(The return of…) Kit that broke, kit that didnae, and other stuff before I forget.

The Beinn Narnain trip a couple of posts below saw a few new bits and pieces getting some proper use. The Terra Nova laser Ultra 1 probably being the biggest talking point. I’ll do a proper in-depth look at it when I get better close-up shots, but a few things are worth flagging up right away.
First off, it’s the easier Laser variant to pitch. The flysheet seems to spring into shape, anyone who’s pitched a ‘comp or a Photon will know that the silky flysheet material needs a little coaxing into a perfect smooth shape, the Ultra just pops up like a, er, pop-up tent. It’s probably due to the low stretch on the fabric, but for tired racers getting into the camp it’ll be a joy.
Inside it feels no smaller than the Photon, and the fact that it’s see-through helps to avoid a cramped feeling. Lying in my sleeping bag looking at the starts through the tent was quite something…

I used the Crux Torpedo 700 which is a sleeping bag of extremes. It’s huge, the biggest sleeping bag I’ve used in years, but luckily not heavy. The eVent shell makes it hard to compress and consequently it took up somewhere between a third and a half of my rucksack. I wasn’t stuff for space, but it is food for thought if I was taking the Torpedo farther and higher.
Unpacked it’s a different story, it lofts itself into a fat tube of joy that just swallows you up. It’s a very comfy bag, and the zip loosened off after a few uses so my initial fear of being trapped inside soon faded. The eVent shell was perfect for the trip as I had anticipated, small tents = condensation, and as the ice on the tent inner above me fell onto the Torpedo and melted I slept blissfully unaware, warm and dry.
The hood’s a great shape, the adjuster cords feel like they’re off a sailor’s kit bag from the 1950’s, but that’s a minor. More of this again when I get the tarps back out.

The Lowe Alpine Zepton was the pack I carried full of the Torpedo. It took the load well, having a nice balance between flex and sold load bearing. The low-profile harness and hipbelt was issue free and I pretty much felt at home as soon as I hit the trail.
The ice axe loops at the bottom don’t have enough webbing, you end up straining the stitching when fitting an ice axe, I’ll be keeping an eye on that. The lid pockets are a good size and the plain main compartment is faff-free usability. I missed having wearer-accessible pockets, but that’s a personal thing rather than a criticism. Looking good.
The Rupert the Bear checked thing I’ve been wearing is a Lowe Alpine Stealth Hoody. It’s a full-zip, single chest pocket affair with a neat hood and it’s cut from a grid-backed fabric, ie strips of the fuzzy inner face have been lawn-mowered out. Or something. Anyway, it’s a killer bit of kit, and as Lowe Alpine clothing is about to disappear for a while, I might get me a spare.

The light I was using on the tent photies for my lightning bolt thing was a Petzl Ultra. It’s a monster, six big LED’s and I could only use it on the low setting as on high the reflection of the snow blinded me. I’m used to bright lights with the Exposure stuff I use on my mountain bike, but never have I felt like my head had been replaced with a robot laser cannon attachment like I did on the top on Beinn Narnain. More on this later.

The Strathfarrar trip saw the Hillsound Trail Crampons, the Haglöfs Col pants, the Vango Ultralight Stove and many other favourites back in welcome action. I was definitely kitted out for Spring. That Rab down jacket seems to have been a constant last week too, the Keen Oregons once again bridged the gap berween boots and trainers perfectly.
While I’m on about the Hillsounds, folk have asked me about Pogu Spikes over the winter. And yes, they’re the same design: Hillsound’s patented design. I spoke to the Pogu folk months ago, and I did ask if the center sections were the same carbon steel as the Hillsounds (folk will happily buy bootlegs, but it’s good to get a handle on the quality anyway) but no reply was forthcoming.

More new gear stuff coming up, Vaude, Wild Stripes, Berghaus, Chocolate Fish, Petzl and more.

36 thoughts on “(The return of…) Kit that broke, kit that didnae, and other stuff before I forget.

  1. I cant see anybody other than MM racers or folk with too much money getting that tent. What would be the wind speed limit for taking it out in? Think i’ll stick to my red laser competition :)

  2. gagfax, I reckon sponsored athletes will get it bought for them, but I think you’ll have to be on a top-three elite finish to justify it.
    I hope the technology and the fabric filters down to the models for the likes of us.

  3. I was more worried about setting fire to it when I was cooking in the porch in case the “You broke it you pay for it” rule applied.

  4. Hi Pete,
    Super to hear you got to try out the Torpedo, and seemed to enjoy it. If I recall correctly the pack-bag is made of event as well, so you can compress the bag fairly easily just by rolling the roll-top. It’s true its a big bigger than most bags because of the Event shell, but you should be able to squeeze it into a decent size. Oh, I can’t wait to see your write-up on the Asgard smock – it looks just plain perfect. cheers

  5. It does squeeze down a bit in a compression sack, and the size isn’t too much of a problem in the right rucksack, and it’s not overly heavy which is great.

    As soon as I get some decent shots of the Asgard I’ll write it up!

  6. Concur with the Rab Infinity – there’s just something about it that makes you wanna wear it all the time!

    I don’t want to send mine back! LOL

    Used mine in constant drizzle for several hours the other day and it was fine and dandy once I hit a pub.

    And that Ultra? Some folk are determined to knock it down. Having seen it in the flesh and had a play it’s defo a good tent. The cuben fibre is exceptionally durable and tough, don’t you reckon?

    Been told they only have 200 made and half of those will go on sale in the U.S

  7. Is the ‘Clingfilm Ultra’ worth me emptying my piggy bank for
    or will i just stick with my Laser Comp?
    Just kidding,I dare say by the time my Comp needs to be replaced ‘Cuben’ type fabrics will be commonplace and a damned sight cheaper.Terra Nova have to be applauded for once more raising the bar.

  8. I like the Infinity, I’m going to do a versus write-up with that and the Berghaus one I got in for winter, between the two (as is so often the csae) you’ve got a perfect down jacket!

    I’ll tell you what, if they made a Lasercomp with the ultra fly fabric I’d buy it. More space and that shield-of-steel outer? Yes please.
    Proper review and in-depth look at the Ultra soon. Soonish anyway.

  9. Ditto – space specs of the Comp with ‘ultra’ fabric and you’d have a tent that last you years.

    No real concerns about friction burns on the fly etc – it’d just take the hits.

  10. One thing though, I’m convinced it packs down bigger than the Photon. I’ll need to check that, it’s maybe the one down side of the ultra fabric.

  11. Not sure this is the place to post, but just looked at the new OMM website.

    There is a confusing mixture of old and new images, but looks like there have been some minor updates to the packs, mainly the addition of orange…

    The Jirishanca and Adventure light look have interesting new ice axe attachment points

  12. The website’s woeful, it’s got more spelling mistakes than this place.

    Aye, seen the new flashes of orange. I think they’re tinkering with bits and pieces without fixing all the stuff that really needs fixed.
    The packs really stepped up in design and performance every year until recently when all that happened was that the logo moved. I hope they haven’t blown it.

  13. ‘Tis a pity indeed if they are not moving the design of the packs on. I’m a recent convert – there is so much that is right, but it would be nice to see a few niggles addressed.

    Yes, the page layouts are all over the placeas well!

  14. The Villain felt like it had been bespoke designed for me, I’ll take it very personally if they ruin it :o)

  15. Hi Ptc great site ive been a follower now for a while i get trail mag here in the land of the leprecauns!love the reviews..but cant decide on the haglofs flint pant or the ruggeds been using patagonia guides for several years now and there getting tired looking really couldnt fault them,dont think there doing them anymore..

  16. Hi Macro!
    All those pants are good, including the Patagonia’s. I’ve seen the Flint’s but haven’t used them, the Rugged’s I can swear by as a cracking all-rounder. The big pockets and leg vents are magic.

  17. Have Hillsound got a Uk distributor yet? Seems a shame that they have missed 2 winters. No wonder people go to pogu spikes really.

  18. There’s been various talks them since I stuck the samples on here, I know a couple of UK folk are keen to take them on.
    I really hope they sort it out fopr the coming winter, it’s a great bit of kit.

  19. little rephrase, how is it for durability compared to the other TN groundsheet materials?

  20. The fabric is actually quite confidence inspiring. It’s tougher amd more waterproof than the other fabrics, but it doesn’t compress down as much I don’t think.

    I should get some shots on the next trip for a proper review.
    If the weather clears…

  21. Good to know, I’ve decided to do some modifications to my TN voyager SL (mainly replace the groundsheet with a cuben fibre one, and some pole sections with carbon fibre poles) works out cheeper than getting a whole new tent!

  22. indeed… espeically when on the 1st bad weather test and the new seams rip and the poles snap!

  23. but mainly because I can’t find a lightweight tent any more suitible for me and the dog than what I have now.

  24. Aye, tent floors aren’t known for their claw repellancy.
    Don’t fear the carbon pole, I’d had some on secret test for ages and they kick ass.

  25. Good to know about carbon poles! Could use silnylon for the groundsheet, but if it gets damaged, it’s a pain to repair! (already got claw holes in the porch part of the flysheet!) at least cuben can be patched up using good old duct tape :D

  26. Talking of which, one of my Buffalo mitts has a duct taped silver palm after a stove related incident :o)

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