.............not all those that wander are lost..............

Friday, 13 August 2010

It seemed such a good idea at the time......

....gear review!

This is my 60th post since I started writing this blog so to celebrate I thought I'd have a look at gear that promised so much and then disappointed me. (I don't mean to make a connection with how I feel about blogging by the way...................)

Silk Sleeping Bag Liner

This promised to give me a little more warmth and protect my sleeping bag so I didn't have to clean it so often.
As you do, I did quite a lot of research before finally parting with the cash.
There was nothing wrong with the liner as such. Lovely and smooth, comfortable silky silk, in a great lilac colour.
That is until I tried to use it!
First of all it 'stuck' to the inside material of my bag and once I had fought my way into it I then discovered I couldn't easily get out again. Turning over in the bag was a nightmare as I struggled through the night trying to get to sleep. By the morning we had all parted company, and there was a rip in the silk.
I do look at it from time to time but I've never been tempted to try sleeping with it again.

Buffalo Pertex and Pile Shirt

Oh dear!
From the moment it arrived we didn't get on.
I found it too hot and didn't like the way it unzipped, exposing more skin than I would like but not really controlling temperature very well. Also the neck zip seemed too short to me.
I then thought it would be great to carry for an emergency but it wouldn't compress well enough.
And it didn't have a hood, so the cold, sleety day I did wear it and felt comfortably warm, I soon had freezing air whistling down my neck and round my ears.
Its one redeeming feature, the colour, a bright purple.

Orange Plastic Toilet Trowel

I have carried and attempted to use this for the past 3 years.
I find trying to dig a hole with it is virtually impossible, especially on heathery moorland or rocky hillsides.
Until I find an alternative I suppose I'll have to keep trying, but it's now dangerously close to being left behind in the shed!

Compeed Blister Plasters

I have had mixed success with these.
Either they stick too well and become so lumpy I can't get them off without tearing skin or they migrate around my foot and then stick tight to my sock. They are then impossible to remove without leaving a nasty sticky mess which never properly comes off.
I would love to find a good alternative but I suppose the best thing would be to walk without getting any blisters!

Two Person Bothy Bag

In the way of all emergency kit I have never had to use this.
But I have lugged it all over Scotland, The Lakes and parts of Yorkshire.
Now if I'm carrying a tent I leave it behind believing I can always pitch the fly for protection.
I do still take it along if I'm likely to get into bad weather in Autumn.
It could be possibly the most uncomfortable way to spend a lunch time break - sitting on an increasingly numb bum, eating slightly crouched over and breathing in stale air.

Knife, Fork and Spoon Set

A great idea these, unless you actually want to use them to eat with!
I've got a nylon spork (or is it a foon?) now which is much better.

(added later) Wind-up Phone Charger

Lightweight, small, low-tech - and 20 minutes winding hardly made any impression on the phone battery!
I just bought another battery and make sure they're both fully charged when I get the chance.

Well that's my list so far. There may be more after I've had longer to think about it.

What would you put on the list?


The Odyssee said...

In some ways Laura i could have posted this myself. My silk liner - stays in the wardrobe.
I do like my Buffalo but admit that it rarely gets an outing. I did buy a hood for it though.
Toilet trowel i designed and made my own and at around 25 grams it works well.
Compeed - never use them, i have always found moleskin to do the job better and i put foot powder on the edges to stop it sticking to my sock.
Bothy bag never gets an outing.
I use a plastic spork all the time. All the others, like Titanium folding spork stay in the cutlery drawer.
Walking poles! Bought and never used so i gave them away.
Sandals of varying types and makes. Merrell, TNF, Teva. All seem ok and then get left in the cupboard. I like the new Inov-8 sandals.
Folding cups - waste of money.
And there's more!

Louise said...

I think I've been quite lucky with gear. All my clothes gear I've been really chuffed with, except pants. I can't find any good knickers that don't make life really uncomfortable when walking! With other gear, I once had a Lowe alpine daysack that gave me hideous headaches everytime I used it, that had to go. And I hate our map carrier thingy. It's bulky, the plastic's hard and the carry strap was forever whipping me round the face, so David has cut it off. It's now a bit tricky to carry.
It's hard to find perfect gear, isn't it?
(Still waiting baby photos, btw!)

Laura said...

Thanks for the comments - keep them coming! It might prevent me making similar errors of judgement in the future.....?
Louise - the photos are in the pipeline!

Anonymous said...

Good post! I've had plenty of gear that seemed like a good idea at the time. What a lot of money wasted!

The plastic trowel problem. The solution: http://blogpackinglight.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/the-new-ibbo-pt/ So much better than anything I've used before and lighter.

The Odyssee said...

Hydration bladders and tubes are a pain. Prefer std water bottles in the rucksack pocket.
Gaiters, knee length - absolutely hate wearing them unless deep snow but even then, if i can get away with just overtrousers, i will.

Louise, try the Ortlieb map case. Lovely soft plastic that doesn't deteriorate or discolour. I shall whisper this next bit - Sheila says try the X-bionic niks, they are a bit pricey but worth every penny and also Aldi have done some good quality, cheap ones called Skin to Skin.

Martin Rye said...

I like the orange trowel that Bob and Rose sell. Fine kit. Buffalo is too warm for anything except day walks in Greenland. Sleeping bag liners suck. Hydration bladders rock - get a Source 2l one. Gaiters are awful and mud washes of your kit anyway. Plus looking scruffy tends to get you served fast in shops on a TGO Challenge I find. Thing is kit is fine till you try it in the hills for a few wet nights etc. Then you find out if it is any good.

Louise said...

Alan, thanks for the tip, and thank Sheila for that very important imformation, I shall search some out.
I love my hydration bladder, without it, I never drink enough water. I can't be hassled with trying to reach a water bottle in the side pockets (short arms!) and it's a faff to stop so often just for a slurp. A handy little tube clipped to the strap of my sack is just the job!
Sorry for the hijack Laura, hope you were after a discussion!

Laura said...

No problem Louise, I'm inclined to agree with you about the drinking tube, as well as short arms I also hate the sploshing sound you get from a bottle of liquid as you walk. I have a very precious Ortlieb mapcase that I couldn't do without (the velcro on my previous one used to snag on my shirt). Good tip about the tent-peg trowel - I'm on to that straight away!

The Odyssee said...

Martin, Louise, Laura.
The problem i have with drinking bladders isn't the type or the quality. I have 2 good ones. I just don't like them.
It's just one of those things.
I have given them a fair shot, but i always go back to my 1L platy bottle, that i half fill and keep in my side mesh pocket.
I have no trouble reaching it but i rarely walk alone so it's no problem asking Sheila to help if needed.

Phreerunner said...

I don't like drinking bladders, either! But I do like silk liners (have never had to wash a sleeping bag), gaiters (saving several boxes of washing powder and many a wet sock), the orange plastic trowel (there's a knack, don't try to bend it!), walking poles (perhaps a few knee ops saved), Ortlieb map cases (they do all discolour, but flapping is easily constrained by rucksack waist strap when it's windy), Vapour Rise - brilliant for cool Alpine days (RAB's take on Buffalo, wonderful kit), bothy bag (ideal for a short break on a day walk in dire weather).
I don't like: small tents that suffer from condensation, boots that leak, knee injuries, and messy stoves, to name just a few...