Saturday, 31 December 2011

Gear of 2011

Well what worked and what didn't... to be honest I didn't do that much this year but a few things stood out.  The Exped Synmat Basic 7.5 was used over 24 nights in the USA and at a couple of festivals in the summer, and proved to be a great purchase.  Easy to inflate and deflate, warm, relatively lightweight and tough.  The mat lacks an internal pump but to be honest I never had too much trouble blowing it up manually.  Most nights I slept directly on the mat and used my sleeping bag as a quilt, this might be a sign it was too warm. 

A late buy in the year was a Rab Latok Alpine jacket, it's only had two outings so far but the eVent material is proving to be a far superior offering than the Hyvent based jacket it replaced.  OK, it should be better than the Hyvent as it costs over twice as much and is by all accounts the most breathable material out there.  I'm a fat lad, so I break into a sweat putting on my shoes, the old jacket used to get wet in the forearms and it seemed that this was where the sweat accumulated (nice..).  On the SWCP earlier in the year there was times I could wring out arms (even nicer...).  The Latok Alpine has had none of these issues so far, comes with a good hood, fairly lightweight and has to big pockets.  These are a touch high up for my tastes (high up to allow use with a climbing harness), so it's hard to stand around with my hands in my pockets!

The LED Lenser H7 is a very bright (too bright at times) headtorch that I use at work and out and about camping.  At 140 Lumens it packs a big punch of 3 AAA's.  Many a time I've forgot how bright it is and half blinded friends and workmates, oops sorry.  It does however have one flaw in that more than once it has been turned on in my bag and drained the batteries without me knowing.  This could prove dangerous in the hills but can be planned for (being careful of how its placed in bag or taking a battery out in the day).

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