Kit Review - Great Glen Way


before the main event a kit review, mainly because I had to think of something on the path and working out what I liked and didn't... Given the amount of this sort of thing I do, as you should expect there is little that has survived that I don't like...

Feet first...

North Face Dhaulagiri boots - I've loved these boots from the start, which 14 months ago was a 26 mile challenge hike (Excalibur Marathon) - since then their insoles gave out after 8 months, and the laces spilt a couple of weeks ago... The main sign of wear is now terminal - the outside edge of the back of the heel has worn through.  It's a common area of wear for me, I lead with my heels when walking so it's not a surprise.  Comfortable, light enough but stable enough to carry me and a full camp load for 80ish miles (the route plus the bits to and from the Youth Hostel).

The only pain?  TNF don't do them anymore:-(

Merrel Trail socks - barefoot foot wear I'd not recommend for carrying heavy loads (not with my ankles anyway).  However, for bobbing around camp they were great - protective enough to wander up and down gravel and stone, light enough that they let my feet relax.  They also weigh sod all, and fit in the nooks and crannies of my rucksack.

Icebreaker socks - too warm... Blame the weather. 
Bridgedale trail - just right, but compressed quickly... These were meant to be the back up socks, so fair play that they lasted 2 days.
Mountain Hardwear trews - bit warm, but the thigh venting was excellent and after a week they didn't stink too much!  Being softish shell they took all but the worst of the weather I faced and shrugged.

Nike trail shorts - shorts with a mildly compressive boxer lining - it never got quite warm enough to just wear these, but they were light and no chaffing:-)

Paramo Grid Top - magic... cool when it needed to be cool, warm with a top on.  I'd have liked a deeper chest zip, but that is me being picky!

Paramo Quito Top - the new lighter analogy fabric is cracking, the pit zips are huge!  Worked well, and unlike many of my paramo tops did compress down when it was shoved in the backpack

Paramo Torres gilet & sleeves - went on when I stopped and when I was cooking my tea - instant warmth without having to worry about it getting wet.

Aldi sunglasses - fit my face, do the job (with a CE mark) and as I lose them at a regular basis £3 is a bargain!

Nike dry-fit  baseball cap - fitted my head, helped my squinting and increased the surface area for evaporation.

Osprey Kestrel 48l - shove it in, cinch it down, put in on your back and away you go... My "good to go" rucksack for anything more than a day trip.  It really is a magic pack. For much longer than the 5 days I'd probably use my 70l Osprey.

Laser Competition - tents now come lighter, but for me this is big enough for me and my kit, but only 1kg whilst not being ridiculously expensive (by my standards).  As normal the end poles were removed and packed in a side pocket and the fly and inner (as one) gets put in a sea to summit compression bag.

Berghaus sleeping bag - light, compresses, kept me warm - job done.

Pacific Ether Compact camp mat - 10/15 puffs an evening and I had a comfy bed - and its as easy to deflate, back down to the size of a 1l water bottle.

Generic titanium stove, hi-gear pan set... The weight difference is nought, and the hi-gear set from Go-Outdoors is well made and fits the stove, a gas can, my flint striker and a couple of sachets of coffee in. 

Sea to Summit dry bags... Kept the stuff dry.

Osprey 2 litre hydration pack, platypus 1l hydration "jug" - for walks where the water may be intermittent a 2l main supply and a 1l back up is my preferred combo. 

Guide book - Paddy Dillon's is great and importantly did the route both ways - most only went South to North... Well written, sensible ideas and good mapping. Nice one Cicerone!

Map - Harvey's waterproof strip map - 1:40k - as well as the minimum you'd expect has good indications of useful stuff - like water, restaurants etc.

Extras -

Nexus 7 - didn't need it for its main purpose (the GPS & mapping) but as a back up for accessing emails etc. was useful

Nook Simple Glow - I maybe committing heresy - but I prefer this to my old Kindle - it seems to have a smoother transition, more options for the letters and having buttons as well as a touch screen works a dream!

Fujifilm XP50 - waterproof, etc. etc.  Problem 1 battery fails after 220 shots... Not very good. The problem has been solved by ordered a spare battery for future trips.  Problem 2 - not brilliantly easy to get good photos on basic settings, I don't particularly want to fiddle with all of the settings when trying to snap Nessie... so some are very soft and some are slightly out of focus... I probably need more practice, but for much of it I wish I had my Lumix:-(

Pebble charging lump - a big battery - and it restored my main phone to life after a couple of days.

Nokia Lumia 900 phone - with the demise of the XP50 this became my main camera... And I wasn't disappointed...

So all in all not bad:-) As you'd expect all the gear was paid for by me, worn by me, and worn out... by me!

Main event later this week:-)




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