Gear Observations: Gendarmstien

For this trip I was expecting snow and temperatures in the range of -15 to -5 degrees C with possibly some snow falls and mild winds, which turned out to be correct. Some of my gear reflections follow.

Sealskinz gloves

The biggest surprise for me was the Sealskinz gloves, the air was cold and along the coast windy but there was no rain, however, I often had my hands in the snow. These gloves whenever worn kept my hands dry and warm even when used to remove snow from the signs, benches etc. occasionally I combined them with Goretex overmitts which further helped to deflect wind and keep my hands comfortably warm, not uncomfortably numb. Though the outers did get damp during the day they felt drier the next morning having formed part of my Paramo Vista pillow. For those considering these gloves in my view they are worth a look, with the caveat that I did not use them in rainy weather.

Feet

For this trip I wore my old pair of Innov8 390 gtx boots and I was very happy with the grip they provided on most surfaces, they were partnered with Bridgedale liner socks and Seakskinz socks, for the most part my feet were kept dry and warm. The Sealskinz helped to form a waterproof layer as well as providing some insulation from the cold. Some water did seep through the socks but at no time were the liner socks more than damp (possibly from sweat). Under similar conditions I will use this arrangement in the future as well as trying the sock combinations with my Terrocs for summer, an arrangement used by Colin Ibbotson as well as described by Jörgen Johansson in Smarter Backpacking

Shangri La 1

I have always been interested in this shelter, especially as it reminds me of my first shelter many years ago, though I was always concerned with entry and exit with the pole located in the centre at the front, however, I found this to be less of a problem than expected especially when the front pole is angled away from the inner slightly. The shelter is easy to set up and is spacious inside especially if you pull the centre side tie outs out a little which does reduce the head height in the middle of the shelter as shown in the following picture. The inner net is a little more problematic, it seems the best option is to attach it before erecting the shelter, I prefer not to do this. I am also surprised given the attachments for the floor why attachments have not been fitted to the inner net to allow fixing to the shelter. Having said all this I found the combination of the outer and inner to work well in the conditions which were well below zero and without any wind it was evident that inside the innernet and shelter felt warmer than being outside when the temps were below – 10 C. Overall I was very happy with the shelter and felt that for the conditions it was used it it was an ideal shelter and seems ideally suited to long distance treks where a small footprint may be required.

Primus Express Spider, I used this stove to boil approximately 600 mls of water 2 times a day. Often the water had some ice floating in it and whilst not recording the time taken to bring the water to a boil it did not seem excessively long. The average fuel consumption for the trip was 24 gms of gas per litre boiled using Primus power gas which is a mixture of 25% Propane: 25% IsoButane: 50% Butane which as shown by BPL (Membership of BPL required) is more efficient at lower temperatures when compared with the standard 30% Propane: 70% Butane mixture.

Moisture in sleeping bags, I used a Nunatak Arc Alpinist (with Epic outer) for the trip and each night there was some condensation in the foot, partly caused by my desire to dry my damp liner socks. Over the course of the 3 nights the sleeping bag gained 40 gms in weight (or approximately 5% of its weight). There was also some loss of loft but I remained comfortably warm at all times without the need for my Western Mountaineering Hooded Flash Jacket.

Aarn Featherlite Freedom, this was my first trip with this pack and I was happy with it and felt that the harness more suited me than perhaps the Mountain Magic did. There was ample space in the pack with the Sports balance pockets (10 litres in total) on the front. The interesting feature of the pack is the internal divider in the waterproofliner, it can provide some challenges packing until you become used to it, but otherwise it is an easy pack to load with an excellent roll top closure. I will write more on this pack once I have used it a little while longer.

This entry was posted in Aarn, Gear, Packs, Shelters, Stoves. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Gear Observations: Gendarmstien

  1. Joe Newton says:

    Roger, I just can't get my head around Sealskinz technology anymore after getting wet and cold feet in a pair of their socks a few years ago on my mountainbike. I found they took an age to dry too. Interesting that they worked for you though. Just goes to show that what works for one person can fail for another.I will be using the Spider stove I was lent on an upcoming trip in similar conditions to your trip. Did you invert the cannister or did it work fine without resorting to this arrangement?

  2. Thanks Joe, I am aware there are those that have had little success with sealskinz, I added the caveat that it was in dry snow conditions and the only water on my boots was from the snow melting (very slowly). It may well be in wet/rainy weather experiences could be different. I agree on the drying time, my socks were frozen each morning on the outside, less so on the inside, which provided a nice challenge to get them on and boots laced each morning : ).I did not need to invert the canister, though I did experiment and found some variation in pressure and flame size. I did however, keep the canister in my pocket for half an hour or so before cooking.Looking forward to reading you upcoming trip reports.

  3. Nibe says:

    I need new gloves so I will check the Sealskinz. Which model is it?And how did your Rab Xenon jacket perform? I looking for a Synthetic jacket with a hood and I doubt between the Rab Xenon and the Montane Prism 2.0. About the Prism 2.0 you can find a lot of reviews but I have only found one about the Xenon.

  4. Thanks Nibe, the gloves are the Sealskinz Ultra Grip-purchased in a fishing shop here.The Xenon was okay, but it is a bit thin for winter use, I partnered with a vest and a thin fleece and it worked fine. I will use it again, in warmer weather partnered with the Western Mountaineering Flash Hoody it will meet most needs in my view, with the Xenon being the go to top during the day and the Flash hoody being the around camp extra warmth at night.Enjoying your blog.

  5. Just as a reference to the topic "Moisture in sleeping bags":I spend six days at Lake Inari in Lapland in the beginning of this month. For four nights I slept in a tent and one night I slept under open skies. Temps were mostly under -20C (first night was -16C and last -11C). I used sleeping bag with 1420g of 680+ (European) down. There was no chance to dry the bag as the sun was not visible.The bag collected 510g on moisture (ice) that was quite noticable for the last two night. The bag was still adequately warm but dampt and little bit uncomfortable. My conclusion is that heavy down bag can cope for maximum of one week winter camping. But for longer or colder (say closer to -40C than -30C) trips you need to dry the bag occasionally or manage the moisture other ways like using synthetic top bag or VBL.

  6. Anonymous says:

    And in the lates comment "under" meant "colder than". Coldest daytime temperature was -26C, night time temps might have been even closer to -30C.

  7. Thanks Lightening Up, at least my temps were almost tropical : ) in comparison. I agree about the VBL but it would appear for the type of walking I do it may not be necessary, drying your bag as often as possible seems to be the desired option.

  8. The Odyssee says:

    The Golite reminds me of my old Saunders jetpacker. A good little tent i bought about 30 yrs ago. Its funny how the old designs make a comeback as materials change.I’m almost nostalgic.

  9. Thanks Odyssee, over 40 years ago my first shelter was a Flinders Rangers Teepee (sloping) it was made of Japara (cotton based fabric) which kept me dry, almost. Its design measurements were Length 221 cmFront width 152 cmHeight front 107 cmHeight rear 45 cmThe Golite Shangri La 1Length 214 cm between polesFront width 122 cmHeight front 114 cmHeight rear 69 cm Not a lot has changed in my view

  10. butuki says:

    I was intrigued by your mention of the Paramo Vista pillow. I thought I was up on all the Paramo stuff, but I'd never head of that.

  11. Miguel, it is a Paramo Vista Jacket rolled up as a pillow, strongly recommended. Indeed the Vista is the best Paramo I have tried and is now the only one I use.

  12. Nibe says:

    I need new gloves so I will check the Sealskinz. Which model is it?And how did your Rab Xenon jacket perform? I looking for a Synthetic jacket with a hood and I doubt between the Rab Xenon and the Montane Prism 2.0. About the Prism 2.0 you can find a lot of reviews but I have only found one about the Xenon.

  13. Joe Newton says:

    Roger, I just can't get my head around Sealskinz technology anymore after getting wet and cold feet in a pair of their socks a few years ago on my mountainbike. I found they took an age to dry too. Interesting that they worked for you though. Just goes to show that what works for one person can fail for another.I will be using the Spider stove I was lent on an upcoming trip in similar conditions to your trip. Did you invert the cannister or did it work fine without resorting to this arrangement?

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