This weeks Ben Lomond quickie wasn’t a huge test of gear, but there were a few things worth a mention.
First up are the Leki poles, we had four different models which we swapped between, all with the Shark glove/handle arrangement. The poles mixed the rubber foot , the curved hook and the regular spike/basket tip, all had good points with the sharper two being bgetter on soft ground and the rubber foot being better on hardpack, and that’s both full with rubber and with the internal metal tip extended. One thing about the rubber feet, you can’t stick them upright into the ground while you have a drink/take a photie, you have to lay them down or lean them on something.
The hand strap thing feels odd at first but within a few minutes I didn’t notice it and taking the poles on and off as well as adjusting the strap is dead easy. Really good action to it while you’re moving too, I’ll be trying it out properly later on over a bigger distance.
Tents were two Lasers, my old red ‘Comp was like my sheepskin slippers, worn into my shape and familiar smelling. I love this tent. John used the Laser Ultra, a tent which he said was “small”. Ha.
Inside was a bunch of regular stuff, Jetboil Flash, Neoair, a new flavour of Mountain House though, scrambled egg, bacon and tatties and if the tatties had ever rehydrated it would have been lovely.
The headtorch was new, a wee thing in for test from Princeton Tec which I’ll write up in a bit, nice torch, helluva bright for the size, light too.
The biggest newness was the PHD down quilt, now there’s a thing. As it was all a bit short notice I threw together some cords for strapping it to my sleepmat which actually worked very well at first, but me moving around loosened thm off and when the wind got up in the night I had a draught all around me. I had brought the Ultra 900 as well, just in case, so rather than fanny about with the cords again I just slipped into the Ultra under the quilt and happily simmered until breakfast.
This was all good though, I’ve got a point of reference now and I’ll make up some proper bungees for the quilt, also layering with the Ultra was just so damned warm, this combo will be going with me into autumn for sure. It’s like the Ultra/Combi thing, feels warmer that the figures might suggest.
Wrapping the quilt around me as I boiled up for my morning cuppa was brilliant, ah the luxury. More quilting on the next trip.
I forgot about the base layer stuff. I’ve been wearing a Chocolate Fish polo shirt this year which is rather nice, usual tech fit but with a 3-button neck vent instead of a zip which I like, reminds me of my old North Cape Coolmax henley tops. The genius feature though is the double thickness collar which stands up all on its own, keeps the sun off your neck, and as the weather changes keeps the draughts out too.
These short sleeved affairs are cool at camp though, so I carried a pair of sleeves to match it, these being merino arm warmers from Wigwam. They’re really for bikers and runners on the move but they’re perfect as sleeves, instant long-sleeve base layer for negligable pack size and weight. They’re plenty long, have thumbloops and were a nice fit on my arms, no red rings on my upper arms when I took them off as the cuff has a nice easy stretch.
Daft maybe, but it works a treat and shall be repeated, whence I will take photies as the mismatched colours of arms and torso makes me look like I’m in student/slacker uniform.