Monday, 8 February 2010

Gear, gear, gear

I’m really the wrong person to be entrusted with the ownership of a blog- I find it hard to get together the motivation to write, plus I only have internet access at work. I’m still half way through a trip report for a trip to the lakes in October-ho hum.
Here’s a round up of some of the gear I used for the Snowdon trip. I spend a lot of time thinking about gear as you might guess and as usual I had a few odds and sods that were new on this trip:
Berghaus Glacier gaiters.
Last year I had a few problems with snow getting into my mid-cut boots. I wanted a pair of low-cut gaiters that would fit trail-shoes and would preferably be waterproof. The obvious choice would be the Integral designs gaiters but unfortunately they were out of stock at Ultralight Outdoor gear. I found the Berghaus gaiters after a bit of trawling and they seemed to meet my needs exactly. They were advertised as 70g- what they actually are is 84g each. I emailed Berghaus who have said they’ll pass it on to their technical team. Otherwise, they do fit my needs exactly. The seal is really tight and nice and low around a boot or shoe, they breath as well as you’d expect, will stand up when the top elastic is loose and attach to the lace with a Velcro loop rather than a hook, which I always found popped off. This means they stay put even when the front zip is undone- I wandered around the gear shops looking like a backpacking nerd in them unzipped and they stayed put throughout. As I’m only planning to use them in the snow, they’re pretty much perfect.
Trekmates gloves.
I started out with the Primaloft filled gloves. Now I’m not really a fan of gloves- my hands are always cold in them and these, despite the Primaloft, these were no different. When activity was low, my hands were absolutely freezing. Whe I was heading uphill, however, I had to take them off because they were now too hot. When I got the new gloves, I chose simple fleece lined gloves. My hands are still too cold when stationary, but I can now wear them when exerting myself. Both gloves fit nicely, the pre-curved fingers were a treat and the finish is good. They both had a decent gripp palm and fingers and I could do what I needed to do in them. Trekmates do a nice range of gear and are bit bit under-rated methinks.
New guys for the Laser.
I’ve fitted longer guys to the Laser with mini linelocks. The supplied guys were a bit of a joke, and the pitch was much tauter with the new guys. As a side note, the loop to attach one of the front guys is pulling loose. It’s going to cost me £20 to fix it according to a couple of quotes. It’s been going for a while, I’m going to have to get it fixed soon!
Going lighter?I always have a think about going lighter on the next trip. The easiest change would be to just use a five season foam multi-mat without the nightlight torso on top. I did it in the past and the nightlight doesn’t add much comfort. That would save 115g straight off. I’m going to try taking the Minim-ultra sleeping bag combined with some down trousers and my two down tops- My sleep system was too hot at first which was not too good. That would save me the best part of half a kilogram. I wouldn’t mind some down socks to go with that though! I might be able to use my murmur if I can get weight and volume down enough- with the addition of a couple of loops, I could carry the ice axe but I’d have to be careful about scratches or holes- that’s another 400g. Otherwise, I had too much chocolate and not enough whisky!


Anonymous said...

My hands are always cold when using poles but some Marmot insulated mittens, purchased last minute at Cotswold in Grasmere, Christmas before last, have improved things. Those mittens now come on all my winter trips. They are superb about camp. Pulling pegs in the morning and coaxing the frozen tent back into its bag are much more bearable with the Marmots on.

I suspect that cold hands while poling means I need to shorten the poles and let blood descend into my hands. Currently, my hands are about level with my forearm. Stopping and lowering my hands allows the Marmots to help them warm up again.

minimalgear said...

I've used mittens for a long time- I wanted to change to gloves because it's much easier with an ice axe. I think maybe a lobster claw type mitt might be the solution