Monday, 29 November 2010

New toys

I wanted to write this up a long time ago. It's been 90% finished in the edit tray for weeks now, but illness and family commitments have all conspired against me. Still, it's here now- enjoy!

There have been three recent arrivals here. The quilt, I've alreadt mentioned but I've also had packages from Goosefeet and Zpacks containing waterproof sock covers and a new zero pack with some assorted stuffsacks respectively.
I'll deal with the quilt first as it's the biggie. I've already mentioned the specs- it arrived in a little square box with a stuff sack and I eagerly spread it out. The overall quality is amazing- it's hard to imagine ever being able to make something this good, but I guess Tim gets a lot of practice! I compared it to my PHD minim ultra and it was definitely in the same league sewing wise. The attention to detail is nice.

All the fittings are as tiny as posible-super thin shock cord for the strapping combined with tiny cord locks and super thin static cord at the head and foot. The exceptions are the snaps at the neck and top of the footbox and the zip for the footbox. These are more substantial. The snaps are particularly secure.

The design of the footbox allows you to loosen the drawcord or unzip it totally so in hot weather you can vent as to your requirements. More likely in Britain it will be useful when wrapping it round me like a shawl or opening it up to dry. Because I'm so small, despite the original intention to make it a half taper, it's turned out pretty much a rectangle, this actually turned out well because it gives a lot more coverage when I'm on my side. The zip isn't a tiny insubstantial zip but it's still pretty small and light. The way the snaps are positioned, the metal doesn't come into contact with your skin if you're a nekkid sleeper.

Coverage in general is very good- I could have probably have gone smaller width wise, but this allows me to layer under it. There is a bit of a knack to turning so that the edge doesn't ride up-you pivot on the bit of the mat that isn't covered by the quilt- I find it easier than turning, getting and then trying to jump my body in the air while twisting the hood around on a normal mummy bag however... The side sleeping picture doesn't show it but the edge of the quilt is still tucked under me on my back side.

You should be able to see on the spread out picture that there is very little taper in it- it's almost a rectangle. This was unitntentional on my part, but does give me more coverage. It' a reflection on my skinny frame that my torso measurement is similar to most people's footbox!

I'm really pleased with this- it's a nice step up from the minim ultra. I'm hoping to take a trip out with it next week and see how low I can take it combined with additional clothing and a vapour barrier. Nice!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

I have achieved enlightenment..

Or some other corny gag. My eyes are still bleeding from the customs charge, but my quilt is here, it fits perfectly and it weighs 334 grams. Lovely.

Friday, 12 November 2010

New quilt

Just got an email from Tim Marshall to say my new quilt is finished! 332g, 1.5" of loft- should be good down to 4 degrees. I didn't go with cuben after thinking about the vapour barrier effect. Because cuben doesn't breathe, it's impossible to wear down clothing under the quilt to extend the range. A cuben bag will take you lower temperature wise and a cuben the same weight would probably take me to zero. I do like to take my down clothes for hanging out in camp and because I'd need to take a vapour barrier to wear under my down clothes I'd possibly end up carrying more weight. I've also expended a fair amount of cash on my down clothing and I want to use it! There is also the opportunity to layer it over my PHD minim ultra- something I couldn't do if it was cuben. It's 50g lighter than my minim ultra, should add 4 degrees, avoiding the cold spots that the sewn through nature of the minim results in. Anyhow, I'm very excited!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Montbell Tachyon Anorak

I like the fact that it's called an anorak. Cagoule is also a word that's fallen out of favour, and it's probably a better word than anorak, but anorak will do for now. I once managed to convey the TV programme Bergerac to my team in charades by using "sounds like" and my anorak. Happy days.

I love my Rab Quantum windshirt. The cuffs were a bit tight for pulling up my arms, but it kept me warm and reasonably dry in a lot of different situations. I do find that my ears get super cold, however. In fact hoods in general add loads of warmth to a clothing sytem by protecting the face. A hooded windshirt is the answer, but at a weight/cost that didn't seem worth it. The Tachyon compares reasonably well in terms of price, but knocks 20 grams off the weight of my Quantum.

It's incredibly thin. Pertex Quantum- a fabric I found incredibly lightweight when I first felt it- feels way more robust. Light passes through it easily and it compresses amazingly.
The zip isn't as long as the Rab, which was a half zip, but I generally didn't need that much venting.

The hood fits really well, although it does have a bit of an odd ball shape when cinched up. There is a velcro tab to reduce volume at the back.

There is a little peak formed by a cord in the front. It's too floppy to stand up to wind but it's a nice touch and avoids the train spotter cagoule look.

The cuffs are elasticated. They feel a little rougher than the lycra binding of the Rab, especially at the seam. I can fix that with a little home mod though.The bottom hem has an elasticated drawcord.

It has the well designed and super lightweight feel of my Montbell down inner. It does look quite shiny and not a little crinkled. The words trash bag have been used, but I like that in a funny way. It weighs 61g in size small in it's stuff sack. The sack weighs 3g. Very nice indeed.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Tachyon arrives.

It's really, really nice! More on it when I get a spare 2 seconds....

Friday, 5 November 2010

Prolite Gear

Are a fantastic shop to deal with-my Tachyon is in the UK pretty much the day after I ordered. The tracking is brilliant, it should be with me on Monday- it was the same story for my Montbell down inner jacket. Instant gear gratification- I love it.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

New stuff

Ordered myself a couple of things- A quilt from Tim at Enlightened equipment, (Not a cuben though- more on that later) and a Montbell Tachyon jacket. I've been toying with the quilt idea for a while now- should save me weight and be warmer than the PHD minim ultra. Tim is another manufacturer who is fantastic to deal with. The Tachyon is a hooded windshirt so ideal for keeping ears warm and I love my windshirt. I've found that Montbell fits my body shape really nicely.