A 1500-odd feet peak isn’t really a test, I know that, but it’s worth mentioning a few things because it was bloody cold and the conditions were, well, wintry.
First up are Kahtoola Microspikes, I never used them when they came out because I had Icebugs, and the overlap to Aluminium KTS’s looked like too much, but on frozen woodland trails and the patchy ascent to Ben A’an they were magic. So okay, I’ll carry them more.
I had the Karrimor X-Lite 35, and like it’s bigger brother I’ve got on test, it both delights and confounds. The body, lid and stretch pocket are brilliant, the shoulder harness is very comfortable, the hip fins are overbuilt for the capacity and are annoying and there’s no bottle pockets. I fitted the cracking Inov8 bottle carrier to a shoulder strap, so water was to hand, but the hip belt needs to be softer. And have pockets. The chest strap doesn’t have a whistle buckle either. I don’t even know here my whistle is, all my other packs have one on the buckle. We’ll see how this unfolds.
The Haglöfs Lizard Top won the toss over my planned outing for the Montane Extreme Smock as I thought I’d be too warm (I’d have been fine as it turned out), and over a longsleeve merino top the Lizard is proving to be very good indeed.
When moving in the weather we’ve been having there’s enough wind resistance and insulation for me to feel “just nice”, even when running , but when stopped I do cool quite quickly, but not instantly as expected.
Breathability is outstanding, I stay dry in this, even when it’s not the top layer. I know there was some “What’s the point?” with this, but it really is a magic bit of kit.
The Montane Flux has been about a fair bit now, and I love it. It’s slimmer fit (for an insulating jacket) makes it great for instant warmth as there’s no air gap to heat, the mobility makes it great on the move and the features are outstanding. You could argue that it could have more fill and be warmer, but it wouldn’t be so wearable as a general piece, as it is, just add a down gilet and you’re laughing.
Also dug out the Haglöfs Iguana softshell pants for a wee change, and my phone fell out of the stud fastened pocket into the snow, so maybe they were right to can them after what, one season? Great pants otherwise though.
On the feet were Keen Oregon PCT’s, unsung heroes of sorts. A magic boot of which I’ll need to update properly at some point.