While hardly and epic endurance test of equipment, there’s some stuff that deserves a mention.
On my back is a new arrival which is making its first trip, the Boreas Buttermilks 40. I’d seen the press releases, and when I saw it in the courier box I raised an eyebrow as it looks a bit like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in this colourway. But, when I looked at the detail I was interested, when I loaded it I was pleased and after using it I’m have to stop myself enthusing out of proportion to my experience of the pack.
The Buttermilks felt just right from the off and I’ll come back to it in a wee while once I’m sure. It’s not perfect, this I know already, but still, yes please.
The Alpkit Kraku stove was okay. I like the general design, it’s vulnerable to wind but it’s stable enough in its own right and it’s great for hiding in a pot with a bigger sized gas canister.
Long overdue is the Haglöfs Ulta in Windstoper Softshell. You might think it was the colour that attracted me, the purple never made it to production and the, but it’s actually a brilliant jacket which I’ve worn a lot. Soft with a good stretch, quick drying time and great features and it was perfect in the conditions last week. It’s a cool or cold weather jacket but vents well enough that I can wear it back down to the roadside.
Great pockets, mountain hood, velcro cuffs that push well up my forearms, pitzips, nice. Available in black or blue. Christ.
The trousers are an oddball, sample X-Bionic Mountain Pants that I rediscovered when I was packing. I don’t think they ever made it to the shops, in the UK anyway probably due to the scary price, but they’re brilliant. Great fit, nice tapered legs that don’t flap around and attract mud, clever pockets, fancy rear yoke that keeps your lower back dry and fabric that’s a nice mix of stretch, toughness, breathability and quick drying.
I’m keeping these handy this time.
The Alite Monarch Chair was fun. It was also completely fit for purpose, I could have sat there rocking as the sun set all night. It won’t be right for or taken on every trip, but it’ll be seen a lot, it makes me smile and keeps my arse off the damp ground.
Well seen on here the past few months has been the Berghaus Ramche Hydro Down Jacket. My bright green model has been on every trip and more since November last year and it has indeed been rained on, stuffed, slept it, compressed to death and it’s still getting picked all despite my initial skepticism.
I’ll have a review of the Ramche and the Mount Asgard Hybrid Jacket which Joycee nicked when it came in. These came in for test for the Mournes trip last year, we got them in Celtic and Rangers training top colours.
Yes, there were comments.
The tent deserves a special thought. The Force Ten Helium 100 Carbon was hung out today and I went over the whole thing looking at the damage. The pole broke at one of the joints, a pretty clean snap too, no carbon weave delamination or jagged shards although the force of the wind was enough to push the broken end through the tent sleeve. This damage is nothing though, I wouldn’t even bother fixing it.
Some guys lines were trashed as the end of the tent thrashed around but there was no damage to the tabs on the fly or inner. The same end had a hole ground through the floor where it was over a rock, the constant movement gave it no change. I can get my had through the hole, but it’s fixable.
That’s about it, no fabric tears to burst stitching, although it was straining, some of the taping on the fly has delaminated in areas of no concern, again at the end where all the damage was.
As odd as it might seem, I feel more confident in the Helium seeing how it coped, I’ve got a dozen other tents here that wouldn’t have survived the night. The pole’s been replaced already, I took the aluminium one out of the old Helium and it fit just fine. It’ll be back on the hill at some point.
Plenty more gear coming and the trips to use it. Skye, Glen Affric, a Black Mount traverse, Torridon again, Ben’s Hope, Loyal and Klibreck, the Cairngorms (really), Assynt and some closer to home favourites.