Trail Column, April ’08

“Lighter…Faster” and it had to be, this one was done in a hurry. I know what I was trying to say, but I don’t know if I quite managed it this time. The last few lines hopefully make up for the literary fumbling.

“…All this saved time adds up and makes you a winner. You can pick your prize from; more sleep, more hills, more time to watch that sunset.

And my favourite; less time messing with gear. Lightweight makes the gear invisible, and that lets you see the hills more clearly.”

That really is what I’m always trying to say. It’s not about the gear. The less intrusive it is, by weight, by frequency of adjustment, by pointless features, by faffing about and all the rest, the better because you’re looking at the view with a cuppa in your hand, camp admined with no time wasted on gear.

11 thoughts on “Trail Column, April ’08

  1. I just mentioned on the Trail forum that you really need more space to do some proper articles. The one pager they did on Fastpacking was a joke, I could have written it and I know bugger all except how to use Google!
    I`m sure the whole subject deserves a proper “The Misson” type article.
    TGO are giving space to people who are on the extremes relative to their lightweight viewpoint (Eddy Meecham), Trail need to do the same thing relative their more mainstream position, not just a single column.

  2. I forgot about that fastpacking thing, I went and checked my kitlist in it there. I really wanted to specify the Montrail Namches as they were voted “Fastpacking boot of the year”, but they discontinued them, idiots.

    I’d love more space in the mag :o)
    This month is the last of the column in that format. I’ll be back with a different version which should be less “listy” and give me a chance at more detail.
    There’s other stuff coming up later as well.

    It would be nice to have more extremes featured as then what I do would seem more accessible and folk might take to it quicker.
    I’ve got some scarily light camp kit coming in for test (including a down sleeping bag with only about three feathers in it) which will strech me a little. I like the challenge of that though.

    That’s the thing, as I go on we keep finding new stuff and learning new tricks which is fantastic.

  3. PTC*, hope your not gonna end up wrapping yourself in plastic bags in order to use that sleeping bag with the three feathers in it. As per Eddy Meecham. Is he some kind of masochist? He definately qulifies as extreme!

    Maybe its just me but I think the sensible lightweight concept is really gaining momentum now, lots of people seem to be receptive to the trail shoe idea, etc, and I can imagine it won’t be long before its commercial suicide for a manufacturer to be producing things like 35L daysacks that weigh 1.6kg.

  4. Suffer, me? Never :o)

    But sleeping bags in the high end of the 400g gram range seem to be where we’re going, all top bags right enough so with a good mat it’ll be fine.

    It’s true what you say about the sacks. I used to use Karrimor Hot Earths and the like as daysacks and they were the top end lighter sacks of the day in the mid 90s. Now though, the OMM and Haglofs packs I’m using are half the weight, but more functional.

  5. I understood what you were getting at in this months trail column anyway;).Glad to hear they are going to change the layout slightly,hope they give a little more space to the joys of the lightweight revolution.
    Anyway,after a few mad mad weeks of musical enjoyment things are back to normal(well…as ‘normal’ as they get around here!) Even managed to get a good few miles in on the hills last weekend.The weather was superb down here,clear skies and a nice cooling wind.The osprey talon 33 is proving to be well worth the money,now with a decent amount of miles under its very comfortable hip belt its more than earning its keep.Even packed up with 2 peoples worth of gear(her indoors is reluctant to wear a pack) its hardly noticable on my back such is the superb fit of this pack,all the pockets are in the right places and nothing has failed or broken yet,I thoroughly recommend this piece of kit to anyone in the market for a lightweight sack.
    Ok,now for some advice PTC,I’ve been eyeing up the Inov8 roclite 390 gtx for a while now as a possible spring/summer boot,they look super comfy and bereft of weight,but seeing as none of my local shops can supply them,I will be buying them off one of the online stores.Any advice on the fit etc of these would be mucho appreciated,cheers.

  6. The Roclite 390 gtx? My advice – forget it and go and eye up something else!

    Seriously, I’ve found these boots to be quite a disappointment. I really hoped they’d be great – I love my Terrocs and Roclite 315s, but the 390s just don’t seem to cut it.

    I’m a 9 in the Terrocs and 315s so I got those on the 390 and they were massive and sloppy so I returned them. A bit later I succumbed again and go the 8.5. It felt fine in the house but sloppy and unsupportive as soon as I wore it outside. After much faffing with footbeds, volume adjusters and socks I’ve achieved a reasonable fit which is comfortable on easy ground, and on the positive side they are very light, very waterproof so far, and the sole grips quite well. But the fit of the forefoot still feels sloppy and the heel only feels secure when the laces are cranked very tight around my ankle, and they are higher cut than most ‘mid’ boots. As I say, I really hoped it would be different, but for comfort, fit and surefootedness on rough ground I still prefer my older Salomon Elios Mids…. :(

  7. I’ll agree there. They’re an odd one, I need a thick sock with them.
    But with a thick sock they’re fine. I had to play with the laces as well to avoid a pressure spot at the ankle.

    But, I think if they’re spot on for your foot shape they’d be a fantastic boot.

    Good news on the Osprey pack. I really need to get a shot of one :o)

  8. Cheers for the advice guys,much appreciated,just discovered that theres a newly opened running shop not far from me that stocks Inov8 stuff,going along for a look later today to see if they have the 390’s in stock.Fit and comfort is always important to me(I’ve had fallen arches since childhood,doesnt hinder or spoil my walking pleasure as long as the fit is spot on)…but I am very curious to try a pair of these.The targhee mids I bought a few months ago seemed to fit at first,but I didnt really get on with them…shame because they are a great boot.My Merrell thermo 6’s are perfect,but would like something a little more breathable for the warmer months ahead.

  9. Aye, the Targhee mids are another quirky fit. I’m lucky they’re spot on for me.
    Inov8 have a terrifyingly large range of models and different fits, you’ll be there for a while :o)

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