Sellout Bastard

This place is a Ford Capri, flashy colours, but there’s a 1960’s engine revving under the hood. 

You know me, I just kinda bimble along with a mix of mild swearing, partial nudity and a whole bunch of what I do, be it work or play. Then there’s the gear thing of course. 
Martin has a interesting post over at his house, and reading through the comments (as one always should), gear does seem to be the prickly pear in the bloggers salad bowl. It got me thinking then, and indeed now.
Maybe I’ve come at testing and reviewing from an unusual angle, but it’s not something I really give much thought to, other than things like “Is this *******(insert item here) working for me?”, “This buckle is about to come away in my hand”, “I can’t believe these haven’t given me blisters”, “This hood needs to get under the sewing machine when I get home”, “Oh, this orange is going to look great in the snow…”, I worry about the gear, not the politics.
My reviews are on the whole pretty positive, I get niggles or features that aren’t what I’d personally choose, it’s not because I’m the trade’s bitch, but because nobody sends me shite gear. Too many reviews out there, in print and online, have a conclusion solely based on personal preference rather than a level of acceptable performance.
I mostly look through the workbooks and ask for what I know will get proper and repeated use, but I’ve made some mistakes, I don’t even know where those white Crocs disappeared to… I have asked for gear from budget brands, but no one will give me it, which I think is stupid. Something either works or it doesn’t, if it’s more expensive it might be lighter, if it’s cheaper the fabric might not be top end, but it’ll still do a job. Brands should stand behind their products, if they can’t, well, draw your own conclusions there.

Martin’s post also brought another circling item in to land, outdoor shops. I talk about them a lot, I’m always plugging the independents or sending folk their way when I know they stock an item that’s being sought, but being more directly involved with shops has always been something that’s troubled me. Alpkit and backpackinglight.co.uk seemed different, I’ve been happy to plug them and their gear, but when it comes down to it a shop is a shop, whether they make their own gear, import it themselves or get it shipped from a distributor.
So, I’m not fretting about this stuff any more. In a month or so I’ll be running a competition with The Climbers Shop in Ambleside, somebody out there will be getting a  Hilleberg Akto after I’ve taken it out and made sure it works okay at 1000m in the Highlands. I like it this way, all I get from this is a night in a tent and chance to spread a little joy.
And, as soon as Haglöfs finally decide on a winner of the LIM35 pack competition, I’m giving away all the Wigwam socks that I’ve been storing in it.
Gear is going to be all over this place like a rash in fact, starting later this week I’ll be doing a first-look at some new gear every day for nearly three weeks. I’ve got alpine boots, trail shoes, socks, food, fleece, rucksacks, softshell, insulation, waterproofs, lighting, stoves and right in the middle, a day at Berghaus HQ.

Stands up nervously and faces the group… My name is Petesy, and I’m a gear freak.

69 thoughts on “Sellout Bastard

  1. Being nice? Nah, we’re all talkin’ about you behind you back ! ;-)

    You know I really had forgot about that mummy and had to google it… couldn’t have been that scary or maybe I was concentrating on Sarah Jane just a little too much.

    Nov could be a goer for me. I’m in the Lakes the first weekend but a 6hr trip north could be done most weekends after and whilst we don’t know anyone’s height – could some snow be arranged please?

  2. Weird Kate? Bless you for noticing.
    I have done some comedy nude shots you know, I just look way too out of shape in them to post them. I will one day though…

    As Matt remids me why not to do it.

    Chewy we have snow right now.

    Anyway, back to reality I suppose. Whole bunch of Berghaus going up in about ten minutes.

  3. Hey PTC,

    I think I stumbled upon the blog when out looking for gear – whilst your reviews are interesting I really use them more as a kind of first filter before looking elsewhere for more info. You’ve introduced me to a load more brands and helped identify the quality ones too.

    The main thing that keeps me coming back is the fact that you’re a great story teller. Most of us don’t get out anywhere near as much as we want and this little bit of escapism keeps us sane!

    I’ve started my own little blog up now and although I’m not getting any followers I feel a little responsibility to go out and do something, just to generate a bit more content. This is a massively positive thing I think – do you ever feel the same way?

    Do you think you’d keep the blog up if there wasn’t much interest from people? I suppose I’m asking whether you see it’s value in the people, or as a diary to look back on when you can’t hit the hills anymore?!

  4. Hi Stratium, first thing, what’s your blog address, and next. thanks :o)

    What you talk about there is something of a fine line I think we all walk: Doing things just to blog about them.

    I’ve gone out in good weather to get photies of gear for reviews, but I always end up doing more miles than I intended and having a great time, so it doesn’t worry me. Some of my trips are semi-work as I write them up for Trail Mag, and when I blog about it, it’s kinda like keeping the trip just for me as well as I can enjoy the personal side rather that just a route description.
    I’ve taken shots that I know should look great on screen, and when I see them framed in black on the page I just grin from ear to ear.
    But, I don’t think I’ve ever gone on a trip just so I could fill a gap on here, if I’m not getting out, I just talk about work or do gear stuff, just whatever’s happening on the day. Not because I don’t think it’s the right thing to do, I’m just a lazy bastard and I’ll often sit and wait for a weather window :o)
    However, if you want to do trips because you want to blog about them, it just means that you’re enjoying the extra impetus blogging is giving you, if writing about it and seeing the photies makes you want to go and do it again, then that’s a damn good thing.
    No one can criticize anything you do when you’re a blogger.

    On my comment on Martin’s blog I said that the viewing figures were maybe a little too interesting and I stopped looking at my stats, ages back now.
    All I do now is check the meter on the page to make sure the blog is still live as much as anything.
    So, when I write it feels more like I’m writing for myself and then I’m going to show it to some mates if that makes sense?
    I suppose what I’m saying is that I’ve found a “happy place”, yes I know there’s folk there, I can see the numbers, but I don’t feel any pressure to do or say stuff?

    I love doing this place, it brings me great joy, and that’s enough. Everything esle is a super bonus.

  5. I like what you say about writing for yourself and then just kind of sharing it with some friends – if they’re interested then great, but hey, you’re not forcing anyone to come here. There’s no brand, no mission statement, I guess you’re not doing this to drive advertising, get gear and be famous :)

    I have really enjoyed starting the blog – it’s a new challenge and makes me think a bit more about my writing style. I’m a computer geek by trade but it’s nice to exchange numbers for words every so often.

    The address is http://www.stratium.co.uk/ btw – any comments welcome, though I feel somehow like a 10 year old, forced to show off his work to the school assembly by posting a link on here!

  6. Writing’s great, I enjoy the process, scrabbling to find the words to fit the picture (and voices) in my head.
    I like having fun with it to , it really is a medium of endless scope.

    Just had a quick swatch at the blog, nice. I see mountains, smiling faces and humour on display. What’s not to like?
    I’ll read properly when I get home and add a link on here.

    Now? I must away and avoid customers by hiding in the Tiso cafe…

  7. Forgive us posting, but you were one of our very first customers, and it was your feedback that launched us into bringing in our own-label brand. So we have much to thank you for. We know that any kit we send you will be tested to destruction and you’ll give us honest, genuine reviews and feedback. And this means we know we can trust your other gear reviews.

    But that’s not why we read your blog. It’s the sheer entertainment value. You brighten up the dark days stuck in the office far away from any mountains or wilderness (The Yorkshire Dales being more like Sainsbury’s on a Friday these days). We enjoy your wonderfully idiosyncratic writing, the tales of your expeditions, and your super photography. Long may you continue!

    All at Choccy Fish

  8. Coops, if I don’t get some proper sleep, her majesty will be sending me a letter to congratulate my on reaching my 100th birthday at new yrear haven mistaked my dishevelled appearance for that of a veteran of many campaigns.

    Chocolate Fish, how glad I am that those tops you used to import were such a strange fit, because we now have you guys making top-class merino kit that’s a proper person shape.
    Ah, bless your woolly heads for your kind words.

  9. If I may throw in a late tuppence worth: your blog, PTC*, is an example of ‘praxis’ and that’s where its appeal lies – at least to me. Praxis is about reflection and action in order to allow others (in this case, those who read your blog) to form their own more critically informed opinion, which, in turn encourages them to act (to invest in kit/get out on the hill etc.). You get kit in;: you use it and reflect on its use – in your unique way. Your readers become more informed and then we make our own gear/trip decisions.

    All of these elements go hand-in-hand and make for a reet grand read – especially if you are stuck in doors and can’t get out to play yerself :-)

  10. That’s a great way of summing up both this place and others.
    It goes with why I didn’t have a winner in the recent midlayer review, I think it’s limiting to me as the writer and possibly patronising to anyone who reads it. I did have my favourites, but it’s not because they were actually better, I just liked them better.
    I really try to stick that concept, but I know I waver when I get excited about something :o)

    Thoughtful stuff there. Thanks.

  11. “Sellout bastard…”

    No. A rollicking good read.

    But…. Could you sort out a filtery thing so that I don’t have to read the gear stuff, though? I adore your trip reports and really don’t like any gear reports (by anyone, really, even my own..)

    A bloody good blog, Pete.

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