I had a 3-season synthetic sleeping bag review in the June issue, they’re not up on LFTO yet, I’ll post a link when they appear.
That was interesting to do, and quite difficult as they were often huge, and indeed sometimes rubbish. But there were some gems in there and the winner from Mountain Hardwear was just a good bag whatever way I looked at it, pretty much trouncing the rest. Temperature ratings made life difficult as they were either wrong for the test or a pack of lies. Some bags looked good but the rating was ludicrous, and because they were all synthetic there’s no weight clue like you have with down to make an educated guess. Nightmare.
Folk look at Trail reviews and bitch because something gets apparently odd comments and does badly despite being good kit, well, I know why. When Trail order stuff for a group test, the request is often quite specific: Can we have item A, around £X, rated at 27 pobs and weighing between 100 and 150 piffs.
You’re then in the hands of the distributors and agents who sometimes send in something completely inappropriate, or just don’t send stuff.
So while I might still sit and look at Trail reviews with my face screwed up saying “No, no, no…”, at least I understand a little better these days. Yes, I know individual reviews without an umbrella heading would solve that. Hey, that’s why we have the internet.
Moving on to the current issue, I was utterly horrified to see the selection of packs in the 35L test. Praise Jimmy they didn’t ask me to do this one. There were three in there, three, that I liked the look of. Maybe four.
I’ve got a Used & Abused of the Vargo Titanium Nails in there, spreading the word about such things is what it’s all about.
We’ve got six reader’s lightweight waterproof reviews, featuring familiar face Moggy with his Haglöfs LIM Ultimate. His review has a very important phrase in there that stuck out: “…gave me the impression it might not be as hard-wearing…” was used rather than “this is going to wear out by lunchtime”. Reviews need that kind of awareness.
GT’s lightweight section is interesting as it reminds me of my own constant evolution, a year or more ago I’d have been agreeing, but now I’ve changed my mind. Again.
Sleeping with clothes on I’ve mostly abandoned as I’m using better sleeping bags and mats and carrying no more weight because of it. I carry a mug these days rather than just a pot so I can have a cuppa while I’m boiling water for my apple and custard dessert, and of course the spork is dead to me (for now…) and the spoon is king.
Special mention goes to Matt for tackling the Cuillin ridge. Good lad.