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Gear Ponderings

This winter has certainly got the old brain cells ticking over with regards to kit choice. Before I got back into walking seriously in 2005 I'd never really been out in  winter. Oh how that has changed. Even with its added dimensions which make it even more challenging for me, I can safely say it is my preferred season for walking, especially when you get a winter like this one.

Up until this winter I've been tweaking my kit to help me deal with all the issues that plague me year round, when I'm moving I can run hot but as soon as I stop I cool. It seen my kit choice evolve from the standard base layer, fleece and hardshell to Icebreaker 200 weight merino layer and an original Paramo Velez. This combination has been a good servant in the 4 seasons in one day winters that I'm so used too with only occasionally having to tweak further by doubling up the merino or adding in a powerstretch if its been really cold. For me Paramo has solved the problem of getting as wet inside as outside that I had with most hardshells though when I tried eVent it was an improvement on Goretex . 

Buffalo Windshirst keeping the elements off

So why have I been tweaking agian? Well the lack of the standard precipitation this winter I've been able to leave the Velez at home. These lovely blue sky winter days have seen me be able to go out just wearing merino and powerstretch for a lot of the time which has been great. On top of that I've been switching windshirts. The Montane Litespeed Jacket has been a favourite in the pack for a while. At 145g you barely notice it in the pack and it certainly keeps the chill off when you're moving. -7C with no wind chill was about the coldest I managed while moving without having to add insulation. For a bit more omph and flexibility I found the Buffalo Windshirt was definitely a better choice on colder days. It's  heavier duty at 230g but has side vents and a lovely front pouch. It also withstood the windchill a bit better than the Litespeed, more definitely a winter windshirt. Its only down side, though not always an issue, the lack of a hood. Just a bit of a faff to buy it extra adding 90g. Not much has changed in my insulating layer. The Rab Generator Smock has been a constant in the pack for a few years now and the only thing that has usurped it has been the Haglofs Barrier Windstopper in the lovely mango :-) which appears when its really cold and likely to be a chance of showers. Apologies for the link as Haglofs official site no longer does it. No change in the down stuff either withe the PHD Ultra Vest and PHD Yukon Smock in the pack for the really cold outings. Suffice to say I was a warm, dry & toasty blonde this winter :-D

Toasy warm in the Haglofs Barrier Windstopper

I also discovered something quite interesting about my choice of trousers too. For 95% of my outings I have been protected from the elements by the great value Decathlon Quechua Bionassay Trousers. They have been a star, especially the internal gaiter and the side vents. Well worth the £40. The remainder of the time I've had on the Patagonia Backcountry Guides. Both trousers are very similar in their style and function though I noted one remarkable difference. My Patagucci's didn't do a bumslide anywhere near as well as the Decathlon troos. At least I now know when I have the Patagucci's on to make sure the orange survival bag is in the pack to aid the journey down the snow slopes ;-) You could even describe the Patagonia lack of slide as a safety feature for someone like me for when I really don't want to sliding!!

Oh the joys of proper winter weather, if only they could all be like this...................


  1. The wind shirt came on time, fits perfectly, is good quality and looks sharp.


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