Kit that broke, kit that didnae, and other stuff before I forget, VI

It was a good chance to take some new test kit out as I wasn’t going too high or far, but luckily the weather turned into a proper test anyway.

Below you’ll see the Inov-8 Race Pro 30, it came in with a bunch of Inov-8 kit that I’ll be using. I took my cooking kit, warm jacket and bits and pieces to fill it out it out and bit and give it some weight. I’ll do a proper look at it soon, but out of the box it was issue-free. The harness is great, the pockets and compression usable and effective, there’s even some back padding, so while it’s lights it’s not had its corners cut. Poking over my left shoulder below is the bottle/bottle holder, I’ve used various versions of these over the years, and this one although faffy to fit is secure once on both on the pack and keeping the bottle in place, and it’s easy to use.

I had the Merino Buff on once it got colder and wet, and yes it’s a good thing. As a semi balaclava affair under my cap and later on under my hood it was mighty fine, and over my face its wooliness was very pleasant.
I changed my socks and put dry trainers on when I got back to the motor, and the Buff was also great for drying my feet (yes, it’s in the wash). I don’t even care that its grey, so there you are.

On a hill for the first time were the X-Bionic Trekking Pants, and all I can say is that they were soft, comfortable and completely anonymous. I really didn’t know I had them on, my landing gear never needed adjusted (until I’d been driving for 3 hours non-stop, there was some subsidence), there’s no pulling, squeezing, riding up or falling down. It really is a bit like a having a protective coating applied. Time will tell how this lasts with repeated wearing and washing, but it’s certainly happy times right now.

On their first trip were the Fizan Ultralite Compact poles. They adjusted to length easily enough and didn’t need re-adjusted all day, the handles are comfy, and when I accidentally fell and put my whole weight on one pole there was neither slippage nor bending. The finish took a couple of minor knocks in the crags, but once again the mantra of the established UK sources that anything “lightweight” must be weak or deficient looks a little bit like a policy of the Flat Earth Society.

Two bits of waterproofing deserve a mention. The Haglöfs Gram Mitts never cease to delight me, I pushed my luck with them this time with so many falls and climbing over two deer fences. Faultless, I love them.
Next up is the Rab Demand, this has been out on a couple of rainy days now and it’s shaping up well. It isn’t riding up at my arse, the mobility is great and the eVent fabric is doing its job well. The slimmer cut is great for heavy rain and wind, there’s no flapping and I’m sure it breathes better as the rain is shed quicker.

21 thoughts on “Kit that broke, kit that didnae, and other stuff before I forget, VI”

  1. I remember that came up when I first talked about them, so with that in mind I haven’t cleaned or dried the poles since I came back. I’ll have a look at them tonight and see if there’s any jamming when I try to take them apart.

  2. So are these Fizan poles available to buy yet, or still in test mode only?

    (I’m wonding if it might be the ideal spare pole to carry between a group for ski touring)

  3. Ta, might do that… although I’m also tempted just to use a Trail Blaze. Just a shame they aren’t a bit longer.

  4. Adding a section wouldn’t work either, the cord would be too short.
    I should weigh all the poles I have here and see how the stack up. I think the Fizans might be second only to the Trail Blaze.

  5. MattC, If you want longer poles of the MK Trail Blaze type look at the Camp Xenon Poles, lighter than the Trail Blaze too. Same drawstring design, the blue ones are 130-135.

  6. The Xenon’s are great (and in orange or a nice cobalt blue). They’re slightly heavier than the Trail Blaze, about 50g a pair which is nothing, and they’re 4″ longer when they’re folded up, but they’re still miles shorter than most stuff.
    I’m looking at the workbook here and they’ve got some cracking ice axes on the way too, not necessarily lightweight, just good. Why all the good winter stuff is coming out next spring I have no idea.

  7. Cheers for that DNF – I’ll investigate :)

    I ski tour with some Life-Link Carbon poles (forget the exact name – had ’em about 10 years now) that extend from 120cm (perfect for downhill) to 145cm (just right for up and along). Right now I carry an old tent pole ‘splint’ in case of catastrophic breakage, but I’m a little wary because poles aren’t exactly optional when you’re in the back of beyond!

    When we toured as a group of 4 or 5 a few years ago, we’d carry a spare pole (BD Flicklock Expedition 145cm) as part of the shared group kit, but recently I’ve been doing more as only a pair, so reducing the group kit weight matters more – 130 or 135cm would be a compromise (not as much as the Trail Blaze 120) but the lack of weight is very appealing. Hmm, I wonder whether this style of pole will handle the rigours of ski-touring, it might by pushing it a bit…

  8. Aye, perhaps. But I won’t rush to buy any – if I can get any Scottish skiing this season ahead of Norway this March I’ll test out my Trail Blazes first.

  9. I finally took the Fizans apart. They’re still wet, a bit gritty and all the widgets are still running smoothly.
    Early days though, we’ll keep an eye on them.

  10. Aye, I went through various prototypes of that when it was in the design stage, I’ve still got a couple I think.
    The production version is a bit different though, I’ll try and dig out one of mine and stick it on here, they’re orange… :o)

  11. Hi All

    its my first comment here so hello to you all

    I picked up a pair of Fizan poles at katmandu off Oxford street London.
    £48 the pair. Thats the price if you join their summit club which at the time was free. I also got a £5 free gift voucher to use next time I visitted Cheekily used there and then so actually they cost £43. I think for what they are that is pretty great price.
    They are branded as their own brand. Labelled with their own ligo at te bottom, but the Fizan logo the Ultra lite and Compact labelling is also on them.

    You can check out the Katmandu web site here

    I have been following you blog for ages PTC and got some great tips. will send more bits soon.

    Keep up the great work


  12. Hello there!

    Good info, cheers. I’ve never been in a Kathmandu store, it’s like Decathalon was until they opened the Glasgow branch a few weeks back, folk always mention it and I feel like I’m missing out!

    Thanks for checking in

  13. It took me a long time to find a supplier for the Fizans but I have also never been to Katmandu myself as they mostly sell their own branded gear and as I am a sceptic I never trusted it, though my wife has a couple of their clothing bits including a gillet and a fleece. Both were as cheap as chips and she loves them. So when I tracked the Fizan poles down their I gave them a visit.
    They are not too bad but you have to be careful. They are very cheap and for the top end that often means not up to the mark.
    I did get a Marino wool vest (not tee shirt), under pants and leggins at very reasonable prices. not the lightest but hey they fit great are soft and very warm. It will be after a few washes that I will know if the cheap price means short life.
    Anyway worth a visit if you can prise yourself away from the top brands and are selective you could bag a bargain

    Peace and love

    The jazzyman

  14. I’n sitting here in a merino top from a department store and I’m quite happy.
    You can get to snooty about such things, like you say it’s repeated wearing and washing that tells the story, not the name sewn on it.

    The Fizans are an interesting one, the name was an unknown, and I’ve no idea what the retail price is going to be, so they’re being tested purely on their merit as a functional bit of kit.
    It’ll be good to hear how yours get on as well.

    Which reminds me, I haven’t looked out poles for tomorrow…

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