Backpack around Anglesey: kit review.

Euroschirm Pro Trek Umbrella.  As I wrote in my previous post, I experienced really heavy rain on the first day and hot, bright sun the rest of the time. The brolly performed faultlessly throughout. It acted as a wonderfully ventilated sunshade and kept the rain off me. However, when the wind got up a lot I had to put the brolly away which is why I did get a little damp on the first day and sunburnt on the third. Overall, well worth carrying for the shelter it offered.

Gatewood Cape and Nest. There is an in-depth review of both in my blog but, as ever, it performed perfectly as a shelter. In hindsight, I didn’t need bug netting as the island seems to be midge-free. I could have got away with using a polycro groundsheet. A bit of extra weight carried! 

I didn’t use the cape as a shelter because the brolly performed well enough in conjunction with a light rain jacket.

Paramo Bora Fleece  I used this as my insulation. In conjunction with a Montane Pertex windshirt it worked well as a waterproof too. I did get a little damp where the pack straps pressed on my shoulders but, oddly, the water stayed on the outside of the fleece. Overall, I’m very pleased with it as a multifunctional top. Possibly if I had used the proper Paramo windshirt I would have remained completely dry. A test for another day! 

I think it’s a very useful solution to combine warmth and waterproofness in one package. However, I can see it being too warm on hot, rainy days. Then again, the ventilation zips on the chest/abdomen area work well and it’s very breathable. It’s fairly heavy but it’s possible to save the weight of a proper waterproof shell which mitigates the weight. In common with most Paramo garments I find the sleeves to be a little long for me. My conclusion is that I like it and it performs well in the circumstances I used it in.

Integral Design eVent Short gaiters. Kept the rain out the top of my train shoes and stones too. Useful and light piece of kit, very small pack size.

Mountain Laurel Chaps. At 47g, possibly the best waterproof leggings around. No condensation, no wind got through nor any rain.  The only problem was my Montane windshirt wasn’t quite long enough to cover the crotch area fully so I did get damp there. Not a fault of the Chaps though.

Golite Jam 50l pack  Quite an old pack nowadays but still one of the best packs in its capacity range. Carried all my gear comfortably. The hipbelt pockets are large and really useful to carry food, camera, compass and what have you in. Did get a bad thorn-induced gash which I repaired with Tenacious  Tape.

Enlighten Equipment Prodigy Quilt  I’ve got the 40F (10C) version and temperatures at night got down to about 9C. I was warm and comfortable sleeping with it just as a quilt and never needed to cinch up the footbox. Performed to specification, can’t fault it. Because it’s synthetic the volume is 8 litres which took up a fair amount of space in the pack but that’s the nature of the beast. I’m with Ray Jardine about the use of synthetics in a potentially damp climate. 

Thermarest NeoAir.  Mine is the full-length one and I’ve had it about five years. Durable, warm and blissfully comfortable. Wouldn’t be without it. Pack size is about the same as a litre bottle.

Montane Featherlite Pertex Windsmock  Light, very packable. Kept the wind off and light rain too. Worked pretty well with the Paramo Bora. Too short to use with Chaps. To my mind, an indespensable piece of kit.

Outdoor Research Baseball Cap/Kepi  Very light and versatile. I hit my neck sunburnt when it was too windy to use the brolly and I’d forgotten to clip the Kepi bit on. My fault and not the cap’s. Visor is very useful in bright sun and the Kepi really does work.

Overall I’m very pleased with the performance of my backpacking gear now. I don’t think I can get it much lighter without compromising on performance to a level I don’t want to experience.


About ReidIvinsMedia

After working for many years in Higher Education I've decided to drop out and join the real world. Here I blog about my interests which include education, politics, backpacking, poker, photography and real ale.
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