Kit that broke, kit that didnae, and other stuff before I forget, Vol4

The Haglöfs LIM 45 was back in action. The hipbelt is a marvel, but the shoulder straps were out of adjustment because a pal had been using it. Velcro is very hard to put back where it was before, but I’m just about there now. My version 3.0 OMM chest pouch (more of that later) doesn’t match it so well with its revamped attachments, so a couple of D-rings might have to fired on there next time. The LIM carries so well and looks so untidy… Still, it feels like an old friend.
My Big Agnes Three Wire Bivy saw action for the first time this year, and again it felt like an old friend. No condensation, no hassle, and I can still get all my gear in there with me. I ditched the pegs and took some Vargo nails and I even remembered how to put the pole assembly in right. Crivvens. The Three Wire is a great bit of kit.
What has become clear though is that the Big Agnes designer is five foot one. All the shelter entrances are low, now that I’ve tested a few and had a look at others it all makes sense. Ach, maybe five foot eight. Or nine. Still, it’s no deal breaker.

I took the Markill Peak Ignition stove which works fine and it’s nicely small-packing, but after using the Optimus Crux almost exclusively for a year I was surprised at how fuel-thirsty the Peak was and also that it took a little longer to boil my standard 600ml. It’s not exactly a disaster, but it’s good to have an update from the trip so I know what amount of fuel I’ll have to carry next time. It’s a very stable stove, the pot just sticks to it and the valve works smoothly which made me happy after my recent jet engine shenanigans.

I slept in the buff (not a buff) in my PHD Minim Ultra 900. It’s 345g and it was warm. At one point the wind was strong enough the flatten the bivy and consequently the bag flat against my “flanges” when I was on my side and I could feel that a bit, but in a tent I’d have been fine, if not finer.
Underneath me was the still trouble-free Neoair. Long may this continue.

New on this trip were the Powerstretch gloves and jumper just in from Marmot. The gloves are a great fit and did the job when I was cooking ouside the bivy in the early hours when it was a bit chilly. They’ve got some small finger-tip and thumb grips so they’re dextrous, but don’t bind and twist around your hand on trekking poles as they would with an all-over gripping surface.
The Half-Zip Pullover got pulled-over my head when I was sitting up to make my morning cuppa and it stayed there until I was back on the track below for my midmorning cuppa some hours later. The fit is great for me, slim and long with a nice high collar which can be zipped right up without impairing brain function or breathing. The cuffs have reversed fabric. That is, the furry side is outside so you can wipe your nose on it, and I did. The Powerstretch they’re using is a very soft version, but still takes the sting out of the wind and I found myself wearing just the pullover without a windshirt and was completely comfy reaching the summit at exactly 0700 in blowy conditions. Out of the wind I can feel its warmth too, Powerstretch is great stuff.
I kinda like the looks of the pullover, the black stitching gives it a sci-fi quality, and the bizarre shade of red make it a bit 70’s. So my maxim of “dressing up to go out and play” applies here in spades as it’s hitting so many personal markers.
More to come on the Marmot kit, but I like when stuff just fits-in like that

I took the Haglöfs Jura shirt on it’s first proper hill trip, and you know something, a front that opens up completely, a collar that stays up, wide cuffs and a fabric that isn’t really warm but keeps some wind out are just exactly what I needed on the day. It was a joy to wear and I only stuck a windshirt over it when I was at 900m at 2200hrs. I’m glad I didn’t have to sleep in it though, I’m sure buttons and sleep would have had consequences of some sort.
The windshirt was an old Rab Quantum, just for a change. Great ftting, nice long arms and completely unnoticed when worn. Good stuff.

Quick Kit List

  • Pack, Haglöfs LIM 45
  • Shelter, Big Agnes Three Wire Bivy
  • Sleeping Bag, PHD Minim Ultra 900
  • Sleep Mat, Thermarest Neoair Standard
  • Stove, Markill Peak Ignition
  • Fuel, Rekri8 125g canister
  • Pot, Optimus Terra Solo
  • Shell, Haglöfs Oz Pullover, OMM Kamleika Pants
  • Insulation, Haglöfs LIM Barrier, Marmot Powerstretch Half-Zip
  • Worn, Chocolate Fish merino boxers, Haglöfs Rugged Mountain pants, Haglöfs Jurs L/S shirt, Montrail Streak’s, Wigwan socks out and Smartwool socks back, H&M denim hat, Rab Quantum windshirt.
  • Other, Alpkit Gamma headtorch, Petzl e+Lite, compass &map, plastic spoon, sunblock, shades, Camelbak 750ml Better Bottle, Nalgene Oasis Canteen, AMK DIY-ed medical kit, iPod, Snow Peak titanium mug, camera and tripod, Marmot Powerstretch Gloves, Summer Buff, Haglöfs beanie, Coghlans trowel and toiler paper.
  • Food, main meal & breakfast freeze-dried bags, 2 porridge bars, 1 beef jerky, 2 Cup-a-Soups, Lyon’s coffee bags, Cadbury’s hot chocolate, tube of Nuun (lemon and lime), a yumyum, Honey Stinger chews*, some chocolate and trail-mix stuff.

I think that’s it?

*Honey Stinger seems to have disappeared from the stores round my way, but the UK distributor’s got an online store now.

46 thoughts on “Kit that broke, kit that didnae, and other stuff before I forget, Vol4

  1. Blimey, so much scope to play Snap!

    Out this weekend with the LIM 45 – as you say, the hipbelt is a marvel. Also a first, and satisfyingly uneventful, outing (at last!) for the NeoAir and the PHD Minim Ultra 900 bag :)

    The Ultra Pullover saw use too. As did the Oz.

    I won’t even begin to list all the identical little things… ;)

  2. My god those Honey Stinger energy chews saved the day last weekend. Nowhere near enough lunch packed (i.e. practically none…) but a packet of those little chewy chews in the waist belt pocket of my AL20 kept me ticking over all day. And they taste great too.

    Top stuff.

  3. All well and good, but why, o why don’t BA do the bivi in green…? One likes to blend discreetly in the environment, doesn’t one… And is the tripod the old gorilla pod?? And should I risk a trip to the Etive hils tomorrow night with thunder forecast…? That picture by the lochan sure looks tempting. I must go oot more…

  4. Nice one, those power stretch gloves sound good, my rab ones are back at rab until they get new stock as the seam on one glove ripped ;o(

    just a quick kit list comparison for you (although i was carrying most our lasses gear to:

    Quick Kit List

    * Pack, Berghaus C7pro
    * Shelter, Terra Nova Laser large 3
    * Sleeping Bag, Alpkit pipedream 400 and Rab S3 – along with 2 jagbags silk liners (i slept on my bag in my liner it was that hot)
    * Sleep Mat, Alpkit slim airic, Stormlite self inflating mat (might swap the stormlight for a neo air at some point as our lass quite fancies one) oh and 2 of those nice mammut pillows
    * Stove, Jetboil
    * Fuel, Coleman 200 canister
    * Pot, the one that ocmes with the jet boil
    * Shell, Haglöfs Lim ultimate and Montane air event pant
    * Insulation, Rab Generator Jacket
    * Worn, X-bionic engergiser boxers, x-socks airforce 1, berghaus x-static t, montane terra converts (in short form) scarpa nepal boots, Keswick mountain festival buff
    * Other,Petzl tikka plus, Petzl e+Lite, compass & tracklogs printed maps,Garmin Gps 60, plastic spoon, sunblock, shades, 2x orikaso folding cups (got them free so thought id give them a go), steripen with filter, 2 naglene style bottles, small first aid kit and small emergency kit, iPhone, camera and gorilla pod,Some hand wash stuff, lynx bullet, midgi spray,light folding trowel and toiler paper. Spare socks, extremeties powerstretch beanie
    * Food, Expedition foods spag bol, drytech pasta bolognese, couple of bags of crisps, some kendal mintcake, some flapjack, alpen in freezer bags with milk powder, teapigs chilli tea, normal tea + coffee, milk powder, jelly sweets

    and i think thats about it… i think our lass had her waterproofs and some fruit and water in her bag

  5. Matt, we’ll need to label our stuff with wee name tags :o)
    It’s some genius sleepkit that, how the hell it’s so warm for the weight I don’t know.

    Holdfast, aye they saved my soul on that trip as well. Trying not to just pop them in one after the other is the difficult part for me.

    Andy, if it was green I’d just trip over it in the dark!
    My tripod is a mini telescopic one, goes from about a foot to four and a half/five feet. It’s heavy, and I hate to say it, vital these days.
    The little rocks in that lochan are what I was balancing on the scoop the water up from the deepest part I couold reach, no mishaps even in unlaced shoes I’m glad to say.
    It’s also about 0630 there and it was so bright!

  6. Right. That explains it, then. The tripod, I mean. It explains both the bulky pack [8-)] and the brilliant pictures of you. I thought either you had an invisible companion on your trips or plenty of conveniently placed boulders…

  7. As for the Haglofs Oz: would that be too hot as a waterproof shell in the summer? I’ve an old (5 years) Montane jacket which is pretty good (200g). Was looking for something lighter but I suspect the Litespeed H20 is not really waterproof but only moderately so? But the paclite is supposed to run very hot, isn’t it. And you let it transpire that the new version of paclite coming up will be something else… So maybe this is not the right time to buy an Oz??

    Boy, do we bovver you with these daft questions… But I’m almost there, the perfect kit set up is just round the corner… Then it’ll be only the hills there for the enjoyment…

  8. Moggy, I missed your kit list earlier, good lad. Looks good, I think you’d get that in a smaller pack… :o)

    Andy, the tripods become a necesssary evil, but for the night or low light stuff and man-in-landscape it’s right on the money. Also a gorrilapod just doesn’t have enough height on an open hillside.
    Check me the “photie=graffer” :o)

    Ange, I saw the photies, looking better :o)

    The Oz or the H2O are what I’m carrying just now, both are fine. The Oz is a better jacket, but the H2O is softer and has longer arms and body.(my U&A review in August Trail..I think…). The H2O is only PU Nylon so it’s not super breathable, and it’s not designed for back packing use, persistent rain will get pushed through under pack contact points.
    The new Paclite is more than a year away, winter 2010 maybe, so don’t hold off for a jacket made from it!

    It’s no bother, questions on here keep me on my toes and keep the wheels turning.

  9. Well, you asked for it then… (if truth be told, you should be a rich man by now in commission fees… I’ve bought so much stuff after your endorsement that you’re costing me almost as much as my wife…) remind me again, that Snow Peak double-wall mug, you got one in Fort Billy and some off ebay. No UK distributor? and do you get stung by C&E if you order from the States? It comes to what, about 25 quid? I’ve got a Ti mug but it gets cold pretty quick, even in the summer.

  10. Tripods are a curse, can’t realistically do without but I hate the weight mainly as it’s cost a bomb to get the weight down. I have a Gorillapod that I sometimes wrap around the handle of a trek pole with a loop of shockcord. The wee ‘real’ tripod is a Manfrotto Modo for a compact camera but it weighs 998g which it mad. I’ll need to research a bit.

  11. Yeah, I think there’s an adaptor of some kind to fix the camera to pacerpoles or something. But would you trust a £300 camera on a wobbly trekkin’ pole that might keel over any time…?

  12. Andy, the Ft Bill one was the single wall, recently got a spare in Blacks at The Fort in Glagow for £9.99 :o)
    The twin walled ones sailed through customs, maybe the lightness makes them less interetsing or less obviously valuable?
    You do notice a big difference in heat retention, and the welded top edge is kinder to your lip and easier to clean than the single skinned’s rolled edge.
    I say press that Buy it Now button!

    R MacE, aye they make life so much easier, but are unreasonably heavy and bulky in case you stick a 4kg of pro camera on it. Where are the carbon and titanium delights for the point and clickers like me!

  13. you seems really satisfied about the Montrail Steak.
    I was looking for a retailer in LDN to get them, no one has them (I asked to Columbia).

    – do you know some shop having the Montrail in LDN?

    – as an alternative, have you ever tried INOV-8 Roclite 315?

  14. I do love the Streaks, but the only Montrail shoes that’re coming into the UK seems to be the Mountain Masochist. It’s another great shoe though, I’ve got a set on test and I’ve been wearing them quite a bit.

    I’ve had Roclite 315s, but they went on abay as the fit on the heel wasn’t right for me. But, as alternative to the Steaks they’re worth trying on for sure.
    LaSpportiva’s current trail runners are worth a look as well.

  15. As ever, fit is crucial. The Roclite 315s have been my staple shoe for over 3 years now, and I’ve used them for everything from a bit of trail running to multi-day off-trail backpacking. (I don’t choose them if I know I’m deliberately heading off scrambling, or for snow and ice). I’ve found the grip remarkably good across the whole range of surfaces, and the cushioning better than my previous Terroc 330s, noticeably when carrying a fair old load.

    And despite some folks complaints about (lack of) longevity, I’ve only just moved on to my second pair. I’ve only retired the first ones because I realised the shock-absorption was very compacted and less effective – there’s still life in the tread and the uppers :)

  16. Matt, there’s a hint in the air of Inov8 beefing up the whole range…

    Aye soularch, best Montrail mail order stockist in the UK. I got a spare pair of Steaks from there :o)
    But, there’s just no new stock coming in, apparently the shops are going mental about it,

  17. What do you mean by beefing up? Greater longevity? Or more identical looking shoes at slightly different weights?

    Also, completely un-relatedly (but i notice you were wearing their big brothers), do you know if anywhere in the country has the Haglofs Mid Flex pant in olive/seaweed? Or if the Haglofs UK bunch can order such things if not? I like the unified look of that colour scheme. Or is it worth waiting for next years pant updates ( I think you said there were more unified colours coming to the ruggeds)?

  18. I think longevity, please, no more pages of identical shoes…

    I haven’t seen the two-tone green anywhere, just the black & grey. They’re good pants, they sent me a pair last year, it’s probably time I wrote them up!
    If there’s stock of them, they’re easily ordered. The nice new bracken colour won’t be here until Feb 2010, and they will be more expensive by then.

  19. Anyhoo, back to the really important stuff: that impulse-buy purple Ti mug of yours looks in remarkable condition in the photie – on the outside at least. I resisted the temptation to buy when I saw that the care instructions said the anodising might wear off if abrasive scourers are used (I occasionally cook/cremate stuff in my plain one). Just in case I come across one, how’s the inside finish holding up?

  20. Yeah I hope longevity as well. There’s too many that look the same. I’ve been eyeing some of the f-lites as a potential pose shoe option as they’re easier to track down (I’m tempted to give it a go soon after a niggling knee injury returning). But there’s about 3 models that look exactly the same, but slightly different weights. I’m guessing lightest is the way to go, but sadly they’re not in the excellent pale grey colour.

    Re the Mid Flex would you say they have any advantages over the ruggeds (besides price and colour options) like the lighter fabric weight being a bit cooler? Also if I was to try order some of the green ones would I do that through a shop that stocks the grey/black or direct from Haglofs UK?

  21. How do the streaks compare to other montrails for fit? I am onmy third pair of CTCs as they are the most comfy trail shoe I have ever had. If the streaks are a similar fit,I may be tempted. Is the sizing the normal 1/2 sizebigger required for montrails apply to the streaks as well.
    Secondly, how did you get on with the neoair? how does it compare to say the exped for comfort? I guess the insulation aspect will have to wait for the winter for testing…….

  22. thinkgreysky: Purple mug- the finish does wear a bit, it goes a bit mother-of pearl, or maybe a subtle purple camoflage. Not an issue at all.
    Can’t cook with it, it will explode :o)

    Benjamin: Any Haglofs stockists will get you anything from free stock, they’re pretty organised in the UK now. The Mid’s are lighter, a bit cooler and a slightly slimmer fit than the Ruggeds. The thigh pockets aren’t as big, being inside the leg rather than sewn on the outside, but as long as you don’t ram them full it’s fine. I don’t think the Mid’s would give you any trouble.
    The Rabot Flex’s that they replaced were more like the Ruggeds but in the lighter fabrics, now with leg vents they would have been perfect!

    Backpackbrewer: The Streaks are maybe a smidge wider than the CTC’s, it’s that distant running/foot spread thing versus scrambling orientated slim-fit. I’d need to dig my CTC’s out to be sure though. But, I wear both quite happily, I change sock types a lot as well to tune my fit. All my Montrail’s are the same size, I’m quite lucky that way.
    The Neoair is doing very well, it is the comfiest mat I’ve ever used, seriously, ever. It’ll be too cold on frozen ground though, I’ll be back to my Exped Synmat unless something else appears. The short sideways baffles on the Neoair make a huge differenr to your body movement and the way the sleeping bags moves with you. It’s just like being on a mattress at home. I’m taking it out with a top-bag next trip, or the one after, to see how it fares there.

  23. I took a look at the Lim 45 the other day and liked what I saw and felt with 8 kg of catalogs used for ballast. I then wondered what was the upper weight limit of such a fine pack. Any thoughts?

  24. I’ve probably had more than ten kilos in mine and it’s been fine. The only impact on carrying comfort has been putting a bladder in the external sleeve, it pushes into your back unless you’ve packed it with the the bladder in mind (which I didn’t).
    If you can get past the quirks I reckon it’s always worth a look.

  25. I weight my LIM 45 at just over 10kg fully loaded at the beginning of a trip (lots of water and food) – there was no sense that this was getting towards the limit of comfort so I wouldn’t be concerned. The hip belt is very good. You do need to exercise a little care when packing as there is no rigid back panel (eg like the fformat system in the classic Karrimor packs)

  26. Thanks

    I am trying to decide whether 14 kg for 8 days is too much, I suspect that it is on the cusp. But the first challenge is to find out whether it will all fit? The answer is maybe. More experimentation to come and I leave Monday.

  27. I’m going to stick my neck out and say that a well-packed 14kg load will be okay.
    The LIM’s design divorces the impact of a load from the wearer with that metal frame that I think makes it act like a external-frame pack. That with the superb hipbelt should make it work as long as your points of contact (hips & shoulders) are ready for it.
    Like we’ve all said above as well. the middle of that metal ring is soft so a bladder or a sharp edge in a stuffed pack can make its presence known in your ribs.
    But, after the WHW last year with it I trust it completely and it’s still my first choice on any trip where I won’t be scrambling and scraping a packthrough rocky gaps and the like.

  28. Aye, I’m sure I’ve had 14kgs in mine with carrying the Quasar for two… it’s the only 1kg pack I’ve found that’ll handle that weight comfortably. The hipbelt and frame combine so well. (I’ve had a Crux AK47 at similiar weight but while the frame is great the hipbelt imo just doesn’t hack it.)

  29. We’ve all flagged up the hipbelt which is interesting, it must be one of those things that works across sizes and shapes of people (apart from really wee folk of course..current Trail).
    There seems to be versions of the design across the range as well, from the Ace to the Ascent. In fact the Ascent has very similar shoulder straps to the LIM. Anyway, I’m wandering off at a tangent now…

  30. The answer is 13.5 kg including the pack works fine, I do not use a bladder but can see that a filled one would provide pressure on the back. In a little over a week I will be able to report back on my experiences. And yes the hip belt is a nice fit, even for my less than athletic figure.

  31. Question on mats but where to put it? Here?
    My down mat has died. Won’t hold air and can’t find the leak. Need to find a solution for a snow camping in Norway in March (could be -15?). Wanted something with more umph than my neo-air and wasn’t feeling flush so plumped for the POE Ether Elite. With r-value 2-4 I figured paired with a Duomat it would do the trick. Now faced with the hard reality of a cold night on an untested combo I’m not so sure. I know these things are hugely subjective (fitness, bag,food and hydration, mental attitude, balls of steel etc) but would you go with such a combo or aim a little higher?

  32. Aye, the gear page is gone. I always meant to do something about that!

    My Neoair plus a Duomat has been fine on frozen ground and snow, it loses heat faster up the way when you move around as there’s no real insulation in it though.
    I’d be happy trying the POE + Duomat in the same conditions, but it would be nice have a night on it to see how it peeformed before committing to a trip.

    I’m writing up an Exped Synamt7 Basic right now, and I’d be happy with that on its own in the same winter conditions I’d use the Neoair/Duomat if that helps putting a level on my expectaions of insulation?

  33. Thanks. That does help. I’d use my 3/4 downmat 7 without hesitation and I guess the Synmat 7 is comparable. It’s hard to test these things out living where I do. Just have to committ. The area I’m headed for is at least strewn with huts in case I make a bad call.

  34. Sleepkit is always the hardest thing to test, even when you’re used to it every trip feels a little different.

    Whatever happens with the kit you’re taking you should be okay unless there’s a big freeze.

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