Accessories (for want of a better word) seem to get under represented in reviews, maybe the bigger money items are more important as it’s more of a gamble for the purchaser? But to anyone who’s had cold hands, a draught down their necks or spindrift in their eye knows the value of the wee bits and pieces.
PHD sent me the Mitts and Boots with the Combi bag. I’d worn much heavier down boots in the past, but only had fleece or pile lined mitts. The first night out with the whole bunch of kit saw me running around the top of Beinn Udlaidh with big red and black hands and a very smug demeanor.
I’ve worn the Mera Down Boots (above) on the last few camps when sitting in the tent, and as it’s been below zero in the tent every time, they’ve been fantastic. I’ve kept them on when I’ve got into the bag, but never for long, too damned warm. They’re nicely made and very simple, 190g, with box wall baffles and a simple drawcord at the ankle. The fabric is good enough for a quick nip outside for a pee if it’s not wet; frozen or dry-ish ground is fine.
The Mera Down Mitts are possibly my favourite bit of gear at the moment. You just pull them on and it’s instant warmth, your vision goes all soft focus and birds start singing in imaginary trees on the summit. They’re fat with 700 quality down fill, reach way past my wrist, weigh only 96g a pair, have a simple lycra cuff, are super warm, pack tiny and there’s just no reason or indeed excuse not to carry them. The farbric on the palm side is a little more supple and you can actually use your fingers enough to stop you taking them off and on all the time to adjust stuff.
Genius bits of kit these. There are more technical PHD models available, and for expedition or harder use they’d be the choice, but for a balance of performance and light weight, the Mera Mitts and Boots are the ultimate joy bringers.