Saturday, 29 November 2008

Everest in 5 days!

Well sort of! There are a couple of guys, Darren and Bryn, who are raising money for a number of charities. and they intend to climb the equivelant height of Mount Everest, but here in the UK.

The plan is to cover 10 peaks in the UK over 5 days which will amounting to nearly 33,000 feet of total height - a bit over the height of dear old Everest. You should really go and check out their website at UK Everest Challenge and spare them a few quid.

The charities are very worthwhile and ultimately they are trying to raise at least one pound for every metre they climb - this is not a huge amount of money so I'm sure we can help them reach their goal.

Please take a look and if you feel you can help then it is easy to do so!


Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Smartwool Light Cushion PhD sock

This is a technical sock with quite a few features - both terms I never thought I would use to describe a sock! Pretty much a sock has been a sock but this one is something a bit different (for me at least).

As I said in a previous post, I normally wear Smartwool socks but these tend to be a bit heavier weight than the PhD's so I was a little sceptical about them at first. Anyway, these socks have what is called a '4 degree fit system' and 'WOW technology'.

To quote the blurb the 4 degree fit system consists of '4 compression bands and flex zones that provide a high performance all day fit' and these bands are in the ankle, arch of the foot, upper instep and lower instep as well as a contour flex zone where the foot joins the lower shin. I was dubious when I read this but as soon as I put it on I was impressed. The sock sits very comfortably from the get go - so much so it is actually quite hard to tell you are wearing it!

I wore each pair for 4 days in a row to test longer term comfort, odour control, stretching etc. I can safely say that the socks performed admirably in all cases. They retained a good comfortably grip on my foot, there was no discernible smell after that amount of use (trust me, that is impressive), again no discernible stretching during wearing - so much so that pulling wellies on and off didn't move the sock (unlike other socks which can end up staying in the boot). After prolonged use in wellies they still managed not to move around on my foot. As they are a bit thinner than I normally wear I still found them to be pretty warm on cooler days but my feet did get colder quicker when in wellies than other socks, but that is to be expected.

So what's so WOW about them? Well WOW stands for Wool on Wool technology and is basically a higher density wool (I think). There are a couple of high density impact zones that use Smartwool Duroyarn (WOW) and these are in the heel and metatarsal areas. These are very comfy and give a nice cushioning effect under your heel and toes which didn't seem to get any less comfy even after 4 days. There is also light half cushioning in the sole. The toe seam is flat-knit to avoid pressure points.

Overall, I'm very impressed with the sock. I would prefer a slightly heavier weight sock as my feet do tend to get cold but I may try some other pairs in the future. I'll see how these hold up to more wear and tear but if they are anything like my other pairs of Smartwool socks then I expect them to last well.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Good bye old friend!

Now, I'm someone who likes to get the most out of their kit. A lot of my stuff is at least 10 years old and still going strong. But I have had a recent tragedy. My trusty Karrimor has gone to the great rucksac in the sky.

It was a 30l Munro (I think!!!) that has gone through thick and thin with me for over 15 years. It has travelled all over the world with me; it was on my back when I fell off a cliff and it has been out in the woods with me on most of the days out. Structurally it was still very sound but the problem was that it had started to delaminate and was not at all waterproof any more. I know I could have kept things in dry sacs but that can be a bit of a pain.

So after such a long and distinguished career it was finally retired. It will be forever immortalised on film as I was wearing it for the trailer ( This does of course mean that I'm now on the lookout for a replacement! I was thinking of another Karrimor such as the Sabre but I'm open to suggestions. As always, price is a bit of a factor.

Please feel free to recommend kit!