Dartmoor gear roundup

Here’s quick summary of how my gear performed.

Adidas Terrex Mid GTX: As I hinted in a previous post these didn’t quite work out. There’s a lot to admire. The grip is good. I like the speed lacing system. Most of the time they seem quite stable. However, every so often I was thrown off balance. I think this is a function of the “hinged” heel. If it strikes the ground at the wrong angle, then it can be unstable. That’s how it seemed to me. It’s a shame because I like the feel of the Adiprene cushioning. The second issue was breathability. It was fine while the boots were dry, but when wet they were quite sweaty, and the mesh outer didn’t dry very quickly. Hence, I had a couple of blisters. In the end they don’t quite work for me, which is a shame. I’ll be returning to my Fastpackers.

Rab Generator Jacket: this is an excellent half way house between my Haglofs LIM Barrier smock and my PHD Minimus jacket. At 364g, it’s the same weight as the Minimus. Obviously it’s not quite as warm, but it can be used for layering. I used it over my Krypton when wind chill was an issue. It could also be used under a waterproof, giving it more flexibility than the Minimus. I found it gave the right amount of warmth and the material is beautifully silky. The fit is just right and it’s smart enough that I’ve used it a lot for casual wear. The Napolean pocket is handy for stowing gloves etc. The DWR works well. All in all a really good jacket.

Montane Krypton Jacket: I bought this as a lighter alternative to my Paramo VAL smock. At 399g, it’s 160g lighter. It’s definitely not as warm. On Monday I had to layer my Generator jacket over it to be warm enough. However, most of the time it’s warm enough. In sunny weather with the sleeves rolled up and zip and venting pockets opened, it’s not too hot either. It’s midway between a windproof and a Paramo jacket. The inner fleece is very pleasant on the skin. The body fleece is slightly fluffy, while the sleeves have a smoother fleece. The waist pockets are venting and are usable with a hip belt. There is a sleeve pocket for a compass/GPS, which is a bit superfluous, but I used it for my compass as it’s there. The sleeves can be rolled up, although they are a bit tight. The hood is really good with a proper volume adjuster. I wore the Krypton for the whole walk, which tells you how comfortable it is. It is a good alternative to the VAL in warmer weather, although it needs a waterproof shell, so the weight advantage disappears, but it is a more flexible clothing system and packs quite small.

Waterproofs: I took my TNF DIAD Jacket (202g) and my Montane Atomic overtrousers (170g). Neither are as breathable as eVent, but are very light. I only used them briefly. I think they are adequate for shorter trips but I would switch to eVent shells if I thought there was going to be sustained bad weather or on a longer trip where long term comfort is more important.

Lightwave Ultahike 60 rucksack: now that I’ve modified the hip belt, the carry on this sack is second to none. It’s just fantastically comfortable. Even on my 18 mile day, at no point, did I feel sore or uncomfortable. It simply swallows gear, so you don’t have to crush everything down. I’ve replaced the cords on the sides of the sack with shock cord, which makes securing a tent or foam roll a lot easier. The lid pocket is large enough to store waterproofs and other bits and pieces. The side pockets are surprisingly robust, considering they are mesh. I scraped one on a granite boulder to no effect. If you want a lightweight (1150g), robust rucksack, then the Ultahike is difficult to beat.

M&S Ultra Fit underwear: these were very comfortable. My only observation is that the waistband can hold moisture. This is not a problem when it’s hot, but could be an issue in cold weather.

Tarptent Scarp 1: I’ll do a separate post on this when I get round to some repairs. The stitching on one of the lineloks used to tension the fly next to the pole hood has come adrift slightly. This might be my fault, being too rough on it. Anyway, a few stitches should repair it. More serious is a slight stress fracture on the end of one of the centre pole sections. I taped it with duck tape. I will swap the pole sections around so it’s at one end and shouldn’t cause any problems. I might cannibalise an old DAC Featherlight pole to use instead. However, it’s worth checking poles for stress fractures as failure can be catastrophic as I found with my Marmot Thor.

Sleeping: the POE Peak Elite was every bit as good as the Ether Elite but lighter. It worked well in combination with a roll of thin foam tent underlay. I used my Alpkit Pipedream 400 sleeping bag and was grateful for the generous shoulder baffle which makes it very cosy. In cooler weather, the shoulder baffle makes a big difference.

Everything else: not much to say. Everything worked well. I probably should give an honourable mention to my Chocolate Fish merino-possum socks, which gave a bit of luxury at the end of the day. The two things I wished I had taken were my Nike Mayfly trainers for camp wear and my Montane Terra long sleeve shirt. The only things I would leave behind would be my Integral Deigns Hot Socks, which are not really necessary unless the weather is cold. I also didn’t need my Montane Marathon wind jacket as the Krypton can double up as a wind shirt.

Full gear list:

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6 thoughts on “Dartmoor gear roundup”

  1. Superb posting on your equipment.

    I like the Krypton however even the largest size doesn’t fit me! Is it as warm as your Marmot Driclime Jacket? Could a 260 merino and your lightweight wind shirt emmulate the krypton jacket?(Suppose sleeve rolling option may not be there?)

    I wanted to buy the Rab Generator Jacket and instead bought the Haglofs Barrier which is slightly less insulation. I was tempted to buy the gilet. Do you think that the gilet may have been enough insulation on your trip?

    Would leather boots treated with bees wax be more breathable than synthetics with a laminate?

    Sounds like you’ve found the perfect rucksack too!

    1. Thanks Phil,

      I’ve never really got on with gilets other than the one that comes with the 3rd Element Jacket. I just prefer the overall warmth and protection of a jacket. Rather than merino and a wind shirt, a fleece and a wind shirt is a possibility. Using my Oryx jacket or my R1 Pullover are possibilities. It’s difficult to find lightweight leather boots. Keen Traghees might be an option. However, I think the Fastpackers cope with wet better than the Terrex because they dry quicker and are a slightly lower cut. The Fastpackers are definitely more breathable than leather boots I’ve owned.

  2. Yes, the R1 would be superb coupled with a windshirt. The arms do play a good role in the warming process. Paramo do the Torres arms!

    Speaking of windshirts, Nike and asics are producing decent windshirts. Stumbled accross them in sports direct.

    I like the look of the Fastpackers and from your reviews they sound comfortable!
    It would be nice to see event being used in boots however I think it needs to be cleaned more often to be effective. (Fastpackers with event would go down well)

    Bought a Marmot Driclime gilet/vest recently though it had to go back because it wasn’t the same size as the jackets. (Smaller)

  3. another vote for the well laid out gear list and mini gear review of kit taken. I do like this approach Robin, it gives great feedback on how bits of kit performed for a given trip/conditions.
    Like you I tabularise my kit but I dont then analyse how each major bit of kit then performed. Its a good discipline to get into
    cheers, Dave

    1. Thanks. I think all of us are trying to refine our choices. I’ve always found the post trip gear reviews from others useful.

  4. HI Robin,
    Only just got round to reaqding blogs after being in an internet shy zone for a week.

    Thanks for this review, extremely interesting and i will keep a look out for the scarp issues too.
    I will do a review of the Moment asap.

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