Dartmoor Sept 2020 gear

I know you like a bit of a gear review, so here’s some observations on the gear I used on my recent Dartmoor trip. Most of the gear was old favourites but some were either new or newish.

Dan Durston X-Mid 1P. This is the first time I’ve used the X-Mid on a multi night trip. I still like it a lot. Although not a high mountain tent it’s pretty stable in a stiff wind. It’s got loads of room in the porches to organise gear. The mesh inner does give a modicum of defence against draughts but I used the Valley and Peak draught screen which worked really well at keeping the draught from my head.

Montane Outflow gaiters. I really liked these. At 130g for the pair, they are very light. They are quite trim and are secured with a velcro strip up the front making them very easy to put on and take off. The fabric seems to breath well. Very pleased.

Patagonia Micro Puff hoody. Surprisingly warm for a light jacket, but apart from the first night the weather was quite mild. It packs down small too. Great for around camp. In colder months I think I’d go for a down jacket though.

Bioskin hinged knee skin https://bioskin.co.uk/hinged-knee-brace-wraparound.html I was worried as to how my knee would hold up. I wore this every day and it was brilliant. It’s surprisingly comfortable and supportive, yet flexible. On the odd occasion I could feel it stopping my knee from twisting. If you’ve got a dodgy knee, it’s one way of protecting it. Highly recommended.

Rab merino 120+ leggings. These are very light at 123g and comfortable to sleep in. They worked well but I’d want something warmer in cooler months. I did miss my As Tucas Sestrals trousers around camp.

Cascade Designs folding table. Luxury but very useful. It won’t suit everyone but I liked using it rather than putting stuff on the ground.

Valley and Peak insulated pouch. Another great bit of gear that can double as an insulation pouch for keeping freeze dried food pouches warm and for keeping electronics from getting too cold at night.

My other stuff was all familiar gear. My modified GG Mariposa was excellent as usual, so was my As Tucas Foratata quilt and Thermarest X-Lite . I took OMM Halo overtrousers but didn’t use them. My Paramo 3rd Element jacket was great as most of the time I used the gilet.

9 thoughts on “Dartmoor Sept 2020 gear”

  1. The new Rab Xenon hooded jacket could be a better bet over the nano puff. It has a fraction of the stitching (non for the wadding) allowing it to loft to its full potential. It also packs down well and has a more streamlined fit.

    1. Thanks. It’s been frustrating not to get out more firstly with my knee and then with coronavirus. Unfortunately losing my camper van will curtail my winter walking somewhat until I get a new one. I think I will continue with the slide shows as a means of sharing my walks. They are fun to put together.

  2. Hi Robin
    Happy to see you are getting out there and that your knee is cooperating.
    As well as the gear reviews and mods, I always enjoy a good slideshow! Like Brian above I currently do my UK walking vicariously:) so thanks for posting.
    Be well.

    1. Thank you. Hopefully I will be able to do a few more trips now I have a bit more confidence in my knee. I like slideshows too.

  3. Hi Robin – I have just found your blog and you have some good stuff on here! Just wondering if I could get some advice please? At almost 50, overweight, smoker and with a bum ankle (broke it VERY badly 5 years ago), I have decided to walk the LEJOG next year, starting in April… yes, heck of a challenge, somewhat crazy, but I’m committed. Have started training already, building up stamina, trying to acclimatise to the ankle pain, etc – I did the CtC (high route) 6 years ago, so I kind of know what I’m getting myself into. Anyway, as well as training daily (up to 8 miles today!), I’m in process of buying gear – I’m on benefits due to MH issues (told you I was crazy), but had a windfall a little while ago which should get me some decent gear – the problem is, I can’t make a mistake on the gear, I can only afford the one of anything. So, question is, which tent should I really be looking at please? I was looking at the Akto, had almost made up my mind, but someone mentioned the Scarp 1, and from reviews, my mind is changing… except I cannot find any recent reviews. Your review is the best I’ve read, but it’s 8 years old… do you still rate it? Is there something better out there now for the same money? Would appreciate any advice fella – you certainly seem to know what you’re talking about. Cheers in advance!

    1. Apologies for the late reply. I have the new version of the Scarp 1 now and I think it’s even better than the old one https://blogpackinglight.wordpress.com/2020/01/30/scarp-1-mk3-first-outing/

      I owned an Akto many moons ago and it’s a good tent but I think the Scarp is better. The Scarp will certainly cope with pretty much anything that the weather can throw at it. It isn’t the lightest tent but it is a good compromise. If you can afford it the best lightweight tent is probably the Tarptent Notch Li reviewed here by a guy who did the LEJOG https://wildwalkinguk.com/2020/06/24/tarptent-notch-li/ The downside is that it’s smaller and you might want a bit more space on a long walk, especially if the weather is bad. I took the Scarp on three Challenges and appreciated the extra space. On the Challenge I took my Tramplite, there were times when I missed the extra space. In the end you are the best judge of the trade offs your are willing to make. The Scarp won’t let you down. It’s worth looking at Alan Sloman’s blog as he did the LEJOG in 2007 https://alansloman.blogspot.com/search/label/MY%202007%20LEJOG I’m sure he would be happy to answer any questions you have.

  4. Hi Robin – thanks for the reply. I’m sold on the Scarp 1 (I bid on an Akto on Ebay the other day and had immediate buyer’s regret… fortunately lost). Now it’s a case of waiting for it to be in stock somewhere *sigh*. Training is going well, I’m up to 7 miles a day – aim is to get to 12 miles a day by end Dec. I’m not a speed walker – slow and steady 16 miles a day on the LEJOG once I get to it in April. Must quit smoking!

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