I spent the day in Red Eye Studios in Clydebank working on a new song called Ghost. It’ll take another session to finish as I’m playing all the instruments myself and I’m ropey with all of them.
However, here’s an exerpt.
I spent the day in Red Eye Studios in Clydebank working on a new song called Ghost. It’ll take another session to finish as I’m playing all the instruments myself and I’m ropey with all of them.
Rangering at the Lang Craigs continues to be a joy. We had a staff and volunteers meeting last month and there’slots of good stuff planned for the year ahead including the last community tree planting day and bunch of wildlife stuff. The site is jumping with fur, feathers and fangs, it’ll be good to know what it all is.
Some of it is deer of course, who are definitely not invites and I run out of fingers taking note of how many saplings they eat. This is one of the big reasons my main task is to keep an eye on the fence which runs around six miles or so around the perimeter. Doing the fence in one go is a big task, although the distance isn’t great the terrain is pretty taxing at times with a lot of ascent and some hairy water crossings. So great fun then. You should come along.
In the pre-Christmas storms a few trees were brought down and one of them took down a good bit of the fence. Me and Joycee took up rope, bow saws, hammer and nails and had a wee bit of fun with it all as the rain pattered down on us. The tree was pretty big and the branches that took out the fence averaged around a foot in diameter, but they cut easy enough, and it helps to have different blades to chose from. The wire was trashed, stretched all to hell but we knitted an impression of a fence out of it and the top line was high enough to dissuade Bambi and Co from hanging out here on Friday night with a carry-oot and trying their luck. We tensioned it by weaving the wire around groups of nails and seems to have held up to now.
I have a lot of fun with this stuff and it also makes me use a bunch of outdoor different gear. I’m in boots most of the time in the site and I don’t wear any lightweight shell clothing, it does get trashed in the trees and squeezing through gaps etc so I tend to wear my Fjallraven Keb Jacket which I reviewed recently or now that it’s properly miserable the Paramo Alta II that’s in the photies, which perfect for this. well, in a slightly always too hot or too cold way.
Ah, I’ll come back to that.
January 12th, 2014 by PTC* | No Comments »
What the hell? Nearly half way through January and not a lot to show for it. However, a visit to the physio on Thursday went well and I’ve been cleared to ease myself back into physical activity as long as I don’t push my luck and do my exercises, which are now more than pulling rubber bands, I’m lifting weights. It’s been a wake up call this, I don’t want to leave myself so open to injury again. There’ll be some changes I think. I’ve missed camping, a lot.
Should have been in the hills to celebrate this weekend, snow, some blue skies and the wind seemed to have tired itself out. But, I’m in the recording studio on Monday and as much as I like to wing it in these situations, it also costs money and I’ve been prepping for it. So I’ve been tweaking lyrics, writing down all the extra guitar parts I’m planning to overdub and singing, a lot, much to Holly’s dismay. She’s now at the age where dad becomes a superhero and his super power? The power to wield embarrassment.
There was a sad loss, one felt by the whole family. My iPod died suddenly. I’ve had this iPod since December 2007 and it rarely been out of my pocket, I can’t remember being in a tent without it, driving anywhere with out it and it’s been a more than a music box, it’s been reassurance, comfort and has saved my day many times both by it’s contenst and by it’s screen which is a brilliant emergency light.
Holly was upset and improvised a grave for it so we could remember it. The headstone puts it better than I ever could. Will it’s replacement last as long and perform so well? Doubt it, Apple are just having a laugh these days.
Lots of other new kit and one which made me smile was a parcel from Alpkit that arrived just before Christmas, in for test a MytiCup with some thing inside it you wouldn’t even know was there it’s so light, the Kraku Micro Stove.
It’s a neat design, no less stable than many others twice the weight and feels very robust, more engineering than camping which is a good thing. We’ll see how it does soon, I’ll be back in a tent pitched on snow shortly.
January 12th, 2014 by PTC* | 2 Comments »
2014 starts today, the first Monday, the first day for a wee while where reality counts for something. I’m not sure that’s a good or a bad thing, we’ll just have to see how it goes.
There’s stuff waiting to be done, people to be seen and people to be avoided and a sky to shake a fist at for presenting us the most depressing run of weather it could muster.
Does 2013 deserve a review? It must have been too busy during the holidays, it didn’t send me a birthday card or even a text at the bells so why should I do it any favours? Bastard.
On with the new.
What ever the hell that might turn out to be.
January 6th, 2014 by PTC* | 3 Comments »
I wasn’t ready for it and I nearly missed it, but in the nick of time I caught Christmas by its tinseled tail.
Peace, peace of mind, health, hope and some joy in your heart to those near and far.
December 25th, 2013 by PTC* | 2 Comments »
It turns out it doesn’t matter how many years have passed since I sat in my bedroom, gripped by Greatest Hits spinning on the turntable, that skinny pale faced boy’s heroes are still heroes and when War Pigs broke through the darkness and quiet Black Sabbath were watched through misty eyes. Silly auld fool.
Holly was sitting on my hip so she could see, she had a hand in the air and plugs in her ears. It sounded glorious, the guitar was just right, the flavour was of Iommi’s 70′s tones with the fatness of his modern setup which was as perfect as the playing itself. Ozzy was right on the money, note-for-note, Geezer rumbled away, head bobbing and if you didn’t look or listen too close, the bearded figure on the drums, well, if Bill couldn’t be there, Tommy Clufetos worked his hardest to fill the gap and didn’t disappoint.
The venue is okay, the Hydro does have a boomy element to its acoustics even when full of bodies, but I like it. The standing area isn’t too big and they’re not overselling it so there’s room for everyone, handy when your six year old needs a wee break at the side for juice and a sweetie. The concourse is a bit tight with lots of columns, but there’s plenty of food, drink and t-shirt stalls so queuing is minimal. Talking of t-shirts, some of them were pretty good, me in a union flag? Yes please.
Holly didn’t make it through all of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats who I thought sounded great but struggled to fill the stage and project themselves, a little bit of rabbits in the headlights going on there which is understandable. They’ll be brilliant in a club or as a support in a regular hall, looking forward to that.
Holly made it half way into Sabbath’s set, in fact it was when Ozzy’s voice crashed and burned during NIB that she put her face in my shoulder and started to crack. But, Joycee was at the door, McDonalds was around the corner and dad had the last four songs on his own. Ozzy pulled it back towards the end, some stuff he just can’t sing, some stuff he seems effortless, but he seems fragile. My heroes are getting old.
It was a joy. Holly attracted all sorts of attention, from other dads patting me on the shoulder with a knowing grin to rock chicks that loved her outfit and she did very well in a situation that was new and I’d imagine a bit scary. She did it all on her own terms and at her own pace and hopefully she’ll have good memories of the night, that and her Sabbath baseball cap.
We met Allan which was brilliant, especially as Holly got to meet my best pal from the days we were at the same school as she’s at now. It ties lots of stories from the old days together which she likes. It added to the 70′s vibe of the night as well. Nice.
December 17th, 2013 by PTC* | 3 Comments »
It turns out a six year old’s ears are tiny. That might sound obvious, but it didn’t become something worth thinking about until I had to fit Holly with ear plugs for the Sabbath gig tomorrow night.
Furry ear muffs might look amusing but will give her sweaty lugs and have the sound deflection qualities of an open window. I just know she’ll throw old school ear defenders on the floor so I’m looking at some home made ear plugs using a pipe-cleaner head brace and ear pieces made from a mix of Play-Doh and asbestos.
But I’m kinda looking for something that The Girl will wear so she won’t get her hearing damage that gives you the constant background radio tuning into a station it never finds that me and most of my contemporaries have.
Arco in the morning. I wonder if they have something in pink?
Ah, it’s bloody miserable. I had a plan for the day and there was no way I was putting in the miles with my hood up all day staring at my feet. Mind you, it cleared a bit at sunset with some dramatic colouring and wacky rippling clouds. Would it have been worth it? Hmm, dunno. I feel pain at every sunset I miss. It must be a caveman thing, worship the sun as it leaves and maybe it’ll come back the next day.
I wonder if they got fed up with that and on occasion just thought, “Screw it, I’m sitting by the fire tonight, the sun can come back or not, it’s not the boss of me… Anyway, it’ll give me more time to invent cutlery, I’m fed up pulling strips of meat off of the roast on the fire with my hands, I keep having to wipe the grease off my fingers and we’re going through a fortune in serviettes”. Simpler times indeed.
It’s too dark to do any new gear photies which is a shame too as I’ve just picked up a lightweight pack from Trakke to test, which is a nice size for winter days and is made from Ventile. Nice.
There’s more to come too, kit in from MSR, PHD, Berghaus, Haglöfs, Thermarest, Fjällräven, Primus, TNF, Vango, Force10 and more to talk about. Just need the rain to stop and get the Sabbath gig out of the way so I can concentrate.
December 15th, 2013 by PTC* | 2 Comments »
Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell was a man and is also a band. Youngsters of today way well see the wacky cover above and hear the strange mix of sounds within and think they’re experiencing something entirely new. But, the auld heid knows the score.
Budgie have long been one of my favourite bands, but the man that was one half of what they were, guitartist Tony Bourge left in 78/79 and I never got to see them live. They carried on for a few years with a more standard metal sound and still pop up now and again with various guitar players. Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell know all this too and are big fans, because they’ve taken Budgie’s 70′s sound and claimed for themselves.
It’s uncanny at times, the guitar tones are perfect, the bass and drums would fit right onto an original Budgie track, but the big change is that the vocalist sounds like Arthur Brown or Captain Beefheart.
I was thinking that it’s great to hear someone ripping off Budgie instead of Sabbath just for a change, but as the album become more familiar I’m hearing note-for-note pieces lifted from Sabbath, the cheekiest ones being from The Warning.
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats is a stupid name and when I saw it on Black Sabbath’s UK tour poster months ago I dismissed them instantly, Oh, what a fool am I.
Aye, it’s Sabbath from the minute they pull on a velvet jacket to leave for the rehearsal room, but it’s mixed in with something of Hawkwind and other subtle flavours that I know so well but can’t place.
Sabbath’s tomorrow night, I’ll be doing my best not to miss the support for once.
It might look like I’m a little underwhelmed by these bands because they’re really just the sum of their influences and I know it, but that’s not the case at all. Uncle Acid’s two albums and the Shovell album are pretty much constants on my iPod or on the car stereo, I love them like the recently discovered 70′s relics they’re pretending to be.
The sounds are right, the groove is right, the look is right, it’s just maybe the individual character of the songs that doesn’t quite stand up the source of inspiration.
But what the hell, it’s money well spent. Peace signs at the ready: let’s rock.
December 15th, 2013 by PTC* | No Comments »
I love that cartoon below from Private Eye, who from the ease which this can be found online aren’t looking particularly litigious… ?
I remember this style of health and safety from my younger days as an engineer where on sites we often had a heady mix of heavy weights, dangerous machinery, open flames and scary heights to enjoy and we all took an equal share of personal and group responsibility.
Experience, intelligence, foresight and the ability to think on your feet are vital skills and are worth less today than a sheet filled in with a few sentences of stating the obvious like “Trip hazard: tools around work area will be kept tidy” or “Steps will be taken to ensure no loss of life”. I have written both of these many times.
The weight of bureaucracy slows us down, watching our backs means we’re not concentrating on what we’re doing, sticking to a format dulls our blades and limits our reactions.
There is no progress without risk.
Talking of which Driverless Cars are in the news at the moment. They say it’s for safety, sustainable development, better for the environment but that’s all bollocks. It’s all for power and profit. That and sucking every last bit of joy from the ordinary punter that they can too.
Think about it, you’re sitting in your car which is driving itself and what do you do? Look at the view? Aye, but after a few seconds you’re bored and then what? Buy more products to keep you amused during all the new down time. They’ll love it in Made in China land when that plan comes together.
It’s also travel for the Facebook generation, rather than feel the road, work with the conditions and see the landscape change as you propel yourself through it you’ll be able to sit at arms length, detached.
I want to feel my journeys, I’m even happy to bear the wear and tear from the miles be they personal, geographical or philosophical.
December 11th, 2013 by PTC* | 6 Comments »
Fjällräven’s Keb Jacket is something else altogether. It’s been my first choice as my woodland ranger jacket, partly because it kinda looks the part but also because it’s perfect for the task. But it’s a complex bit of kit and it’s given me dilemma’s when using it. I shall explain.
Looking at the basics the Keb jacket is cut from the same fabric as the Keb Trousers reviewed immediately below this post. The lighter coloured fabric is the G-1000 polycotton and the darker panels are the softshell.
The same attention to user detail and function apply here too along with a slightly fitted but not too neat cut with perfect articulation around the arms. Over a baselayer the size large (794G) is a joy to wear with a good length on the body and nicely long arms
The paneling of the fabrics is done the right way with the G-1000 where you need it’s wind resistance on the chest and it’s abrasion resistance on the shoulders, forearms and hem. The big softshell back section is positioned to keep you drier and a pack cuts out most of the wind so it works well in most situations.
There’s zipped side vents which can be zipped open from top or bottom and these are great hand warmer as well which is usefull as the chest pockets are napoleon style. These pockets are a big with stretchy softshell external bags sewn onto the G-1000 which mean you can stuff kit into them without any effect of the fit of the jacket. Both popckets have wee internal stretchy extra pockets for your phone or things of a similar size and shape to your phone, like someone else’s phone or two Nestle Animal bars perhaps.
There’s another small zipped pocket on the left upper arm and like at the zips it’s got a magic wee leather pull tag with an arctic fox on it. Love that wee touch.
The main zip is chunky and has stiff internal and external stormflaps with additional poppers top and bottom to seal you in. The lower hem is adjustable, a bungee cord with caoptured cordlocks and the cuffs have old-school self-fabric wide velcro tabs. The cuffs pull around half way up my forearm which has been fine, there’s enough venting here for me not to need them up to my elbow in the cool weather the Keb works best in.
Then there’s the hood. The hood is all G-1000 and based on a polar design which gives you a tunnel in front of your face for complete protection. The stiff peak can be folded back to give you better vision and even when folded down the hood protects with a high collar, I can get my nose in it when the jacket’s zipped right up.
There’s velcro tabbed volume adjustment and cordlocked bungees to draw it in around your head and face.
The hood is a work of art.
But, it doesn’t fit on the this jacket for me, it’s too heavy and bulky and offers more protection than the rest of the jacket, so you you’ll have to throw on another layer in bad weather and this hood will not layer under anything I have, even the biggest helmet compatible hood.
I’d keep the G-1000 up to collar height and then make a more basic hood from the softshell so it can be layered more easily. The fabrics used are very breathable and quick drying, they layer under Gore-Tex and eVent perfectly, but the hood thing had me keeping the Keb at home and taking out other kit although I knew that the rest of the jacket would work perfectly.
I love the Keb Jacket and I use it all the time around the Kilpatricks, but the hood limits it for me. It’s been incredibly frustrating as it’s a jacket that’s been built for the mountains.
December 9th, 2013 by PTC* | 2 Comments »
I reviewed the Fjällräven Abisko Trousers last year and they’re now all-time favourites and still in regular use, in fact they got to go on some extra trips the past wee while because I forgot to repair a barbed wire induced tear on the Keb Trousers I’m reviewing here. However, the Keb’s were sewn up in time to go to the recent Mournes trip and after all their hard work through they year I think they deserve a few words.
Fjällräven make the Keb Trousers in five colours and nine sizes for the men and four colours and eight sizes for the girls. There’s some delightful wacky colours in there which were out of stock in my size when my samples were ordered up, but to be honest I think it worked out well as the green and grey combo is wearing well, looks fine when dirty and contrasts well with all the other bright stuff I wear. I’ve been quite happy.
Size wise I’m a 52 in the Keb’s and the Abisko’s which fits in fine with my regular large or 34/36 jeans waist size. The legs on the Keb’s are perfect on me as they’re around 33/34″, but aren’t adjustable as the hems have a few features and there’s no leg options to buy.
The Kebs are very well engineered and are very well featured. They’re cut from G-1000 polycotton which is a fantastic fabric, it keeps out the wind, dries quickly and wears well. It’s tough, I wasn’t upset that the arse tore on a fence, it was my fault. In normal use it takes the knocks and abrasion very well and polycotton feels better in warmer temperatures than synthetics I think. Plus, longjohns winterise it just fine giving you a do it all pant if that’s what you’re after. Application of Greenland Wax at home or at your local stockist who has a machine will waterproof your G-1000 and it’s something that will wash out too, so there’s no gamble in trying it out. Good for the lower legs if you don’t wear gaiters.
The grey sections are a stretchy softshell fabric which has a high nylon content to give it strength but the best thing it brings is total freedom of movement. It has a matching quick drying time and the stretch panels are well placed and shaped to make the Keb’s fit and forget.
The crotch is designed for leg lift rather than relying just on the stretch fabric and the knees are articulated and doubled layered which again adds to the movement and durability. The inside ankles are doubled up too.
Trekking trousers with mountaineering levels of design and detailing? Aye, exactly.
The waist has belt loops with a zip fly and a two-button closure. This spreads the load and makes a nice flat panel which is addressing the possibility of a pressure point, it’s little niggles like the this you notice when it’s fixed like it is here.
There’s two big hip pockets which would probably take a loaf of bread and below them on the front thighs are big cargo pockets. On the right leg the closure has two poppers and an internal stretch phone (etc..) pocket and on the left leg the double poppered flap hides an additional zipped closure. Both pockets have bellows to give them good storage capacity without distorting your trousers or making you walk funny
There’s long zipped vents on the thighs and the lower legs with smooth zipper faces and zipper garages at both ends of all the zips. The vents are great, I had them all open on the whole Slioch trip earlier in the year and they don’t interfere with the drape of the trouser when they’re open. The lower vents stop sensibly short of the ankle cuffs so you can cool down and still seal the crap out of your shoes.
The ankles are made tough and retain their shape which helps when you seal them onto your boots with the wee concealed hook. Adjustment is old school with big poppers and webbing inside the hem. It works fine even with the metal parts being well scuffed now.
You can see the repair below, it’s neater than it looks in the photie! The Keb Trousers have a lot of thought put into them, they’re complex in design and to produce which shows how seriously Fjällräven regard the humble trekker and backpacker like you and me. It means the Keb’s are a pair of pants you can pull on, set off and live in.
Wearing these I’ve got kit and niknaks to hand all the time even if my pack’s lacking in accessible pockets. I’m comfy, unrestricted, I can cool down if I need to and I can layer under and over if the weather wants to play dirty. The cut is sensible too, straight, neither neat nor baggy. Nice to see some trends being ignored.
Bottom line, the Fjällräven Keb’s are a fantastic pair of outdoor trousers.
December 8th, 2013 by PTC* | 2 Comments »
I got a late call from Gus to go and see Airbourne at the ABC in Glasgow last night. The other option was to go and see the new 90 minute Disney toy advert with the girls, but Holly was happy going with mum and Granny, so it was Frozen for them and rock for me.
Made it in to the sold out venue with minutes to spare having missed all the supports and I had no idea what I was going to see. I was vaguely aware of the band looking like Metallica and sounding like AC/DC and the wall of Marshalls on stage could have been from the 80′s tours of either band. The theme of Terminator 2 boomed out as red lights whirled and then the band came on, fell on? Burst on, that’s it. Bloody hell, the grin that lept onto my face didn’t leave for the next 90 minutes.
Aye, the comparisons above are valid to an extent, but they’re quickly irrelevant and anyway they make current AC/DC look slow and tired. Airbourne play hard, often fast and have an incredible intensity in every sound and movement they make. The crowd are pulled right into it and the band pay us back with something new in every song with one piece of madness after another from the singer/guitarist wandering past us on a roadie’s shoulders to bursting beer cans on his head to wacky singalongs and songs where I was shouting the second chorus despite never having heard any of them in my life.
It was what rock is supposed to be all about. The frontman’s banter was great too as was their fine rendition of Scotland the Brave. It was a fantastic gig and I was a 14 year old at the Apollo as much as I was a 44 year old at the ABC as I was watching the show.
December 8th, 2013 by PTC* | 6 Comments »
Joycee saw these in Dunnes Stores in Clydebank. In someone’s imagination I suppose they were making cute carol singer dolls but somewhere on the way either by sloppy production or deliberate interference by some chortling deviant they’ve ended up with a fine collection of seasonal sex dolls. Ho Ho Ho Horrific indeed.
December 7th, 2013 by PTC* | 4 Comments »
I’ve being using these tops for a long time, quite a while and a good bit respectively, all of which are standard imperial testing measurements, as you know I don’t do metric.
Having such long term use, coming back to them after big gaps has cemented my opinions, especially as I’m using synthetic base layers as much as merino now.
Merino versus synthetic isn’t as clean cut as it once was for me, lots of synthetics I’ve used have caught up in terms of smell control which was merino’s winningest feature, so merino for me has to better than ever for me to wear it. There’s more too it of course, and I’ve pointed out what in the reviews.
Clicking on the names above the photies takes you to the brands own product page.
Smartwool use some nice fabrics and 250 weight used in the Zip T has a close knit, very smooth merino that is soft against the skin and a joy to pull on. There’s good stretch to it and an excellent return to shape even after extended use.
The collar is tall which I like and stands up well with its double fabric construction, The collar has a neat wee zipper garage to keep my beard from getting tugged at and the zip itself is around 1/3 length with a smooth inner face which doesn’t need a baffle for me.
The cuffs and hem are plain, nice and wide with flat locked stitching, as is the whole shirt, and the cut is slightly tapered on the body with just enough length on the arms and body in a US medium which usually works fine for me in Smartwool.
The fabric weight here is the thing I had to adjust to, I like light faster wicking and drying baselayers but on cold days under softshell or 100 weight fleece the Zip T found its happy place. If I pushed myself too hard or overlayered it too much the thicker merino would just get saturated and take forever to dry, I noticed a big difference here to 200/190 weight. When it’s wet, it’s not too bad feeling, but steaming away in a tiny tent is something to be avoided.
A cold weather winner, excellent build and fabric quality and good longevity too, it still looks great after many washes and wears.
The Woolpower Zip is something a wee bit different both in style and fabrics and I’ve had a very on/off relationship with it. I’ve got a size medium which is fine on me, the body is long at the back where a huge scooped tail covers your whole arse and at the front it tuck into my trousers okay, but I’d have it an inch or two longer here. The arms ate a good length and have nice big cuffs which are low profile, layer well and don’t cause problems with gloves.
The collar is a medium height and there’s a short neck zip for venting.
The fabric is a merino, polyester, nylon and elastane mix which should be the combination of justice as all four offer something ideal and the fabric has two very different faces too, a smoothish outer and a terry loop style inner. It’s quite an open fabric, lots of light getting through, also something that says good things about moisture management and drying performance too.
The fabric does perform very well in use, it keeps my skin dry and it dries fast itself. The merino content keeps the stink down and it’s very pleasant to wear.
But, it stretches quickly in use and after a couple of days it goes from slim fit to big and baggy which is annoying and can be faffy to layer under anything slim fit. After washing it returns to shape pretty well, so it’s not permanent.
The zip collar construction is an old-school style with a big patch of double fabric at the front to keep the chill out of a vulnerable area: you can open your jacket to breath and your doubled base layer still keeps you warm. But the inner surface here is the outer face rather than the terry softness and it it irritates my skin, I find myself scratching around the zip area.
It’s a fantastic fabric, the 200 weight is perfect for almost everything but I’d like to see more lines of stitching to tighten the shirt up and give it better form over extended use. The irritation issue won’t affect everyone, and if I’d known how it was going to go I’d have got a crewneck to test, because there’s a lot right about the Woolpower kit.
Polo shirts are for logo-ed workwear and golfers yes? No, I’ve a few outdoor specific polo shirts and they’re a fine alternative to whatever else you might usually wear and EDZ have stepped in with some nice colourful models.
The polo is 200 weight merino with a slightly relaxed and tapered fit with some nice paneling to give it form and a nice drape. The sleeves have a bit of extra length to them and there’s a tall collar with a three button neck. The neck is reinforced bu a taled seam like the Smartwool Zip T.
The cuffs and hem are neat and like almost every seam in this whole review we’ve got flatlocked stitching. The fabric has a good bit of stretch to it, but it’s not the softest here and it always takes me a minute or two to tune into it but I’ve never had any irritation while on foot or on my bike, with or without a pack.
Fabric performance is fine, stink free with the trade off of relaxed pace drying that you make with pure merino. The slightly relaxed cut is great in warmer weather and it does actually layer up okay, the big collar doesn’t get in the way at all. This is aklso one of the faults, the collar is a bit too soft and doesn’t stand up well which is one of a polo shirt’s best features, the collar keeps the sun off your neck.
The buttons feel friendly and there’s plenty of venting, the looser cut helps waft heat out the opening too. The polo’s been washed and dried many times and it’s still looking good.
It’s a great top, decent fabric which has many miles on it and more to go. Polo shirts are stealth outdoor wear, you don’t look odd in them in the cafe or pub later on and buttons are nothing to be afraid of at all.
There is a perfect baselayer in here, but I’d have to get my scissors and sewing machine to make it. The fabric performance of Woolpower in either of the other two styles, the Smartwool collar on the EDZ, the Smartwool softness on the Woolpower zip panel, the EDZ orange on everything…
They’re too different to have a winner. The EDZ polo is an almost perfect summer hill shirt for me, if I want merinos smell destroying performance with quicker drying I’ll pull on Woolpower and if I want to be warm, cozy and go oooh when I pull it on I’ll reach for Smartwool.
So, you can have it all, just not all at the same time. Bummer.
December 6th, 2013 by PTC* | No Comments »
I’ve often spoken about the joys of working in churches. Old buildings in general are more fun to work in, there’s always surprises and the workmanship isn’t always better than today’s more Lego base style of construction, but their bodges were done with much more style and I’ve found cut corners that have been holding fast for 400 hundred years.
While wandering around seeing what pipes were heating and which ones weren’t I had time to lean on a pew and enjoy my cuppa in the big empty building. Not even the kids groups were on today, Jimmy and the three electricians (it’s winter remember, in bad weather they band together and hunt in packs) were gone and I was glad of the peace.
Reading the posters and notices is always a gap filler but stained glass windows are better, especially if you can get up close. The work on old ones is so detailed, glass carefully cut, painted or scored and all stuck together with precarious web of lead.
I loved the wee section above, almost hidden a big heraldic crest in a big central panel, looks just like a tattoo. Below is a wee cross hidden in a corner made with a few brush strokes nearly two hundred years old.
Of course, that just made me think of Black Sabbath, the gig is now less than two weeks away. I’m finding it hard to concentrate on other stuff now, so although I was about to review a bunch of awesome Fjallraven kit, I might be reviewing the decline in screen printing quality over the years which is glaringly obvious in my Sabbath Bloody Sabbath t-shirt collection instead.
December 4th, 2013 by PTC* | No Comments »
The photies are cheesy catalogue shots aye, but Haglöfs Tundra LS Shirt is a serious bit of kit. Outdoor gear performance with stealth casual looks for street wear? Yes please.
The 635g the Tundra is listed as is spot on compared to my sample size large, and I have carried it in my a pack a few times as it compresses down very well, but this is something to wear on cool day from your front to door to, well, wherever you like really. I’ve had it to the shops, to work, to the park and on the hill and it was as happy as I was.
The cut is quite neat, certainly no grunge era baggyness just because it looks like a flannel shirt. Neat is good though, neat is warmer and the layer of light synthetic insulation in the body and the arms traps a good amount of body heat. The body is a good length and the arms are long with regular shirt style poppered cuffs which match the poppered front closure and there’s decent articulation in the arms too.
The whole shirt is made from recycled polyester with a smooth inner microfibre which layers very well over a merino long sleeve or a Gildan SoftStyle t-shirt which is worth about 99p but put a Black Sabbath logo on it and it’s £20 and folk like me buy it.
The outer looks and feels like flannel, albeit a tougher variety, it’s soft and comfy. It washes well and dries well, but don’t expect weather resistance, it greets moisture from above just like any other flannel fabric, it just dries fast. I think it’s going to age nicely with use, something that modern outdoor gear doesn’t do well at all.
There’s nice detailing, like the collar which stands up to cut out the chill and has a plain fabric back which matches the useful reinforcing patches on the elbows. There’s wee bits of reinforcing at the hips and bottom of the closure as well.
There’s three pockets, two big hand warmers a single zipped and flapped pocket on the left chest which is big enough for my phone. There’s hang loop at the back of the collar.
The Tundra is a joy to wear and it performs well too, being pretty wind resistant which includes the front when its buttoned tight. It’s more jacket than shirt, it is outerwear and on dry cold days it works great for me. I can boost it with a down vest if needs be and it all goes just fine with jeans.
Favourite gear of the year contender?
December 3rd, 2013 by PTC* | No Comments »