The Vault Regulars

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Gear from last trip.

Rucksack. OMM villain 45 + 10.  Back support replaced with 1m length of roofing insulation folded into 4. The original back support weighed 230gr. so it had to go. Otherwise this is a super sack.

Tent. Vaude Odyssee Winter (2 man).  As usual. A little bit heavy for 1 person, but it's my lightest tent. I also enjoyed the extra space available. It's a very stable, reliable tent and 4 season. There's going to be a new tent coming soon.

Sleeping Bag.  Rab Summit Alpine 400 no zip, A bit warm for the conditions but it's the only one i have, so no options here. I would like to get a PHD lightweight, one day.

Sleeping mat. Thermarest Neo-Air short. Still not happy with this. It's light and compact but i don't sleep well on it. I fall off it and end up getting cold. I supplement the short length by utilising the roofing insulation that i use down the back of my rucksack as extra insulation. I have not found a pillow yet that i like using with it. I tend to fill a dry bag with all my gear and use this.

Shoes. Inov-8 Roclite 320's.  First backpacking trip with these although they have been worn on numerous day hikes. I was surprised how good they were on this trip with the added weight of the backpack.
Now that the studs have worn a little, the grip seems better on wet rock, but i am still wary and take it easy when crossing. On all other ground types they are fine.
Contouring i think is a problem with them and one of my ankles ached quite a bit. The fit on the heel was fine for me as was the width. The insole dries out quite quickly but the shoes themselves take longer to dry than i thought they would. Probably take 24hrs plus.
The laces are poor and mine need replacing now. Strands have started to unravel.

GoreTex socks. These were a new pair, although i have worn Goretex socks for years. Considering the awful weather i had they were very impressive. My feet stayed perfectly dry. I got them from TG store. Worth every penny.

Socks.  Bridgedale Endurance Trekkers. Ankle length. Good, hardwearing. Dry fairly quickly.

GoLite Umbrella. This was the first time that i had taken an Umbrella backpacking and i know that many of you will frown upon it, but let me say, as sceptical as i was too about taking it, i am so pleased i did. Don't forget it was not that long ago that shoes like Inov-8's were deemed stupid for hiking.
On my first day it never stopped raining at all. I would have been soaked through. As it was, i was at best damp at the end of the days walk.
It also allows you to walk in the rain without a hood on and with your jacket partially open. Allowing good breathability and you can still admire the scenery without having the rain lashing into your face.
It also acted as a windshield when cooking once it was pegged down, and also it added to my porch area.

I have been asked if it could be strapped to a rucksack for hands free walking. I did consider this and i am sure that it can be done for low level walking, if it's not too windy, but it would be dangerous in high ground.
Ultralight outdoor gear sell the brolly. It only weighed 220gr and it didn't cause me any problems at all. When not in use it fitted nicely to the outside of my sack without protruding the top or the bottom of the sack.

Shorty gaiter. I like to wear these gaiters basically to stop stones getting into my shoes. They also give you some protection in boggy areas. I never like wearing the common knee length gaiters, i find them too restricting. At 70gr these Integral designed gaiters are ideal for me.

Trousers. I swop between 2 pairs depending upon the weather expected. I wore the Montane Terra's on this trip. The Terra's are fantastic walking pants but they don't have a rear wallet pocket which i find a nuisance. The belt is rubbish as well and i have replaced it with a better one.
 Otherwise would have worn Columbia silver ridge convertables. They are currently on offer at Winwood Outdoors for £25.  A good buy.

Warm wear. I didn't take a fleece or mid layer. I just took my TNF Zephyrus belay jacket and it proved to be a worthy piece of kit covering any eventualities where i needed to be warmer. I didn't wish that i had taken something extra to wear.

Overtrousers. Rab Bergan, full length side zips. eVent fabric. Light'ish in weight and dependable waterproofing.

Waterproof Jacket. Cloudveil Koven, not well known in UK but it's a good all round waterproof.

Base Layer. I only tend to wear one layer most of the year and my choice is Icebreaker Merino Oasis 200 long sleeves. It keeps the odour of dampness at bay longer than most other materials so it's a must have. It dries fairly quickly if you can hang it up but even if it's still damp in the morning it warms up quickly with it being wool. It doesn't have a collar and i might replace it with a collared version soon.

Hat. The dependable Tilley. I just love this hat. Mine is the LT5b model, lightweight and guaranteed for life.

Foul weather alternatives.  I carry with me a pair of Seal Skins softshell gloves. A pair of waterproof Outdoor designs summit over mitt and a waterproof cap also from Outdoor designs.

Stove. I took 2 stoves with me. 1 homemade beer bottle meths stove and the 2nd was the Gram Weenie Pro.
I tried out the Weenie at home and posted that i wasn't that impressed with it. I am going to change my opinion some degree now. Mostly, Sheila and  I backpack together and therefore all my thinking on gear is "will it suit us both". However on this trip i was solo and i have to admit that the stove coped.
If you just want to boil water for dehydrated food for 1 then it will do it. I didn't find that 1 oz of fuel burns for 11 minutes as the web page says for some reason. In use and measuring the volume of meths properly it burned for no more than 8 minutes. But 8 minutes is enough to do the job. It also needs to be protected as much as possible from the wind.
The stove is also a small diameter so you have to be extremely careful how you put the pot on the top of it to stop it falling over. Especially if your pot is the wide type which mines is.

Homemade Meths stove. I was pleased with the way this worked. It was wider than the Weenie and therefore not as prone to pan problems. It boiled 400ml in 4 minutes but it used quite a bit more fuel than i would like. I need to try reducing the jet numbers or changing the jet diameters until i achieve a better fuel consumption. I may put some fibreglass in between the inner and outer walls and see if this suppresses the flow a little.

Pan. I used the 600ml Titanium Evernew pot and i do like this. Very light and suits our needs. It is a wide shallow pan but i can get all my gear in to it. It all fits nicely into a mesh bag and is easy to stow in the rucksack.

Spoons. I only take a spoon and i took 3 on this trip. One Titanium folding spork, a LMF spork and a freebie long handled orange spoon from Expedition Foods. It's the same one as Outdoors grub sell as far as i can make out.The folding spork fits into the Evernew pan easily so thats a bonus, the other 2 don't.
I found that both the sporks were too short when eating my rehydrated meals and you end up with food on your fingers.
I think it would help if the food manufacturers would use wide short bags instead of the deep narrow bags. This would also help rehydration as well. Numerous times i find that there is food at the bottom of the bag that has not rehydrated.
The freebie spoon from Expedition foods wins my vote but for some reason the spoon isn't available on the web site. Strange when you consider it is a good spoon.

Lighter. I use a Bic gas lighter. It's not the lightest but it's dependable and i like the fact that there is a fuel window so that you know when it's getting low. It's also great for lighting Esbit tablets which sometimes can be difficult.
I made a flame shield for it so that if by any chance the trigger was inadvertently depressed in my rucksack that it couldn't ignite.

Water Filter. I now use the Super Delios filter which weighs 58gr. in total and has a filter spec of 0.2 microns. It comes with a 300ml capacity polypropylene bottle. It's very easy to use and the bottle is compact and very flexible.
I thought that the 300ml capacity would be too little but it proved ok as i filled my pot first and then filled the bottle again. I suppose if i was being picky that a slightly larger bottle would be better but it really doesn't matter because the filter will fit any std Platypus bottle.

Water bag. I took my homemade 3L capacity water bag that weighs 39gr. I used it on campsites and it worked great so it will accompany us from now on.

Food. Breakfasts i make up individually myself, usually Muesli. I put the cereal into a sealable food bag with powdered milk and a bit of sugar. It's just a matter of adding water to the bag and then giving it a shake before tucking in. Disposing of the bags when possible.
Lunch. Mug Shots and a chocolate bar or biscuit.
Tea or dinner if your posh. I took 2 lots with me. Expedition foods and Real Turmat. RT is the winner here. I don't know what veg or spices EF uses but when ever i have them it's not long before i need the loo.
RT foods are a bit expensive but they are excellent meals.

Towel. The Lightload towel that i posted about a couple of months ago is still my favourite backpacking towel and came with me on this trip. I works better than any of the microfibres etc in my opinion of course.

Well thats about it. Sorry that there are no pics on this post but there are lots of links for you to check out if you wish.


Mac E said...

I found I didn't like my POE Ether Thermo 6 as I kept falling/thinking I was falling off, ended up going back to CCF or Self Inflate.

I use Columbia Silver ridge trousers in summer too, zip off and normal. I like them, light, comfortable and dry quickly, not too keen on the belt which tends to loosen off or ride up over the waist band at the front.

AlanR said...

Hi Richard, You surprise me about the Ether. I would have thought with the tubes running length ways that it would be better to sleep on than the Neo-Air.

Yes i really like the Silver Ridge and i find i wear them all the time around the house. I had forgotten to mention the belt as well. It was the first thing i changed within 5 minutes of having them on. Everything else though is very good.

markswalkingblog said...

Alan, the goretex socks - I assume you wear them over a wool sock ?. I have the OMM Jirishanca and I fold up my Prolite Regular where the Duomat/back support normally sits. Gives me much more room in the pack and is comfortable as a back support as well as a mat.

Mac E said...

Well most people like airmats but I don't like the way the air migrates to the areas under least pressure so if you get too close to the side it seems to flatten down where most of the weight is concentrated and I felt I was falling off.

AlanR said...

Yes i wear the Bridgedale Trekkers under the Goretex sock and whenever i get new shoes/boots i take them with me to try them for size.

Sheila has the Jirishanka and does the same as you but uses the Trango world mat instead of the Neo-Air now.
I think she will be putting the Neo-Air on ebay quite soon.

For me the only good point is that the depth of mat does level out uneven ground.

Martin Rye said...

I can imagine the Summit 400 was warm. I have a 500 for cold weather and it is a fine bag. Still I am planning to sell it and get something else. Interesting kit choice. Terra trousers are superb and I would recommend Haglofs Rugged Mountain pants for cold weather. I use them and Terra pants mostly. I cant find a better pant for 3 season walking than the Terra Pants.

AlanR said...

Hi Martin, The summit 400 was too warm on this occasion although it's fine between -1 and +5 any lower than -1 and i feel cold.
I would love to get a Minimus bag but £190 is a bit much for me at the moment. I have just ordered a Scarp 2 from Henry.
I use the Terra's in winter too just adding a pair of HH long johns. If i was getting into some serious cold temps i would look for an alternative. Thanks for the info.

Unknown said...

Can you offer any advice on how to stop your feet getting wet? the last 2 walks were extreme weather and you could pour the water out of my boots!

AlanR said...

hi Lisa,
Are you still wearing those Merrill boots?
Basically the concepts are easy. Stop water getting into the boot or have boots that will let water out and protect the foot with a waterproof sock.
Both work.
If you buy leather or man made fibre boots with a waterproof membrane, and the membrane wears then some water will start to penetrate. Unfortunately the membrane will also hold the water inside the boot and depending on the temperatures on the day this can be a big problem.
If you buy boots or fell shoes without a membrane then these will let water both in and out. You will need to buy a Gore-tex sock or similar to stop your feet getting wet.
Both methods have merits. I prefer membrane boots for winter and Gore-Tex socks for the other 3 seasons.
Also the saying that you only get what you pay for is a good indicator.
Check out web sites like Outdoors magic or for info or individual pieces of kit.

Joseph Ferguson said...

nice post

AlanR said...

That was a long time ago. Gee.

Unknown said...

I gave my sister a pair of rock climbing pants since she is an avid rock climber. She loved those Geval Women's Outdoor Pants ( gave her 2 pairs) so much and I can't blame her. These pants are very durable, easy to wash and wear and very affordable. I love how it fits her, by the way and would recommend even to tall women. For a review of the best ones, see:

AlanR said...

Thanks Alice, I will take a look.

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