And for my 1001st post, a gear review. Now there’s a surprise!
New stuff: the only new things I took were a Rab Vapour-rise Lite jacket and a Rohan Core Silver T. I have mixed feelings about the Vapour-rise. I like it as a lightweight jacket. The outer is an attractive matt finish and wind proof. Venting is by two large chest pockets. The inner is a lightweight tricot material, pleasant to the touch and not fluffy like fleece. The arms are quite long. However, I didn’t like the cuffs, which are secured by velcro and elastic. They are quite narrow and not wide enough to roll up. I’m coming to the conclusion that nothing beats the Paramo Velez Adventure Light as an all-purpose outer layer. The venting is second to none. I love being able to push the sleeves up beyond my elbows. It’s also waterproof, although on long trips I would still take a hard shell as Paramo can get overwhelmed and I’d rather have a hard shell for persistent driving rain. On this trip, it was sunny and most of the time I was wearing a shirt, so the Vapour-rise was only used for a couple of hours. The Core Silver T didn’t get much use because I wore a shirt, but it’s an interesting T. It has a smooth outer and a mesh pattern inside. It should be fast drying and feels very comfortable. I’ll have to give it a proper test another time. Arcteryx Phase AR tights. I bought these as a replacement for my Lowe Alpine Dryflo tights and was very pleased with them. I wore them once at night and around camp in the evening.
Other clothes: most of the time I was wearing a Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt, which was ideal for the sunny conditions. The mesh side panels certainly help ventilation and the shirt dries quickly. I like the extendable collar, which protects the neck from the sun. I have an old style one. The newer ones have a slightly softer material. The Montane Terra Pants were superb (yawn!). I wish they would do the standard ones in one colour rather than the black patches. The Rab Generator Jacket has become my “go to” insulation layer. It has a perfect fit for me and has just the right amount of warmth. Golite Wildwood Longsleeve. This is good for around camp and for sleeping in. It’s like silk and nice to change into at the end of the day. However, it’s not very robust and one thread has already pulled.
MLD Duomid. I’m really growing fond of this tent. I love the space in the porch. The OookWorks inner has made all the difference. Pitching takes a little practice, but now I can do it quite quickly. Not sure what else I can say. I must mention the backpackinglight pole extender tube, which is brilliant. Like all the best ideas, simplicity is the key. The ability to be able to turn walking poles into a tent pole is a stroke of genius. Well done Bob (and Rose)!
Sleeping: Western Mountaineering HighLite sleeping bag. Ideal for summer. Surprisingly warm, given the weight (and I’m a cold sleeper). However, the home made zip baffle and neck collar are essential in my view. Neoair Short and MYOG fleece cover. This is becoming my favourite combination. A short mat is much easier to manage in the tent and the fleece cover makes the mat very cozy. I use a thin foam mat underneath the Neoair as well, which helps insulation.
Cooking: My Evernew pan/MSR cup/Snow Peak stove setup is ideal for me. Having used all bar one of my Real Turmat meals, I took three Fuizion Foods meals: Kung Po Chicken, Beef and Ale Stew and Minced Lamb with Potatoes. These are superb and taste like real food. The Kung Po Chicken and Beef and Ale Stew were out of this world. The Lamb was slightly disappointing, only because the other two were so good. My two criticisms are that the pouches are tall and thin and the P&P charges are high. I may decant the meals into Soup ‘n, Sauce bags next time.
Base weight was just under 8.5kg. Total weight including consumables was 10.5kg. Details on Google Docs. If you have any questions, just post in comments.