Tag Archives: Ibex

Dartmoor gear feedback

I mainly used old favourites like the Scarp 1, Gossamer Gear Mariposa, Alpkit Pipedream 400 and Ecco Biom Hike Mids. All of which performed to the high standards that I expected of them.

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The only new piece of gear that I used was the Paramo Fuera Ascent jacket. At 400g, it’s heavy for a windproof, being more than twice the weight of the Montane Litespeed jacket and heavier than many waterproof jackets.

However, it does have some advantages over other windproofs. The massive venting zips, which run from the upper arm to nearly the waist are excellent for controlling body temperature. This was especially noticeable on my first full day of walking when it was sunny, but with a keen wind. By opening and closing them, it was easy to disperse the build up of fug that you can get with most windproofs.

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Part of the reason for the heavier weight is the material is a lot thicker than the Pertex used by most of the competition. Although not really tested this time around, I’ve found the Fuera more water resistant than competing jackets, which gives more flexibility in changeable weather conditions.

The sleeves are wide enough to roll up for ventilation and have Velcro adjusters so they can be cinched down if necessary, which is far superior to the elasticated cuffs normally found on windproofs. The hood is also excellent with a proper volume adjuster and a wired peak. The two chest pockets are a good size for phone, compass, hat and gloves.

The only thing I didn’t like is the usual Paramo dangly cords. It’s a shame they don’t make a version in the lighter fabric they use for the Velez Light, as the weight would probably drop to 250-300g. I also have the Fuera smock, which is lighter, but I think the Ascent is better, because of the venting zips.

Underneath the Fuera Ascent I used a Patagonia R1 fleece pullover with a Rohan Ultra Silver T or an old Berghaus Xstatic T. Although the R1 is a shade heavier than competing fleeces, I’ve found it much better at regulating body temperature. The grid inner face of the fabric seems to be responsible. The Xstatic T is no longer made, but the Rohan Ultra Silver T is still available. The Ultra is very thin and feels like silk. It wicks and evaporates sweat rapidly, so that you rarely feel damp. It also seems to resist body odours well. I was very pleased with the Ultra/R1 combination under the Fuera Ascent.

On my legs, I was wearing my Mountain Equipment Ibex trousers. I think I’ve finally found the perfect soft shell trews. Everything about them works well: the fit, the pockets, the thigh vents, wind proofing, ankle zip. I really can’t fault them. Occasionally they verged on being too warm, but the thigh venting zips and mesh pockets helped keep things under control. In summary, these are great trousers for cooler conditions.

It was the second outing for my Nemo Zor self inflating sleeping mat (short version). I really like the Zor. It feels warmer to the touch than competing mats, although I still used my home made fleece cover to add a bit of luxury. On flat ground, it’s certainly very comfortable. On the last night, the ground was more uneven. While I was comfortable, I certainly noticed the difference compared with an air mat.

The Zor packs smaller than comparable mats and requires less blowing up than an air mat. It is also the lightest self inflating mattress in its class at 285g. The Zor is now my mat of choice for backpacking. I’m very happy with it.

Mountain Equipment Ibex Pant review

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I’ve never really got on with soft shell trousers. My Macpac Mission Pants are great for winter but too warm to backpack in. The Berghaus Ortlers have lovely material but the legs are cut like sailors’ bell bottoms! My Rab Sawtooths are nearly right, but are slightly too long and baggy round the ankles.

However, the Ibex Pant Trouser is virtually perfect. The cut is superb (for me). The legs are close fitting without being tight. At the ankle, there is a V shaped insert, which can be closed with a zip, cinching the material close to your leg. This is great when wearing gaiters. Even when opened, the hem lies neatly over my boot (Ecco Biom Hike mids).

The material is quite light with a tightly woven face. Inside the material has a tricot feel to it. However, it’s not overly warm. It’s highly wind resistant, but not totally windproof. The DWR coating makes it quite water resistant as well. It has enough stretch to be comfortable.

There are two front pockets and a rear one, all closed by zips with zip pulls and have mesh linings, which is good for ventilation. Even better for ventilation are some mesh backed thigh vents (which could double as pockets if necessary). I think thigh vents are brilliant for backpacking trousers and obligatory for soft shell ones.

The waist closure has two press studs, which I like, as two is a fail safe and studs are less likely to fail than buttons. The waist has a good belt, which is semi enclosed. It annoys me when trousers don’t include a belt. The waist band is fleece lined to add to comfort.

I wore the Ibex’s for all three days of my Northern Fells trip and they were very comfortable. Despite the sunshine on day one, I didn’t overheat, especially using the vents. Day two was claggy with a bitter wind and they kept me warm. On day three, initially I used them under overtrousers and then on their own and was comfortable.

For cooler conditions, for me, these are the ideal trouser with an excellent cut. Neither too warm or too cool, they keep my legs at the right temperature, aided by the good venting options.

If I was being really picky, I’m not over keen on the large logo on the knee. I don’t like being an advertising board. I also think the rear pocket is a waste of time as I can’t see a use for it. For sizing purposes, I’m a 34″ waist and 30″ inside leg. The Large size is an almost perfect fit. For the record, mine (size L) weigh 426g. Link to Mountain Equipment website.

Disclaimer: I bought these with my own money and have no association with Mountain Equipment