Archive for the 'Shiny new kit' Category

Review – Vango Banshee 300 – Re-jigged

Posted by on June 25th 2012 in Shiny new kit, Testing for review

I've re-jigged the lines on the front-end of the Vango Banshee 300. I didn't like the way the running-loops at the line-lok ends ran through fabric loops on the vent-flap, there was potential for "sawing" during adjustment. Also, having vee-lines meant that it was impossible to adjust the angle of the vent-flap without altering the angle of the line that pulls out the centre of the end wall - the direction of pull there should be fixed. Weightwise I've measured nowt but I've lost a yard of line and gained a peg and a line-lok. If there's any extra to carry it's hardly going to break my back, is it?

Anyway, here's what it looked like out-of-the bag:

 

 

 Front with original (dodgy) guy configuration - 2 vee-lines and 2 pegs

 

And here are a couple of shots showing the new config:

 

 

 Front with revised guy configuration - 3 single lines and 3 pegs

 

 

 As previous

 

There, that's better. You can't beat having adjustable flaps  🙂

Next I'll be adding a webbing-strap across the secondary entrance. Experiments with a bit of shock-cord indicated that it makes getting the correct pole-spacing much easier on that side, leading to less strain on the entrance-zips.

Review – Vango Banshee 300 – First thoughts

Posted by on June 13th 2012 in Shiny new kit, Testing for review

This item has been supplied by Christoph Hitchin, representing idealo.co.uk

The tent being reviewed is the 2012 version of the Vango Banshee 300, the idealo link is here and the Vango link is here.

It's been pitched on the lawn for a while and that's given me time to have a good look around and inside it, already I have the feeling that it's going to be as good as, if not better than, previous Vango offerings in the same price-bracket. The spec's good and the features are generally well-presented.

Let's start at the beginning - what do you get and what does it weigh?

  • Fly: 1270g
  • Inner: 898g
  • Tent-bag: 73g
  • 17 Pegs: 252g
  • Peg-bag: 8g
  • Poles: 352g
  • Pole-bag: 13g
  • Spares-pack: 22g

 

That's a total of 2888g which compares well with the published claimed weight of 2.75kg. It's not bad for a split-carry between two people - about 1.45kg each - an Akto comes in at more than that. For those who prefer imperial, 2888g is about 6lb 6oz. Price-wise the tent's a bit variable - the MRP is £140 but I've seen these on sale for around £75 recently.

Putting it up was a doddle, it's hardly rocket-science. For the terminally-inept there's a crib-sheet .pdf file online and there are three sheets of printed instructions sewn to the inside of the compression-bag. Pitching took 10 minutes first time out, that included attaching the inner and faffing with the lines. YMMV. It pitches outer-first or all-in-one, the poles and pole-sleeves are colour-coded and you'd be hard-pressed to get it wrong, there are only two poles and they are significantly different lengths so they won't fit in the wrong place. The pegs are standard Vango-issue ally hooks, fairly strong but they will bend if mistreated, unlike the harder-and-lighter top-class versions issued with my F10 Spindrift. There are webbing straps between most of the pole-ends which means that the pole-spacing should end up dead right every time (but read on...)

Anyway, here's what it looks like closed-up:

 

 Side

 

 Front with original (dodgy) guy configuration

 

Rear with original (dodgy) guy configuration

 

Rear with corrected guy configuration

You'll note the minor gripe about how the end-guys were attached. It's probably just me being a tad fussy, but I don't like running lines passing through static fabric loops - every re-tensioning saws away at the loops and eventually they fray, it's worse with icy lines. Far better to have static lines in static loops, IMO. I've corrected the lines at the rear, I'm waiting on some bits so as I can correct the ones at the front. The side ones were fine.

Those front and rear lines don't just hold the tent up, they hold up the vent-flaps too, and the front lines also steady the front wall where the inner is attached. The mesh vents are always open, there being no means of closing them, but they are well-protected:

 

 Rear mesh vent

 

Front mesh vent

 

Unlike the tent pictured on Vango's website, all of the fly's nine main pegging-points are tension-adjustable via reflective-webbing and buckle arrangements:

 

Adjustable pegging-point

 

It was while looking at these pegging-points that I noticed that the seam-taping was a bit errant - in some places the edge of the tape was very close to the seam-stitching. A thorough check of the fly's taping was conducted and this was the worst bit. It's OK but only just:

 

 Seam-taping could have been done with more care

 

There are orange bungee-loops at the bottom-edges of the fly right next to the entrance-flaps. I'm told that they're for the handles of clacky-sticks if you have a mind to prop open the flaps in fine conditions, the points go into the metal eyelets. Guying-out the clacky-stick would explain the two unused pegs:

 

Orange loop

Also shown above is one of the neat zip puller-loops on the fly, here's a better view:

 

Fly zip puller-loops

I like these puller-loops, they feel good and they stay open and finger-ready (unlike fabric or shock-cord loops) but they'd have been better if the cord that they're moulded onto was of the reflective variety. Sadly these puller-loops aren't fitted on the inner's zips or on the top pullers of the fly's zips, where cord-loops are used instead. A trick missed, I think, and hardly a budget-breaker, but it wouldn't be a deal-breaker.

Still, the zips are all of good quality and the double-ended fly-zips allow venting under a cowl at the top-end of each entrance-flap:

 

 Cowled venting

 

So, let's see it in the full with the flaps open and toggled-up:

 

 The main entrance showing a reasonable area for storage or cooking

 

The secondary entrance

 

So, have you spotted the problem yet? Maybe this next pic will make it more obvious:

 

 Both entrances in view

Yep, there's no webbing-strap across the secondary entrance. In order to get a taut pitch the pole-spacing must be correct right at the start or the secondary entrance either flaps or pulls apart. I've a mind to retro-fit a strap, I reckon I've got a suitable bit of webbing somewhere. Would have saved me some effort if it had been right first time though.

You'll be wanting a look inside, I suppose.

The inner is predictably saggy in parts, it's a design-constraint, it can't be fixed to something that's not itself fixed or taut. The inner hangs from under the pole-sleeves and is clipped or toggled to the fly in various places. To be fair, it's less saggy when the inner flaps are zipped up but I needed them open for these pics. The groundsheet is of the bathtub variety but it's a shallow bath - two inches max. The inner walls and ceiling are well-designed and there's good headroom for sitting in comfort provided you're not over-tall. The head end is part-mesh so the ventilation is good. There are four basic mesh storage pockets and zipped access to the space under the front end of the fly. This access has two covers - mesh and full-fabric - and so can be used as a further vent:

 

 Head end detail

 

The foot end is basic, it's wide enough for two kip-mats, there's another mesh panel and there's good clearance for big feet:

 

Foot end detail

 

There's not much more in there. There's no gear-loft or hanging-loops. The TBSII "Tension Band System" bands pass through the inner in the same vertical plane as the main pole, I haven't deployed the system yet and so can't comment on its effectiveness or on its intrusion into the inner space.

It's quite a big tent, wider than I'd expected. It's billed as a three-person shelter but I think that's pushing it a bit. It would just about cope with three in an emergency and with most of their gear left outside, but if comfort's your thing then two-plus-gear would be about right.

Use the fly without the inner and you'd have plenty of room for three. And you'd have 898g less to carry. Maybe I'll give it a shot sometime.

In order to give some sense of scale I decided to deploy our very own Banshee:

 

 Sitting

 

 Lengthways

 

Widthways, just for the hell of it

 

The storage bag is of the side-compression type and it has an effective drawcord closure. There was a length of webbing that connected each compression-strap and acted as a grab-handle, a nice touch but I've removed it as I can foresee no use for it.

 

Compression-bag

So far the tent's been out in some heavy rain and the fly sheds it well, directing it away from the zips and vents. Apart from the minor issues with the way the thing's been guyed and the more serious problem with the omitted webbing strap, I'm really impressed with this tent, I reckon that for the price it's well-specced, reasonably light and it'll be about right for two folk on the hills. I'm looking forward to seeing how it fares with me spending a night in it, but that'll be a tame garden-camping test. We're scheduled to take it on a wildcamp some time in the next few weeks when it'll see some proper action in the treeless wastes of Skiddaw Forest.

The big unknown is whether Chris will like it. She's used to the luxury of our 6kg 2006 F10 Spindrift which is bombproof, spacious and taut inside (pitches inner-first), and well-equipped with storage spaces at every turn. I've a feeling that for her, going lighterweight and downsizing is going to be quite a challenge.

Couldn’t wait

Posted by on June 11th 2012 in Shiny new kit, Testing for review

You know what it's like... new toys and all that:

 

 

 

 

Besides, it would have been a shame to waste the rain.

So far, it looks good. Took about ten minutes to pitch.

Spotted a couple of minor assembly errors already, such as the tail-end guys being incorrectly attached. No bother, I'll sort them later.

I'll give it a more thorough going-over tomorrow.

Something for the weekends

Posted by on June 11th 2012 in Shiny new kit

This little beauty just arrived for testing and review:

 

Vango Banshee 300

 

First pitch should be sometime tomorrow, first proper wildcamping use sometime in June or July, further details to follow.

This item has been supplied by Christoph Hitchen, representing price comparison platform idealo.co.uk

The idealo site is well-worth a look. Finding what you're interested in is made easy by the filter setup (for example, see here for tents) and for each product there's a neat PriceWatcher widget with a 90-day price history - handy for helping you to decide on the best time to buy and at what price. For instance, here is the page for the Banshee 300, you can clearly see that the best price was a tad over £75 last week compared to about £109.99 today.

And it's not just for outdoors gear. There's more stuff than you could shake a stick at. Go see!

R & R @ Ambleside

Posted by on February 20th 2012 in Great Escapes, Illness and injury, Shiny new kit, Testing for review, YHA

After Thursday's drag up the M6 there was an unpleasant surprise waiting for us at Ings - the Little Chef was boarded-up! It's a sad loss - they used to serve fine food there and the service was always excellent. Fortunately we already had our evening meal planned at the hostel. We pushed on to Ambleside, nipped into Gaynor's to buy Anna a new pair of boots and then eventually booked in and settled at Ambleside YHA.

We'd taken up the YHA's "Winter Family Magic" offer - a family-room for four including an evening "family feast" for just £29.95 per night... it sounded good but the YHA website was a bit vague about the terms of the offer so I had enquired as to how they would cope with one of our party being a veggie, they said it was no problem. Since I made the booking the website details have been changed - turns out that they expected all four of us to have the same meal from the "family feast" menu... no good when we all eat different foods. Chris was sent in to negotiate the terms of their surrender and eventually we all got a meal of sorts. Chris ended up with a full 12" pizza, the kids and I got mashed spuds and non-Cumberland sausage covered with onion gravy. None of us got any vegetables despite the website saying that there would be peas or seasonal veg. It was disappointing, only the attitudes of the staff saved the day. The upside was that the dorm was fine with a view out over the upper reaches of Windermere.

Sometime during the evening the clouds cleared and the skies were ablaze with stars and meteors. I went out to grab some pics but for some reason the camera's focus started playing up and all the images were rubbish. Never mind, just seeing such a glorious night sky was enough.

We slept well that night.

Us adults were up bright and early on Friday. Predictably, the kids weren't so bright or so early. Outside it was a calm daybreak so I nipped out with the camera for a while:

 

Towards Coniston.

 

Reflections in Windermere.

 

Towards Langdale.

Back inside the kids were still in bed but they soon got a shift on when I told them that breakfast was being served. Breakfast was good, it made up for the disappointment of the previous meal. After that, we hit the road and headed for Longsleddale. I figured that a couple of easy Wainwrights would be a reasonable test for my new arse.

We parked up at Sadgill and made ready for the steep pull up the side of Grey Crag:

 

The steep approach to Grey Crag. Mouseover for an indication of the route.

Towards the head of Longsleddale.

Much steepness.

We had a short break at the top of the gully - Ella needed some heel-blister treatment:

 

Ella and Chris get to the top of the gully.

Another view up Longsleddale.

From there we traversed to the right around the crags in search of the survey pillar. The temperature was dropping and it started to drizzle so we found a sheltered spot for a snack-break. I'd imagine that on a fine day the views from there would be quite good:

Taking a break.

A few minutes of walking brought us to the survey pillar. A quick look through the slot confirmed that the next pillar, on Tarn Crag, was in plain sight:

The survey pillar, with Grey Crag in the background.

Lined up on the distant Tarn Crag survey pillar.

From there it was a gentle stroll across easy ground to the intake fence. The weather closed in and this was our last view of the valley:

Looking back towards the survey pillar and Longsleddale.

After crossing the intake fence we had a short breather - Anna was feeling a tad sick, possibly due to the sight of the multi-coloured Ella wearing my Montane Lite-Speed H2O jacket:

Rainbow Girl.

A few minutes later we made the top of Grey Crag. All was clag and rain so I didn't take any pics. We left the top ASAP and made off on a bearing for Tarn Crag - this was the first time the girls had walked in clag, I think that it may have taught them the value of being competent with the old-fashioned compass/map combo when there are no visible references.

Crossing the marshy depression to Tarn Crag was fun - much bog, some huge peat-hags and a fair old tarn had to be negotiated before we reached the relative dryness of the snowy up-slope. The final slopes were confusing and finding the summit cairn took a while as visibility was quite poor:

Anna and Ella atop Tarn Crag

The survey pillar on Tarn Crag.

Anna was still feeling poorly so we hastened northwards to find the fence and followed it down the peat-hagged slope to the col and turned left at the gate, heading for Brownhowe Bottom. There was a fair bit of waterlogged ground to be crossed and it proved to be the undoing of the kids... over the years I've developed a "trying to run over the water like a Basilisk" technique which generally keeps my feet dry, the kids think it's hilarious and call it "Geckoing"... they try to emulate it but always fail - Anna managed to get her boots and socks fully-dunked and waterlogged in a mad dash across a deeper-than-expected puddle, and Ella managed to kick the back of her own leg while trying to run across water. There was much moaning. And a little sympathy.

Eventually we reached the firm ground of the Gatescarth Pass track. The clag meant that it wasn't very scenic but we did manage to get a fine view of the falls below Wrengill Quarry:

The falls below Wrengill Quarry.

 

From there it was a simple if long trudge past Buckbarrow Crag before heading off into the clag once again:

Buckbarrow Crag - the notice says that it's off-limits due to nesting ravens.

The car's down there... somewhere.

Needless to say, it rained constantly for the rest of the day. After reaching the car we dumped the soggy stuff in the boot and drove to Ambleside via Kendal, not wishing to risk the back-roads as we had on the way in.

Back at the hostel we jumped through the fiery hoop of the evening meal arrangement again... this time Chris had a veggie-option pre-arranged, we had the chicken and bacon hot-pot (which wasn't a hot-pot at all, it was a bowl of roast-spuds with three roasted chicken drumsticks and some bits of micro-bacon, all covered with the same onion-gravy that had bedecked the previous-night's sausages) and still we didn't get any vegetables!

Eventually we summoned enough courage to decant the car's contents into the drying-room. The rest of the evening was spent playing cards and comparing our physical conditions... in addition to the injuries and ailments of the kids, Chris was feeling a tad asthmatic. Surprisingly, I'd had a good day - no bad pain or other difficulties, just a bit of soreness and thrush in the antipodes.

Friday night was stormy but Saturday morning didn't live up to the forecast - it was supposed to start down at zero and drop to minus 6C throughout the day, with a heavy hit of snow. In reality the morning was quite warm and bright - here's the view from our window:

Room with a view.

A bit closer.

Daughters on the stage.

Over breakfast we'd decided that we'd have a bit of retail therapy in Ambleside before spending a few hours at The Lakes Aquarium at Lakeside near Newby Bridge. As the day went on the weather got better, not worse:

Windermere at Lakeside.

There's plenty of interest thereabouts...

The end of the line.

 

Carp.

 

More carp.

 

Otters.

 

Otters again.

 

Aventacludea fuctifino (a relative of the Piranha).

 

Big Cat.

 

Crocagator.

 

It was as if I was looking in a mirror.

 

Yet another otter pic.

 

The most dangerous creature in the building...
holding a snake
.

  😈

 

Friday Summary:

Distance: 5.4 miles
Total ascent/descent: 1722 ft
Wainwright tops reached: Grey Crag (2093 ft), Tarn Crag (2176 ft). These were first-ascents for all of us.
Number of Wainwrights still to do: 7

Regarding gear taken for test-and-review... I took one item supplied by Adam Smith representing Go Outdoors - the Montane Lite-Speed H2O jacket. It was worn by Ella and, after her initial reluctance to don it because of the colour, she quite liked it. It kept her warm and dry without any condensation problems. She says that she'll prepare a review as soon as she's cleared her school-work.

Spot the difference

Posted by on February 10th 2012 in Shiny new kit
Tags:

My trusty Petzl e+LITE (refurbished back in October 2010) has been AWOL since we returned from our most-recent wildie back in October 2011. We've looked everywhere for it but it refuses to be found, so I was charged with sourcing a replacement. The best deal that I could find was on Amazon.

Yesterday the postie delivered the new one. The lamp-unit, head-band and revised cord-grip (the one with the integral whistle) are the same as the one that's been lost but the pod's had a minor makeover... small changes, all worthwhile and simple to do by modding the mould-tooling.

So far I've spotted the SOS/OK pictograms, the improved grip-lugs on the lid (gloved hands get much better purchase on these) and the drain-hole's gone (so the thing doesn't take on water when immersed). Can you see any other differences?

In both pics the old pod's on the left, the new pod's on the right.

A neat little gadget

Posted by on January 8th 2012 in Shiny new kit

Just before Christmas we went into town to collect the pissy-laptop from the menders. They'd done a fine job of cleaning it out and replacing the keyboard, and the bill was surprisingly low considering the state of the thing before they fixed it.

Anyway, while Chris was settling the bill I was browsing the gadgets and noticed a lonely-looking Xenta Wireless Mini-keyboard. What attracted me to it was the rocker-pad and touch-pad arrangement. Duly fondled, it was put back on the shelf and I left empty-handed.

Last week I was back in town so I returned to the shop to give the mini-keyboard another fondle. After a chat about whether the thing would be suitable for my needs I relented and bought the thing for just £15 and some fair words.

Setting it up was a doddle - no faffing with setup CDs, this really was plug 'n play. I removed the USB dongle from it's neat storage place at the back of the keyboard and plugged it into the laptop. XP found and installed the drivers and then told me that it was OK to use. I slapped two "AA" Eneloops into the mini-keyboard, turned it on, and it worked first time (and has done so every time since).

The mini-keyboard has a UK key-set although some of the keys are in unfamiliar places - the "Del" key, for instance. The function keys aren't your standard F1 - F12 things but are assigned various other duties such as controlling internet, email, MCE and multimedia applications. The touch-pad is excellent with scrolling and zooming capability. Left and right mouse-buttons are nicely-placed on the top edge, just fine for two-handed use.

So, with this thing I no longer need a mouse (although I can have both this and my wireless mouse connected at the same time without conflicts), and can control the laptop from a distance of up to 10m. But that's not all... this gadget has one other main benefit for me - I can use the left rocker-pad and various alt-key combos to control my telescope via any of my ASCOM-compliant planetarium programs such as Starry Night Pro Plus. This means that when scoping I no longer have to use the mouse for the laptop and the wireless Rumblepad II for the scope. The Rumblepad II always worked well but there was no way that it would fit in my pocket and the joysticks were all-too-easily activated accidentally. With this new gadget I get all required functionality with minimal more user-friendly kit.

Result!

Into the Underworld

Posted by on December 17th 2011 in My reviews, Shiny new kit, Testing for review
Tags:

For many years I didn't need baselayers. Youth, hair and a suitable metabolic rate ensured my warmth in all conditions. I well remember frosty days of winter fishing with my dad, I'd sit there all day long with just a light covering of clothes while he was wrapped up like an Eskimo and still he shivered.

The years crept on and eventually I relented and invested in some synthetic blue wonder-fabric LJs and top from SubZero. Indestructible they are, and mightily effective. If middle-age hadn't made me too big for them, I'd probably still be using them. They've been passed on to the next generation and are still doing well 25 years after purchasing them.

Those blue Meraklon things were replaced by some more-modern polyester Spiderman sets made by Five Seasons. They were ultra-cheap, I figured that they'd not be much cop and wouldn't stay the course, but they still work fine. The problem with them is, well, aromatic. Two days on the hill and they reek. I needed something more walking-partner-friendly.

Reading through a few relevant websites/forums/blogs confirmed what I already knew - that Merino's where it's all at. I decided to go there, I just needed some directions.

But how much to spend? And what to get? Hood? Thumb-loops? One-piece? More research was required. Opinions would be sought. Specifications would be pored-over and pics would be scrutinised.

 

 

Joe Newton's review of the Ibex Hooded Indie was interesting. At $170 for a set it would have been a stretch.

Hendrik Morkel's review of the Woolpower long-john and crew-neck set was equally interesting. Just over £110 for a set of these (or save six quid make do without a fly).

The I/O Bio Merino Contact Pilot Suit was recommended by a friend, but he ended up with a slap around the head :mrgreen:

No, I wasn't about to splash large amounts of cash on such sartorial elegance.

Aldi saved the day. LJs £15.99 a pop. Same price for a short-sleeved top. No hood, no fly, no thumb-loops. Any colour you like so long as it's black. I bought a set for me and a set for Chris.

 

 

 

They're basic but they're good for the money. The top stays tucked in and the LJs don't migrate anklewards. The top's neck is a tad more open than I'm used to but it's bearable, I'm getting used to it. The seams are fine, there are no scratchy labels, the fabric doesn't make me itch.

But do they pass the pong test?

Well, in the interests of pseudo-science I've been power-wearing them. Since buying them on December 1st, I've worn them every day dawn-to-midnight and also ten times overnight. While hostelling and winter-walking last weekend they were worn 24/7 except for when I was in the shower. They performed perfectly on the hill, I teamed the top with my Rab VR Climb jacket and the LJs with my Quechua Bionnassay trousers and all was fine. Perspiration was handled well during exertion, warmth was retained during stops.

My hi-tech testing-equipment consisted of my two daughters' noses... yesterday the as-yet unwashed armpits of the top were duly sniffed and it was declared that said garment "smells fine, just like a warm tee-shirt".

That's good enough for me.

Now, how much longer can I keep wearing these things before they are introduced to the washing machine?

Review – Montane Lite-Speed H2O Jacket – First outing

Posted by on November 11th 2011 in My reviews, Shiny new kit, Testing for review

 

This jacket has been supplied on a "review-and-keep" basis by Adam Smith, representing Go Outdoors. It's the Montane Lite-Speed H2O, the Go Outdoors link is here and the Montane link is here.

I would have given it a proper "on the hill" test some time ago but whenever I've been on the fells or out in the countryside the weather's been fine, so I've had to resort to wearing it in other circumstances.

So... this jacket is billed by Montane as "THE WORLD’S LIGHTEST WATERPROOF JACKET"... I can now confirm that it is very easy to wear, being light and sufficiently waterproof to withstand an hour's downpour while working on the garden. It coped well with the mud and sweat of some unseasonal digging, some condensation did form on the inside during the most demanding bits of manual labour but it was all dry after the mandatory tea-break.

On the plus side:

  • it was easily cleaned with a quick hose-down
  • it kept me warm and dry
  • I didn't lose it

On the minus side:

  • there are no pockets
  • the crinkly cuffs are uncomfortable and don't stop water running wrist-wards when hands are raised
  • the neighbour was giving me funny looks (but that could have been because I was digging in the rain)

Overall impression:

  • It does what it says in the sales blurb
  • I don't think it is as good as the Montane Featherlite Smock
  • I will wear it on the fellside and will report back on its performance, but I won't be gardening in it ever again
  • I don't think it's worth Go Outdoors' £90 RRP - for that sort of money I'd want pockets and better cuffs

Next time out I intend to get some pics of it in action. Today there was nobody about that I trust with my camera in the rain!

If you're in the market for a waterproof jacket, Go Outdoors have plenty of other waterproof jackets for your perusal here.

Review – Montane Lite-Speed H2O Jacket – First thoughts

Posted by on August 8th 2011 in My reviews, Shiny new kit

This item has been supplied on a "review-and-keep" basis by Adam Smith, representing Go Outdoors.

The jacket being reviewed is the Montane Lite-Speed H2O, the Go Outdoors link is here and the Montane link is here.

This jacket is billed by Montane as "THE WORLD’S LIGHTEST WATERPROOF JACKET" and who am I to argue with that claim? Go Outdoors are pushing it as a "Running Jacket", I can assure all and sundry that I'll not be running anywhere in it! No, this jacket is competing with the proofed Montane Featherlite Smock for a place on my "must take" fellwalking-kit list. Sadly I didn't get sent the Black version, but I've no doubt that this Fluoro-Yellow jacket will perform just as well.

If you want the proper spec it's best if you follow the links above, I'll add that the actual weights for the one supplied to me are: jacket 174g, stuffsac 14g (5g if you hack off the Velcro strap and plastic loop), those weights are for a size L.

Although it's a minimalist jacket it looks to be well-constructed with excellent stitch-work and taped seams throughout. The zip is a tad awkward to get moving, I reckon that it needs a bit of "running-in". The hood is basic, it has a single-handed draw-corded captive toggle system for closure but no stiffened or wired peak or anything else techie. The hood stowage is neat with three Velcro patches for keeping the collar closed, the only niggle here is that the FreeFlow H2O fabric is so lightweight that I get the feeling that it (or the stitching) will give way before the Velcro opens. It doesn't, of course. The hemline has a drop-tail and another of those excellent draw-corded closures. Cuffs are "self-fabric" which to the terminally-confused means that the ends of the sleeves are simply folded over a bit of elastic and then tube-stitched. TBH I don't like these cuffs, I much prefer the cuffs on the original Featherlite Smock which have a much better fit and feel. Aside from some reflective bits here and there, that's about all there is... no pockets, no vents and, oddly, no hanging-loop.

I had expected this jacket to be quite similar to the Featherlite Smocks that I already have but it is significantly different. Then again, it has a different job to do. I'll report back when it's been baptised, or when I've been released from custody after being arrested by the Style Police for wearing it in public.

According to Go Outdoors the Retail Price is £90.00 but they're currently in the sale at only £36.82 - perhaps it's time to get one for yourself? If that don't float yer boat, they have plenty of other waterproof jackets for your perusal here.

Oh, nearly forgot! Packed size. Many sources claim that the Lite-Speed H2O is about the size of a small grapefruit. Well, we don't do grapefruits here and so I can't confirm those claims, but I can say with no fear of contraception that it's a bit bigger than an orange, a bit bigger than an apple and quite a bit shorter than a banana...

 

 

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