Tuesday 4 March 2014

The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show Review (ExCel London, 13th – 16th February 2014)

This years show comprised of even more combined shows for a one-off entry fee. Included were the Adventure and Travel Show, The London Bike Show, Triathlon Plus Show and the London International Dive Show! It remains to be seen whether cramming all these shows into one is a good idea.

DMM dominated the climbing village area once again at the Outdoor Adventure & Travel show, with their ‘have a go’ ice climbing wall and discount climbing equipment. DMM demonstrated the strength of their karabiners with a tensile testing machine. This machine carries out static testing on karabiners which pulls them apart until failure, whilst measuring the force in k N. Whilst they were destructing the karabiners, they also showed how they assembled them.

Inspiring talks on the climb and adventure stage, including Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker amongst many others. DMM also hosted a series of workshops and master classes with Lucy Creamer, Libby Peter, Emma Twyford and Liam Halsey, which had to be booked in advance. Enthusiastic pro climber Lucy Creamer was there signing posters and happy to talk to fans. AMI (Association of Mountaineering Instructors) hosted workshops such as ‘Trust your Anchor’ for novice trad climbers and ‘Winter Climbing Coaching’ to learn the latest techniques on mixed terrain and ice using the latest tools. The ‘Crazy Climb’ boulder from Roktagon kept the younger climbers entertained and a rotating wall from Freedom climber was also in the climbing village for visitors to have a go.

Back in 2011 the BMC hosted the British Bouldering Championships and also saw Skymasters (horizontal climbing from individually shaped features suspended from the ceiling). These both created great atmosphere. Atmosphere that is lacking at subsequent shows. Although the Climbing Village at the outdoor show appears to be getting smaller every year, it is well worth a visit if you want discount DMM climbing gear or to get involved in a workshop. Disappointingly there are not enough different climbing brands involved with the outdoor show. It would be more interesting to see more products that other climbing brands have to offer. Blacks outdoor clothing were there, but again, not many other well-known brands were there for choice.

 If you wanted to get an adrenaline fix then ‘Go Ape’ had the world’s longest indoor zip wire, with two lines side by side at 525 feet long. You could also get a feel of what it’s like to base jump by free falling from a 5 metre and 7 metre platform into a gigantic airbag.

Half of the show included the London Bike Show, with hundreds of bike stands showing off their latest models of mountain, commuter and BMX bikes. Most bikes and equipment were top of the range, so if you were looking for a bargain then this wouldn’t be the show for you. You had the chance to try out the latest bikes on a cycling test track and also watch the pros on the half pipe and watch the incredible BMX display team.

There were lots of other stalls with innovating new ideas for products, inventions for better cycle commuter lights seemed to be popular, with some very good, but some not quite practical enough and made you look more like a flashing Christmas tree.

Travel stands promoting destinations across the world, although when I asked about information on climbing in Sardinia I got a rather puzzled look on their faces, and a response of ‘so you don’t want a beach holiday?’. In the end I got a few bits of info regarding general climbing locations there.

The BMC had a stand in the Climbing Village where Elizabeth Holley (BMC rep) was promoting the new ‘London and South East Mountaineer mini guide’ which can be downloaded here.

There was no need to bring lunch with you as there were plenty of free sample foods to eat, energy bars, protein bars, camping food and cheese. The Outdoor show is a bit of a mish-mash of different interests but worth a visit if you want new inspiration or to join in with workshops.

Report by Emma Harrington.