Kit & Hill

Reviews of walks and kit with tips and hints for using and enjoying the outdoors


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Winter Walking Tips

Tips for better Winter Walking

Check your Gear
Winter is hard on your body and hard on your gear so before you pull that down jacket off the hanger and dust off those winter boots make sure are they are fit for purpose. Give any down products a fluff up in the tumble dryer and check that your boots have not suffered in storage make sure they are proofed and clean ready to go. Decent preparation is key for any time of the year start making it a habit before a day out on the hills.

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Soon as you stop wrap up and brew up

 

A bigger rucksack
More warm kit means you need more room to store it try a slightly bigger pack to accommodate it all. Spare gloves, hat, winter mitts and a cosy down jacket you will need the room and nothing give a boost to your morale more than pulling a big warm jacket out of your bag while you light your stove for a brew. Also the room is needed for all those extra calories try to pick stuff that will still be edible when frozen, frozen solid cheese sandwich? not for me thanks.

Warm drinks
People who say they don’t like warm drinks have never been really cold. So if you are one of those people ignore what you feel like drinking sat in your living room and imagine what you want to drink when you are freezing cold and the heat and comfort of home are miles away the only thing you have is a stove or flask for a warm drink. For me it’s almost always a stove but when I do carry a flask it’s always wrapped up in my warm gear in my bag so when I stop I can get them both out and the flask also gets a little extra insulation. If you are carrying water on the outside of your pack and the temp dips below freezing keep your water bottle upside down this will prevent ice blocking the mouth piece as ice will usually start first at the surface.

Do this more : )

Do this more : )

Check the weather
It’s cold its winter we know that! but how cold? How wet? What do you need to pack? How much daylight have you got? All the information is at your finger tips and there are some great apps to help you get the conditions anytime you need them.
Try http://www.metoffice.co.uk who also have a handy phone app or http://www.mwis.org.uk that lets you down load forecasts to you phone both are free and very handy.

 

Pay attention to the details
The small things we can often forget can add up to a big problem down the line, bits of kit like lip balm face cream, good sunglasses or a set of goggles are always welcome or that all important spanner to adjust your crampons when using them the first time after lending them to a mate. Things like wet gloves can be a nightmare so packing those extra pairs is always worth it. Maybe a spare battery for your phone as the cold runs them down fast. Its these little tips and hacks that make hard conditions more bearable remember if you are not prepared the cold can be a brutal master so be smart and prepare well. .

If you have any tips or hacks for better winter walking please feel free to comment below otherwise i hope you found this helpful and have a great winter and stay safe on the fells and mountains


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In review:- The buffalo Mitt

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Autumn is once again calling us out to the fells lakes and rivers to give us all a taste of its beauty and crisp smells all garnished with a reminder that winter is on its way and that summer was once here.
As the leaves turn and we watch the county side shifts from green to red and golden browns the county side becomes more of a visual treat and the cold begins to snap at us warmer kit is taken off the shelf and got out for the oncoming winter season and something i will be taking off the shelf this autumn ready for the cold snap will be the excellent buffalo mitt

What are they for?
They are mitts you put them on your hands! Now the obvious is out of the way let’s get down to the nitty gritty Buffalo are a company born and bred in Sheffield a town of steel and great outdoor gear! Such as these fantastic mitts, I have had mine two years now and they have outperformed almost every piece of winter hand wear I have used as far as warmth is concerned.
They are a roomy cut and well made with a simple design that you can’t fault this means there is no cords to snag or toggles to fiddle with just a simple Velcro strap. Also with a decent amount room if needs be an extra glove can be put on underneath if the temp really gets down low, I used thin merino liners last winter and they were a great accompaniment. These are not the most dextrous things to work with but what mitts are? these carry out the job they were made for no problem keeping your hands warm and dry, even when they are wet the still lock in that warmth, and at around £20 a set you cannot beat them on price. With a Classic Pertex outer and a toastie warm pile liner you can’t go wrong. These warm durable mitts are great and Buffalo has been a trusted name in military circles for years so if you are looking for a winter mitt look no further than these.
Do they work?

These mitts are very warm and well made they do lack any type of rubber grip on them but for walking in British winter walking and camping they are great if you can hold a hot brew with them its good enough for me.

Have you used these mitts or any you think need some attention? please feel free to comment

Follow this link for some great kit

http://www.buffalosystems.co.uk


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In Review :- The Petzl E-light

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What’s it for?
Petzl don’t mess around and since 1936 have been pushing the limits of exploration and engineering helping the outdoor community do what they do safe in the knowledge that it’s some of the best kit for the job and this micro head torch is no exception.
This super compact light is described as an emergency light with the ability to give off a handy 27 lumens at 29 metres and the ability to be stored in your emergency kits for up to ten long years and still remain operational all this from a 27g package. That is a lot of punch from a head torch you could choke a mouse on (No mice have been hurt in this review).
Since the E-light came out I have owned both versions of it the early version coming in a pill shaped case and using an elastic band with a sliding whistle attached that was also used to tighten up the head strap clever stuff as always, these are still available in some outlets. With the newer version you don’t get the storage case or the emergency whistle but you do get a neat well thought out head touch with a retractable head cord that still sits well and feels comfortable.
I can fully understand the aim of this bit of kit and it is handy not only as an emergency light but also as great little light for around the tent or to stash in your down jacket so as soon and you sit down in winter to brew up you have light and warmth sat in you dry bag top of your rucksack ready to go. Personally I think sticking this in an emergency kit with and not using it is a bit of a shame it’s to handy not to use.

Does it work?
Yes of course it does! are you going to eliminate and entire hill side or cut through the murky darkness of some huge cave? No you are not. But it is great to store and easy to use fits in your pocket with no issues, and with many setting ranging from flashing red or white and constant red or white light options and also a lock so it does go off in your pocket this is a great choice for any camping trip it has a great wide beam and won’t burn out the retinas out of your camping partner when you look at them. Some might need a brighter head torch for walking at night but for me this has been fine and as for around the tent reading a book in your sleeping bag on a cold night this is ideal. The biggest and brightest are not always the best for the job so before you rush out and buy a head torches to choose from out on the market to choose wise and make sure its fit for purpose.

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Even fits round your wine glass for when wine meets maps!

Verdict
Great micro package from Petzl that you can pick up for around £20 Enjoy


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This month in Review The mountain Equipment wet and dry Kit bag

What’s it for?
I have owned this bag for about three or 4 years now it was originally purchased to replace my Army issue black grip bag as something that could hold a large amount of kit and still be carried with out too much fuss onto buses and trains and left on your campsite, car or where ever still keeping kit dry and clean.
Does it work?
Yes it works great, have heard these types of bags be referred to as base camp bags and for leaving all your kit in while you head off to where ever you need to. In the past I have left mine stuffed with warm kit sat on the beach at Coniston while it totally hammered it down and all the gear was dry after a day of heavy rain as long as the bag is upright water should run off it and keep stuff dry. The inside of the bag is cleverly thought out with mesh pockets at each end and a big flat mesh pocket on the lid flap. Also a great feature is the big yellow bag inside for placing wet and muddy kit in at the end of your day it has a good tight zip and is big enough to hold a day’s wet kit including boots and separates’ them from your clean dry gear.
The outside of the bag is made from thick rubber with heavy-duty zips a carry handle and some detachable shoulder straps, I have got to say these straps are far from comfortable but I cannot imagine the need to wear this bag for long periods of time will ever arise given its purpose, a short hike through a train station or from the car to campsite should be the max hike with it. Along with those shoulder straps are a tough durabletufftex bottom and some compression straps to bring it in a little if needed. This bag is available in a range of sizes from40L up to140L and cost between £30 and £100 they are not bad for the price.

Ready to go

Ready to go

Zip up,Pick up TAKE OFF!

Zip up,Pick up TAKE OFF!

Yellow inner dry bag is very handy

Yellow inner dry bag is very handy

Verdict
Great bag with a simple and robust design another classic from the Women and Men at Mountain Equipment

Over and out
Ryan

Links

www.mountainequipment.co.uk

http://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/brands/mountain-equipment/mountain-equipment-bags-luggage


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wpid-img_20140805_172436.jpg This cookset has been in my kit bag since last winter and has been used throughout the year for mainly brewing up and the occasional boil in the bag.

And for this it has been a great performer and has served me well considering its price of £34.59p from Amazon. I have read other reviews of this stove and others like it from Esbit and some have been pretty harsh with statements such as ” it took 9 minutes to boil my water in a light wind!” well yes mate it’s not a jet engine if you want it faster to the boil get your wallet out and get a faster stove! the market is filled with them. This stove does take longer than say a jetboil,I own a jetboil also and they are great! but I love this little stove its got something jetboil will never have and that’s character! as much asI do love me jetboil for its power, speed and efficiency it is the tarted up subaru impreza of stoves with all the bells and whistles you will ever need and thats what you pay for the ‘Grunt factor!’.

The Esbit is roughly the same size as a jetboil flash and is very light at 417 gram aginst the jetboil flashes 400 gram minus the fuel on both. Once it has been used a few times and cut its teeth it looks the part. The hard anodized aluminium makes it look tough and well used after a few boils, with a lid that can be used as smaller cooking pan and the choice of either solid fuel or liquid. It has also lent its self to an easy to use easy to clean design the Esbit is not the Rolls Royce of stoves but it is the Land Rover tough, well-built and tried and tested if it’s not broke don’t fix it and a lot like a Land Rover it rattles a little so top tip before you pack it pop a cleaning sponge in the top to stop those annoying rattles. Use this stove how its ment to be used and it will last a life time. You can get between 3-6 boils of a full pot from the full burner and using the fuel tables from the blister pack 1-2 should give a good boil just remember to use some common sense when using this bit of kit not in a tent as heat radiates from under side and keep it out of the wind best you can also use the snuffer provided and make sure the burner is cool before putting the lid back on as you will ruin the seals leading to spillage issues.

Price 5/5  well priced for a good product

Build 4/5  plastic feet on stove are minor let down

Function 4/5 works very well but better wind guard would help

Over all great price for great kit.

Ryan