Kit that works, and kit that doesn’t (over long distances)

Best Equipment

9/10 Montrail Java Goretex Boots.   Wonderful, soft, grippy and high quality. Unfortunately discontinued by Columbia who liked them so much they bought the company – and scrapped the range….

Java

9/10 Regula’s Mizuno Cabrakan Trail Shoes. Wearing very well, and creating few problems. Good cushioning.

9/10 Smartwool socks.  Several different pairs.  So hard wearing, and stay fresh. Faultless.

8/10 Eagle Creek Luggage System.  Light and keeps you stuff in good order in the pack. Makes packing systematic quick and easy.

8/10 Frio Cooling Pockets for insulin.  They are simple, the are British and the work.  They rely on evaporation so don’t put them in a plastic bag!

4/10 US Made Gregory Z45 pack.   A good carry,  but the manufacturing quality is not as good as Osprey. Several seams have sprung and opened, which is not great.  It is a different fit from Osprey, and fits me very well.   However, Gregory UK will not help you with problems, and don’t really answer email.  Hopeless.

Don’t buy Gregory, if you need any support at all.

9/10 Regula’s German Deuter Actlite 45 is faultless in quality and comfortable – faultless.  I am impressed!

7/10 Exped Walking Poles – superlight quality, walking poles.  Just lighter than most for long distance walking.  My German Leki’s although good, seem very heavy and dated in design.

Worst Equipment

The Absolute rubbish award!

0/10  Osprey Hydroform Hydration Bladders.   In a full pack, the inner surfaces rub together, and the water bladder self destructs in a matter of minutes.  Our two lasted a combined 9 hours.  Avoid completely.  More upsetting was the UK Osprey tech team claiming they had never heard of the problem before, when it is plastered all over the net. Buy the simplest bladder you can find.  The Deuter ones are fine.

There is an entire warranty page for them on the US site! http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/forms/warranty_claim

Hydroform

In descending order of not being too good!

3/10  Garmin 62st.  Unintuitive, screen too small, mapping not adequate in detail and far too expensive. Buy an IPhone or top end Samsung smart phone, a local SIM and accept the charges!  Applications to record the track.

3/10 ASUS EEE PC101p Light, but so slow.  Also designed so that generic parts such as chargers will not work with it, and replacements are unobtainable even in mid sized cities.  That’s not helpful.  Don’t buy ASUS if you actually travel.

4/10 Meru Clothing – Shirt.  Simply not durable enough. The pack wears through the material. Good cut and fit, with plenty of pockets though.

If you want any kit advice, please ask!

Ian and Regula

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