Mountain Hardwear were kind enough to send us some kit to test out on the Yukon Assignment expedition. One of my favourite pieces is the Desna Hoody, pictured here in Orange. This is the sort of garment that suits most conditions, which is just as well, as the Yukon put it through a bit of everything!
I mainly used the Desna as a mid layer with a merino t-shirt on under it. It works really well next to the skin too, the front zip allowing for rapid cool offs. The benefit of the hood provides a versatile option to wrap up against the Arctic chill. Zipped up the hood becomes a balaclava that has an impressive fit moving with your head as it turns. Since returning from the Yukon I have also used the hoody for rock climbing. In this it excels allowing temperature regulation and performance fit. There is even a small internal chest pocket just big enough for a trail bar or iphone. A really great bit of kit that is hard to take off!
I got to try out the new Alpkit snow saw over the weekend. Having been designed by a working winter ML and an MIC I have a feeling it was going to be a handy bit of kit and it certainly dissapoint!
Made from aircraft aluminium it is impressively light but little flex when cutting blocks. The teeth cut well, perhaps not quite as smoothly as the Camp equivalent but they are in completely different price categories and I've only done initial testing.
I particularly like the fact that the saw shouts the fact that it is designed by someone who uses it. The handle being bright red saves on losing it in the snow. I was a bit worried about the sheath but actually it worked robustly.
An all round excellent bit of kit at a very good price.
Having treated myself to Exped's "Cloudburst" dry bag before Christmas I've had the chance to test it out over the past few weeks. I have to say I'm impressed! I originally thought it would be useful as a summit push bag tucked away in my main sack as it is very light and folds up small. Recently I've used it for trail cycling and its great. Despite its minimalist design it has very good stability and perfect capacity for a day leading a group. With the amount of mud around at the moment it's a real treat to hose down the bag at the same time as the bike and its ready to go again! #exped #cloudburst
I've had my nano puff for over a year now and it has rapidly established itself as one of my favourite bits of gear. Initially I was sceptical as visually it looks a bit like recycled bin bags. Ironic really as with Patagonia's Eco agenda that's probably not too far from the truth!
Summary: Fav bits of gear used in mountain, desert and arctic conditions. Great as a mid layer or pullover on cool evenings, chilling in tent or at home when being a cheap skate on heating!
• very lightweight and packable. Stuffs into its own pocket and can clip to harness etc. Ideal for Cornish sea cragging!
• silky feel and has that psychological hug factor
• good wind resistance
• looks like a recycled bin bag
• sticky when wet so not easy to get into post surf/kayak
• not very breathable when your exerting yourself
• fabric rips if caught on sharp edges or dog claws (thanks Tilly)
• cut is such that lifting arms can get stuck when taking off if damp
• looks like a recycled bin bag
Yes you need one in your life!