Gear Diary

Gear update, news, stuff and things, random and homeless items, the place to post your own similar should the notion take you.


The most important news is that I went to see KISS last night and it was bloody marvellous. Worth every penny and more. I was half expecting saggy old men taking the piss, but it was a huge production with energetic performances and classic tunes.
I did miss Ace Frehley a few times, the fake Ace is too good, the real one was as much about personality as guitar playing. Still, great to see them playing Glasgow again, The first time I did that was 27 years ago…

I’ve mentioned the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park wild camping project a few times, and it’s now pretty imminent. I was at a meeting last week sorting out the time and the place, and next week I’ll be kitting out the participants in some test kit for the night out. I’ll cover the serious stuff after the do itself, but one thing that occurs to me just now is what the reaction will be to the gear. All my kit is lightweight, but not the obsessive, scales-in-pocket-while-shopping stuff, you can buy most of it in a regular shop, but from what we’ve been discussing for the trip, already I can see that it’s miles away from what’s still the mainstream. This is good and bad in lots of different ways, but mostly it means that we just have to try harder and shout louder. Lets not be too geeky though, it puts folk off and makes us look like social inadequates.


I’ve been back in trail shoes, and not a moment too soon. My first choice were my well-beaten Montrail Streaks, and oh did it feel right. Montrail sent me a couple of new models last week, but they were Size Clown, so I’m waiting for the right ones to appear and then we’ll run them up the flagpole and see if they’re worth saluting.

I wore my Montane Sportwool liner bike shorts, now discontinued, and was reminded of good they are. They’re not super-padded, so great for hike-a-bike and looking normal when cutting about off the bike.
The wool content is welcome too, merino really is what you need if you want to guarantee an inoffensive personal space, post exercise.
Also in Montane land, a pair on the Limited Edition Dynamic Stretch Pants came in for test and went out at the weekend. I’ll have a closer look shortly, but my first thoughts are not to dismiss the range as a stunt, the pants are proper kit in a fantastic fabric and are only £65 compared to £80 for the regular versions.

I’ve been wearing a sample Millet long-sleeve top that I picked up when I was down at innov-ex, a Chugack Mou (whatever the hell that is), and I kinda like it, looks like a 70’s fitba top. The fabric is nice enough and the cut is close but not tight. The brand has struggled to gain a foothold in the UK, but my interest is now piqued.

I’ve had a swatch through the Haglöfs range for Summer 2011, of which I’ll have a closer look later, and there is a return-to-form in the softshell pants area and some moments of inspired madness in the footwear…

More Stuff

A fella called James Barnett gave me a shout about his charity trek last week, and I’ve copied his press release is below.
Trade or punter enquiries would be welcome I should think.

Student Prepares for Gruelling Climb

Jim Barnett, studying at the University of Leeds, will be venturing out on a project for the acclaimed Raise and Give Society on behalf of the charity Childreach International 

He will be going to Tanzania on June 27th 2010 to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s largest freestanding mountain at 5,895 metres in just six days.   Part of the project will also be working with the children who will benefit from the charity. 

A mental and physical challenge coupled with implementing grass roots projects in the poorest areas of Africa providing good quality education and health services to those much less fortunate then ourselves. 

Jim is willing to promote sponsoring organisations by the use of logos, stickers etc on travelling equipment and also photographs of your organisational logo at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. 

Please help him to help those don’t have a good way of life or basic sanitary conditions, by logging onto and making any donations you can. 


James Barnett is 20 years old, comes from Norfolk and is currently studying New Media and Communications at Leeds University 

To find out about the charity visit 

To find out about Jim please email or call 07787 411154

30 thoughts on “Gear Diary”

  1. Glad you enjoyed KISS – saw them a couple of year ago and went thinkin’ it would be a bit sad, it turned out to be an amazing show.

    Had Dynamic Stretch Pants a few weeks now, brilliant material although maybe still gonna be a bit too hot for me in summer. Attracts the dirt like an MP… not too sure they’d be any good for a multi-dayer. The cut is good, ace for scrambling and the side pocket takes a map. I’m on my second pair as the stitching under the fly split first trip but Montane were brilliant, replaced straight away, at my convenience. Superb customer service. Best trousers I own.

  2. stuff – KISS were brilliant and good seeing yourself again, mate – been a while

    gear – got some nice Marmot (Polartec Power Dry fabric with Cocona etc) baselayers cheap online at Cotswold:
    lightweight short sleeve crew – £20
    midweight long sleeve crew – £25
    (nae purple or orange right enough, but who’s gonna see them)

  3. I’ve singing I Love It Loud all day.. Yay Ay Ay Ay Yeah!

    Chewy, good info on the pants, I’ll have them on an overnighter shortly, I’ll see how they fare.

    Das, you’re looking good with that revised hair style!
    Good call on the Marmot kit.
    I’m going on a search for a burial ciste in the Kilpatricks over the next couple of weeks if you’re interested? An evening thing most likely.

  4. count me in – I’m actually off this week if you need an extra pair of hands – hills, work, whatever – just give us a shout

  5. Hi PTC, first time caller, long time listener!

    I recently bought the Montane Limited Edition Atomic DT Stretch Jacket, which I really like (apart from the silly tab to hold back the hood). I like the look of the Dynamic Stretch Pants so will be good to see what you make of them. I’m in danger of looking like I’m wearing a Montane all black onesie tho!

    As this seems to be the place for unrelated questions, can I pick your brains about the PHD Minim Ultra? I’ve just bought one after reading the many positive reviews on this site, but I’m curious to know what sort of temperature ranges you’ve used it in (without the Combi bag) and whether you always wear base layers and a down vest/jacket to boost the rating? I realise that this sort of question is a mine field of body types and metabolisms but I’d like to know your personal experiences with the bag.

    mrchewy – have you had any problems with the buckle on the Stretch Pants? It looks rather chunky – does it make wearing a pack with a hip belt uncomfortable?

  6. Das will do.

    Hi Andy, it’s a good look though, very Gary Numan from his Telekon era…

    I’ve slept in the Minim Ultra a couple of times on its own, one time is etched in my memory as I forgot a sleepmat and slept on a map folded around my Oz pullover at 900m. I kept my clothes on there and was fine in the low single figures outside.
    I would happily use it on a summer high camp with baselayers, it does have more insulation than you expect, but it’s a real suck it and see thing, at low levels it’s a fair weather winner though.
    In fact, I’ll be using it on its own sometim in the next week or so, I’ll have more info then.

  7. i want some clown sized montrails or innov8’s they are becoming harder to track down, could have bought some from the shop and swapped you lol

  8. Andy – had no problem with the buckle at all, carried a full 45l The Villain and a full 40l Hotrock and haven’t noticed the belt. I always try to get any buckle just above the hipbelt anyway… makes sure me troos stay up! The Pants are fairly elastic waisted, so I dare say a belt isn’t needed – save a few grammes if you’re that way inclined.

  9. PTC – Hehe I think the red belts will be the key to pulling the look off! Thanks for the Minim Ultra info. I can’t wait to try it out now. It’s always scary spending this sort of money on a sleeping bag, especially when you can’t even see it in a shop first. It sounds like it’s going to live up to the hype tho!

    mrchewy – Thanks for your reply. I do try to avoid belts on walking trousers as a rule, so it looks like I might get away with removing it. The only time I’ve ever had any success with one was on an old pair of Mountain Hardwear trousers, which had a really flat, skinny clip.

  10. So have they decided to let us get the newer Montrail bits over here or are they just out to torment us?

  11. 16.5?? that makes my feet sound tiny!!

    the problem i tend to find is persuading shops to stock them or order them so they can be tried before committing to buy. with the exception of merrell and salomon it’s quite hard to find trail shoes in big sizes in shops, most seem to stop at 11 or 12

  12. Gear – acquired the much coveted Lizard top in Escape Route last weekend, and the Intense zip t; haven’t had a chance to use them yet, but they feel lovely and have a great cut. Was disappointed that the Breeze pack, which otherwise fitted really well, had shoulder straps too wide for most women. Haglofs are so good usually at doing their stuff in women’s fit, but they’ve let themselves down on their packs – virtually none in women’s :-(

  13. Andy, let me know how you get on with it. I hope it goes well!

    Martin, I made sure I got models to test that were available in the UK, and I know that a few shops already have the Rockridge that I’ve got, and the Sabino Trail (I’ve got the Mid version).
    I was crestfallen that they’re not bringing the Jawbone into Europe though.

    Moggy, I did wonder about their new sizing!
    It’s maybe worth seeing what models are available in the bigger sizes though.

    Scotpat, genius link! My mate and I spend the whole night turning to each other and laughing as well. Proper entertainment :o)

    Kate, I heard through grapevine that Escape Route was like a warzone after some recent visits…
    Good job on the kit, I can vouch for the fabrics. Bugger about the packs though, tell them!

  14. Yeah, it looked like the place had been sacked! And Nicky (Jamie’s missus) burst the red balloon they had for the kids :-(

  15. Grand. I’ve somehow still resisted buying any spare Streaks – even when Outdoors warehouse had a last, lonely pair in my size! – so….

    The jawbone does certainly look amusingly different :)

  16. Rock and Run seem to have the last stock of Streaks btw

    The new models have different sizing, I used to be Montrail US10/UK9/Eu44, now the UK9 is a Eu43.5 and US9.5. It does feel different, I don’t know if the lasts are different or it’s just been an exercise in changing the labels and I’ve got the wrong size (again).
    I’ll report back!

  17. Since Haglofs has reared its head here…. the Lizard shorts had to go back, but I did acquire a nice pair of the Lizard troos – effectively my much-loved Kazoos but in solid grey rather than the outdoor-uniform black leg and seat patches. Nice :))

    And the zip contrast has changed to blue, but I see they’ve left a small budgie green ‘Intense’ logo near the rear pocket.

  18. Doh, not Lizard troos, I meant the Intense Pant.

    I could also be tempted by the Shield pant, which looks like Montane Featherlites done with a little style ;)
    But essentially they’re a cosmetic update to the Haze pant from a couple of years ago so I can’t really justify the duplication.

  19. I did tell Haglofs I was upset about their lack of Q packs and I had a very nice email from their UK rep. They’re remedying it – working on a women’s specific rucksack range :-)

  20. I was talking to those very folks today, and there is huge news at Haglofs regarding where the gear will going from the end of next year after some new appointments.
    Expect much goodness and existing issues to be addressed :o)

  21. \o/
    Just hope they don’t change the cut. I was annoyed when Julie left Montane and the new designer changed the women’s cut, to an un-Kate like cut.

    1. I hope the cut stays as-is too, purely as it fits me too!
      But, the sizing has changed recently, the addition of XXL and XS has changed the gaps between sizes, just a fraction.

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