So I kind of wanted to give a little review of some of the gear I’ve used along the way which I found the most useful – just in case anyone should happen upon this blog who is also doing a long distance hike.
The first bit of kit I think I should pay homage to is the Scarpa boots I bought back in Inverness. I can’t really say anything negative about them as they were my saving grace after my last disastrous pair had completely mangled my feet. The gore-tex liner stood up to the countless days of rain, walking through soggy fields, mud, bogs, and sloppy farm animal poo. Never once were my feet wet, which I was very impressed with. The Vibram soles are extremely tough and show no sign of the wear and tear they were put through. The soft leather of the outer shell made the boot comfortable and flexible, with virtually no ‘break-in’ time. It also provided a soft, yet sufficient ankle protection when laced up correctly. Although the boots are battle scarred, the leather has held together nicely despite the constant beating. There are no rips or tears. They will definitely be used again for my next endeavor. Plus, it’s nice to find a brand that ticks all the boxes, and one that I will definitely use again. These Simond waterproof trousers were practically my second skin. They were a last minute buy from Decathalon. I didn’t want to buy the type of waterproofs that slip on over your regular trousers as they tend to provide a lot of condensation on the inside liner, especially after heavy exertion. The Simond trousers have zipped vents down both legs which allows for cool airflow. They also have built-in gaiters hidden under the bottom of the leg fabric which clip over the front laces of your boots and zip off if not required. Having these gaiters attached on a hot day can cause a lot of sweat around your ankles and lower legs, just ripe for a fungal rash if you’re not careful. They dry incredibly fast and are quite dirt resistant. When caked with mud you simply need to dry cloth them and they come up clean. The only real negative is that they are quite weighty. The slip on variety are much better suited if you are planning on traveling ultra-lightweight and not in a country where it rains every day, well, like Britain in the summertime really. This bag was EPIC! It came under the honest recommendation of a chap that was working in a Mountain Equipment shop in Sydney, Australia. The Lowe Alpine Manaslu 65:75. The best part about this back pack is the complete adjustability of virtually every feature. The padded belt is engineered so it rotates side to side to match your gait whilst walking, and literally takes the bulk of the weight off of your shoulders and supports it on your hips. The carriage and shoulder straps are designed to keep air flowing behind you to prevent sweat build up against your back. The most useful part of the bag is that although it has a top-loading, draw string top, you can also access your gear from a lower and a mid-compartment front zip seal, so you don’t have to pull everything out of your bag to get to the bottom. There are walking pole attachments on the sides, a built-in waterproof cover, and the top pouch which is strapped over the top of the bag for commonly used small items can also detach as a day bag.