What the test kit’s been doing, and where to post any unrelated comments, questions or observations.
The Kilkpatrick Hills are Spam. That probably doesn’t sound right, but I don’t mean it like that, I’m thinking in a WW2 way. When you’re besieged by circumstance or the agents of doom, you open the cupboard and break out a tin of Spam. You get fed, your energy is replaced and you live to fight another day. Cook it in different ways and you’ll never get bored.
So when I can’t get any further north as things have gone tits-up, the Kilpatricks really do have everything other mountains in Scotland have except height. This makes it a plateau of joy, and the perfect testing ground for kit.
It doesn’t cost me a penny to get there either. It was magic up there tonight.
The new TNF Heathen and Zephyrus got taken out of their wrappers and went straight outdoors, signs are good so far.
The Arc’teryx Rho Zip has been worn and washed. Now, I have tried to get on with synthetic base layers in the past, but it’s been a bit of a struggle. This top along with the Haglöfs Actives Tee shows me that times have changed. The Rho fits me perfectly, and it’s incredibly comfortable too. The performance seems to be good, but an overnighter and sleeping in it will tell me much more.
The Arc’teryx Gamma Pants have been muddied and scraped over some barbed wire fencing. Unscathed as far as I can tell.
They feel quite silky, nice against the skin. Good wind resistance in the fabric and an easy stretch as well.
The zips are very slick, I wonder as they wear if they’ll start opening themselves?
The Montane Dyno has a had a few outings now. It’s good to wear, comfortable, that hood is handy, as are the pockets. The wind resistance of the fabric, as was suspected, will define how much use it gets and when. In light winds it’s fine, but as the speed gets up and the temperature goes down I can start to feel it getting through, oddly the place I’m feeling it most is the inside of my elbows?!
But, I haven’t felt it was out of it’s depth and had to reach for extra layers yet.
It’s in the wash as we speak.
The Keen Pyrenees are very high volume, I had to put Sole insoles in there and wear some thick socks to tune the fit. But that’s a personal fit thing, in use they’re very different to the other Keens I’ve used. They’re soft, the upper is very supple and the midsole feels thinner than the Targhees which have the same outsole, so the terrain comes right through the bottom to meet you. So this makes them feel a bit like trail shoes, and I kept wanting to jog a bit on the trail and having to stop myself. The grip is better than I expected, I’m wondering if the softer flex is making a difference here?
The Teva Intundas are getting some frequent use as they’re sitting in the porch and are so damned handy for slipping on. They grip pavement and the pedals in the motor very well.
Haglöfs’ Lizard Top has now been out a lot, in a variety of weathers and over a variety of baselayers. It really is an outstanding bit of kit, I’ll get a proper review of it up shortly.
The Lynx pants have come out of hibernation. A light softshell pant, they’re pretty minimal, very stretchy and great for the better weather. I used them a lot last year, and I’ll get a proper review of these up after I’ve worn them a couple more times.
Terra Nova’s Laser 20 is my current go-to pack. It’s sitting at the door ready to go with my regular bits and pieces in it, and I’m really enjoying using it.
It’s a pre-production model so there are few minor issues on it, but the bodges I made on the bottle pockets have made them more secure and as a whole it’s a great pack. So light, but incredibly stable with its well shaped low-profile harness.