Monday, 6 April 2009

Kit - Part 2

All of a sudden, shoe sizes are a complicated mystery. An internet search for shoe size comparisons produces fine looking tables but each shows different results. UK shoe size 9.5 is European size 44 on one table and 43.5 on another. UK 10 is 44 or 44.5 and so on. However, none of that really matters because boots have to be tried on in a shop and that is what I did. I now own a pair of Scarpa ZG65 XCRs (labelled as: UK 10.5, EU 45 and USm 11.5 - what ever that is). And they are within sight as I write. They encase my feet. Earlier, on their first outing, fellow dog walkers spied them almost before they caught sight of the rest of me and "ooohs" & "ahhs" followed. More about boots in due course - after they, hopefully, have moulded to the shape of my feet.

A feature of new boots, like many other things new, is that they tend to stand out, showing up the things around them as shabby. In this case my trousers. New trousers will have to wait though as I should like to try those on before buying them when I am a size smaller. I'll need a pair that don't clash with my new, flashy walking poles - Black Diamond Contour Elliptic Compact.

I have not used walking poles before but having read good things about them felt that I should like to give them a go. Having deliberated for ages about this model or that, I thought it was time to just go for it and the knowledgeable chap in the Outdoor Shop at Stony Stratford made the decision easier for me. With luck these will be just fine. A lighter, tougher model might follow, although I suspect I'll grow fond of the ones I now have and they'll become trusted friends. Alan Sloman (see link in right hand column) has his Wanda tent. If they graduate then I may have Piotr and Petra poles.

What else is new? Well my sleeping mat is. It's just that it hasn't arrived yet. I ordered and paid for a Big Agnes Clearview Pad but a UK dealer dashed my immediate hopes by refunding my money and saying sorry but they were out of stock - despite what it showed, and still shows, on their online store. Another one is on order elsewhere and I expect to receive it later this week. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have only slept on a foam mat before and I'm impatient to try out one of the lightweight inflatable mats. The Big Agnes Mummy seems to fit the bill for a Summer trek. Its 20" x 72" should accomodate me and its 2.5" depth should soak up some, hopefully all, of my hip pressure (I wish I could sleep on my back). The price of thirty something and a weight of 396g (14oz) sounds excellent too. A NeoAir has been suggested but that is not available yet and, perversely perhaps, I'd like to progress to that after experiencing a next-step-up in the evolutionary chain from my wide, fairly lightweight, thorn ripped, hard foam mat. The unnamed foam mat was never my friend but it was a quantum leap from a ground sheet.

Finally, for this post, I've been looking at images of Montane jackets and trousers. I have a Berghaus goretex jacket which I consider uneccessarily heavy for The Cleveland Way in the Summer. The Montane Litespeed Jacket and the Featherlite Waterproof Trousers, in the region of 170g each, look better than good. They may feature in a future Kit - Part 3.

Weight Watch: 31 Mar - 6 April -3lbs. Since 9 March (4 wks) -8 lbs.

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