As we were working to identify ultralight trends we thought might be worth a mention in our upcoming GearTrendsÂ® summer outdoor magazine, we found ourselves rather amazed at the heavyweight hyperbole promoting lightweight reality. Frankly, after pouring over press releases from two dozen companies, all hyping their latest ultralight, ultrafast offerings, we were left with one, overriding feeling: the only real thing that has significantly changed is the amplitude of hype.Â
So, as the marketing people remain flat on their backs gasping for air, let's interject a little reality into their prose. In all of our collective years running on trails, not once has anybody at SNEWSÂ® said, â€œI'd be a heck of a lot faster if I had lighter weight shorts.â€ Nor have we complained that â€œthis synthetic shirt is making me slower because the seams are so bulky.â€ In fact, we've never even once surmised that a pack with less substance than a breath of air would, in fact, be the deciding factor determining our ability to complete an enjoyable outing.
To that end, we bring you our own special translation of this year's marketing-speak, taken from the pages of actual press releases. A few details have been summarized or modified to protect the truly guilty:
They said: A super light, quick drying athletic top with "insert big company name" logo.
Reality Check: Ah, the all important selling point --branding. Just imagine how much lighter the top could be without a giant logo emblazoned on its front?
They said: A Capri that is styled specifically for women.
Reality Check: Whew. Thank goodness they clarified this, because until reading the release we'd always assumed that with few exceptions Capri pants were designed for women, but wondered just how specifically. Now we know.
They said: These shorts are SUPER minimalist in terms of design and features, but still provide all the basicsâ€¦.
Reality Check: Just what would shorts without the basics be we ask you?
They said: Made to rapidly accelerate evaporative cooling, the new "insert name here" fabric actively wicks perspiration away from the skin and spreads moisture across the fabric resulting in a dry to the touch feel even when it's damp.
Reality Check:Â Well this would be excitingâ€¦two DECADES ago.
They said: The new "insert brand name" jacket utilizes our latest wonder fabric, providing the end user with a lightweight, water and wind resistant shell that is reliable in fowl (sic) weather situations.
Reality Check: Are you implying that your previous models were unreliable and are now, (insert polite applause from investors) finally reliable? We especially like the added feature that they are designed to ward off weather brought on by flocks of birds. Now that is something no other jacket has been able to claim until now. Must have a hell of a DWR!
They said: Ideal for the outdoor enthusiast who refuses to accept compromised lifestyle apparel, this collection vastly expands its mountain attitude.
Reality Check: Perfect for Trustafarians in ski towns who will probably bro deal anyhow. The rest of us "mountain folk" are perfectly happy in our compromised lifestyle thank you.
They said: Wicked cool, lightweight, quick drying, with a UPF of 35 and affordable enough to own one in every style and colorâ€¦.
Reality Check: So, this is different from every other synthetic t-shirt made by a hundred athletic companies in what way?