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Monday
Jul252011

"Globetrotter" Outdoor Sports Megastore

Frau A and I had noticed that a new outdoor-sports store had opened recently in Munich near the Isartor -- within walking distance from Marienplatz and also at an S-bahn station, so a very convienent location.  Last Saturday we checked it out.

The company is called Globetrotter, and they're based in Hamburg.  Their Munich megastore is 6,500 square meters across four floors, sells over 25,000 items from 700 manufacturers, has 100 employees, plus holds offices for the German Alpine Society, a travel agent (that specializes in outdoor / adventure trips), and a travel doctor (probably for pre-trip vaccinations and medicine).

And that's just the start.

The first thing that strikes you when entering the store?  Look down and you'll see water.  It's a 100-square meter kayak and canoe test basin!  If you look closely, you'll see water jets -- these can produce "countercurrents" so you can practice your stroke.  Not sure if they'll let you perform eskimo rolls, though.

We headed to the basement level to take a closer look.  One guy (on the right, below) was sitting in a kayak but didn't use the basin -- too bad!  Racks of canoes and inflatable boats are in the background, and you get a peek of camping equipment on the higher floors (e.g., mosquito net).

As usual in Germany, the equipment is high quality and expensive -- the 2-person kayak on the right (above) costs 1600 euro!  Below, this kid was happy just to sit in the kayak, but mom didn't take him onto the water.

On the other side of the basement level are hiking and climbing shoes.  They're presented on a wall 60 meters long!  The wall is filled with different types of rocks creating a cool, wavy pattern.

We walked into the shoe section, and noticed they have a small test area for your shoes!  (This reminded us of the baby stroller test track we saw in a home furnishings store.)  The contraption has small racks of different rock types, all at incline, so you can get a feel for shoes a bit better than just walking around.  Here is Frau A testing out her Hunter wellies (they've been invaluable with all this rain lately!).

As it turns out, this store has a lot of different testing areas -- shoes were just the beginning.  A few floors above is the "rain chamber" -- a rain and wind test room for apparel!  You can don waterproof boots, pants, jacket and hat, then enter a plexiglass-enclosed area with two buttons on the floor.  Hit them with your feet, and down comes rain and, from the front, a fan generates wind.  You'll know pretty quickly if the equipment keeps you warm and dry.

We were able to get a movie of this in action!  This lady doesn't hit the button hard enough at first, but then gets it right and a quite a shock.

 

In addition to the rain & wind test chamber, Globetrotter has an "altitude cold chamber".  This simulates conditions at about 3900m.  The air has less oxygen and the temperature is -10 degrees celsius!

One half of the test chamber is just a room with fur-covered ice blocks to sit on -- to check out if apparel is warm enough when you're at rest in ice and snow.  This boy is getting cold already -- hands in the pockets. 

This is a close-up photo of an ice block and the fan that blows cold air.  Most people did not spend a lot of time in here:

In another half of the chamber (pictured below) is a room with training equipment (e.g., treadmill and stairmaster).  The idea is to test apparel/equipment in a climate more like the real thing.  Jackets feel much different when you're huffing and puffing your way up a steep mountain trail:

 

On the top floor is a climbing area for children.

This tiny guy is getting assistance from dad, with additional safety padding under the feet.

Older children run up and try climbing on their own.

Of course, fun is not just for the kids.  The store also had a slackline set up.  I caught this guy as he lost his balance at the end.  Behind him are the yellow boxes of slacklines for sale --we've seen a number of people using these in the English Garden...

Frau A decided to try the slackline too.  After a few learning attempts, she got the hang of it.  (You can see the childrens' climbing area in the background -- not sure how many can actually hang from the "rocks" on the ceiling.)

There were loads of great products and equipment there, but the most humorous brought together the German outdoor and beer cultures -- the mini-keg backpack.  This army-green frame lets you hike with enough of your favorite brew for the whole group!

What a cool store.  It also offers seminars and training courses too, but it's tough to attend those with a job (many are during the day).  The gear selection and "test chambers" are really something -- I think a few Christmas gifts may come from this place...

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