Repair and cleaning

With nothing on the horizon at the moment, I thought it would be a good idea to undertake some gear maintenance.

P1000221I haven’t used my 3rd Element Jacket recently, but I’m thinking of using it for the Challenge. I like the flexibility of being able to use it as a gilet. It’s also great for showery weather as a very water resistant soft shell. Being able to use it as a gilet means I can use a hard shell over it (probably my OMM Cypher). This gives me more options to cope with variable weather.

However, the velcro that secures the chest pocket flaps has come loose. Rather than repair it myself, I contacted Paramo. Not only will they repair it for free, they will also clean it for no charge. Whatever you might think about Paramo, you can’t fault their customer service. So today, I’ve posted it to Paramo.

P1000664The second bit of gear that needs attention is my Alpkit Pipedream 400 sleeping bag. I know some people have had poor experiences of Pipedreams, but mine has been quite superb. The down seems to be remarkably high quality and the loft excellent, although not quite up to Western Mountaineering or Rab levels.

Inevitably, sleeping bags get a bit dirty and acquire a bit of a smell. So I’ve sent my Pipedream off to be cleaned by Elite Cleaning Services in Rotherham. They are recommended by Rab, which gives me a good level of comfort that they will do a good job.

I had been mulling whether to replace my sleeping bags with a couple of hydrophobic down bags when they are available (one for summer and a three season one). However, Elite Cleaning uses a Granger’s wash in proofing on the final rinse.

I’ll give it a splash test, but I suspect that I won’t bother with new sleeping bags. If Elite do a good job, I’ll use them to clean my other bags. I know some people wash their sleeping bags at home, but a sleeping bag is too large for our washing machine and tumble drier.

Also box walls are more delicate than the stitch through walls of a down jacket like the PHD Minimus, so I prefer to use experts with the right equipment. I will report back when the Pipedream returns.

Disclosure: I have no relationship, financial or otherwise with Elite Cleaning Services or Paramo


15 thoughts on “Repair and cleaning”

  1. Paramo like anything has it’s limits. A light Paramo top combined with a hardshell would work (and has appeal). Mick and Gayle used that on the Challenge in May and seemed to be a winner.

    Alpkit can, and have made some good kit. I expect you got a good down crop year model, and hence its been a top performing bit of kit for you. Get it cleaned and ready for May Robin.

    1. The 3rd Element is particularly adaptable as it coverts to a gilet. I’ve grown to like gilets. A Paramo gilet underneath the Cypher should counter any problems with a leaking zip (not that I’ve experienced that yet).

      Both my Alpkit Pipedreams (400 & 600) seem to have good quality down. I suspect quality control is a challenge for Alpkit.

  2. Hi Robin, have you done a review on the cyper as i am looking for a new waterproof and the cyper is one of the jackets i am looking at.
    Or if no review any feed back would be great

    1. I’ve not done a specific review but did a brief review in my TGOC gear roundup

      At 240g it’s a very impressive lightweight waterproof that doesn’t stint on features. The hood is excellent with a fully stiffed brim and a good volume adjuster. It has a good deep chest zip with backing flap. The small pocket is useful for GPS/phone/compass. I was sceptical about the elasticated wrists and thumb loops but in the end quite liked them. The fit is quite slim but is a decent length with a drop tail. I found the breathability to be very good.

      There are two possible criticisms. Another blogger, Alan Rayner, found the zip leaked in heavy driven rain. This is likely to happen on any jacket with this kind of zip, so in that sense it’s a criticism of the zip rather than the jacket. Nearly all jackets are a similar design, unless you go for a heavier design with flaps. The two smocks that have higher quality waterproof (rather than water resistant) zips are the Brenig Aran and the PHD Alpamayo. The second criticism that has cropped up is the durability of the eVent fabric.

      So far, I’ve had no problems with the fabric or zips leaking and have been very pleased with the Cypher. If you want a lightweight smock, then it merits consideration. If you want something more bomb proof, then the Aran or Alpamayo is worth a look. I don’t have experience of either but Alan Rayner rates the Aran highly, and Gordon Green loves the Alpamayo (although it is an earlier version with covered zips, I believe).

      I hope that helps.

  3. The pipedream is a very good bag. Mine’s 7 years old and still going strong. Maybe I ought to have it cleaned like yours! πŸ˜€

  4. Hi Robin, I have used Elite Cleaners for my Pipedream 400 and my son’s 600. Did a good job. I was able to drop it off and pick it up on my regular travels up and down the top of the M1/M18 – saved me a few quid. I didn’t know that they used Grainger’s in the final rinse!

  5. Thanks for that, Robin.
    It kick-started my own gear fettling – so I’ll be sending off my two bags to elite, buying a new tent (finally having made my mind up) and fleece (rather than take the strangly Rab Boulder Pull-on) bought some new camp shoes and am redoing an FWA for the Chally (optional one, not compulsory.)
    And meanwhile the Pieman’s been out there in the hills.

  6. I like your snow pic at the top of the blog. I have yet to be out in such conditions, did you take any special kit with you for the snow? I’m just wondering if there is kit I’m going to need, especially as I’m likely to be in the lakes in either Feb or March.

    It’s good to hear that there are specialist bag cleaners. I’ve only had mine for about a year and a half, but even in such a limited time they have managed to pick up some of the bog odours from the moors πŸ™‚

    1. It was May and there wasn’t a huge amount of snow. Micro spikes can be useful. If you don’t have experience with crampons and ice axe, be careful in snowy conditions and avoid slopes where you need them. Verglas is also a hazard.

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