What the kit’s doing, random stuff, thoughts on this , that and the next thing.
I kitted out four and a half folk with gear on the recent National Park trip, everyone brought their own kit as well, but it was interesting to see how the guys got on with the unfamiliar, as good a test as any.
My kit’s above, pretty much regular issue, Lasercomp, Neoair, Jetboil Flash, Montane Flux. The sleeping bag was a PHD Minum 300 with the short zip, making it’s first appearance of the year and was a comfy down filled delight. I’ve enjoyed the past couple of nights in a tent using a zipped bag, it’s nice to have a little freedom sometimes.
The pack (better view below) was the Macpac Amp Race 40 which I didn’t manage to fill, it’s definitely bigger than advertised. I carried a water bottle on the bungees on the left shoulder strap and the strap rubbed a bit, so I won’t do that next time to see if that was the cause. Otherwise, it’s a cracker. Good size, flexible but supportive of the load and great storage without cramming. The Montrail Streaks had their last hurrah, the Haglöfs Rugged Mountains Pants vented when required and carried the camera in thigh pocket with ease. Wigwam trail runner socks were good both wet and dry.
I had some new Chocolate Fish merino kit on the go, as did a few of the boys. I’ll do that in more detail soon.
Other tents I supplied were:
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1. Grant Moir used this, and he pitched it quick without help. It still looked good and tight next morning. He seemed pleased with the weight when carrying it and as a home for the night.
Force Ten Helium 200. Geoff Miles hads this, he pitched it pretty well and found the room in the 200 was fine for hiim, so I’m looking forward to using it now.
Terra Nova Laser Photon Elite. Bobinson had this, and he noticed the size difference right away. His comment that good pitching is vital is a lesson for anyone using one of the Laser family.
MSR Skinny One. Long enough for Craig McQueen, it’s a single-skin oddity but pitched tight it was fine. DSoaked with condensation in the morning though.
Big Agnes Copper Spur. Stuart MacInnes slept in this, it’s the same one I tested last year, great tent.
Argos ProAction. Chris Sleight’s tent, looked a bit wrinkly, but it’s orange so it’s a winner!
Sleepmats, I took an Exped Synmat 7 Basic for Geoff,an Exped Airmat for Grant and a Big Agnes AirCore for Craig. There were no complaints, and as it was a warm enough night there were no cold ground woes reported over breakfast.
Sleeping bags I supplied were:
Alpkit Pipedream 600. Geoff has this, I knew he’s be warm enough in whatever happened. No reports of cold and no complaints about the slim cut.
Alpkit Pipedream 400. Grant used this, he was fine, he’s camped in the hills plenty.
I wanted to use the Alpkit bags to contrast some of the top end stuff on show from Phil, Stuart and me (PHD and Big Agnes). Wild camping isn’t about logos, and light doesn’t have to be expensive either.
Marmot Sawtooth. Huge heavy down bag, way too warm, but the only one I had that would fit Craig. Even if he’d said he was cold I wouldn’t have believed him.
Optimus Terra Solo and Weekend pots, Snow Peak Twin Wall titanium mug, Lifesystems and Karrimor stainless steel mugs. Optimus folding spork, Light my Fire sporks and Firesteel, torches brought Petzl Tikka XP’s and an Alpkit Gamma.
Craig wore the Rab Super Dru at camp and Geoff was glad of the Haglöfs Oz he didn’t notice in his pack.
I took a bunch of food, Travelunch, Expedition Foods and Mountain House. Success was reasonable, but Stuart found that his needed frying, something to check in the shop folks, I know I didn’t.
I gave the boys a mix of Nalgene and Camelbak bottles. The wide mouth is easier for filling, much as I love my Siggs.
Poles were Mountain King Trail Blaze and Expedition Carbons, and Leki Makalu Carbons.
Stoves were an Optimus Crux Lite, Brunton Flex and Markill Peak Ignition. All impressed with their simplicity and weight.
I printed out and laminated maps which were used, GPS’s were used to tell us what we already knew. Bless ’em.
Now, the biggest thing here was the complete lack of problems with the kit, the guys just got on and used it quite intuitively. I was super-pleased about this as I wanted the guys to have a good time, or at least have a trouble free time, and that’s what we got.
The kit was pretty basic, and fit for use anywhere I would normally go, more that capable for the time of year in fact. Oh, I feel like shouting at the outdoor establishment again. Damn their outdated dogma, go light people.