Throughout the month of February, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2012 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Jan. 19-22. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.
Similar to an outdoor jacket that breathes without the pull of a pit zip, the latest outdoor lighting products at Winter Market are adjusting illumination without the press of a button.
Petzl’s new NAO headlamp (MSRP $175) senses and analyzes ambient light to automatically brighten or dim its two LEDs to output the best amount of light. It reduces manual adjustments and saves battery life, officials say. And consumers can personalize the performance through provided software.
Also reacting to its surrounding environment is the Mini-Hozuki Light (MSRP $39.95) from Snow Peak. The hanging lantern has a built-in microphone that will respond to blowing wind by flickering the light to mimic a candle, thus creating mood lighting around the campsite or in a tent, said general manager Nate Borne. Every company is trying to keep up with the latest LED technology – bringing more lumens with less energy – he said, so “we are trying to place our emphasis on lights that have playful functionality, multiple uses and great design.”
While LED technology improvements are the obvious continuing trend for light manufacturers, the tougher trend to implement with consumers has been rechargeable power, said Doug Heinrich, category director for lighting at Black Diamond.
“Headlamps are still in an alkaline (battery) world,” he said. “We’d love to see it move more toward rechargeable, but people think, ‘I’m going off the grid, I may not be able to recharge.’” In the meantime, Black Diamond’s new offering for Winter Market is a Polar version (MSRP $89) of its Icon light. The battery pack is detachable with a 30-inch cord so users can wear it on their chest or hip to keep the battery warm during cold weather.
Not wanting to go completely rechargeable – as Petzl did a season ago with its lithium rechargeable battery packs – Brunton strikes the middle ground with its new Glacier 115 headlamp (MSRP $70), available with three rechargeable AAA batteries that can be recharged directly in the unit via USB power packs or solar panels. Or if neither power source is available, standard AAA batteries can be used.
Pimp my headlamp
After unveiling its web-based customize-your-color headlamp program for consumers at Summer Market, Princeton Tec is now offering a similar deal for shops. Interested retailers can design their own inventory, with 10 different colors offered on six parts and the strap in the brand’s Fuel Headlamp.
“We wanted to do this to create the opportunity for retailers who want to design headlamps that reflect their own store colors, the colors of a local sports team, an apparel trend, or who just want to offer some different colors that set them apart,” said Justin Kline, outdoor division manager.
Kline told SNEWS that much of the research for the Spectrum Dealer Program was focused on choosing colors that all work well together. Princeton Tec, which manufactures and assembles the headlamps in New Jersey, has established two ordering cycles for spring and fall product. To make the program available to all buyers, big and small, custom orders will start at a single case of 24 headlamps.
--David Clucas and Peter Kray