Gear Diary

Weekly test kit update and the home of any random comments an’ that.

There wasn’t much doing last week, after I came back from the Rough Bounds of Knoydart (apparently they start at the bridge over that northern neck of Loch Quoich) it was all about work apart from the bike ride on Wednesday.
Then fixing pipes on my knees without due care and attention on Friday ensured and indoors weekend.

But, emerging from the wilderness is the Crux Halo. Phil had for a bit, it’s been in the motor for a while, and now that it’s stopped bleeding down from the stitching so much I’ve rediscovered it’s fine qualities of warmth and windproofness at low weight. I’ll be packing this more and reporting back, I’m going to team it with the Berghaus Chulu vest.
The Haglöfs kit in the posts just below has all been out, and those Lizard shorts are just brilliant. For something not designed for the bike, they work better than many bike shorts I’ve tried, more ammo for my “Bike clothing is all shite” guerrilla war. For warm hikes I’ll team them with something long-legged for camp wear, probably the PHD down pants.
The Intense Tee is a dilemma, it’s great when it’s hot, layers well and feels like silk against the skin, it’s a lovely piece. But I can’t help thinking that the sporty go-faster looks are going to turn away some non-go-faster folk who would enjoy from the fabric performance and nice cut. I guess you can’t have it all.
I wore the Smarwool inner shorts, and they are as good as I remember them. I can take or leave the outer shorts, but these liners are just so damned comfy.
The Rab Cirrus windshirt was worn for the bike ride too. I’ll do a proper review of that shortly, but the fit is great for the taller and longer limbed, even on the bike. The Quantum fabric will always be a little cooler than just about anything else when the chill factot gets up there, but the weight of this shirt makes it the big winner. Magic.

47 thoughts on “Gear Diary

  1. i spent 6 yrs trying to get to knoydart, it was always cancelled beause of work, weather, being a pain in the arse to get to- the usual stuff.

    so now i’ve finally made it i just wanna go back!

    i think i can safely say it was worth waiting for the weather, as i’ve just said you can wait a long time..

  2. oh yeah i forgot to mention. Bloody ticks are out already!!!
    Picked up half a dozen over the 4 days, i didnt think they would have surfaced so quickly after all that cold weather, must be hungry i guess.

  3. They’ve probably got quotas to meet :)

    Cirrus arm length certainly appreciated here. It actually seems notably more windproof than my fractionally heavier Norrona thing, but then its not a slightly scary translucent orange either ;)
    (I do wonder how durable that can possibly be.).

  4. I’ve found Quantum good for abrasion resistance, but not so tear resistant.
    I know there’s a lighter variation due and I wonder what the durability and wind resistance will be? Thinner fabrics do let you chill quicker, so there must come a point where a windshirt will become pointless?
    Mitsui have done wonders for Pertex though.

  5. I don’t wear merino on the bike so much, cold weather is fine, but in better weather sythetic does cope better with the sweatiness. It’ll never smell so nice though.

  6. Aye I’ve got a really nice Rab Aeon base t-shirt in a lovely green colour with lilac stitching, it’s made of really silky soft material (not sure what) but the only problem is you can see every exact droplet of dark sweaty stain on it when you sweat and it’s a bit embarrassing! Wore it to spin once – never again. :o)

  7. So then the down pants, do they work ok on the bike? I imagine issues with the chainset?? ;o)
    The Intense stuff is nice but for one fatal flaw, the arms are to skinny, it must be designed by atheletes who don’t do arm exercises! But, I say keep it looking go fast, those of us who want to go fast, don’t want to look like red sock ramblers! Imagine, nice red socks poking out from under my tights, that sounds wrong but you get the idea! Plus brown leather boots are never gonna work!
    Is the Rab windshirt different from the classic Neutrino they had out a few years back, now that was/is a great product!
    And this Smartwool bike gear, are you on test samples or is it out there somewhere? Because I can’t find it!

  8. Ange, sweat stains are the mark of a winner!

    DNF, the Smartwool kit is all pre-production, but it should be in the shops about now? Somebody was doing the shorts but I can’t remember who. Big Stone the importers are the ones to ask I think.
    The new designer is indeed a skinny runner :o)
    The Rab windshirt is different to the old Quantum one (I’ve got one of those too, nice kit), different construction and less shiny fabric!

  9. EXCITING BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! stop the gear talk, listen to this………………….

    Someone on Twitter just told me they bought Galaxy Counters in Tesco’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 for £2.50!!! He said ‘they’re like Minstrels without the jackets on’ … must be them eh?!

    How very exciting! :o)

  10. haha! Nice one. i’ve got some Lindt Lindor in my bottom drawer for emergencies… i think this is one. I need it to hold me until i can get to Tesco/Morrison’s/Asda or any other sweetie shop that is selling Counters.

    Right, first to get a packet has to Tweet it! ok? :o)

  11. It is! It took over from the leaders debate on excitement for me. I’m soooo going to Morrison’s when it opens at 8.30 tomorrow to find these.

  12. Well I just survived a week on Sainsbury’s own brand chocolate bars which are actually bloody good, I’m not going anywhere near these Galaxy things in case they ruin that for me! Think I’ll just vicariously enjoy them for now.

    Silly question time: I was out for a week and I took the generic cagoule and waterproof trousers. It only rained one of the days and I didn’t bother with the waterproofs because to be honest when you’re dragging around an 18kg pack it seems like you’re just as wet with them as without them. Anyway I had a microfleece (an ancient craghoppers thing that I’ve had for years) which did me fine pretty much all the time, except when it got a bit windy at night, when I wore this softshell gilet. But it was still chilly enough. I’m going out again in a week or so for an indefinite amount of time to faff around wildcamping, hillwalking etc.

    So…
    – There’s no way, going out for a month or so, that I’ll get consistently decent weather like last week. I’m going to get the montane featherlite, I think, to keep the wind off a bit. But I’m sick of sitting around soaking in a cheapo cagoule. So what would you suggest to keep dry enough? Some kind of impermeable waterproof shell? Or softshell? Or a bin bag? What the hell should I wear on top of my microfleece? I’ve been trying to figure it out for ages, and I don’t have the cash to experiment with a lot of different gear.
    – Also, seeing as I have a month or so to kill, where would you go? I think I’ll spend a few days in the Lairigmor, with Stob Ban nearby, etc. I have far more enthusiasm than experience… dangerous!

    Sorry, this turned into a bit of an essay! Thought I’d chance my arm, knowing that the folk that comment on here are pretty clued in!

  13. The waterproofs I wear tend to be just techno-cagoules, basic designs but in top-end fabrics.
    Lightweight tend to think of just the weight, but a sinmpler design will dry faster and breath better every time, so it’ll be more comfortable very time.
    I’d still go for Gore-Tex/ eVent?/ Entrant over Paramo becasuye it’s non absorbant and for night after night in a tent that’s better, I don’t care what anyone says about that!
    I’ve said this a lot recently, the Rab Demand is my current #1 choice, lightweight, great design and made from the best fabric. Around £125 online, which is still a lot of money, but totally worth it.

    Heading out for an extended time in Scotland? The Cairngorms would take up a chunk of time for sure, wandering north from Fort William through the Glenfinnan hills and Knoydart would be fantastic. Linking all the peaks of Assynt and Sutherland?
    So many possibilities!

  14. Alright! Cheers ptc! Good to know – there’s only so many clothes you can dry ON yourself in the night before you start to feel like you’re sleeping in a cold bath. £125 is pretty pricy for me, but I do live in Scotland so I know it’s going to get a decent amount of use. I’ll have a look. Definitely no expensive chocolate for me if I get that :D

    It’s actually proving to be harder to plan out a couple of free months than it would be a couple of nights… this is a bloody massive little country we live in!

  15. I would go with the Event/Gore over Paramo, so I could walk without looking like a rambler ;o)
    Sid trawl the net, I’ve bagged bargains such as an Arcteryx jacket for under £100, you just need to know what you’re looking for, maybe join BMC or MCoS and get the discount, etc.

  16. Just thought I’d report that the Backpackers Club lightweight show this morning was a good do. Lots of fun was had trying out all the tents and I am rather amused to say that after all I’ve said about my Lightwave it is still the tent for me – mainly due to the fact I fit in it! The Vaude PowerCompAktoLizard was looking good until I saw the way the pole clips were attached and realised the zip is a one way only affair like TN a few years back :-(

    The new Alpkit sleeping pads and tent also look quite interesting…

  17. Good stuff. It’s always nice to see a bunch of kit together like that, much harder to hide stuff or get folk to believe the hype.
    Talking of which, there’s a lot of hype for the Power Lizard, it’s very, good but it’s still derivative, and they know it :o)

  18. Akto / Laser comp / Power lizard… Got to be the lizard, simply for the name (Well I am a zoology student :D ) going to be testing one any time soon?

  19. I was supposed to be, but I still haven’t chased it up.
    I’ve got a feeling the test sample is going to be a bit dog-eared by now :o)
    The quality of Vaude tents is brilliant, it’s only the design that lets them down. The Lizard does seem to be a good move.

  20. Just a quick one before your upcoming trip.

    I’m in need of a replacement for my Terrocs and the X-talon 212s fit really well. As you said the heel really is better than other Inov8 offerings (well for me at least). Can you offer an update on your test sample from way back – did the uppers last reasonably well, was the grip as good as you’d expect? Not too worried about the longevity of the sole as long as I can stand up on wet rock.

  21. I had those out the other day as it happens!
    They’re still on good nick, no real damage to report as I was dusting them off for summer.
    The sole is a quirky one, the soft compound and wide spaced lugs do cover a lot of terrain, but it’s still a compromise.
    I remember them as not being scary on wet or greasy rocks, that distinction goes to the Crosslite sole which terrifies me on wet rock.

    The 212’s are a nice shoe, about as light as you’ll get and still get the badass sole and some proper form in the uppers.

  22. Cheers for that. As the fit is so good I will probably go for the Talons – unless you know of anything else with the same fit and a better sole?! My climbing partner has just got some La Sportiva Boulder Xs which he really rates, but I just cannot bring myself to get firm approach shoes with thin treads after years in Terrocs.

  23. Nothing else really springs to mind, I’ve been using the mid versions and I think they’re great.
    After you get used to the “naked feet” feeling you’re away.

  24. How’s does the fit of the mids (240s?) compare to the 212s? I’d heard it was a bit wider (both heel and fore foot) than the 212 and I had therefore discounted them…

  25. I’d say they feel like they’re sized for a slightly thicker sock if that makes any sense? It could be that the higher ankle just makes them feel like that though.

  26. Completely – thanks again – I’ll see if I can find a pair of the 240s down here to try and take it from there. I have to laugh though when the only place with 212s near me is a Go Outdoors.

  27. The eclectic mix of kit is beginning to grow on me. Some real gems/bargains to be had. It’s also nice to see the real mix of folk in there getting geared up for all sorts of adventures. Plus the kids love the tent display.

    Anyway, off to cast my vote – have a good one in the ‘gorms.

  28. It’s the closest place to me for camp food, gas and the like, so I’m quite pleased it’s appeared.

    My trip east might be 10 days away now, the Loch Lomond Park camping thing is sooner than I thought… there’s an outdoor logjam coming I think!

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