Friday, 19 February 2010

Time for a walk

It has been a while since I did an overnight walk, there has been a few false starts recently but I never really got past the planning stage. Today I decided it was time to put on a reasonable size pack on and go for a walk, testing some gear in preparation for upcoming trips. The location was a snow covered Tsvilde Hegn (the location of an earlier trip) with predictions of snow turning to raining it was to be a slushy trip.

The gear I was particularly interested in trying out was the MLD Trailstar (nicknamed the Yellow Peril, Melbourne humour), a pair of Salomon Quest 4D GTX Boots as well as an Aarn Marathon Magic 33l pack.

The walk followed a number of trails in the forest with large damp flakes of snow falling, I finally decided it was lunchtime and found a flat spot to put up the Trailstar, the benefits were soon obvious plenty of space under the trailstar, the resilience of the fabric as large wet clumps of snow falling from the trees hit the sides and slid to the bottom as well as the golden glow inside. This was only the second time I had erected the trailstar (both times in snow) and it took less than 10 minutes to have a secure pitch, I used 9" (23 cm) Easton Alloy pegs which easily went through the top couple of centimetres of frozen ground and provided a secure attachment for the shelter.

I continue to be very impressed with the trailstar and it will get its first over night outing in a couple of weeks and may in conjunction with an SMD Meteor bivy be my shelter system for Lapland this summer.

The Salomon Quest 4D GTX boots are not the lightest footwear in the world but I have come to recognise that for me Salomon footwear works, I use the XA Pro Ultras for every day use, the Salomon Fastpackers for hiking and I wanted something a little more weather worthy for winter and the Quests fitted this requirement. I was very pleased with the boots and found they also provided a little more toe room and I could have easily worn thicker socks, the boots are too heavy for summer in my view but will see some more use in the cooler weather.

The Aarn Marathon Magic 33l will seem to some as a strange choice, however, I have been very interested in the design of Aarn's packs for quite a while and have seen them as an option for reducing stress on my lower back when hiking. I have also come to realise that the packs I use these days tend to have hip belt pockets and shoulder strap pockets and the Aarn packs replicate this in the use of balance pockets. Recently I became aware that there was a distributor in Denmark for Aarn packs which provided me with an opportunity to try them on and see how they feel. I was impressed. I have only used the pack for a short trip so I will save my field report until after my next overnight trip, however, a report on the details of the Aarn Marathon Magic will appear soon.

The walk itself was pleasant and the sea was relatively calm, finally the hot chocolate cooked on the Ti Tri Caldera (using Esbit) was really appreciated in the cold damp conditions.