Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Post-Christmas Shopping

Not really part of a New Years resolution, but tried buying an Alpkit Filo to find the payment timed out, so I'll give them a phone tomorrow.

There's not really any kit I'm short of - sleeping bag goes to -3'c, plus I can wear clothes inside the bag, and put jackets over the top.

It's more knowledge and activity I'm after for 2008. The eternal struggle to find a stove that isn't gas, but as good as gas...hmm - well, i don't like sparks flying, and got that with meths. A woodburner might be nice, but again, a loose spark means no cooking inside the flysheet. As I'm no winter mountaineer, I think gas is the best option I have. Others have their own preferences, and their own styles.

And I think that is what's happened to me in 2007. My second season's been a settling of styles. I don't care about tarps, as I'm not willing to sleep in one (midges, ticks, wolves). I can use my sleeping bag as a quilt by opening the zip, so I use the same down bag all year round (the weather can turn rapidly). My Scarpa ZG65's fit well, and I've not had a chance to try out the Namches as illness set in soon after I got them (coincidence) - it's also a matter of trust - I trust the Scarpas, but need to build up trust in the Namches.

Duncan on side of Carn an Tuirc

I suppose it's all part of the learning curve. I bought gear in 2005 because it was cheap, or some reviewer in Trail gave it a good write-up. Then I replaced gear as I found I was hiking in different terrain from the reviews. A post-trek review of what gear or skill had let me down, and then I'd investigate the options. Often involving reading on Outdoors Magic (the best forum for that at the time), and in TGO (the best magazine for that at the time). I think it helps that Chris Townsend hikes in much the same terrain that I've been in, and I've learnt to trust his wisdom. His book, "The Backpacker's Handbook" has been well-thumbed over the few years I've owned it.

For me, now, it is more of an appreciation of the outdoors. The thoughts of our ancestors who lived there. I've discovered that I can live there for a few days, hike across the country without it being a big military expedition - heck, it is Scotland, not Ooter Mongolia. If the reivers, cateran and drovers could manage it, then why not me.


Simon said...

"..wolves." Lol. ( Are you heading up Attadale then?)

AktoMan said...

I just get the image of some Monty burns chap, telling his servants to "unleash the hounds".

I suppose I'll need to bag that Munro before it is turned Private. Hmm, will the SMC have to remove it from the list, or is there public access. I've no problems taking on the wolves, moose and whatever else are being "re-introduced" to the Highlands. No-one has yet mentioned bringing back the people to their homes. The Gaels that were removed by force or economic means.

"And here we have a breeding pair of MacSweens being released into the wilds of Argyll. We hope that they'll control the haggis that have gone on the rampage..."

ptc* said...

Aye, gas is less faffy. It gives you the quickest cuppa most of the time. Except winter as you say. Harumph.

Good point about trust in footwear. My now ruined first set of Namches became my favourite set of footwear, the best most intuitive and reliable platform I've ever had for cutting about the mountains. I'm genuinely worried that my second set won't be the same.
Sometimes struggling with gear and replacing it all the time is not a bad thing. Finding the "perfect" bit of kit just as the company gets bought out and quality dips is very unsettling.

AktoMan said...

LOL at the last bit. Was it just me that cringed when I heard the "TNF now at Blacks" advert? I hope increased turnover won't drop quality (no probs if it drops price though - I'm a mercenary b*stard).

My gear's from a mishmash of makers anyway.