Thursday, 17 April 2014

rab ps hoodie – first look

I’ve been a fan of Rab clothing for some time. The Rab Vapour Rise Smock is my go to mid-layer garment for the cooler months, and the Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket for wearing around camp in the winter is never off my kit list.

The PS stands for Power Stretch which is a material from Polartec. The fabric is brushed on the inside with a smooth outer surface and it stretches (obviously.) The medium is a close fit on me and tips the scales at 397g. The fleece features longer arms with thumb loops, flat lock seams, a drop-tail, Lycra bound hems, and a hood (another obvious.) The pockets are placed high but not high enough for the bottom of the pockets to be cut off by a rucksack hip belt or climbing harness. All the hems are a good fit for me, including the hood which moves with my head when in use. The fabric also has a smidgen of wind resistance, better than some materials, but not much it has to be said.

I’ve been wearing as street wear since purchased and if I’m honest with myself I’m not 100% sure where it will fit in my kit selections. Whether or not it gets used on a trip remains to be see but at least with this on around town I stand apart from the SuperDry JPN crowd, which is priceless.

Likes: fit, feel of fabric, hood.

Dislikes: weight, pocket clearance.

Stock photo supplied by Rab.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

food find - 9bar

I’ve been packing these on day walks and trips since Autumn last year, and been using them as a lunchtime snack even when I’m not out and about.

The bars come in boxes of four, each bar weighs 40g and for that you get approx. 11g of carbohydrate, 7g of protein, and 924KJ of energy per bar. The bars are made from a seed mix with a carob topping. Currently on offer in Sainsbury’s at £3.00 for two boxes (usual price £1.89).

That’s the facts bit out of the way but you will already have noticed from my first paragraph that they’ve become a staple in my diet. There are several reasons for this; I like the taste and texture, the carbohydrate load is about right for me as a mid-morning blood sugar lifter, and the bars don’t contain oats. This later point is important. I’m allowed to eat oats but have to keep an eye on the amount I eat on a daily basis, so I can happily eat a couple of these a day without worry.

The only downside I can see is the stability of the carob topping in warmer weather, even at this time of year the topping has stuck to the wrapper a couple of times.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

trekmates travel towel

 TrekMates TravelTowel

My approach to personal hygiene on the trail is akin to that of a young boy’s aversion to soap and water. With a few exceptions; I brush my teeth, wash my hands before preparing food, and after going to the loo. I may even splash water on my face if the occasion calls for it, which isn’t often. On some trips I’ll have a wet wipe sleeping bag bath. With all these there is no need for a towel and if needs be I can dry myself with either my buff or bandana. And there’s the fickle nature of the campsite shower; on some sites the showers are free, on others there’s a charge, occasionally no shower at all, and as for the temperature of the water… let’s not get started on that one.

However on longer trips, and especially on those in hotter climes, I’ll pack a towel. Microfibre towels like the TrekMates TravelTowel are a stock item; soft to the touch, absorbent and quick to dry. The towel has a handy loop so that I can hang it off my rucksack or tree, fence… you get the idea.

Mine came from Silverfox Travel and Outdoors and is currently on offer at £6.99.

lentil and cheese slices

Lunch is served

It’s often a good thing to get a fresh pair of eyes on things. The subject of food is very close to my heart and a regular topic of conversation with others who have an interest in the same subject. Inevitably I’d end up quizzing people with what they pack for lunch.

The basis of my lunch is oatcakes along with pate or squeezy cheese, not exactly exciting fare but does the job especially when bolstered with the usual suspects such as dried fruit and nuts, fresh fruit, chocolate or cereal bars. On rare occasions, I’ll bake a gluten free flat bread flavoured with cheese, garlic and rosemary.

After a couple of trips, the oatcakes and mushroom pate had lost their appeal, and I was out of gluten free bread mix for making flat bread, so one of the group volunteered to make some lentil and cheese slices ‘for a change’. My first thought was, ‘What amount of carbohydrate (CHO) are these going to have?’ because although pulses are high in CHO not all of it can be digested. Her recipe, below, cunningly includes gluten free bread crumbs to increase the amount CHO. These will keep for a couple of days so make a great option for weekend trips. They don’t have to be an exclusive lunch item – I’d happily have a slice as part of breakfast or supper!

Lentil and cheese slices

225g split red lentils, rinsed
450ml water
1 onion
25g butter
100g strong cheddar
1 tsp mixed herbs
2 slices of gluten free bread
1 free range egg


Cook the lentils in the measured water until soft and all the liquid has been absorbed. Chop the onion, then melt the butter in the saucepan and fry the onion until transparent. Combine all the ingredients together and press into an oiled 23cm swissroll tin. Bake in the oven at 190c for 30 minutes. Allow to cool and cut into wedges, wrap the wedges in foil, any that aren’t going into the rucksack can be frozen.