Let downs

It’s always annoying when a bit of gear lets you down. It’s also disappointing when a piece of gear you rate highly let’s someone else down. My Salomon Fastpackers have been my favourite footwear for a while now. Unfortunately they didn’t work for James this weekend. My experience (so far) has been very positive. I’ve found the grip to be good. Perhaps I’ve not experienced the extreme conditions that James did. However, when I climbed the back wall of Coire Dhondail in 2009, I was climbing up saturated and slippery grass. The divergence of experience is difficult to explain. However, I will be taking extra care in future on wet grass.

One thing I have noticed is that on my second pair of Fastpackers, when new, they appeared to have a wax-like finish on the rubber. This wears off after a few walks (all my footwear gets road tested on dog walks!). Once the Fastpackers are worn in, the finish is a normal grippy rubber.  Perhaps new boots don’t have the grip of older boots. I noticed a similar issue on my Inov-8 Roclites. However, when I used these in the Lakes in the summer, I still found them a bit slippy on wet rock (not and issue that I’ve had with the Fastpackers).

In case I find the same issue, I’ve been looking at potential alternatives, but there are precious few. Inov-8s have their Roclite 390s. Adidas do a the Terrex Fast Mid. I am not so keen on the Inov-8s in case they exhibit the same issue as the 320s on wet rock. The Adidas mids look interesting but reviews suggest they are a bit narrow.

I was also interested to read that the Paramo Velez Adventure trousers didn’t work. I have a pair of Cascadas and had a similar issue of water ingress a while ago. Although I toyed with the idea of the Adventure Light trousers, I dismissed them as being too inflexible. I would rather have a pair of walking trousers and some light overtrousers as they are more flexible and totally waterproof. Before New Year and the VAT increase, I bought a pair of RAB Drillium overtrousers as my Berghaus Paclites are a bit sweaty. Hopefully eVent will cure that.

At least James’ Scarp 1 did the business. I am very impressed with the stability of the Scarp. I like the comfort of a strong shelter when things turn nasty. Although the Laser Comp would probably survive, it would be very noisy and not give the same feeling of security.

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7 thoughts on “Let downs”

  1. Hi Robin, I suppose that we all experience gear in different ways. I have had the Fastpackers for about a year now. I do like the fit and comfort, they seem to suit my feet and have never given me a blister. However I have always had a problem with the grip on wet grass and mud which is even worse. They also give me little confidence on consolidated snow slopes. They will still get used but I think I will reserve them for dry weather from now on.

    I am a bit pi**ed off about the Velze adventure trousers, did not expect to get that wet. I think that I will go back to hard shell trousers, something in Event I think. Odd because I think tha the Velez smock is great.

    The stability of the Scarp1 is definately the business. I think that the Laser Comp would have been flat on your face all night. It would probably have been in one peice at the end but would not have been fun to sleep in. The Scarp hardly flapped just shaked at a unit. It was weird how the wind whistled through the crossing poles! Lots of drips on the inner I think it came through either the door one side or the side seam this time, blown through on the wind. Non got through the inner though. I will do seam sealing number 3 and seal the seams on the inside. Not much more I can do then!

    1. I wonder whether the difference between the Velez smock and the trousers is that the smock is closer to your body and is warmer, which might help the vapour transmission through evaporation. I also think that the material wets out when it rubs against itself on the inside of the leg. I’ve never been 100% happy with the Cascadas.

  2. I think that pressure from a wet rucksack around the waist means that water soaks through in the same way that sitting on wet ground does. I bit of a design flaw! probably more suitable for damp drizzly conditions rather than full on wind and rain.

    1. I had a problem with water ingress from the straps on my Osprey Exos. I think it’s best to regard Paramo as a very water resistant soft shell. 90% of the time it will keep you dry. Heavy rain in high winds and where there is pressure can compromise the water resistance. That said, jackets only ever seem to get damp rather than wet. I’ve taken to carrying a light hard shell for if it’s very bad. I still think hard shell overtrousers are a better protection for legs.

      On the Fastpackers. Just a thought, did you put your full weight on your heels? That is always likley to lead to a slip. I always try to use the full length of the sole going down hill, although this is difficult on really steep slopes (where I tend to contour). Studded footwear is much more effective on grassy slopes but not good at all on wet rock. Vibram soles are the best I’ve used for grip under most conditions.

  3. I have seen James hit the deck a few times now Robin in those Fastpackers. Each time on steep wet grass. Not good to slip anytime. I did not slip and each time wore Crosslite trail shoes.

    We know the Scarp is bomber. I reckon the crossover poles give it so much more in strong winds. Top tent and the number one solo tent going for me.

    1. The Crosslites have studs which are better for wet grass. My experience is that studs are not as good on wet rock, so my guess is there’s no ideal choice.

  4. Hi Robin,
    I was interested in Inov8 390s too, but there’s no Inov8 stuff in my city and I was afraid to purchase them without putting them on my feet first. But yesterday I found these shoes in a local store. They are basically a low-cut eVent shoes with Vibram soles and almost tradional laces, but with built-in elastic gaiters to keep snow away. Well, so far, after only 3 hours in forest (-6C, about 10cm deep snow when off-trail), I think I like them even though they do not fit my feet as good as New Balance shoes that I use when there’s no snow. With only liner socks my feet were a bit tosty during walking and a bit cold after 1 hour of staying at one place.

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