The Buttermere trip – a quick gear roundup

Posted by @ 10:23 pm on Thursday 4th November, 2010.

Just thought I'd do a short post about some of the kit that my family used during our recent trip to Buttermere. There's not much here to excite the lightweighters out there but when kitting out a family sometimes value-for-money is a more important consideration than grammes-per-litre, and often cheap doesn't mean bad.

Footwear

I wore my AKU Crodas, Ella wore hers. Neither of us had any issues, they were nice and comfy. Chris was breaking-in her Scarpa Mantas - it was her first full-day outing in these stiff boots and they were obviously overkill for the route and the conditions, but they did need to do some mileage before being used in anger. Aside from an issue with the fit around her ankles, they were fine. Anna wore an old pair of hand-me-down Hi-Tec mids, no idea which model, they were fine too. We've promised her some new boots next year. Despite the bog-trotting and beck-crossings, we all enjoyed dry feet all day.

Regarding the performance of the Fitness Footwear test-and-review samples, I wore the Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slams for the walk to and from The Fish on Thursday night and they were fine (apart from the squeakiness), even in the wet. If Friday hadn't been forecast to be wet all day, I'd have worn them on the hill too, but the AKUs got the vote at the last minute. The Salomon Exit Aeros were a dead loss - comfy for driving but dangerously slippery even when getting out of the car and stepping onto a damp motorway-services car-park.

Other Clothing

I was trying out some different socks - for many years I've used only Thorlo KXs, KXLs or STs, but I'd seen some Wed'ze RNS 700 ski/snowboarding socks in Decathlon and I'd decided to try a pair. Actually, they're not bad - nice and long, padded in the right places, thin in the right places, and they stay up!

Packs

I carried the LA Alpine Attack 40 - my standard any-season day-pack for a few years now. It's a tough, solid performer with few techie bits, the easy-access external crampon-pocket this time being used for the bothy-shelter instead of the JetBoil PCS. Ella used her Berghaus Womens Freeflow III 35+8, the shape and the back-size are both perfect for her. Chris was using a new Quechua pack - the Forclaz 25 Air - she said it was a good carry. It's got some nice features for a sub-£25 pack, such as decent-sized and well-placed belt-pockets, a lurid green stowaway rain-cover, and a comfy air-cooling system mesh back. With the rain-cover deployed, there was no way that we would have lost her! Anna had a new Quechua pack too - the Arpenaz 20 - and it was just right for her slight frame.

Shelter/Safety

I figured that having some sort of shelter for the kids during snack-breaks would be a good idea, so I took the Terra Nova Bothy 4. It turned out to be a good call - the kids enjoyed sitting/eating/playing in it. I might invest in a bigger version for whenever we walk with another family.

Obviously we carried, used or wore many other items, but other than the above there was nothing to write home about.

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2 Responses to “The Buttermere trip – a quick gear roundup”

  1. Louise says:

    HI!
    We have four children, the younger three of which walk with us. In fact, we recently took them up their first Munro, a resounding, if slightly boggy, success! Kitting out children can be a real mare, you know how important comfortable, reliable kit is, but it's hard to give them the same at a reasonable cost when you know they'll have grown out of it next week! (Or maybe that's just our eldest son, he grows overnight...) Might take a look at some of your kit ideas, we're a bit limited up here in the north of Scotland and internet searching can be fun but random if you've no clear idea what you're looking for.

  2. BG! says:

    Hi Louise

    Regarding internet shopping for kitting out the kids, I'd recommend Decathlon - their returns policy is good and their kit is good for the money. You probably won't get the in-store clearance discounts, though.

    Congrats to your kids for conquering their first Munro 8)

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