Monday 1 October 2012

Comments are off.

I've disabled the comments on the blog until I start blogging again.  This is due to huge amount of spam that's being posted and the associated emails it's creating.  When I do ever get round to posting anything of interest the comments will be enabled again.

*Edit*  Since Blogger has changed the format I can't find how to disable the comments so I've restricted it to members of this blog only.  If any members do wish to sell huge volumes of Russian designer goods please do refrain from advertising them on here.  Your co-operation is appreciated.

Friday 22 June 2012

OMM Rotor Smock

Disclaimer:  I bought this with my own money from a shop!

I purchased this little beauty in late summer last year.  I've a couple of down jackets that I use for camp use at the end of the day to keep warm in that period after you've stopped walking but before you want to get in the bag or quilt and settle down for the night.  They also supplement the bag, or quilt to keep you that bit warmer on chilly nights.  The down side side of down is that it's rubbish when it's wet so the jackets tend to stay in a dry bag in the pack during the day unless it's a dry day. 

For this reason I wanted a synthetic jacket that works (a bit) when wet and dry's quickly, something for use in summer as the down ones are three and four season bits of kit.  Having tried a number of other jackets which had bizarre sizing I ended up trying this on.  Happily for me I work about fifteen minutes from (I am not connected to them in any way) so I could pop down there and mess around with it.

On first sight I though this was a ridiculous bit of kit.  The most lightweight bit of Primaloft One sandwiched between two layers of Pertex Quantum.  This would never keep you warm in a month of Sundays.  I tried it on and was very surprised.  It is quite simply amazing.  Don't get me wrong it's no where near as warm as a three season down jacket but for what it is (practically see through) it keeps you very warm.  Like an insulated wind shirt if you like.

The clever bit is that you can cinch the cuffs, bottom hem and the neck hole tight to trap in warm air.  Pertex is amazing stuff anyway, wind resistant, very breathable and super light.  Primaloft one is also pretty amazing.  If the gubbins Primaloft say is true and I have no reason to doubt it, then not only is it the most efficient synthetic insulation (I note Climashield Apex say the same) it reflects heat as well as trapping it.  However it works, it just works and works well.  The materials combined make for a fantastic garment.

I've used this on many days walking and a few backpacking too.  Because of it's properties you can use it for walking in, not just keeping in the pack until you set up camp.  When walking I view it as an insulated windshirt.  Very handy when for when a wind shirt isn't quite enough and a waterproof is a bit too much.  The collar, cuffs and hem can be opened as well as the zip at the front making for a very well vented smock.  As it's synthetic it doesn't matter too much if it gets damp from sweat as it soon drys out.  The pertex sheds light rain admirably and still does now.  I wouldn't use it in prolonged or heavy rain though.  Although when the sun comes out *snigger* you do get a bit warm in it and need to change to a more conventional wind shirt.

My two season clothing for my top half is Rohan Shirt, OMM Smock, Montane Featherlite Windshirt and North face Triumph waterproof, all mentally light, but all very functional.  I may add a long sleeve merino top for sleeping in on multi day trips.

On an overnighter at the end of March I was using the smock in conjunction with a Rohan shirt as a baselayer and the North Face Triumph Jacket over the top.  As you can see from the photo below it was quite nippy.

Well you may not be able to tell from the photo how nippy it was.  I was on the top of Black Hambleton on the North York Moors.  Slightly lower down frost was forming in hollows, the wind was keeping the frost at bay on the tops.  So slightly cold.  I however was lovely and toasty.  I slept in my summer quilt with my clothes on and was toasty all night.

A nice boundary stone I stumbled upon coming down from Black Hambleton in the morning.

I've rolled around in burnt heather with this on and it didn't rip, not purposely you understand.  I've walked around 50 miles with this on whilst using a pack with absolutely no sign of pack burn on the shoulders.  It is very lightweight kit and wont last forever but it works so well and is far more robust than it looks.  I have yet to find a single fault with it, well apart from the price of around £110.  It is worth it though.  I've yet to get it soaked through so I can't tell you how quick it dries but I'm guessing as there's not much to dry it'll be quick.


A superbly versatile, lightweight (my large is 260g!) and functional bit of kit.  In fact I would say it's probably the best bit of clothing I've bought in the last five years. Good for walking in, good for sleeping in and it also looks really really nice.  And, let's face it, it's all about the look.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Re-evaluation and Ranting

I've been a bit quiet on the old blogging front for quite some time.  I've also not had chance to do all that much walking either.  I've managed to bag a quite few day and evening walks and a few over nighters on the North Yorkshire Moors. 

Apart from the renovation of the house I'm currently living in, lots of other things have been going on in my non walking life which has given me a lot of time to consider why I walk and what I want out of walking and blogging in the future. 

1.  I've finally learned not to give a shit.

All of my blogging so far has been written with a potential audience in mind.  The audience in this case was as many people as possible.  So that blog posts were written in a style similar to that of a short article.  Non offensive and informative.  I think that this is a trap that many new bloggers fall into.  I class myself as a new blogger, there's only eighty or so blog posts here.  When I read some more established blogs such Andy Howell's or Alan Sloman's I get the impression that they write about something that they're passionate about not writing because they're thinking about their audience.  And it's good because of this.  I could be wrong and they are just fantastic authors!  So, dear reader, I'm no longer writing for you, I'm writing for me, hopefully you'll like it, if not....

2.  Turning a hobby into a business is probably a bad idea (for me).

I very nearly started up a part time business making kit.  I'm not going to do this.  Walking and backpacking are my escape from real life.  I want to be able to carry on escaping from real life from time to time.  I was self employed for five years and know that when you've got the work you have to take it.  At the expense of evenings, weekends, bank holidays etc...  When you've not got the work you don't want to clear off on holiday in case the work/money doesn't come in.  I don't want to spend time when I'm walking testing kit that I'm making.  I've got enough material to make about 20 quilts.  I will make one from time to time and sell it on but I'm not starting to get involved in deadlines and stress about something I love.

3.  I will blog about whatever I want.                                            

There was a lot of hot air about blogging about kit that had been sent to you from manufacturers/retailer.  I've done this and will continue to do so.  I enjoyed using kit that I wouldn't usually consider (see point 4 below), as long as you're up front about everything and you have a relationship with the manufacturer/retailer which is open and honest then so what.  I will be doing a few long term reports of some of the things I was testing a year or so ago and now have a fair few more miles on them.  Long term reports do show the weaknesses in products.  Nothing lasts forever.  I shall also ignore cliques and idiots.

4.  Obsession with weight is fun but pointless

Having purchased, been given, borrowed, made, messed about with a lot of really light weight kit and materials I've come to the conclusion that an obsessive urge to reduce pack weight is pointless if for the sake of carrying an extra kilo you can be warmer, drier, happier with that extra kilo  Now to great many of you reading this you will be wondering why this has never occurred to me before.  Well it has.  But the obsessive nature of things blinds you to the obvious.  A conversation on twitter recently, which I enjoyed I hasten to add, highlighted this.  We were talking about the amount of down in a quilt/sleeping bag that manufacturers use and the claims they make about comfort temperatures.  I use a quilt which weighs just over 400g in the summer with 200g of down in it.  Occasionally I get a bit chilly when high up.  Why don't I put an extra 100g in it and just be warm all the time?  Being warm all the time for an extra 100g!  Quite simple really, but not when you know people are using something lighter than you *wrings hands*.  It's not about competition, it's fun.  I really do admire the people who are pushing the limits though, their pushing and testing has benefits for all of us.  I'm just not going to be trying to do that any more.

5.  I do nothing that's "EPIC!"

And neither do you.   Most of you.

Friday 20 April 2012

Backcountry Boiler

Hello all this is just a quick post about the backcountry boiler I'm putting up for sale.

It's one of the "Raw" versions. No anodising, no stuff sack, no sleave. The only mod I've done is to place an ergonomic patch of Sugru on the outside to provide grip whilst lifting using a buff, hat, gloves etc.

You get the boiler body, the fire cup and I've also got a firefelt for using the boiler with meths.

The only issue I have with the boiler is that a tiny amount of water seeps through the bottom seam.  This produces no real problems when heating water as only 2-3ml comes through. It would cause issues of you wanted to use the boiler to carry water. As it doesn't have the stopper (the raw versions didn't) and I didn't intend to carry water its not been an issue for me.

I've spoken with Devin about this and he stated that repeated heating sometimes flexes the aluminum back into place. I stupidly cooled it down from hot by filling it with cold water.

I don't use it now I've got a backpackinglight pocket Ti stove.

£80 all in. Including postage to UK mainland.

I'll keep it on here for a couple of days, if there's no takers then it's off to fleabay!

Contact me through twitter @sheddweller10 or email if you're interested.  

Wednesday 4 January 2012

A New Year. A New Start

A new year full of new opportunities…  Well it is for me.  As with a lot of other people I’ve had a quite a cut of hours from my full time job.  I’m one of the lucky ones as I’m still in work and with a lot of belt tightening I’ll get by.  I’m still in the process of finishing off the cottage that I purchased last summer but come late spring I should have time to get sewing again.  With the extra time I now have, I want to start and try to put some of the things I’ve made into production and perhaps in time, leave my current line of work and create gear on a full time basis.

In true cottage style I’m starting small and trying to grow things organically.  I won’t be in a position to make anything for sale until the late spring at the earliest.  I don’t want to commit myself to making gear for people when I know I don’t have the time to fulfil orders. 

What I do want to know from you good people in the next couple of months is what you want to see developed in 2012?  I’m thinking of just doing one or two lines to start off with.  A summer quilt and perhaps a tarp or two?  But I’m willing to be persuaded.  If you do have any thoughts of what you would like to see developed, even if you’re not in the market to buy, please leave a comment below and/or tick a few boxes above.  Oh, and Happy New Year!

Thursday 25 August 2011

Quick Update

Due to the purchase of a new (150 year old house) and the subsequent making moment (complete renovation) I won't be sewing, blogging, walking or doing much outdoorsy stuff until 2012 when hopefully I will be doing  MYOG SUL Pennine Way trip during the summer some time.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Hendrik's Ultralight A-Z - The Video Guide To Lightweight Backpacking

Another quick heads up to a project that's originated on Kickstarter for the lightweight backpacking geek amoung us. A video guide to everthing ultralight just here...

Hendrik may be known to a great deal/all of people who read this blog, but just in case you've not heard of him, or what he is up to then perhaps you should click the link above and find out.  It's something that if (fingers crossed) it gets off the ground will benefit the lightweight backpacking community now and into the future.  Remember the more people who get into our little hobby the more gear people will make for us....