The Vault Regulars

Monday, March 26, 2012

Adidas Lightweight cap.

 Wearing a peaked cap or baseball cap is something i only do when i go walking. I find they do a good job when a more warmer item is not necessary. They are light, easy to pack and dry pretty quick. I find a cap great to wear under the hood of my waterproof.
 So last week while Sheila was trying on her new walking shoes in Sweatshop i noticed this cap.

  Incredibly light at an amazing 9 grams and with a wide sweat band on the underside of the Adidas panel. It's a one size fits all. £15
The trouble was the colour. Awful. No way i could wear that. In the flesh the colour is a lot more garish than this photo looks.

  So when i got home, and being very impressed with what i had seen, i checked the internet and i was very pleased to find that it was made in Green and Black too.
After a bit of a search i found a green one for £8 and that included postage and packing. So i couldn't resist ordering it.
Straight away i received conformation of the order which is not unusual but what was unusual is that 5 minutes later i had  another email to say that the order had been processed and 15mins later another saying it had been posted. Now how good is that for service.
 The cap arrived next day.
I ordered it from Bourne Sports.

Because it is so light the brim is a little too floppy for my liking and so i strengthened the underside with a thin piece of plastic in the central area and glued it with Shoe Goo. It only added a gram  but i am now happy with the brim.  How runners cope with the brim as designed i don't know.
The material is polyester dobby and has ClimaCool ventilation on both sides. Basically that means holes cut into the material in a nice pattern. It is designed as a running cap so the fit is good without being too tight.
If lightweight headgear is for you then this cap, at this price, is a good option.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Bum Rap!

Well yesterday was B day. That's B for Bum. This is my 3rd time i have had to have this hospital procedure to plug up the leak. It seems the duct tape didn't work too well and the cork was hard to replace. Cork trees are getting rare and the quality is porous.
So i had to go in and have lunch with a nice surgeon who said he'd done this op'n piles of times. I was not alone either, there were 3 of us on his menu and as it worked out i was last to go.
 I was a bit put off by this as we all know what happens when we get tired. Yes, that's right, we make mistakes. Just have a read of Stef's procedure Here if you are brave enough, and this was going through my mind most of the time.
 I had been told to check in at 12.20pm but i arrived 10 minutes early and was quite surprised when i was immediately shown to a lovely room and told to watch TV if i cared to and then i ordered evening meal. I was even called SIR! I said to the lady why do i need to order a meal i don't think i will be here that long.
Ha! She said. Order it and then if you have gone i will eat it. Hm i thought. Doesn't sound promising.
 So after 1/2 an hour a nurse came and asked if i had taken the bowel loosening medicine yesterday. What medicine i replied, even though i thought it strange that i hadn't received any. Oh well she replied, that's an enema then, i will be back. Shit i thought!  Well not exactly but you can guess what i mean.
 So half an hour later, i was in desperate need to open the hatch doors and let Moses escape. OMG if you have never had an enema you should have one just for the fun of it, and the muscle contractions and the searing pain of course and the bruised cheeks with nail marks in them.
 Fun, i bet the nurses take bets on what minute you slam the loo door. I could just see them doing hi 5's and exchanging money.
 Then i was told there was a delay, it seems that in surgery it was not going too well for one of the other 2 guys. It was a long delay. Maybe they couldn't find the cork or something.
 Eventually and 130 pages of my book later, they come for me, trolley all prepared and i was wired for sound. I tried cracking a few jokes with the anesthetist and the nurses but they were having non of it. My jokes were falling on deaf ears. They were having a bad day.
 I lay back and closed my eyes as the needle went in and then they injected me with a large Gin.
So there i was back in my suite wearing these lovely paper pants and gown and chatting to Sheila when a lovely lady brought me my evening meal. It was 7.30 ish. It was fab, Jacket potato, beans, cheese, mixed salad with dressing followed by Orange drizzle cake and a pot of fresh ground coffee. Sheila was starving so i had to share it, but i didn't mind honest.

 At about 9.00pm, fed, watered and disemboweled i was given the "all clear" to leave the building. I was in some pain and not completely clear of the anesthetic but i hopped and skipped down the passageway and bid farewell to the staff.
 With paracetamol in hand we headed home.
 Stef, i am fine. No drama's. Phew.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Samsung NX10 digital camera sale.

NOW SOLD. Thanks Andrew W.
I bought this camera in June 2010 and posted about it Here.
I thought i would offer it to readers first before putting it on ebay, simply because its a lovely camera and i would like it to go to somebody who reads my blog and gets the benefit of a bargain.

Condition:- It is as you would take it straight out of the box. In fact its still in it’s box, all wrapped up. There are no marks on the viewing screen, eyepiece or lens.
The lens is the Samsung 18-55mm and comes with a lens hood.
All the cables, charger, USB etc are with it, as is the software for Windows or Mac and the quick start manual.
The battery is in good condition.
I won’t put all the relevant specifications here because Google has lots of sites which show all the info necessary and more. Like this one for example.

If you have any Pentax K mount lenses, these will work with this camera but a small adaptor is required.

Interested? If so then please email me and hopefully we can sort out a deal.
Thanks. Alan

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mizuno Wave Ascend 6

The Ladies Mizuno Wave Ascend 6.

 Alan says that gear reviews from and about ladies gear for walking are few and far between, so he has twisted my arm to posting about my new walking shoes.

 My Inov-8 are almost done for and are now relegated to gardening duties. I had been looking at getting a new pair recently, probably the Roclite 315’s to replace my old 212’s. When i saw these Mizuno’s.
 Picking them up i was quite surprised how light they were and what a really good sole they have.
It was these 2 points that grabbed my attention.
 I had heard a little bit about Mizuno previously with  being involved with the fell running scene,  but i have never owned a pair previously and they wouldn’t have normally been first on my list to look at. Quite a lot of the fell runners i bump into wear them, so i knew that they were probably up to the job.

 On reading the labelling notes for these shoes, it persuaded me that they would be ideal for walking on loose, muddy, grassy slopes as they were designed for primarily running on such terrain.

  As is usual with outdoor gear there was lots of superlatives describing the design structure but for me the mid sole, the actual sole, the weight and the comfort provided was paramount. These ticked the box’s.
 I was impressed with the insole too. Having been used to the Inov-8 insole, which is quite basic, these have a much better padding layer and are very comfortable.
They shouldn’t hold any more water than the Inov-8’s due to the base being a moulded water resistant rubber material and should dry quickly.
The shoes weigh 265grams each, UK size 5.5,  so i am pleased with that because in comparison, the Inov-8’s i would have bought are slightly heavier.
 The tread depth is about 5mm and as i say, it is designed for Off Road use and as you can see in the above photo there is also a slight curve to the shape of the sole.

The fit is good and the foot stays in place with a good heel cup. There’s no riding up or forward/aft motion. The comfort is excellent. The midsole is quite firm but allows flexing and there is a good shock absorbing pad in the heel area.

The upper is AIRmesh and has 2 layers. The inner being a much finer mesh than the outer and allows good air cooling. There is no waterproof membrane.
I particularly like the tongue as it is sewn to the sides of the shoe for about 50% of the length from the toe upwards which should reduce stone and mud ingress.

Cost £70 but can be found on numerous sites cheaper than this.

 So far so good, onwards and upwards.

Friday, March 16, 2012

50 Today

Spent a lovely afternoon at Toms Champagne bar in Manchester to celebrate Sheila's 50th Birthday.
Here is a selection of the fine foods and Champers we managed to liberate.

Sent from my HTC

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The weight to go.

  I must be slipping. I have put weight on in the pack! I decided that enough is enough of the Neo-Air mat which weighs a fantastic 260gr. in small size. I have never come to terms with it though, i have never found it comfy.

  I have been looking at other offerings from Pacific Outdoors, Vaude, Exped, Trangoworld, Big Agnes (kindly lent to me by Maz whose blog The Journeyman Traveler is well worth a read), Kooka Bay and others for quite some time. I have given them all the 3rd degree, read lots of your excellent reviews and now i have decided on what i want.

  Well not just decided but ordered and delivered.

  Eventually i went for the Exped Synmat UL 7. It was touch and go between this and the Exped Down Mat, that Robin at Blogpackinglight had kindly suggested to me, but all round the UL7 was my best choice.

  I bought it from RoughGear for the Princely sum of £70 for the M size which is 1830mm long x 520mm wide and 70mm thick. The mat has vertical tubes which i have found to be much more comfortable than the Neo Air's sideways tubes. The 2 outer tubes are slightly larger diameter than the 6 inner tubes and UL7 also has synthetic microfibre insulation that has been laminated to both top and bottom of the tubes and the R value is 3.1.

  Weight 460gr,  that's 200gr more than my small Neo-Air. I saved 100gr on the Creon Lite Rucksack so i am only 100gr on the wrong side at this moment in time, although i have now got the comfort of a full length mat.
Packed, it is about the same size as a 1L water bottle.

Exped Synmat UL7 with Exped pillow attached.
  The quality of Exped equipment i find to be second to none. You don't go wrong buying Exped.
The valves, of which there are 2, are flat with the mat and work superbly well and very reliable. The warranty is 2 years.
You can buy a separate lightweight pump for all Exped valved kit that eliminates moisture from your breath entering the tubes.
Now i just need to get out and try it properly. More to follow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Interchangeable Soles

 I read this review the other day and it is the first time i have seen this type of idea.
The photo below shows a pair of winter insulated boots from Korkers in the US with an interchangeable sole.
 I think the idea is great, especially for long walks on varied terrains where depending if your on a hard surface or mud or snow you could change the sole to suit conditions.
 Maybe the boot will have to be too rigid in itself for everyday use, i am not sure, but i thought it worth sharing and to hear what others think.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rivington Amble part2.

  With Sheila not being able to make Martins evening walk last tuesday she asked me to revisit it today so that she knew what she had missed.
  I must say what a good job Martin did with the navigation bit. Considering that it was dark when we did the walk on tuesday, i still had 2 places where i went away from the route Martin did.
Not on purpose you understand, i just went wrong and although it was obviously wrong, i still say well done Martin for picking the right paths in the dark.

  There is no need to do a walk review because of the post i did earlier and Martin’s blog post which is here.
  This morning was a lovely bright start but as we parked the car it was dull and grey and looked like rain.  We only just managed to get a parking place as the area was chocker block with visitors. I must remember if i come this way again, to get here early and get away from the crowds and the hounds as quickly as possible.

  The path was just as muddy as tuesday and if anything the temperature was much cooler. Up at the high point, Rivington Tower, it was damned cold with a cutting breeze, no view what so ever of the masts on winter hill although the Two Lads cairns were visible. (There are 3 cairns now for some reason). I knew we should have gone East today for the better weather instead of West.

  So i have a few photo’s from today to share and the first one is the only one i took from tuesday night.
It wasn’t as dark as this today.
I hadn’t realised on tuesday night, the trio of  “You can see me now jackets”.

 North, looking at Anglezarke Moor from the Pigeon Tower.
 The Pigeon tower from the Terraced Garden.

 Rivington Pike Tower
 The track across Rivington Moor to the Masts which today were in the cloud.
 The Two Lads Cairns just visible on the skyline.
 Ripped up pathways. 
Rivington Pike Tower from “The Castle” on Rivington Reservoir.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Rivington Tower night walk

  I joined an evening walk organised by Martin Banfield   last night around the Rivington area of Bolton.
Once all 6 of us, Martin, Sue, JJ, Viv, Don and myself had found the parking spot and dressed accordingly we set off at just around 7.30pm.

  It was obviously dark, but not completely pitch black and reasonably warm at 7.5 degrees C.  I had brought gear prepared for a bit of a chilly, maybe even a frosty evening, but the forecast said probable showers around 9.00pm. I was a little warm but not overly so.

  The Hall Barn soon became visible along our NE path. The barn is of Anglo Saxon Cruck framed design. It’s build date is pre Norman Conquest but was restored in the 17th Century.
Today it is mainly used for functions.
Rivington Hall Barn
Once past the barn we entered farming land that was a little squelchy under foot in parts and in the darkness care was needed to avoid a full boot or trail shoe in my case.
Coming out on a narrow lane with a small car park we turned to admire the light show of Bolton.
Following a narrow lane first SE the S we passed a restored tower which Martin informed us was a Pigeon Tower built by Lord Leverhulme. (See, i was listening).
Pigeon Tower
A little further on we could see the silhouette of another tower and this was to be our highest point on this walk at 362 Metres.
Rivington Pike Tower was built in 1733. Built from local stone and once a shooting lodge, it has been restored although there is now no entry point. The doors and windows bricked up.
Rivington Pike Tower
  The rough bricks around the base are the original footings, which over the years erosion of the surrounding soil has left exposed. It was quite windy here and we sheltered in the lee of the walls and again admired the light show of Horwich and Bolton. We looked across to find Blackpool Tower but it wasn’t evident tonight.
  Some care in the darkness was needed as we descended from the tower back into muddy farm land. A steep descent down to a lane brought us in sight of Rivington School where the path was taken leading past Rivington Lodge and onto The Castle on the side of the reservoir.
  This “Castle” is another Leverhulme Foley and was built as a copy of Liverpool Castle.
“The Castle"
  Rain was falling now although nothing heavy. It was only a short walk from here back to the cars so after a brief glimpse across the water and around the ruin we headed back.

 The route, which i thank Martin for organising was 7k long and took 2 hrs with the occasional brief stop for a chat with good company.
  With this being an evening walk none of the above photographs are mine but were imported with gratitude to contributors of Wikipedia and Google Images.

Bla Band Dehydrated Foods

  Outdoors Grub, who sell Drytech Real Turmat dehydrated foods are now UK supplier of these cook in the bag Scandinavian Meals from
Bla Band Dehydrated Foods. (That’s "Blue Ribbon" in English).

Currently they are offering 5 Main Meals only, which you can check out below.
  What caught my eye was the excellent Kcal count for the meals being a rounded 650 per meal, precisely what you need after a day in the hills.
  The price is a bit high at £6.95, but that is in line with other high quality meals, such as Real Turmat.
My current favourite is still Fuizion freeze dried foods but i am going to give these a try. Outdoors Grub have always been an excellent supplier so i am expecting good things from these too.

  One thing i liked was the package, the bag is wider than the depth and so easier to rehydrate and get every last morsel out of the bag without getting hands covered in food.

  The average weight per packaged meal is 169.2 gr.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

O1M lightweight shoe

I posted a little while ago about these lightweight shoes. You can read it here.

I placed an order for a couple of pairs and now that they have arrived from Valencia i thought i should do a quick post on them.

These shoes pack small, i mean very small.
1 pair of Medium (I’m size 42 EU.) O1M shoes.
I have 2 sizes, a pair size small and a pair medium and weight wise they are M = 170 gr per pair and S = 126 gr. /pair.

They are made from State of the Art Biodegradable Plastic. Their words not mine.
I have worn them for a couple of days, in all about 20 hours. They have no insole but if you want a pair with insoles then they are available.
They are ideal for camping use and as a second shoe for backpacking. If you want to walk around town in them then you will need an insole.
If you want them for use on grass, sand, water sports, showers or general loafing around then less insoles is fine.
I noticed a little sweating when i took them off but not as i wore them. I wore them one day with a thin sock and this was also fine as the shoe has some elasticity.

For €10 i think they are great addition to the kit and has knocked a few grams of our rucksack weight.

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