Well I’ve still not got my PC back so I’m confined to writing posts on my iPad on the rather rudimentary WordPress app. It would have been quicker if I’d got a graphics card from PC World and put it in myself. Hopefully I’ll get it back today or Monday.
Euroschirm have replaced my umbrella. I now have a Light Trek, which is altogether more sturdy than the Dainty. However, it weighs 278g, a good deal heavier. I’ve bought some Fabsil paint on silicone water repellent coating. As a relic of working I have three Marks & Spencer’s ultra lite umbrellas, so I’ve coated the canopies of all of them.
To my surprise, two of these are actually a bit lighter than the third at 212g vs. 232g, probably because they have a slightly different mechanism. 212g is lighter than the Golite Chrome Dome (223g), so I shall be taking an M&S brolly. Although not quite as sturdy (but still quite good), the convenience of folding down is worth it.
I’ve also rigged up a hands free system using a couple of shock cord loops around the shoulder straps of a rucksack and jamming the shaft under the sternum strap. Obviously, this will only be usable if it’s not too windy. Indeed the brolly itself will only be used in relatively calm conditions, which may not occur. Potentially it will also be useful for lunchtime stops as shelter.
Returning to Fabsil, running a tap over the brolly cover seems to indicate a good level of water resistance. Emboldened by this, I’ve coated the faux leather rand of my Fastpackers to boost water resistance. The rand always seems to wet out quickly.
I don’t think it will make any difference to breathability. I’ve been hunting around forums for any comments on the impact of Fabsil on breathability, but not found any definitive answers. I might have to email Graingers. I’ve not coated the main fabric of the boot, just to be on the safe side, but have used some Nikwax spray on TX10.
I’m going to coat my super light M&S canvas shoes to make them water repellent. They could turn out to be a great find. They weigh 176g for a pair, which is incredibly light. Almost as importantly, they fold flat. I think they will be going on the Challenge with me as camp and hotel shoes.
I’m interested in experimenting with Fabsil. I’m going to dig out my old Inov-8 Roclites and coat them to see how water repellant it makes them. The mesh is so wide that I can’t believe it will compromise the breathability. They soak up water like a sponge, so if I can stop or mitigate this, it will be a significant advance.
The Challenge is roaring towards me like an express train in a tunnel. The first part of this week will be sorting out food parcels and posting. I intend to have three drops at Kinlochleven, Dalwhinnie and Braemar, which should keep the weight down. Calculating what is needed is quite taxing, but I think I’ve worked it out.
I’ve discovered some loose stitching near the bottom of one side of the pole arch on the Scarp, so I need to do a little repair work. I don’t think it’s critical, but being a perfectionist, I hate flaws in any product. It’s a shame that the quality control at Tarptent is not quite up to the mark. Don’t get me wrong, the Scarp is a fine tent, it’s just frustrating that the attention to detail is lacking in places.
Speaking of which, I ought to fill you in on the leak I had in the cuben Duomid. It was a bit of a mystery as to how there was a leak in a tent with glued seams. However I traced it to the stitching on the vent hood. The thread from the lowest seam hadn’t been fully captured by the glued seam on the inside of the tent. This meant that the thread was wicking water through to the inside.
I’ve seam sealed all the threads on the outside of the vent hood and on the inside of the hood for the lowest seam. I’ve also sealed the black reinforcing patches and the grosgrain loop at the apex. On the inside, I’ve sealed all the relevant vertical seams and ensured that the rogue thread is well covered. I’m pretty sure that should sort the problem.
While I was at it, I also sealed the door tie back loops where they meet the main body of the tent as these also tend to wick water. They are annoying rather than critical. I’ve not emailed Ron yet, but probably should do! I think this demonstrates that it’s worth being über cautious when it comes to sealing.
Interestingly, I’ve never sealed anything on my Laser Comp and never had one drop of moisture come through the fly, despite some serious downpours and driving rain. Nor have I have I had any loose threads. Hats off to Terra Nova’s quality control.
Returning to the theme of the Challenge, the weather is giving me a bit of a dilemma over outer wear. My original plan was to use a fleece and my Rohan Windshadow jacket, supplemented by a gilet as my main walking clothes. However, this cold wet weather makes me wonder whether to take my Velez Light as a versatile mid and outer layer.
I shall be taking my OMM Cypher smock as a hard shell. I’ve always regarded Paramo as a versatile soft shell which is highly water repellant rather than a bomb proof waterproof. 90% of the time, it’s enough but it in long periods of wind driven rain, it can fail, particularly around the shoulders.
The Velez Light is superbly comfortable to walk in, especially with the venting zips. I have to say, I’m veering towards this option, bearing in mind the weather forecast doesn’t look great. I could take my Vasco jacket, which is my favourite Paramo jacket but it is a bit heavier and not so packable.
Lastly, if anyone has any info on whether it is feasible to pitch at Lochan Urr in Glen Etive, I’d be most grateful to hear, as I’ve drawn a blank on the Challenge message board.