Duomid and OookWorks inner: not exactly a severe test but worked well. The Duomid is ideal for this kind of walk. I love the amount of room, especially having a huge porch. Now that MLD are making coloured cuben Duomids, I’ve ordered one. Sean is going to make me a lighter inner, so I should be able to get the total weight down to around 800g (excluding walking poles).
Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus: ideal and very comfortable. I’ll do a “living” review soon.
Cumulus Quantum 350 and POE Ether Elite: the nights were very mild and I was comfortable both nights. I think the Ether Elite is slightly warmer than the Peak Elite AC. I’m looking forward to the launch of the new Exped Downmat UL, which I think will be ideal. For some reason I seem to feel the cold from below.
Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX: I took these to give them a longer test than in the Lakes. They were fine. Very comfortable and kept my feet dry. However, I suffered some slight bruising on my toes (which I’m prone to). I should have taken the Superdrug gel toe protectors, but forgot. While I like these boots, I still think the Fastpackers are better, so I’m going to give up trying new boots and stick to them. I liked the look of Alan’s La Sportiva Raptors (apart from the colour scheme). I’m tempted to try a pair as trail shoes next year if they import the red colour scheme.
Paramo 3rd Element: I returned to the 3rd Element for this trip and it was perfect. For the first and last day, I mainly wore just the gilet. On the second day I wore the complete jacket. It kept my body temperature at an ideal level throughout the walk. Difficult to fault. I combined it with my Icebreaker Kent merino polo or Berghaus Xstatic long sleeve shirt, both of which worked well.
M&S Ultralite Umbrella: A small collapsible umbrella, weighing 211g with flexible nylon spars. This is the first time I’ve carried an umbrella. Despite causing a bit of amusement, it proved its worth at the end of the second day. While the rain wasn’t heavy, it was persistent and it was nice not to have the constant pitter patter on my hood. It kept me almost bone dry and I didn’t need to wear overtrousers. For lowland walking, when it’s not too windy, an umbrella is a useful bit of gear. The weight penalty is only the equivalent of a windshirt or lightweight waterproof, so I think it’s worth taking.
Evernew Pasta Pot: Normally I take an Evernew 640ml cooking pot and an MSR titanium mug. For this trip, it seemed like overkill, so I took the pasta pot and used it as a mug. In some ways it’s better than the MSR mug as I can have a larger cup of tea. If you want to take only one pot, then this is the one to take.
The rest of the gear was all familiar stuff, like the Snow Peak stove and there’s nothing really to report. Pack base weight was 8.5kg plus 1kg in my belt pack. I also carried about 1.5L of water and about 2.5kg of food. I could have cut it down a bit more but I erred on the side of caution and the lack of significant hills meant I could be relaxed about a bit of surplus weight. At no time did I feel I was carrying an excessive weight.