I had an interesting day yesterday, gear shopping with a friend who needed kitted out but isn't really a gear junkie (yet!) and admits she hasn't really the patience to shop around. We'd had some discussion about what she needed to get, boots, waterproof and possibly pack if the budget allowed. Sandy had already given Louise some advice. He was even tempted to come join us but the lure of some hill time kept him away, just.

There are quite a few places to go gear shopping in and around Glasgow each with their own pros and cons so I knew we were unlikely to be able to get everything in one store. It was going to be a very different experience to my normal round of these shops. This day out was me acting as Louise's personal shopper and I was trying hard not to enforce my personal preferences onto her. I was also shopping with someone who is the standard sized woman not a taller than average, larger feet than average woman.

First stop Tiso Glasgow Outdoor Experience for lunch in their excellent Fit Food Bistro. Got to make sure you're well nourished before a hard days shopping!! Louise had got there before me and her first comment to me as I walked through the door was "I think I have expensive tastes"  as she stood there with an Arcteryx hat, the girl knows quality.

Footwear first. Louise commented that Sandy said she should get a waterproof flexible mid so we looked at what they had. There was very little in the way of flexible mids and certainly none that fitted. Next the waterproof jacket. The only stipulation she'd been given by Sandy was "don't get the same as me" so no Haglofs, not that the budget would allow it either. When I asked Louise what she wanted it was simple - something that was going to keep her dry, not get her soaking on the inside and make her cold. My first thought was, it'll have to be eVent rather than Gore--Tex. A few jackets were tried but Louise was starting to say things that were making me think that hardshells may not be for my friend. She has issues with her circulation meaning she has to keep her hands and feet warm all the time. She also runs warm when on the move but as soon as she stops she gets very cold. This was something I was very familiar with so knew that we may have to consider another option, Paramo. Often referred to the darkside its like Marmite you either love it or hate it. I explained to Louise how Paramo works and she was becoming more interested. Unfortunately the selection available was limited for her to try in Tiso but she liked the idea. Off to somewhere that stocks Paramo. It is a range that you need to try on as the sizing isn't standard. I knew what my preference would be so it was off to GoOutdoors as the only stockists of the womens Velez Adveture Light. I love my stanadard Velez but have resisted the temptation of changing over to the lighter version due to the colour options, no plain red or orange available. Louise put it on and immediately she had a grin on her face. Waterproof sorted.

We were on a roll, especially when I saw what footwear was on offer. When I told Louise that they had the mid that Sandy has been covetting for a while she looked slightly apprehensive but the fit on the Salomon Fastpacker was perfect and exactly what she needed.They are light and flexible with a fairly good tred on the sole.

Time to do some quick calculations and evaluate what items were still required tand to be within budget. The descision was taken on trousers. In both stores  I was a bit dismayed at the fact that it seemed to be only summer weight trousers that were in abundance though only 2 or 3 brands were evident with an even more limited selection of softshell type trousers on display  Louise had the same problems I always do, the sizing is so off on all these trousers. The best option available was the Sprayway All Day Rainpant. Not a product I had come across before and one that I wait with interest to see how it performs. The fit on Louise was good with leg length long enough and in the size that she is. Purchases complete.

It was back to Bigbananatowers to see if Sandy could guess what we had purchased and look at the expression on his face as each item was brought out, very entertaining. As you can see from the photo I've nicked from Sandy's blog they soon got round to testing the new purchases.

This shopping trip made me realise that Louise had the same issues that I do in looking for kit so it isn't all about being standard size but more about what is on offer to try. It has confirmed to me that the commercial considerations of the stores and deals offered by mainstream manufacturers have such a strong grip on the stores available to me that I will struggle to be able to see in the flesh any of the not so high street recognisable kit that I seem to be drawn to. Yes there are one or two great independant retailers in Scotland who carry the brands I seek but  fear that in order for me to be able to truely compare what I'm after it will require a trip to the Lakes. 

I also managed NOT to buy anything :-) 


  1. "Paramo. Often referred to the darkside its like Marmite you either love it or hate it."

    In this house it's Vegemite...apparently.

  2. Thanks again for a great day, the boots have actually motivated be to get out for some little after school walks around Duns to break them in - am getting very excited about next, next weekend :)

  3. It was great fun :-)

    I'm sure the boots will see plenty of miles when we're in Kinlochleven

  4. You're all going to Kinlochleven? Sob :-(

  5. Yes Kate we are.

    Steve's brother & sister-in-law are coming up from Yorkshire and BBF liked the idea of a revisit with Louise. Hopefully the weather will be better than last time but it wont be as much of an issue as she's all kitted out :-)


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