Tag Archives: Mountain Equipment

Burbage Gear

A brief overnighter is hardly a good test but I thought I’d pass on some brief thoughts on the new gear I used recently.

Tarptent Notch Li

At around 600g, the Notch Li is astonishingly light for a proper two skin tent. I’ve made some minor tweaks which I will share in another post. It’s extremely easy and quick to pitch. Although you only need four pegs in theory, in practice you need six as the apex guys are needed to give it a robust structure. There was a modest breeze so it was hardly testing conditions but with the apex guys and pitchloc ends it’s a pretty solid structure.

In common with most trekking pole tents, there’s a bit of a gap between the hem of the fly and ground, so it was a bit more draughty than say the Scarp. I guess it’s a bit swings and roundabouts as a bit more air flow helps to mitigate condensation. With a fresh breeze condensation wasn’t an issue anyway. There is a small vent above both doors and the end panels can be opened so there are plenty of venting options.

While I much prefer zipped doors, the zips do feel a little fragile, so I think it would be wise to take care. I have put a side release line lok on either door panel that has just a grosgrain loop so it is feasible in calm conditions to have the zip open (something that Colin Ibbottson recommends on the Tramplite shelter to help with longevity). I might sew a buckle clip at the base of the door too.

In terms of room, the inner is quite compact. There’s not a huge amount of room for gear but it is reasonably long so some stuff can be stowed at either end. A modest amount can be stored at the mid point, but I put most of my gear in one porch. The porches are a decent size, so there is space to store things. The only thing to be careful with is rain might get blown under the fly sheet.

The flysheet seems to be lighter weight DCF than say the Tramplite, but the groundsheet is heavier and feels robust, which seems to be a good compromise. The solid inner fabric is thinner than the stuff they use in the Scarp and has a slight green tinge to it. I like it and wonder how much weight they could save on the Scarp if they used it. As an aside, the solid inner is marginally lighter than the mesh alternative. The inner pockets by the door are ok, but I think they’ve missed a trick by not putting them at the ends.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with it. It feels like a decently robust mountain tent. It has a small footprint, making it ideal for summit camping. At 600g it’s astonishingly light for such a robust tent. The small inner will take a little getting used to, but not a major issue with a decent amount of porch space.

Nemo Tensor Alpine sleeping mat

At 475g the Tensor is 115g heavier than my Thermarest X-Lite, but is slightly larger and marginally warmer. It has a different structure and is less noisy to sleep on. I found it more comfortable to sleep on, partly because it doesn’t taper as much and partly because it feels more supportive. It didn’t deflate at all in the night and the valve makes it much quicker to deflate in the morning. I couldn’t tell any difference in insulation. It packs down small. Overall I like it for the extra comfort over the X-Lite, but it’s not a clear cut winner, just a bit different.

Atom Packs Mo 50

This was the first outing for the Mo. Until I walk a few days with it, I can’t give a definitive judgement, but it feels really comfortable. It just feels right. When packing, it is a little slim compared with my GG Mariposa, and is definitely smaller, so a little more care is needed in packing. It feels very robust. The side pockets are big enough for a tent or two water bottles. The stretch pocket is much more robust than on many packs. I like the rolltop closure and the Y strap.

All in all it’s a really well designed and made pack. I wish I’d bought the 60 for a little more space, but if I’m careful it should be big enough for multi-day trips. The Y strap means that I could put a stuff sack on top to increase volume. My pack weight was around 9kg with water and food and it carried that easily.

Mountain Equipment Kinesis trousers

I changed into these when I had camped and they were brilliant for the chilly weather. They are very light at 220g. The fleecy liner is lovely and soft but not too warm. The thigh vents are useful but I didn’t need them. I slept in them too and they kept me warm in the subzero overnight temperatures. They have a little bit of stretch which makes them great in the tent. They pack down quite small into one pocket.

It’s a shame ME have stopped making them but there are two new versions: one is like tracksuit bottoms and a bit lighter, the other is a heavier weight trouser with reinforcement patches. I prefer mine as they are are a good compromise between a usable and reasonably smart trouser but not overkill.

Mountain Equipment Kinesis Trousers

I was in two minds as to whether to blog about these but they are so good, I thought I would. The Mountain Equipment Kinesis trousers (I refuse to call them pants!) seem to be almost impossible to buy, but I was lucky to get some half price in a sale from Needlesports . They are incredibly lightweight at 225g for my size Medium. The outside material is a lightweight 30D nylon material, which, while not robust, doesn’t feel fragile either. They have a modest amount of stretch. The lining is a very lightweight fleecy fabric called Octoyarn. Combined, they are amazingly warm and windproof and very comfortable to wear.

They have two fleece lined hand pockets (they pack down into the right hand pocket) and separate leg vents, which are great to prevent overheating. The fit is quite slim with an elasticated waist band. I suspect will mainly use them as an insulation layer around camp, but in cold, windy weather they would be great to walk in, especially as they have zipped vents. They would also be comfortable to sleep in if necessary. I can’t wait to take them on a trip.

Mountain Equipment Ibex Pant review

ibex pant

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