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Outdoor Retailer Summer 2008 #5

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

Leatherman Puts Folders on Diet

Leatherman Crater and ExpanseLeatherman’s line of folders, introduced in 2005 and expanded in 2006, offered a number of unique features including exchangeable bits in some models, and were generally well received. If there was one common complaint about them it was that they were quite bulky in the pocket. Version 2 of the folders, so to speak, have been launched and the knives have been put on a diet to produce a slimmer and trimmer line-up.

The new Crater and Expanse lines also bring a more consistent look to the line, they are all obviously siblings, something that wasn’t the case with the original line-up. There are 10 new models in each line. (Crater c33T (top) and Expanse e55B (bottom) pictured here) Rather than bore and confuse you trying to describe all the permutations, click on the links below for the Leatherman feature sheets (in PDF format) that include a full feature matrix:

Outwardly, the obvious difference is that the Crater knives have black glass reinforced nylon handles, the higher end Expanse knives have stainless steel added to the GRN. Both series offer either 2.6-inch or 3.1-inch blades. The Crater blade steel is 420HC, the Expanse is 154CM. Each model in each line also offers either a plain edge or partially serrated edge.

As with the original lineup, the smaller blades are liner locks with an improved smoother operating version of Leatherman’s Blade Launcher for opening. The larger blades are lockbacks with right-handed thumb stud opening. Various combinations of features include a screwdriver, a bit driver (using Leatherman’s proprietary bits) with imptoved and more compact bit storage in the handle and a carabiner/bottle cap lifter that folds into the handle. Each has a removable non-reversible pocket clip.

The 30% thinner and lighter knives feel much better in the hand and pocket. They look better as well, at least to my eye.

Pricing (MSRP) ranges from $24 – $70 for the Crater line and $44 – $87 for the Expanse. Expect initial deliveries in the Fall.

One-Breath Inflater Pump

Instaflator PumpIf you’ve ever had “fun” blowing up an air mattress, toy or other piece of inflatable equipment, or using a foot pump to accomplish the same, you must have wished there was an easier way. Sure, you can use an electric inflater, but that requires a source of power. You can hand the job off to a convenient kid, if there’s one available, but they have their own issues, of course. Finally, someone has the answer and it’s another one of those forehead slapping why-didn’t-I-think-of-that moments.

The Millair Company’s patent-pending “Instaflator” is so stone simple it is almost ludicrous. Attach the nozzle to whatever needs to be pumped up, unfold the plastic tube, blow lightly into the end of it, then roll the tube up, which transfers that air into the inflatable. The video below shows how simple it is. No huffing, puffing or near hyperventilation.

You can watch a more comprehensive demo on their Web site. It comes with three different nozzles designed to fit most inflatables. MSRP is $3.50 and they estimate that one Instaflator is good for 30-40 inflations.

NOTE: One of our readers noted that a raft manufacturer has been using a similar concept for some time, so how patentable this is may be an issue. Regardless, that does nothing to detract from how great the idea the idea is and how inexpensively they have implemented it.

Check Back Soon for More New Gear

In an effort to speed up the process, I’m going to publish this review of new products from Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008 in stages over the next few days. Check back for more new gear, hopefully tomorrow.