Summary of new or notable gear taken on recent Knoydart trip.
Backpack – Granite Gear Blaze AC 60
I have struggled for a while to find a comfortable backpack, that is to say, comfortable for me. I have used for several years a Golite Pinnacle. Great load carry and is light for the volume but I find packing it carefully so that the back is comfortable a chore and the straps are not padded enough. After reading Robin’s report a while back on the Lightwave Ultrahike 60 , I ordered one as I am convinced that a rigid frame is what I need, even if it means that the pack weighs more. Better to have a heavier pack than an uncomfortable one. The Lightwave looked good but putting it on, I found that one of the stays, was bent and stuck into my back, it was clearly a manufacturing fault, after removing it from its sleeve. I sent it back to UltralightOutdoor Gear and they replaced it without questions. Amazingly the same issues was there with the replacement one, so I guess there was a batch issue. ULOG replaced with a Granite Gear Blaze AC 60 at my request. I always find them a most helpful company to deal with.
So to the Granite Gear Blaze AC 60. Knoydart was my second backpacking trip with this pack and I find it very comfortable. The rigid frame sheet is easy to adjust,the hip-belt comfortable and the weight sits very nicely on my hips. The belt however does not have pockets. Not a major issue for me, because I always use The OMM Trio pack for all my bits and pieces that I need at hand. Here is a photo of the Blaze from the GG website.
The weight is an acceptable 1300g because of the comfort wearing the pack. There are three large stretch mesh pockets on the outside, the centre one runs the whole length of the pack and you can get loads of gear into it. Like the Golite Pinnacle, there is no lid, just a long sleeve which is rolled down. On the Blaze this is secured with two straps at right angles to each other, allowing, if necessary the option to strap gear on top of the lidless closure.
I was able to carry 12 kg in comfort ( I was carrying some of my son’s gear as well), something I don’t think I would have been able to do so with the Pinnacle. So far so good. Review of this when I have more miles under my belt.
Exped Synmat UL 7
Been using this for a year now, light, packs down small and very comfortable.
Salomon Quest 4D GTX
Most comfortable boot I have worn, and have been wearing them on backpacking trips and day walks since September of last year. Was going to take trail shoes for this trip, but these are too comfortable not to take.
My winter tent, took it on this trip as my son was using my Power Lizard. Heavy compared to the Lizard at 2.2 kg, but a superb tent. Stuck four pegs in the ground, slid in three poles. up in 2 minutes flat. Didn’t bother most of the time to guy out, very stable. Great venting and excellent mossie nets in doors.
Fizan Compact Trekking Poles
Wonderfully light to use, hardly know you have them in your hands and pack down small for side pockets. See https://markswalkingblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/review-of-fizan-compact-trekking-poles/
Alpkit Pipe dream 400
For the price I paid, this is a light sleeping bag at 750g. The nights were not cold, but I have recently noticed after 4 years of use,that the down is patchy in places and I cannot seem to manipulate the down back into place in the baffles. Has anyone had the same problem? and how have you cured it? Does washing the bag help?
Rohan Ultra Silver T
Weighs nothing (68g) very comfortable to wear, doesn’t smell after 5 days of wearing. Good base layer.
Montane Terra Pants
I use these trousers all the time, whether backpacking, days walks or cycling. Comfortable to wear, very hard wearing and dry quickly. Seems to be popular with a lot of outdoor bloggers and you can see why.