Gear Pt. I: Thoughts on my technical attire
I have recently split this post up into individual items and elaborated on some of the content. Where I have done so, please see the current version at the links provided. A separate post regarding the hardware I use can be found here:
Waterproof Jacket – Mountain Equipment Kongur jacket
Midlayer/Insulation – Mountain Equipment Eclipse Hooded Zip Tee
Base Layer – Haglofs Puls LS & SS Zip Tee
Boots – Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid
Boots – La Sportiva Nepal Extreme
The following notes provide some brief thoughts about some of the other clothing-based kit I use, in lieu of a full review:
Waterproof Trousers – Haglofs Bara waterproof overtrousers:
Very lightweight, 2.5 layer overtrousers with full-length waterproof zip. These use Haglofs own-brand Proof fabric which, despite being 2.5 layer, I have to say has stood up well to significant, watery assault. The fabric has proven very waterproof over time, with only the seams in the groin and front of the thigh giving in during heavy, persistent downpours. In this case, I think this may well have been down to the amount of runoff that the Kongur tends to drain in this direction during such heavy rain as such, they probably take a severe drowning. As I said, these are a 2.5 layer product however, the lamination here feels more durable than another such product I have used.
Midlayer/Insulation – Patagonia R1 Hoody:
The R1 grid-fleece from Patagonia is a classic. Using Polartec’s Power Dry material it is warm, (the fleece weight is heavier and therefore slightly warmer than the Eclipse), tight-fitting but stretchy, with thumb loops, an offset zip and a balaclava-style hood/collar, (which lacks the versatility of the Eclipse hood as it doesn’t work as well, or cover the face as much, as the Eclipse). It also has panels of differing weight material, however, these are organised so as to minimise bulkiness when under a climbing harness or pack.
Base Layer – Helly Hansen Dry crew top & bottoms:
Yeah, again these are classics, though I rarely use them on the hill anymore. The tops being relegated to everyday wear in the colder months, and, (with bottoms), also as sleepwear when out in the tent.
Trousers – Haglofs Rugged Fjell Pants:
These are pretty hardcore trousers, reinforced in the seat, instep, knees and thighs. These reinforcements are backed up by double and even triple stitching wherever you might look, I can imagine these will last for quite some time! There are multiple pockets, both to the front and rear, backed with a low-denier nylon so they can aid venting. They are surprisingly quick drying for fabric of such a heavy weight and are lightly stretchy, (where not reinforced).
They’re not too warm either, so can be used in all but the hottest conditions really. I find that Haglofs trousers are not sized for the ‘slight’ of body it seems. I chose to size down in these trousers, which whilst they now fit me in the waist, the leg length is a little too short and they do feel slightly restrictive, (though this could be down to the substantial fabric reinforcements, the size is more than likely a factor too).
Trousers – Rab Vapour-rise Guide Pants :
Warm and comfortable, for reasonably dry, autumn/winter conditions. Micro-fleece lined, Pertex Equilibrium outer fabric with reinforced instep, seat and knees. Pertex Equilibrium is a great outer material, it’s lighter than Pertex Classic, (Pertex 6), which makes it highly breathable, wind resistant as opposed to windproof, and capable of shedding light showers and other transient precipitations, (definitely NOT persistent, or heavy rain!). When active, I’ve never had to use base layer undergarments with these, even down to around -10 Celsius.
Trousers – Mountain Equipment Stretchlite Guide Pants :
Lightweight & packable, (mine are the slightly older one’s at 360g), DWR, stretchy trousers. I wear these a lot, even around town and to ‘work’. Expensive, but very comfortable, wind and water resistant. They are lightweight so more likely for 3-season use, (unless used with undergarments), and the pockets are mesh-backed to aid ventilation. They fit true to size, (mine at least!).
Haglofs Lite Trek Pant:
Very lightweight & packable, (even more so than the Stretchlite Guides at 345g), DWR, stretchy trousers. Again, very comfortable, wind & water resistant, likely for 3-season use, unless with something underneath! These also have mesh-backed pockets, which make these trousers somewhat airy! I chose my normal size in these, leading to the leg length being good, whilst the waist fit is just slightly too big! Inevitable really.
Winter Kit – Buffalo Systems Parka:
According to Buffalo this is, “The warmest garment we make”. Designed for the British Antarctic Survey, and made from PolarTherm, (a hardier fleece pile than the Special 6), yes, it probably is. I bought this for a trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where at the time, it was looking like a cool -30 Celsius from the weather reports. I, (unfortunately), narrowly missed experiencing these temperatures, at worst being subjected to, (merely!), -20 with windchill. I still never got round to using it, my Special 6 being sufficient for the nature and level of activity I ended up undertaking. The Parka is long, cut to just above the knee, there are two drawcords, one at the hem and one at the hip, the cuffs have hook & loop fasteners, and the snorkel-type hood zips all the way up leaving space for you to see and breathe, whilst restricting any potential for a draft. I intend to use this piece for future field recording and photography trips in low temperatures. With a double-zipped, double storm flap on the main zip, the Parka is like a winter sleeping bag, it is definitely for those doing very little in the way of movement, or activity, in temperatures around and well below -10 Celsius.