If you read walking magazines and blogs you find a disproportionate interest in gear. If I need a new jacket or similar I consult both. I like to know what developments are taking place insofar as they are improvements. Books are better for writing with depth, observation, and a meaningful description of the hills but they in turn often describe little more than struggle and challenges. However a few gear notes are worthwhile and here they are. My Tarptent Rainbow is cool, light and very spacious, well suited for the Pyrenees and three season use. It’s not stable in wind but I avoid rough weather so this is rarely a problem. I used to carry a GoLite Jam which you can see in previous Pyrenees photographs. Last year I upgraded to a ULA Conduit which is more comfortable, functional, and refined than the Jam in terms of features and design. You see my Caldera Cone in the photo which is the optimum meths system, excellent again. Meths used to be a slow and slightly inefficient fuel but with the Cone that’s not true. I use an inflatable Therma-Rest mat, a worthwhile upgrade from the mattress version because it’s lighter and packs significantly smaller. I use Keen sandals which are excellent for Pyrenean summers and 2/3 season UK use. I’ve been using them for about four years, as with my tent, and see no reason to change. They’re slightly heavier than Inov8 shoes and similar but very comfortable with a good grip, and cool in the heat. There are occasional snow fields in the Pyrenees where it’s advisable to have Goretex socks but apart from that sandals are ideal. Prolonged cold would be uncomfortable but brief rain when it’s predominantly warm is not a problem. I use an old North Face Paclite jacket which packs small and light. It’s not the most breathable fabric but in summer conditions I rarely wear it so I’m not too concerned. I will probably upgrade in a year or two; I’m waiting to see an eVent jacket which is similarly compact and lightweight. Other peripherals include Berghaus Paclite rain trousers which also serve as an excellent warmth layer in wind, a tiny Petzl head torch, tiny Swiss army knife, Fire Steel, Anti Gravity Gear pots, titanium mug, and a Canon 5D with Canon 17-40 L series lens.


Pyrenees Walking Gear

Saturday November 3, 2012