Apart from being cold, this was not a strenuous gear test. With that in mind here’s some comments on the gear I took.
Adidas Terrex Fast X FM Mid GTX: I guess this is the one that you are most interested in. Bearing in mind 5.5 miles in dry weather is not a severe test, these were very comfortable. Grip is good. I only suffered a couple of minor skids going downhill. My impression is that they are not as grippy on rock as my Fastpackers, but better on grass. The speed lace system makes adjustment faster. The only downside is that the thin laces are uncomfortable if tightened too much. Indeed, I found it more comfortable to have the boots fairly loose on my feet. I used Superfeet Green footbeds. I think these are better than the ones supplied and helped stability. On hard ground the cushioning excels. It’s not that they are soft, just that they absorb the ground well. I think they are probably more comfortable in that respect than the Fastpackers. They seem a bit warmer as well, which might be to do with the higher cut. All in all, I’m very impressed and will use them on a longer walk next time I’m out.
Patagonia R1 Fleece Pullover: A fleece is a fleece, all right? Wrong. This is head and shoulders the best fleece I’ve worn. It has an uncannny knack of regulating temperature better than anything I’ve worn before. Perhaps it’s the grid pattern on the inside. At 300g, it’s slightly heavier than alternatives, but I really like it. It works well either as a mid layer or a top layer.
Outdoor Designs Fleece Liner Gloves: Originally I bought these as liners for my skiing gloves. Because they are thin, they enable better dexterity than most gloves. They also dry very quickly if they get damp. They were great to wear both when walking and in the tent.
PHD Minimus Jacket: I have the version with the M1 outer. It’s very warm and compresses to a small volume. It was a real life saver to wear around camp and in my sleeping bag. It’s the best backpacking down jacket I’ve owned by far.
Paramo Velez Adventure Light: This has overtaken the 3rd Element as my Paramo jacket of choice. The double zips give better venting than the 3rd Element and the sleeves can be rolled up to make almost a gilet. I like the roll away hood and the deep collar means you can hide your chin from cold winds. The one area of uncertainty is whether the zips are fully watertight, as I had an issue with leaks in an earlier version of the Velez. However, given that the VAL is 200g lighter, it’s difficult to see me using my 3rd Element where weight is a consideration. However, the 3rd Element is still a great jacket.
POE Ether Elite: This is not a winter sleeping mat. I should have taken some foam underlay to insulate the mat. I’ll know next time. It’s still the most comfortable mat I’ve used, better than even the Exped Downmat. The Downmat has much better insulation though.
Cumulus Quantum 350: While I’m still very happy with this bag, it wasn’t warm enough and I should have taken my Pipedream 600. I’ll know in future!
M&S Ultrafit Active Hipsters: These are the best underwear I’ve found so far. Very comfortable.
Lightwave Ultrahike: This is the most comfortable rucksack I have. The hipbelt mod has cured the slight niggle I had. I like having a bit of extra volume so I don’t feel I’m cramming everything in. The stretch side pockets are surprisingly capacious. I found I could also access the lid pocket without taking the pack off.
I also wore my Berhaus Equilibrium trousers which were brilliant, but have been out of production for several years. Berghaus should revive these. If they had a double seat and zips on the pockets, they would be the perfect cold weather trousers.