After playing around with various options over the last couple of years, this is the combination of clothing I’ve hit on that covers most bases. It’s a truism that heavier clothing will last longer and give you better protection from the elements, and that’s the direction I’m going as stuff wears out and needs replacing. With a couple of exceptions, I’m steering clear...
Burn, baby, burn
At the end of January I spent an evening in a bothy with a pair of fellow hill hobos who, it transpired, were the couple that burned down Gleann Dubh-Lighe. Once I’d checked my escape route was clear, we settled in for a chat. It turned out the GDL fire was the result of a gas stove failure rather than the Buckfast-fuelled binge I’d imagined. Rising before dawn to cook breakfast by...
Vimeo, like Youtube, is behind the Firewall, but I’ll be checking this one out when I return to the UK.
Keith titanium cookware →
Yeah, it’s not a great name, but I spotted this new (?) brand of titanium pans in an Urumqi shop this morning. They’re clearly aimed at the market niche occupied by Evernew, and have some interesting features. Poking around on the Chinese equivalent of Ebay yields offers like this (320Y is about £32). I’d be tempted if I didn’t already have a perfectly serviceable Evernew...
The twisted claw →
I may be the perfect weight and have a resting heart rate of 57, but I’m experiencing increasing discomfort in my left wrist. The time honoured method of ignoring it until it goes away hasn’t worked, so I went to see an orthopaedic specialist here in Urumqi this morning. I thought it might be arthritis or, possibly, complications associated with last summer’s scaphoid injury. It...
Earplugs are pretty much essential kit, whether it’s down to flappy flysheets or barely house-trained tossers on campsites. It’s a long time since I paid the Fantasy Island prices asked by outdoor gear shops or pharmacies. These Laser Lites are what you get on oil rigs when you’re working below decks. Two hundred sets for less than twenty quid, you work it out.
BMI Calculator Plus →
Luxe Mini Peak II →
While we’re on the subject of Luxe inner tents, I see Podcast Bob is now selling the Mini Peak II. I’ll be in mine for a couple of weeks when I return to Scotland (see initial impressions back in Sept 2011). It seems a solid little tent, but the mesh inner isn’t no-see’um (or at least the one I bought in China wasn’t). For Scottish summer purposes, fabric that lets in...
The man who quit money →
Kathmandu kit →
Kathmandu UK are having a sale. The prices (including free postage) are actually the same or cheaper than those people are paying on the internet in China itself (I was after a new silk bag liner, and just had a look at the UK pricing out of curiosity). There’s at least one tent there that’s got to be worth thinking about.
The Rannoch 'Bear Grylls' incident
Earlier in the year there were media reports of a guy called David Austin who’d been found dead in a ‘bothy’ on Rannoch Moor. Said to be experienced and well equipped, he’d been two weeks into a year-long sabbatical, planning to ‘live off the land like Bear Grylls.’ I’ve thought about this on and off, and it seems clear to me there’s something...
Alpkit Numo review
I bought an Alpkit Numo last year (post), but after a fortnight it was losing air pretty badly, and within a month it was unusable (post). I never did get a definitive leak test on it, so it ended up sitting in my Glasgow lock-up until last week. On a whim, I chucked it in the bag before flying out here to China, and this morning I took it to a city park for a closer look. I blew it up and started...
I wanted to go through the whole winter, something I hadn’t done before. Despite the grim weather it was an interesting experience, and it was only in the last two weeks or so that the relentless rain and wind started getting to me. The mini-heatwave of late March kicked in just in time, on a Thursday, but not without a final sting in the tail. The Monday had been possibly the wettest day...
Microsoft ICE panoramic software →
Off to China tomorrow, so I’m in a hotel room sorting out my laptop. I thought I’d lash together a couple of panoramic shots using Microsoft’s free ICE software. It does a good job, and handles even wide angle lens distortion pretty competently.
Camp Arctic 1100 sleeping bag →
This has been my winter bag since 2007 (page down to the Camp Arctic 1100). I’ve slept in it down below -25C….with a thermal liner and all my clothes on. Good points: big enough for a tall fella, cheap. Bad points: heavy, and the down is now migrating around the hood/neck baffle area. More problematically, the shell is not waterproof in any meaningful sense, which means condensation...
The joys of train travel
When did it become socially acceptable for grown adults to constantly sniff and snort up bogeys rather than blow their nose?
After Coruisk I just wanted to get the hell off Skye, probably my least favourite part of the Highlands & Islands. However, first I needed to do laundry and, before that, get a shower. Portree swimming pool, attached to the library and High School, lets you have a shower for £1.70 outside of classroom hours. The catch is you need to wear a swimming costume - or, in my case, a pair of...