Tuesday, 24 January 2012

It's the little things...

Having the correct equipment in the fells is essential, and in the past I've written about the sort of stuff you should be taking with you, but that's not to say that all of the stuff available for outdoors living is perfect.  Over the past few months I've been pondering over some of the tiny improvements manufacturers could make in order to render their kit perfect, and here are my (tongue in cheek) suggestions.

Velcro fastenings for hood pockets.  No, no, no, no, NO!  I've seen these in many different brands and figure they must have been designed by a bald bloke.  Or woman.  They are a perfect hair trap and should only be bought if you're already bald or require a sore bald patch on the back of your head.

Hanging loops in waterproofs.  Now I'm sure there is a very good reason for them not being there, but I just don't know what it is.  We have lovely Berghaus waterproof jackets and I can't fault them apart from the fact there's nothing to hang them up with.  I'm sure someone will tell me it's in case they get ripped or something, but these jackets are incredibly light so I really don't see the problem.  When we return dripping wet from another fell top adventure they get hung by their hoods - and that can't be healthy either can it?

Larger zip toggles.  And while I'm on the subject of waterproof jackets, please can we have larger or longer zip toggles?  When it's freezing cold and pelting with rain I don't want to have to take my gloves off yet again to deal with a zip.

Glow in the dark boot laces.  Maybe it's my age but I can never see to do the darned things up.  I absolutely adore my leather Brashers but they're brown and so are the laces.  I'm off to invest in a pair of scarily bright laces to help my failing eyesight.

The position of the toggle on the cord of my Silva map case.  This is perfectly positioned to get stuck under the strap of my rucksack every single time I put it on.  Am I just wearing this stuff wrong or something?

Zip off legs.  Don't get me started on zip off legs.  The world maybe going to hell in a handbasket, but I'll still be on my soapbox about zip off legs.  I love the idea but what is the point of them if the only way you can remove the leg is by first removing you boots?  Steve has Crag Hoppers and Peter Storm trousers which both have this problem.  I shopped around and both my Regatta and Berghaus trousers are fine.

OS Maps of the Lake District 1:25,000 series.  Four maps to cover the Lake District.  How annoying is that?  And doubly so when many of the fab routes up Scafell Pike and Coniston require the use of 2 or, in one case, 3 different maps?  The customised OS Maps cover a much smaller area so still don't solve the problem.

Waterproof woolly hats.  Why don't they exist?

Gore-Tex Trousers.  A)  Please can I have a pair with a reinforced backside?  B)  Why are they always in such dull, dark colours?  I want a pair to match my lovely bright orangy red jacket, but nooooo, they're all boring dark blue or charcoal.  (Well, apart from the gaffa tape holding mine together.)

A compass with a clock.  My watch is on my wrist and on a cold dark night on the fells I don't want to have to remove my gloves to find out the time.  A small digital clock on a compass would be a real help.

Well, that's my mini rant over.  One problem I'm keen to know how to solve is how to best deal with a runny nose on the fells?  Tissues get soggy and are blown away far too easily, hankies just get soggy, gloves are only useful for the smaller drips and snot rockets are fine for boys but never elegant for ladies, and the wind direction really needs to be taken into account.  Any suggestions?

Reply to Cumbrian Rambler (mp3)


  1. That's almost a rant - and an entertaining one at that. Gear manufacturers should take note!

  2. Too long a reply to write so heres my Audioboo reply! http://audioboo.fm/boos/638376-reply-to-cumbrian-rambler

  3. Runny nose.... deal with it the Sherpa way. Finger on the opposite side and blow hard. It's not very lady like, and it's interesting in a gale, but it works.

  4. Perfect Justin - will give it a go today!