is also tested to 300lbs of crush force. These make this filter sound a great choice for wild camping and backpacking / distance hiking.
With the weight of some water filters in recent years being lessened, such as with Sawyer’s move to produce the Sawyer Mini – perhaps some may take issue with the weight of this filter and its larger pack size than some. With the self cleaning functionality and the great flow rate though, I would certainly not count this out if you’re in need of something to filter your water on multiday trips!
There are quite a few other things in the pipeline from the guys over at Cascade Designs in addition to the MSR Guardian. Read on for a quick summary.
Sticking with MSR, they have a plethora of developments due for release:
- MSR Windburner 1.8L is a rename for the Windboiler, now sized for 2-3 people, or a greedy 1 person on weekend trips.
- A new 4 person MSR Elixir tent.
- Redesigned Ultralight Carbon Reflex tents, to shed overall weight. the redesign saves 310g for the 1 person shelter.
- Updated Tarp and Bivy collections with the addition of the AC-Bivy, E-Bivy (both lightweight) and the Redevous 120 and Rendevous 200 base camp tarps.
- A new range of tents for Ultralight Thru-Hikers; the Thru Hiker Mesh House 2 and 3, accompanied by the Thru Hiker 70 and 100 Wing to give weather protection over the top of the inner tents.
- New, ultralight and freestanding tents – the MSR Freelite 1, 2, and 3. Weighing 822g, 1.08kg and 1.47kg respectively.
- Finally, a number of tent accessories including guylines, repair patches, pole sections, pegs and more.
You can keep track of the release on the MSR website here.
Platypus is relaunching its line of hydration packs with some slight developments to the Duthie, Tokul, and women’s specific Siouxon and B-Line packs. You can visit the Platypus website, to keep track of the release here.
A brand that you may not yet aware of, is SealLine. A fantastic range of drybags and dry sacks can be found on their website, and they are due to release ‘block-shaped’ dry bags for more efficient packing within a rucksack. Dry bags are a fantastic way to segregate gear within your rucksack and make it easier to fit everything in. These particular drybags from SealLine aim to make it even easier.