Kit stuff 2

I went and put the kettle on and forgot to finish what i was saying…

I was wearing a sythetic baselayer top on Friday night. I’ve been wearing synthetics on and off in times recent, but I’ve not worn a synthetic overnight in years. When I was down in the Lakes last week I picked up some kit for Bobinson, Haglöfs’ Kazoo Pants and Azer Zip Top. I got an Azer for myself as well as I got caught up in the shopping frenzy.

I’m always banging on about merino, and with good reason, but things move on and synthetics are always under development to made them less like clingfilm on the skin and less offensive to the olfactory senses of you and your companions.
The Paramo t-shirt that came for test last year worked well, but got shelved for winter, so I’ll come back to that. Recently I’ve worn Helly Hansen Lifa again which just feels horrible on my skin when I’ve been sweating, featherweight Polartec Powerdry feels better to me. I wore a heavyweight Haglöfs Actives 031 occasionally late in winter and it was roasting, but stayed dry. And of course there’s the X-Bionic kit. All fitted and performed well, but still had a whiff about them after use in various degrees.

The Azer was annonymous in use, as any baselayer should be. Soft, comfortable, easy to roll up sleeves, nice long neck zip. It was when I stopped to take photies or have a drink and turned round to set off again that the biggest difference between synthetic and merino became apparent, my back was icy cold and closing the gap between my back and the pack was a definite “Urk” plus shuddering  moment. But after a couple of seconds comfort was restored. It’s more noticable when you’re not layered up, you’re just in a baselayer.
It’s always been that way, as long as I can remember. Moving to merino, well, you just kinda forget.

I slept in the Azer no problem, I was perfectly comfortable and dry. Back at base though, Joycee did indeed sense something, a presence she had not felt since…* Since a few years back anyway, next day synthetic bouquet, although much diminished in its ferocity.
So recent experience suggests that sythetic has got a lot better, anti bacterial treatments, silver fibres and the rest are working, but nature’s got a head start and is sitting at the trig point already, grinning away.
I’ll wear sythetic for day trips and the like quite happily now, but merino is still king for days, and for days and nights.

Also, I slept in the PHD Combi on it’s own for the first time. It still lofts like a bastard, it’s still warm, but it’s now wider inside, more like regular bags from other folk in fact.
Is it an option for folk who fancy a lightweight PHD bag without the slim fit?

*Shame on you if you don’t get that movie reference.

52 thoughts on “Kit stuff 2”

  1. i hope u got the green zip top and aren’t getting old and buying sedate colours!

    im should be getting a haglofs jacket in the post this week, looking forward to seeing what its like.

  2. Moggy, I’m afraid it’s the grey with the green bits so it didn’t clash with all my other budgie green kit :o)

    holdfast, you are very close…

  3. BOOOOOOO, thats it im not reading this blog any more, the 1 bastian of crazy coloured kit has gotten all old and sensible.

  4. You want the heavy breathing, holdfast…

    zzzzzzz…zzzzzzzz…..zzzzzzz (where’s my tin-foil cardboard inner so I can do this properly?)

    Now winter’s limping off into the distance, I’ve moved into Smartwool microweight long-sleeved zip Ts, as I need to have a collar rather than a crew neck. Loving them so far, though I don’t know if they’ll cope as well severe perspiration as my Berghaus x-static extreme zip Ts.

  5. Moggy, don’t you worry. I’ve got the orangest things ever coming very soon…

    Kate, I like the Smartwool fabric, Icebreaker even started doing a similar weave a couple of years back.
    Merino doesn’t cope with supersweatiness as well, but it is comfier for me than sythetic when backed into that corner by the battle between body, wetness, temperature, smell etc
    I’m sure if you wear on the imminent trip you’ll really notice a difference.

  6. Yep, it’ll be interesting to see how well it does. Smartwool are the only company I’ve found doing a superfine merino with a zip and collar design rather than a crew. I’m planning to wear that for the trip, though if the long-range forecast is anything near accurate I may be back in midweight!!

  7. Darth Vader! Of course! What was I thinking! Rookie mistake.

    Despite being a total merino fan (I wear it every day) I’ve been in Powerstretch a lot this winter when up in the hills. It’s warm, nicely so when the mercury goes south, but it’s the speed it dries that I like the most. But it does stink too.

  8. Kate, snow I heard…?

    Powerstretch is the business, it does stink less that microfleece I think. Polartec 100 makes my eyes water after a couple of days :o)

  9. Yep – freezing level down to 400m over weekend, and northerlies continuing into next week. It may be the -25c Wasp and the Paramo rather than the Minim 500 and Terrapants!!

  10. PTC, have you tried any of the montane smartwool stuff for summer use. I use bionic T’s a lot over the summer and I think the merino/synthetic mix seems to work well when you need to work away more moisture.

  11. The Arcteryx merino mixes in a synthetic fibre, and doesn’t stink up. Much prefer this to icebreaker, chocolate fish, stuff. Has a nicer feel to me. The Dryskin fabric Haglofs use is good stuff reasonably tough too, I have an old shirt from their ultimate series made from it.

  12. hi ptc

    just thought i would let you know that i have uncovered some Haglofs OZ Pullovers in the old budgie green, a very sought after item i hear, very limited stock. let me know if there is anyone looking for this jacket as i think they will go fast. let know.


    escape route

  13. soularch, I’ve had a short sleeve tee for a while and I like it a lot. I’ll dig it out for summer, I think MOnmtane are sending up a lonf sleev for tes as well. The fabric is the right way round as well, unlike Helly Hansens attempt with all the merino on the outside?!

    DNF, personal response to the fabric is a big part of it, some folk find pure merino itchy which is a shame (and they get assaulted on the outdoor forums for saying it for some reason). I think a mix is a good idea, Macpac were having a good go at before they got bought over and the range shrunk. They had a kind of merino mis powerstretch fabric which was brilliant. I should dig out the top I have and use it again and see how it stand up against more recent kit.

    Moggy, I also have some “teal” that’s just arrived. The old colours are all coming back :o)

  14. Hi Peter, that’s a good find!

    Anybody interested should click on “petedogg” on the post above and it’ll take you to Escape Route’s online store.

  15. I’m already the proud owner of a Haglofs Oz in budgie green :-) ptc*’s regular readers might like to know of its apparent prophylactic qualities. I carried it all last summer, and it’s just gone into my daypack again, and I have never used it. Whenever I have it with me the weather is dry!!

  16. “an option for folk who fancy a PHD bag without the slim fit?”

    Er would that not be the Mountain range – Hispar, Diamir, Baltoro, etc. ?

  17. …aye, maybe I should have said a lightweight wider option. In fact with the power of editing that’s what I will have said in just a minute :o)

    I never though I’d get so used to using zipless bags, but it’s no hassle at all and the bags retain warmth so well.
    Everyday in the last couple of years has very much been school day.

  18. just had chance to give the new jacket a run out in the rain on the 3mile trek home from the inlaws, turned out to be a haglofs lim ultimate, cant believe how light it is, material is very noisy though and the pocket is tiny, but it fits well, more to come in a certain magazine very soon.

  19. The LIM Ultimate is a nice bit of kit, a bit like a supercharged Oz pullover.
    I hope they sent you a bright colour!

    Look forward to the writeup and the accompanying photie :o)

  20. Just been out in it again, quite impressed considering it weighs half of my superfly xt, unfortunately it’s black, even charcoal is better as at least that has yellow on it

  21. Ach, you could have had lava, citron, even the speed blue I’ve got is bright enough (clashes with my ginger looking beard though…).


  22. if id have had a choice id have probably gone for blue or red, the citron is a bit yukky.

    i found my self picking the jacket up on the way out of the door this morning as it looked like it was going to rain even though it was sunny, if im going to test it might as well test it in a variety of situations.

  23. I must admit to having started to ask for colour options when looking at test kit. Because I’m using it long-term rather than just giving it the once over, I’ve got to like it.
    The biggest test for the LIM Ultimate is unpacking it after being compressed in your pack for 24hrs, the peak on the hood may well give cause for concern/amusement…
    Treat it bad mind, the fabric is a lot tougher than it looks.

  24. oh dont worry i will make sure it gets stuffed in my pack, im suprised at how tough the material feels compared to the old berghaus packlites that my mate had, the little goretext badge onthe right shoulder worries me as it seems likely to catch on stuff.

  25. Haglofs Paclite is defintely better, the Polyamide face fabric is brilliant. The lack of seams makes it usable as well, I used to despise Paclite, but Haglofs definitely make the best of it.
    You definitely won a watch there :o))

  26. aye ;o)

    bit clammy compared to event though….im gonna give it a whizz on my bike one night this week to see how it copes with that.

  27. lol

    im trying not to make any pre conceptions with it being goretex ….honest.

    one thing i can say now is it will be in my alpkit gourdon when i go for a wander after work tonight.

  28. i was suprised how much ive used it, i use it for biking, walking, shopping etc and its been a great little bag, ive had it since august last year i think.

    they may have stopped doing it with the window which is some ways is good…people cant see your stuff, but others bad as you cant see your stuff.

  29. I’d be tempted to put weird stuff in there to see what the reaction was when folk saw it, or a light even!
    Mischief :o)

  30. Pete

    How would you say the Oz Pullover compares with the OMM Kamleika smock for things like fell running / mountain marathons?

  31. That’s a tough one. Purely on weight for a one-day event the Oz is the winner, and of course if you’re on a multi-day where the weather is decent you’ll be happy that it’s the Oz you’ve got in your pack.
    The arms and body are a little short, and Paclite isn’t the best for dealing with condensation, but the hood is good, it’s tougher than it looks and I’ve just been wearing mine for two days in Glen Affric with no issues.
    The Kameleika is more comfortable with the stretch fabric, it has longer arms and body, maybe not such a protective hood as the Oz, but the super long zip is good for venting.

    If weight is #1 priority, the Oz wins as it’s nearly 130g lighter. The Kamleika is pleasant to wear, but doesn’t deal with condensation any better than the Oz.
    The Oz has a more protective hood, but the shorter arms and body might cause issue depending on body shape.

    Bottom line is that your physical dimensions might make the decision for you, but having used both extensively I still reach for the Oz most times.

  32. Pete, thanks for this. My dilema is that I have a Paramo Velez Adventure Light which I would use in awful Mountain marathon conditions (such as in last year’s OMM), but:
    a) this doesn’t satisfy the rule requiring taped seams, so I need something that does and therefore as light as possible.
    b) if the conditions aren’t too bad I need to be carrying something that satisfies the rules (in either a fell race or a MM). I might need it, but might not, but pack size is important.

    Therefore thinking that the Oz may be better suited for my needs as it is lighter and packs smaller. Also after the OMM last year there were a number of reports that people’s Kamleika’s had taken in water (a bit like a sponge) and took an age to dry out.

  33. Aye, I did some of the kit checks on the teams at the World Champ AR in Ft Bill a couple of years ago and the taped seams rule was pushed to the limit as much as the sleeping bag rating one!
    The Gelanots fabric on the Kamleika’s does indeed hold a bit of water because of a combination of the outer and the stretch. This will improve in the future.
    I was using the Oz last week in Glen Affric and it’s hard to fault it.
    The Montane Lite-Speed H2O is lighter again, but more basic and less breathable. Fine for a single day event, but I wouldn’t fancy risking it on an iffy-weather two dayer.
    But it’s taped seamed and properly waterproof.

    On the face of it, the Oz is the winner if it fits you.

  34. Pete – Thanks a lot for your feedback.

    BTW took delivery of a PHD Minim 300(without zip) and tested at the weekend camping out at the iRoc. Absolutely fantastic bag!

  35. Good stuff, the PHD black magic works again!

    It occurs to me that the Oz is also the most expensive option by far. You just can’t have it all.

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