Trail, May ’09 issue

No Lighter… column this month, there’s been a revamp and the Knowledge section has been replaced by the er, Mountain Genius section, and my column is oot. An early version of the last unprinted one is below.
My Used & Abused on the Inov8 Roclite 288’s is in there and that’s it from me this issue.
Claire Maxted’s got a nice review of trail shoes, all good models too.
One thing that struck me was the Beinn Dorain route from Dan Bailey, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen the summit track, every time I’ve been up there it’s been winter and under snow cover. Looks nice in summer.

Lighter…Fasterer
Lightweight gear follows different threads of evolution depending on what users need. Backpackers are looking for the ultimate lowest weight, but to achieve this, the gear can become very basic, often just enough to carry a load or keep the rain off. If you’re sticking to the trail it’s fine, but on steep or rough open ground, or in the worst of weather, its limitations and comfort limits can be found quite quickly
Gear for alpine ascents is usually stripped-down and purely functional, meaning be default that it’s also light. Alpine style packs such as ************ work for climbing as well as for lightweight backpacking and daywalks. Waterproof shells like ************ show their alpine roots by being simple, robust and user friendly, carrying only the features you actually need.
Adventure racing has had a huge influence on lightweight gear, and it’s here that weight, functionality, durability and performance often hits a sweet spot. The result is gear that works exceptionally well for any lightweight outdoor pursuits
The idea of adventure or fell racing kit normally conjures up visions of skinny folk in black tights with big watches, but that doesn’t have to be the case. There’s plenty of crossover gear that works and still looks good too. The only issue is usually cost, the best fabrics and cutting edge design don’t come without a little pain in your wallet Terra Nova’s Laser packs have taken everyone by surprise, they’re the lightest out there and super functional, with capacity enough for a weekend in the hills. OMM have used their years of experience to make the AdventureLight 20, a year-round daypack and racers favourite at 420g. Haglofs Kazoo’s are tights but not tights, slightly looser cut in fantastic softshell stretch fabric for comfort without embarrassment.

30 thoughts on “Trail, May ’09 issue

  1. You’re all very kind :o)

    I’m afraid the column is dead, but apparently it was a popular feature while it was in there.
    I’ll be honest, without more space to expand on the points I would have started repeating myself or just listing new gear.
    But, I’m still in there for the next wee while anyway, reviews, Used & Abuseds and Routes and the like. And what’s a better way or proving that lightweight works than every route I write being done by a man in a pair of trainers :o)

  2. At least I wasn’t going mad(der) then not being able to find your column this month! Hope to see more from you in the future – you deserve to be in print.

  3. All my columns are now collected under the heading at the top of the centre column.
    Last months is funny, I really got to cram in all the wacky gear possible so folk might go and google it and see what’s possible.
    A good note to go out on :o)

  4. It would be nice if Trail had an online version available. I`d love to read about the 288`s but a subscription (mailed to Texas)is a bit expensive!

  5. Dammit, it’s toys out the pram time! A real shame, not doubt the space to be ultimately filled with yet more adverts.

    Will you be back for one off articles and the like or have they cast you out for eternity?

  6. I’ll do a detailed write up on here before they’re available. I’ve really used them hard, so hopefully it’ll be useful info.
    They are tougher than I expected though, that’s for sure.

  7. No wonder I couldn’t find your column, it aint there!

    Well that’ll be the end of the Trail sub when it comes up for renewal at xmas.

    Any longer term plans?

  8. To be honest your columns have been the best bits in trail mag, as its gone downhill recently, same old, same old. If anything they should be giving your more pages IMHO. Well thats me only flicking through ones in the newsagents without the plastic cover on em from now on.

  9. I misssed crabduck there, I’ll be in and out for a while yet. Next month I’ve got a big review in there and there’s other stuff in the works too.

    baz, that’s taking the hardline for sure :o)

  10. Aye John, it’s taught me a great deal. Deadlines & word counts all mean economic and targeted writing, and that got lifted to another level with the multi-page reviews.
    I’m not there yet, but at least I know what I’m supposed to be doing now, and that’ll serve me well on what’s to come next.

  11. You have shard much and pointed many to a good way to enjoy the hills. Going light is right and you have spread the message far and wide :). Keep it up and by the way – where can you get those Kazoo’s in a long leg length?

  12. The King is dead – long live the King !

    As long as it means more time for the girls and the hills – it’s all good, mate.

    I guess now we’ll just have to make do with the usual old, honest, upfront, undiluted, tell it like it is, shooting from the hip, passionate, inspirational, blog-tastic, joyous view of the planet that is – PTCWorld.

    Do you remember where you were when you heard …

  13. Bless you good people :o)

    There’s no end here though, there’ll just be different. And I like new :o)

    Long-leg Kazoo’s Martin? You’ve had that, regular only! I’ll dig them out tomorrow and take the inside leg measurement.

  14. ‘Tis a great shame the column has gone but the word limit didn’t do you justice…..

    To be honest I always felt your honest critique seemed to fit more with the sort of articles written in TGO. I may be wrong but Trail (I am a subscriber) strikes me as overly commercial. Its got to the stage now where I don’t fully trust reviews because I can’t be sure it’s not just a case of which manufactures the magazine is most pally with.

    TGO feels more like they’ve got people out there doing their ‘thing’ and they’ll use gear and honestly review it with no bias due to advertising etc.

    Personal opinion and probably totally wrong but it’s just the feeling I get when I read one then the other.

    Regardless your articles are excellent and I sincerely hope you find another medium where you’re given the space you deserve.

    Cheers, Phil

  15. Thanks Phil.

    Everyone has been very kind, I really appreciate that. It’s been wonderful getting the message out and for folk to catch some of it. Even if it’s dismissed by the reader, having had it available is the good thing.

    Now, having talked gear, including proper reviews in Trail for the best part of two years, I know that there is no commercial interference in the reviews. I’ve told it like it is every time and the only editing has been for space or understandability.
    The best example is maybe from the tent test a while back where I thought the new North Face tent was crap and the review went out as such. I’ve got a sleeping bag test in the next issue and the odds-on favourite didn’t win, I poke fun at one from Trail’s supposed “favoured brands” and I have to criticise and mark down one from my one of my favourite brands.
    I think as time goes on we’ll see more long term tests as well which is good. I’ve got a couple of items coming in to try and destroy over the next few months.

    Now, I can assure folks that neither I, nor going lightweight have gone from Trail for good.
    There’s something in the works that I am overjoyed to be writing. It should put all the stuff I’ve talked about in the columns into context. Me, mountains, and daft banter.

  16. Shame about the column but it looks like the folks at trail have had the good sense to utilise your expertise and humour in future issues, heres hoping

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