Escaping the Capitol: Great Falls Park, Virginia

, June 3, 2015

Founded in 1790 on the Potomac River, Washington DC has it all. The city booms with life as congressmen walk the steps of the Capitol, tourists explore the Smithsonian, the President hosts foreign emissaries and students party it up in Georgetown. However, when the weekend comes around locals and foreigners alike might be inclined to escape the city limits in search of tranquility and adventure. While these two concepts might appear contradictory Great Falls National Park caters for both those who want to simply relax in the wilderness, and for those who want to break a sweat or two.

Georgia – An Undiscovered Paradise

, March 19, 2015

Nestled between a developing Russia, a growing world economy in the form of Turkey, a diplomatically awkward Iran, and fellow Caucasus neighbours Armenia and oil-rich Azerbaijan, Georgia faces a political tightrope to maintain stability after a turbulent past, when it seceded from the smoldering remains of the USSR in 1991. However, despite the stereotypes of Eastern-bloc and former Soviet republics, Georgia embodies a distinctly European feel.

Gerber Suspension Multi-tool

, October 26, 2014

Ever since Joseph Gerber launched his Gerber ‘Legendary Blades’ in 1939, the brand has taken off in the outdoor tools market. Specializing in knifes and tools, it has pioneered the way in compact products that service an adventurer’s daily needs. The multi-tools meet the demands several outdoors activities, helping the brand develop a strong relationship with outdoor enthusiasts across the market.

Old Favourite: Rab Vapour-Rise Jacket

, October 12, 2014

Rab are an established British-based brand that until recently did all their manufacturing in Sheffield, England. Rab concentrated historically upon manufacturing high-quality down and Pertex clothing and sleeping bags. Following the retirement of its founder Rab Carrington (one of Britain’s best alpinists of the last 30 years) the brand has expanded its product range into mountaineering-focused hardshells and softwear. This review examines the Vapour Rise Jacket, one of their classic products that has been in their range for almost fifteen years. Constructed of a wind- and water-resistant pertex equilibrium shell, with a soft thin microfibre liner it is an effective softshell piece with exceptional breathability for mountain sports.

Haglöfs Travel Pouch

, September 24, 2014

What distinguishes the Haglöfs design of such a travel bag from its competitors, is that despite its simplicity, it packs an almost limitless variety of possible uses. This means that as your required demands of a primary storage gear change with the time of day, the environment or climate, or even just your location, you will always be able to rely on the adaptable Travel Pouch for safe preservation of your most valuable possessions and documents.

Patagonia Nano Puff Vest

, September 22, 2014

Patagonia’s Nano Puff Vest is striking. Indeed, as I was somewhat taken aback about just how brilliant the blue was on this range, selecting it ahead of the only marginally sombre alternative colours, jet-black and mango.

Haglöfs Roc Hard 30L

, September 12, 2014

Haglöfs started in a shed in Torsång, Sweden in the spring of 1914. The very first product Victor Haglöf made was a backpack which sold for a mere SEK 0.9 … Read more

Columbia Shimmer Me Timbers Jacket

, January 9, 2013

I got hold of a Columbia Shimmer Me Timbers Jacket in 2010 as a run around for Edinburgh where I live and endure winters in the UK. Though the brand has since released its second version of the jacket (here hyperlinked), I got hold of the product when Columbia’s patented Omni-Heat technology was fresh in the market. With ambitious claims, the pocker dotted, Omni-Heat lining was appealing, fitting for life in the Athens of the North.

Rab Neutrino SL

, November 5, 2012

Rab actually make two topbags, the first is called the Module and does without the hood. The second is the Neutrino SL, made slightly warmer by extra filling and a trapezoidal construction

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.

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.