Quechua – 2Seconds Easy Tent

, May 27, 2012

On a recent trip to Ben Nevis, Scotland, I tested Quechua’s 2Seconds Easy Tent to investigate the practicalities of a self-erecting tent and its performance in the typically turbulent Scottish Highland weather.

Highlander Mountain Marathon 2012

, April 20, 2012

This report is posted on behalf of Lawrence Friell who with his partner Charlie Sproson won the Score Class at the Highlander Mountain Marathon 2012. It provides not only an insight into what it is like to run a mountain marathon at a competitive level, but Lawrence also tells us why he loves this classic event and he appeals to other outdoor enthusiasts to save it from disappearing off the Scottish race calendar:

Old Favourites: Chariots of Fire

, March 26, 2012

This review concerns Chariot ‘child transportation system’ trailers and as I’ve now owned all three models in their ‘Sport’ range (in ascending order of expense!) over the space of six years I’m not going to limit myself to one model – this entire range is worth a mention. Chariot (part of the Thule group) design and assemble all their products in Calgary, Canada and make extensive use of recycled materials in their products. They also have a sister brand of cheaper children’s trailers entirely made in the Far-East called Croozer. Chariot runs two ranges of trailers: the first is the ‘Touring’ range designed with an emphasis upon urban cycling, the second is the ‘Sport’ range designed for flexibility so you don’t have to buy many different carriers for separate outdoor sports.

Columbia Talus Ridge Mid OutDry

, February 5, 2012

The first feature that I immediately appreciated was Columbia’s patented OutDry system.Columbia Sportswear acquired OutDry Technologies S.r.l from Nextec S.r.l in 2010, so adding a waterproof breathable system to by the company’s brands including Mountain Hardwear and Sorel. Unlike a seam-sealed waterproofing system for the outermost layer, OutDry forms a laminate that bond a waterproofing membrane to the outermost layer. Through this method, OutDry items don’t absorb water, so maintaining a light and breathable outer layer. I have full confidence in this technology to ensure my feet remain bone-dry without compromising breathability or weight, and it is a system that is indispensable for the mostly unpredictable weather found in the Scottish Highlands.

Komperdell C3 Carbon Poles

, January 29, 2012

Trekking Poles. Some people hate them, some swear by them. Unlike glacier travel or backcountry skiing, while hiking, poles are not required. I have found them to be extraordinarily useful, however, as I tested the Komperdell C3 Carbon Power Locks extensively over the past two months. These poles helped me up Mt. Democrat, a Colorado Fourteener, in December and shredded Vail with me. For a pair of lightweight poles that collapse down small and have a removable basket, the C3s are a handy partners on the trail, or in the pack during the final summit push.

Summit Pikes Peak from the Crags

, January 18, 2012

With its close proximity to the city of Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak (14,110 ft.), one of Colorado’s 53 fourteeners, offers an abundance of accessible terrain for your next adventure. This peak, however, is unlike any others you will come across in Colorado, as you can reach the summit on foot, bike, cog railway, and even car. In addition to the panoramic views on top, you will find a large parking lot and the Summit House (open 8AM-8PM), filled with a gift shop, cafe and lots of people. For the hardcore among you, an ascent on foot or bike will feel particularly rewarding when you arrive and view the crowd who came by motorized means.

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack

, December 7, 2011

The Sea to Summit brand has vested themselves as a company that provides the adventure traveller with useful accessories to make life on the road, and in the water, far easier. Over the last two decades they have produced lightweight and durable products, with the Ultra-Sil Dry Sack being a good example of innovative, amphibious product. This highly recommended outdoor accessory made my adventure experiences far more convenient, keeping water from harming my valuables any longer.

Garmont Dragontail MNT

, December 3, 2011

Garmont’s Dragontail MNT is part of their ‘Mountain’ range of footwear and as such is aimed at mountaineers, climbers and boulderers to use as an approach shoe to the crag. With an outer constructed of 1.8mm suede like many mountaineering boots, and a tough rand going around the toe box and heel, the Dragontail MNT is quite a substantial shoe when compared to the average ‘trail’ shoe. Also the outer Vibram Mulsaz sole tread unit is shared by many popular, climbing focused boots such as the popular La Sportiva Trango S Evo, giving a good blend of walking traction and climbing/scrambling grip.

Old Favourite & Vintage Classic: Lowe Alpine Powerstretch Balaclava

, December 2, 2011

The Lowe Alpine Powerstretch Balaclava is a garment that, like the baselayer I reviewed in the last blog, is a humble but mighty tool. Now that Lowe Alpine have discontinued their line of accessories to focus on backpacks, this little number could be a lasting relic from the brand’s tactical armoury. I however am unconcerned by how it looks as I’m a fully signed up member of the balaclava fan club. In my opinion balaclavas are one the most under-rated and overlooked pieces of outdoor equipment that everyone should own.


, November 29, 2011

TORQ are a UK-based fitness consultancy that specialise in training and nutrition. Owing to the success of their performance coaching which started in 1999, TORQ moved into performance products to complement their existing services.

Petzl MYO RXP Headlamp

, November 24, 2011

Most of us do our sports during the day, spending evenings to resting or relaxing with friends – usually anything other than getting our heart rates up with some exercise. Word is out that there are countless new nightclubs that few are aware of. It might not be the typical dance scene that you expect it to be. Ladies, gentlemen, and especially those adrenaline-seeking freaks, I bring you the Petzl Myo RXP; a headlamp that will bring light to your darkness, show these new “nightclubs” and unlock these long-hidden nocturnal instincts inside of us all.

Marmot Sawtooth Sleeping Bag

, November 3, 2011

When I was asked to review Marmot’s Sawtooth sleeping bag I jumped at the chance, Marmot has a reputation of producing some of the world’s finest down sleeping bags. I wasn’t going to be disappointed with the Sawtooth, a down sleeping bag rated to have a lower comfort of -9oC. Marketed as an all-rounder I felt sure the Sawtooth would be great for a Scandinavian Spring/Autumn bag and equally at home for Scottish winters.

MSR Asgard 2-Person, 4-season Tent

, October 31, 2011

Mountain Safety Research (MSR) describe the 4-season Asgard tent as “the most liveable, 2-person expedition shelter we’ve ever made”. In order to assess this claim and put the tent through some rigorous testing, Christian Hacking and I took the Asgard to Switzerland.

Marmot Hyper Jacket

, October 22, 2011

A quick word one of Marmot’s patented technologies here, the MemBrain Strata. This is Marmot’s very own waterproof material, similar to Mountain Hardwear’s Conduit DT (dry touch) comparison. Marmot’s fabric has come up with some impressive figures: at 20,000mm in waterproof performance and 20,000 gr it is comparable to the more widely known Gore-Tex fabrics. Another note-worthy feature of MemBrain Strata is the fabric has “micro inorganic particles” impregnated on the inside of the laminate. Putting
technical jargon to one side this basically means the inside of the jacket has a dry feeling when wet on the outside, so avoiding that clammy feeling of waterproofs of old. This allows for greater comfort when wearing just a T-shirt or less under the jacket.

Ortik Jetstream

, October 20, 2011

Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic, located in between northern Norway and the North Pole at 90 degrees north. The island plays host to a wealth of breeding sea birds, marine mammals and of course the infamous polar bear. Spending time in the area is inherently dangerous, but as mere visitors to the area we have to take every precaution against the native dangers.

Salomon XT Wings 2

, October 16, 2011

Annency-based Salomon are a sports equipment brand who were primarily known for their skis. Recently, the French company has expanded its range to provide mountain gear for all seasons. They are focussed on maintaining the environment by reducing their carbon foot print and reliance on non-renewable materials.

Vango Helium Superlite 200

, October 12, 2011

To me the key performance indicator of a tent is that it keeps me dry. The biggest test of this: 2 days of near continuous rain in Slovenia, the tent passed. After a brutal night of rain I woke, and in my usual wet routine, got dressed in the tent into my cycling kit. This requires some contortion due to the tents compact size but is possible. With waterproofs on and kit packed into dry bags I dived out and was able to drop the tent in 2 minutes. Pannier on and I hit the road.

Osprey Manta 25

, October 2, 2011

Colorado-based Osprey have been designing packs for the outdoors since 1974.  Maintaining a strong commitment to the environment, they support a number of North American conservation organization and even sew the 7 … Read more