Wednesday, 12 August 2009

picos de europa kit

A brief overview of kit performance or not. We had a surprisingly high amount of kit malfunction on this trip.

The first to go was my Karrimor Kiwi sandals Bought for £25 from Blacks about three years ago. I’ve tramped a number of miles in these and the soles were looking worn. Due to be replaced, I’d hoped that they’d last the summer but unfortunately one of them came apart on day three; the flip flops flopped. Luckily I’ve managed to buy a pair of Teva Terra Fi2’s at 30% off in a mid season sale.

Then there was that seeping feeling. One of the Platys we were using sprang a small leak in that spot at the neck, where no matter what you use or how you try to fix it you know it’ll start sprinkling before you’ve uttered the word incontinence. Fortunately we had packed a 1l platy which took it’s place. I’ve now bought a Source 1.5l bladder to try out.

Camera battery – not really a fault of the camera. I had the opportunity to charge it several times on the trip but I had neglected to take a very important piece of kit in order to do so. Lesson learnt; I will be buying a spare lithium ion battery for future trips.

Cokin camera filter holder - This was a suggestion from George over at Londonbackpacker. You can buy a filter holder that fits compact digital cameras that have a socket for mounting on a tripod. Jessops were having a sale of filters and I was able to pick up a polariser, and a ND2 and 4 graduated filters at half price. In use the filters tame bright skies so that they don't turn out overexposed; a common problem with landscape shots. Although the TZ4 allows bracketing of exposure it needs to be used with a tripod to keep a consistent shot, and I don't own one of these (yet). In use it's a bit fiddly and you cant leave it in place but the results outweigh these minor disadvantages. And as the landscape isn't going to run away you've time to set the holder up.

filter holder with polariser in place

Inov8 Roclite 315 trainers – I cant praise these shoes enough! With a pair of Superfeet insoles (blue ones) replacing the ones supplied, my feet like they were in one of those comfy bucket seats that I once fitted in my Mini. The toe rand meant that I didn’t suffer a stubbed toe and the overly aggressive tread meant that I didn’t once find myself sitting on scree or a wet polished limestone boulder. As an added bonus they also colour co-ordinated nicely with my Exos.

Sea to Summit silnylon shopping bag – a versatile piece of kit that’s compact and only weighs 30g. We used it for shopping, carrying filled platy’s from the tap/spring, as laundry basket and as shoulder bag in the evening.

Sea to Summit bag in stuff sack

Nuun hydration tablets, kona cola flavour - I got these as a freebie when ordering some kit online. I cant state whether they helped or not and not my choice of flavour but as they do a lemon and lime one, I'd think about packing some as a citrus flavour makes a refreshing change to plain water.

The last piece of kit to malfunction was self inflicted. Whilst refilling the Gnome stove the fuel self ignited, not a problem as I’ve had similar with a Trangia before now. On this occasion the fuel bottle (an AGG 300ml one) caught light and started to burn melting the other bottle in the process. Luckily I was able to douse the flames and stop the second bottle from complete melt down.