Monday, 28 January 2013

Mountain Equipment Ibex Pant Review

OutdoorGear039_zps6c918e84 OutdoorGear039_zps6c918e84.jpg

5 out of 5 stars

Initially I had always worn a pair of combat pants for hiking in. They are great in good weather, but in rain they took a long time to dry out, went noticeable dark where the dampness was and they were slightly baggy, so got caught on rocks and other obstacles. The bagginess also compromised the use of Gaiters in some respects too.
 So the time had come to buy some specific-for-walking pants, again there is a huge range available so I was spoilt for choice. I was swayed by the look of the Mountain Equipment range, and in particular the Ibex Pant. The pants have a professional look to them whilst maintaining the strength and durability you need for walking or climbing...
 The leg is a bit tighter than on some soft shell pants, giving you freedom of movement whilst preventing snagging on rocks and them flapping about in mountain wind. The knees are pre-shaped for strength, and you get a belt as part of the pants that gives you a really secure fit that is easy to adjust to your own comfort. The waist is also micro-fleece lined which is a nice touch too. 
 There are four zipped leg pockets and one rear zipped pocket for stashing your things, also the base of each leg has a zip so you can fit them over your boots, then re-zip them so you have a tighter fit. This for me is great to fit Gaiters over the top and also gives the pants a smart appearance...
OutdoorGear004_zpsc8c5c90f OutdoorGear004_zpsc8c5c90f.jpg
The MTN Lite fabric is tough to the touch and can take some real scrapes when on the hill, whilst at the same time maintaining a stretchability that will make you never want to go back to regular pants for walking. 
 The pants are described as water resistant, that means they're not waterproof, but will allow light rain to bead straight off them, and if you are caught out in heavy rain the pants will dry out quickly. To deliver the water repellency, the pants are DWR coated, this also repels the wind too. Here you can see the water on the surface of the pants that rolls off rather than soaking in...
So overall a good choice of pant for hill walking, climbing or mountaineering. They usually retail for around the £70 area and for that your getting a good quality pair of walking pants that will last you for years. I couldn't imagine doing a hike without these, they look good, feel good and have proven themselves over and over. Another 5 star review, I can't help it if I choose great equipment!
Available to buy now at Craigdon Mountain Sport,
Also, take a look at their full range of outdoor equipment and clothing, 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Berghaus Attrition II Jacket Review


5 out of 5 stars.

The Berghaus Attrition II is an all round rugged mountain jacket, designed for more extreme conditions and specifically for climbers. Berghaus have created a stylish design whilst giving you all you need from a mountain jacket.
 At 564 grams this is the lightest jacket that I've owned. I bought mine in a small size, which leaves more than enough room to still wear a fleece underneath, this is a reliable companion on a hike at any time of year in any weather...
The front of the jacket is designed slightly higher than the rear to allow freedom of flow when climbing.
 OutdoorGear029_zps8210dba6.jpg OutdoorGear009_zps4de67a77.jpg 
The jacket is constructed from Modica 3 layer GORE-TEX Pro Shell, meaning this is pretty much as waterproof as you can get whilst maintaining breath-ability, the black areas under the arms are stretch panels constructed from Stretch 3 layer GORE-TEX Proshell.  
 The jacket to the touch feels quite tough, this will take any scrapes from cliff sides and certainly rucksack straps.
 The Raptor fixed hood is huge! It is well designed to take any climbing helmet, whilst being a fantastic hood when wearing it without a helmet. Easily the finest hood I've seen on any jacket - this is luxury when it comes to outdoor gear...
The hood is fully adjustable to be able to cope with strong mountain winds as well as having a big enough peak to shield your face from driving rain, snow or whatever the weather wants to throw at you. The peak is also wired so you can adjust it to your preference. 

The two-way zip is water resistant with an internal storm baffle for extra protection from the elements, the front zip is also off-set meaning it closes away from where your mouth is.
One of the other interesting features of the hood is the venting face mask, a good feature that prevents the build up of condensation around your mouth area when the jacket is done right up, also note the PrimaLoft  inner spin drift collar for added comfort... 
 OutdoorGear031_zps8ed03aca.jpg OutdoorGear030_zps15194235.jpg
The jacket has 3 zipped external pockets, 1 internal water bottle holder (to prevent your water from freezing on cold hikes). And 1 internal zipped pocket that is ideal for storing a wallet or mobile phone. Another interesting feature that was new to me when I bought this jacket are the pit-zips. These are great when on long up hills sections, especially when you need a waterproof on warmer days, the pit-zips are a great way of venting the jacket effectively, the jacket however for a GORE-TEX lined product is highly breathable.
 As you would expect the jacket has elasticated and fully adjustable hem drawcords and the wrists have Velcro attachments...
 This jacket is about as good as it gets at this level. Berghaus in my view have attempted to shrug off the older design image and have moved on successfully to deliver a modern looking jacket that is practical as well as functional. The only real draw back is the price, the jacket usually retails for around £300. I bought mine in a sale, I certainly wouldn't have paid that much for it. But you are getting a top of the range mountain jacket that looks frankly awesome what ever your outdoor activity.
 Available from,

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Simon's Seat from Appletreewick 1.1.13

A circular walk, 6.5 miles.

A short moorland walk that takes in one of the finest view points in the Yorkshire Dales national park.

It has become a tradition over the last couple of years to do a hike on New Year's Day. I would be joined for this one by Will who would also be driving us to the location.
 We had wanted to do Great Whernside from Kettlewell, however on the B6160 just before reaching Kilnsey the road was heavily flooded. So disappointed we turned around, stopped, had a glance at the map and set our sights on doing near by Simon's Seat instead. I have climbed this particular Yorkshire Dales highpoint before, however this would be a first time visit for Will.
 We had decided to start this walk from Appletreewick, a pretty little traditional Dales village (with some good looking pubs too) which had some free parking spaces left. I did notice to my surprise it is possible to get a bus to the village, which is seemingly en-route to Buckden from Ilkley - a journey I now want to do!

Here walking the road through Appletreewick, with our destination - craggy Simon's Seat ahead...
Simon's Seat on the left and Carncliff Top on the right...
After wandering through the even smaller village of Howgill, we eventually made it to the edge of the hillside...
This track is actually quite well maintained due to it being used by the Forestry Commission, so made for an easy ascent towards the moor side...
 Out onto the open moors now...
There has been a lot of work put into this pathway. Simon's Seat is a popular route and the pathway has seen major erosion on much of it, however much of the damage has been repaired - even a very nice set of flag stones have been put in place here to get you across the peat bogs...
The summit outcrop of boulders comes into view here. At this point you also pass a large cairn known as The Devil's Apronful...
 SimonsSeatwalk012_zps6c333f24.jpgThe summit Trig Point is perched right on top of the outcrop (not dissimilar to the Trig on the summit of The Stiperstones in Shropshire) so a tiny bit of scrambling is required to get up to it...
Simon's Seat summit Trig Point at 485 metres...
The wind was very strong on the outcrop and very cold. Although my eyes were watering from the cold wind it was nice to scan the surrounding landscape. The summit gives some excellent views north west towards Upper Wharfedale, Meugher, Grimwith Reservoir and our previous goal - Great Whernside. It is also possible to see the large early warning station at Menwith Hill to the south east and a distant Ilkley Moor. 
 Bono once said "All is quiet on New Year's Day" and that certainly was true on this one. This was remarkably quiet for Simon's Seat, just us today seemingly - the first people to ascend the hill in 2013 possibly?! Here Will taking in the views to the south...
The track from here heads more or less straight down the hillside from the summit outcrop back towards Howgill, it's a steep descent over broken ground too. We then followed the same roads back into Appletreewick to get back to the car.
 Here a distant Great Whernside above Grimwith Reservoir taking a battering from the elements...
I suppose this is a relatively short circular walk for me, but for New Year's Day was perfect. It was a shame we didn't get to do Great Whernside, that will have to be done soon when the water eventually recedes from the roads!
 Simon's Seat is a good introduction to walking in the Yorkshire Dales allowing you to see other notable fells and points of interest locally without strolling too far from civilisation. Thanks for reading.