As TGO magazine is in the process of doing their awards, I thought I’d pre-empt them by doing my own awards. These are totally subjective and based solely on my experience over the past few years.
Gold Award: Tarptent Scarp 1
The Scarp 1 is the best tent I’ve owned. It may not be the lightest or most elegant, but every time I’ve used another shelter, I’ve wanted to go back to the Scarp. First and foremost, it’s a very strong tent and can withstand pretty much anything the weather can throw at it. The secret of its stability is the PitchLoc corner struts which secure the ends of the tent and are incredibly strong and stable. For a one man tent it has enough floor space to sleep comfortably, with good headroom, and to store gear. The two porches are big enough for cooking and give tremendous flexibility for gear storage, especially in wet weather. The roof vents are effective in reducing condensation. It’s not perfect. Some decent pockets in the inner tent and a better inner door configuration (inverted T, please) would improve it. However, overall, I think it’s the best bit of gear I own and well worth the gold award.
Silver award: Gossamer Gear Mariposa 2012
The original Mariposa Plus was a very good rucksack, possibly the most comfortable I’ve used (along with the Lightwave Ultrahike). The 2012 version has improved on the Plus significantly. The aluminium stay, wider hip-belt and redesigned shoulder straps have made the 2012 Mariposa even more comfortable to carry. The change of material to dyneema gridstop has made the pack a lot more robust. The mesh side pockets have been replaced with gridstop alleviating concerns over abrasion. The front pocket is now stretchy mesh, making it easier to pack. Decent sized hip belt pockets mean I no longer have to use a belt pack for camera and snacks. The over the top closure is unusual but works well. On the two trips that I’ve found the 2012 Mariposa to be a really excellent pack.
Bronze award: Snow Peak GST100 canister stove
This little stove has been a constant companion over the past five year apart from a brief dalliance with a JetBoil. The only thing that has ever gone wrong was the piezo button popped out. It was soon fixed and I’ve had no problems since. The piezo igniter has never failed. The stove simmers well and seems to be quite frugal on fuel. The construction is very sturdy with four solid titanium pan supports. It folds down small and weighs 87g. It’s a superb piece of quality engineering. I love it and can’t see that I’ll change it.
Rab Drillium overtrousers – these are the only overtrousers I’ve ever felt totally comfortable in. They are very breathable and the material is soft, so it doesn’t feel like you are wearing a crisp packet.
MLD eVent gaiters – simple, no nonsense gaiters that keep the crud out of your boots and muck off your legs. At 101g, they weigh next to nothing. They don’t fall down and they aren’t sweaty. Great for boggy ground.
Backpackinglight.co.uk walking pole extender – this are a genius bit of lateral thinking that joins two walking poles so they can be used as a pole for a pyramid shelter. Simple, light and effective.
That’s my awards, now we wait to see what the great and the good select for the TGO Magazine awards.