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Outdoor Retailer Summer 2008 #4

My report on Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008 continues (click here for the previous installment):

Wine to Go…or to Hold

PlatyPreserveNobody at Cascade Designs was telling whether the genesis of the idea was to make it easier to take along some wine on the trail while preserving its flavor, or to find a way to preserve leftover wine, but the good news for wine-lovers is that the new PlatyPreserve does both.

The PlatyPreserve is a based on the Platy bottle we are all familiar with. Mind you, it’s not like many haven’t decanted a bottle into a Platy before. Many a fine vino, and not so fine, truth be told, has been transported into the wilds that way. However, the standard clear Platy Bottle isn’t an ideal wine container. Light is an enemy of wine, particularly reds. The concept has been modified slightly by altering the laminated plastic material to make it impervious to damaging light. Wine’s other enemy is oxygen, which is easily dealt with by simply squeezing the flexible bottle until all the air is out before capping the PlatyPreserve.

No light and no oxygen mean the wine should be good for up to six months, according to the designers. We sampled some wine that we were told had been in the PlatyPreserve for over a month and compared it to the same wine poured straight from a fresh bottle. There was very little noticeable difference in taste; the month-old wine was perfectly drinkable. I’ve seen wine go far worse over a long evening. We took home a sample, we’ve done the deed, and I guess I’ll report back in a few months. But, the concept seems sound and I’ve really no reason to believe it won’t work as promised. I can’t see a company like Cascade Designs having invested all that’s involved to develop and launch this product if it didn’t work. It’s not like they could hide a problem for long, the proof will be readily apparent in the drinking.

Each PlatyPreserve holds 800 ML, a standard wine bottle’s worth. It will be available in September for $12.95 individually or in a four-pack for $44.95 (MSRP).

MSR Expands Emergency Shelter Offerings

MSR E-HouseMSR was showing off a number of new tents, two of which are expressly designed to compliment their E-Wing emergency tarp shelter introduced last year. The E-House and E-Bivy are both ultra-lightweight shelters that are compressed into a very small stuff sack about the size of a soda can and as hard as a rock. Both feature yellow Sil Nylon fabric and taped seams and come with a larger stuff stack because there’s not a chance you’ll ever get them back into the original one. .

The E-House can be set up with a pair of trekking poles, some sticks or a line stretched between trees. They claim it will provide “complete coverage for two and emergency shelter for four.” The floor area is given at 19 sq. ft. (1.76 sq. m) and the peak height is 45 inches (114 cm). “Cozy” comes to mind as an apt description for two and it will definitely be an emergency to get four to huddle inside. But those four will be most thankful for the shelter.

A single zippered door is found in one end and there’s also a vent in one side. No floor, but it does have a skirted base to help keep the weather outside. Weight is 20 oz (0.56 Kg). MSRP is $129.95

MSR E-BivyThe E-Bivy is a typical minimalist bivy sack. It will help keep the bag and you dry and add warmth and that’s a pretty good bet for only 9 oz (225g). MSRP is $79.95.

Both are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2009.

See more gear in the next installment