Thursday, October 20, 2011

First Look: Columbia's Spring 2012 Backpack Line-Up

Edward C. Steadman once said, “One must spend time in gathering knowledge to give it out richly.”

If experience brings wisdom, then Columbia Sportswear’s 70+ years of experience in the outdoor industry means they should know a thing or ten about making great outdoor gear. As such, when Columbia offered the Gumption Gear team an opportunity to review their Spring 2012 line-up of versatile new backpacks the answer was an easy - YES!

Columbia’s new series of backpacks - the Treadlite 22, the Women’s Vixen 22 - designed specifically for women - and the Endura 50 is an ample demonstration of the Company's new direction: Attitude and Innovation.

Initial Impressions…
True, Columbia has been in existence since 1938 - but this line up of packs definitely sends the message: This is not your Daddy's Columbia Sportswear Company.

Built upon Columbia’s heritage of outdoor knowledge and quality construction, these packs add technological innovation with a dash of attitude creating a series of packs aimed at the outdoor enthusiast who wants to go fast and light without compromising on comfort or features.

From color scheme and logo integration all the way down to built in emergency whistles on the sternum strap, credit to Columbia for nailing all the design ques.

The Techlite shoulder straps are engineered to provide outstanding comfort, breathability and lightweight strength while helping to distribute weight efficiently. An open-air styled panel stretched across the back of these packs makes up Columbia’s Backdraft Aerating Suspension System. In early outings one thing is readily apparent: Columbia’s suspension system provides more comfort than anyone should expect from an adventure ready pack.

A narrow profile design provides significant freedom of motion so you can revel in the goodness of your adventure whether out hiking, biking, snowshoeing or boarding. Should you get caught in a drizzle or a blustery blizzard while out conquering the wilderness, the packs also feature Columbia’s Omni-Shield water-repellent treatment to protect your gear.

Speaking of water, each of these packs is 3L hydration compatible meaning you'll never go thirsty on your conquests. 

If over the next few weeks you happen to be hiking the trails in Tahoe, or enjoying the year's first snowfall, keep your eyes open. Rest assured the Gumption Gear crew will be out, Columbia packs attached, traversing the wilderness putting the Endura, Vixen and Treadlite to the test in preparation for our long term review.

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