Sunday, 30 August 2015

Night Nav Ex and a little lay in

Sometimes the simplest of things can bring us the most pleasure and such was the case of a recent little trip. The trip itself was a night nav ex with the aim to reach a night camp by about 0300 and then to get some sleep, however much darkness was left at the time on day two followed by a nice bimble back.

The hike itself was aimed at being a refresher for night hiking and map reading - the route across some of Dartmoor's more varied and challenging terrain.
And the reason I wasn't tucked up in bed like a sane individual, our first aid instructor is soon to be doing her Mountain Leader Course and needed to get some dirt time in.

For the hike itself I took my trusty old LK70 and a 50m length of climbing rope as well as my usual gear so my pack weighed in at approximately 24/26 kg while my companions pack was of a similar weight containing all the bits and pieces recommended for the ML course and her own luxury items.

The night hike was hard work in places especially where little used foot paths had been allowed to grow over or disappear all toward but we soldiered on and eventually reached our nights rest .... and what a cracking little place we found!
Hard to tell in the dark but we basha'd up and were soon blissfully in the land of nod. 1000hrs saw our camp finally come alive - we both agreed we slept very well indeed. Day light also confirmed what a beautiful location we had found.
Time however didn't allow for the poetic appreciation of our camp as we were soon saddled up and on the trail again.
Many more dusty miles and we reached the car at Widecombe on the Moor and a well earned bottle of fizzy drink to boot!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Austrian Army Goretex Jacket

Austrian Army Goretex Jacket .... review
Austrian Army Goretex Jacket
The biggest enemy of the outdoorsman, or woman, is the cold and wet and as such a good waterproof jacket is key.
In my lifetime I can remember the arrival of the Goretex jacket. These jackets are common place today both on the hill and high street and the price range of these jackets reflects this.
Most armies now also issue their troops with Goretex jackets and trousers and as such while a brand name jacket in all the rainbow colours might cost you several hundred pounds a good robust surplus one will cost a quarter of the price ......... provided you only want the more sympathetic shades that are found in nature.

The Austrian army's Goretex jacket is one I particularly like and one I have been using for many years ..... now bear in mind I have owned a lot of Goretex jackets, including brand name ones from Berghaus and Jack Wolfskin, yet the Austrian army one is still my favourite.

Apart from being a forest friendly colour and reasonably well priced (£45) its a top spec jacket - mostly these are found in a surplus graded condition so I recommend first washing and reproofing.

So what are the features?

Waist and hem elasticated drawstrings.

Large Velcro hip pockets with a generous storm flap.

Deep zipped chest pockets ...... with flap (my only criticism of this jacket is the storm flap here isn't Velcro sealed and strong wind can blow rain in here ........)

Zip and Velcro main zip.

Fully adjustable peaked (wire) hood, which is easily large enough to take a helmet - be that climbing or military.

Hood adjuster, which can be tightened and adjusted to sit on the head allowing the hood to move with the head, rather than the face disappearing into the hood.

In summary - there isn't much that can be said about a Goretex jacket - no matter how much the makers blow their own trumpets about how great they are - because at the end of the day all we really want is a jacket that is wind and waterproof ..... right? Oh yeah and a few usefully thought pockets are a bonus ....

Well dear reader in this jacket you get all those features and more for a very good price!!

Two things you don't get ..... underarm zips and pretty red or yellow versions ............