Bite-sized gear reviews, winter edition.
Gear Outtakes is a seasonal collection of kit and what I think about it.
★☆☆☆ Mediocre, I wouldn’t spend money on it.
★★☆☆ Good, but there are better options.
★★★☆ Great, worth your money.
★★★★ Outstanding, the benchmark of its category.
Some of these products have been sent to me for free by the manufacturer.
CAMP Supernova Women’s Harness
65€, available at Backcountry.com, Bergzeit.de and Campsaver.com
I love climbing, and the CAMP Supernova was my try to get my wife fall in love with it too. With the Supernova Harness being a harness conceived by women, designed by women, and built for women I thought this will be the harness for her, and while she did like the lightweight and comfortable harness she isn’t as obsessed about climbing as me. M liked the padding and ease of adjustment of the harness, with a fully adjustable waist and leg loops, and the No-Twist belay loop came in handy when she was belaying me. / 360 g in Size M
Hestra Ergo Grip OutDry Dexterity Long
€, available at Backcountry.com, Bergzeit.co.uk, Campsaver.com and REI
Gloves, the eternal struggle. If all you need gloves for is that they keep your fingers warm and look good you’re a lucky person and won’t understand the “Search for the perfect glove” that outdoor enthusiasts, and especially ice climbers, conduct. The Hestra Ergo Grip OutDry Dexterity Long is as close to the perfect ice climbing and mountaineering glove I have come, me thinks. It is warm, waterproof with an OutDry membrane, offers superb dexterity and is very, very durable. I have used this fine glove for two winters now and some mountaineering and love it. It’s easy to clip ropes, open ‘biners, conduct fiddly work and keep warm fingers, even when water is running down the shaft of your ice tools. / 186 g for the Pair in Size 9
Suomi Tyres GAZZA EXTREME 294 A 54 -622
90€, available at Amazon.com
294 in that name stands for the 294 steel studs with carbide pins on these tires, which makes these the cycling tires for icy conditions - and thanks to the triple thaw + freeze cycles we had this “winter” (and the last one, too) the Gazza Extreme have been very, very useful. Suomi Tyres is a small company from Eastern Finland and they know how to make some of the best bicycle tires on the planet - they are since 90 years in this business. They’re the only bicycle tyre manufacturer in Northern Europe (check this video of how the tires are made) and produce since ten years already environmentally sound tires from pure rubber compounds. I have ridden the Gazza Extreme on my 29er in the last two winters and didn’t slip once with them on icy roads and frozen lakes. These tires are on the bike a good five to six months a year and so far have yet to lose one stud! / 1090 g per tyre
Lundhags BC Guide Boots
290€, available at Unterwegs.biz, Bergfreunde.co.uk (On Offer - 30% off!) and Bergzeit.co.uk
Back to boots! Well, not really, but for Nordic Skating and Backcountry XC Skiing the Lundhags BC Guide Boots have been fantastic. The shoe was out of the box comfortable, in part probably thanks to the 3 mm wool felt liner boot which can be removed. The boot itself is made from a Perwanger split leather on top which has been great in shedding water and snow and keeping my feet dry, and a Certech 4.5 cellular rubber as a midlayer, with a Rottefella® BC sole underneath which allows you to click into NNN bindings - be these on skis or Nordic Skates is up to you! The laces are long but allowed me to fit the boot well to my feet, and the boot is well insulated against the cold from below so that your feet stay toasty when you’re out on the ice. More on these in detail next year. / 1540 g for the Pair in Size 40
Rock Technologies Revive Creme
5€, available at Rock Technologies
The Rock Technologies Revive Creme is one of those products that I use to treat my hands after climbing. It helps to heal my hands and makes them fit for the next round on the gym wall or rock. It is a rather liquid creme with a nice smell that is quickly absorbed by the skin, and is also recommend to be used after chalk use. / 90 g for the full tube
Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers
45€, available at Unterwegs.biz, Backcountry.com, Bergfreunde.de Bergzeit.co.uk, Campsaver.com and REI
Can’t have enough underwear! The Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers were a present and I love them. I wore my Finisterre Boxers till they were broken and the Anatomica have been a worthy replacement. The colours and fit are spot on, sometimes I find the waistband folds over (for example when cycling or climbing) but overall these have been great. The Merino wool makes these my choice of underwear on backpacking trips as you can wear them for several days and they stay fresh, and the flatlock seams & thin material make them very comfortable on the trail. / 51 g in Size M
Exped ZIP SEAL 4
20€, available at Campsaver.com
The Exped ZIP SEAL 4 was a gift at the OutDoor 2014 and has been used on and off since. I found it especially useful in winter when I need to wear my phone close to my body so it stays warm - the battery drains like nothing in the cold - but it can get wet from my sweat. The case has been 100% waterproof thus far and the transparent front lets me operate the phone in it without problems. There’s even a transparent back window so you can take photos through it, and as far as those go I do find the results are satisfactorily. If you need a waterproof case for your phone that’s also light, check this one out! / 23 g
Ecco Ulterra W’s Mid GTX
170€ €, available at Bergfreunde.de, Bergzeit.co.uk and Campsaver.com
The Ecco Ulterra W’s Mid GTX is M’s winter boot since a year and she finds them excellent. She found them to be comfortable out of the box without needing to be walked in and appreciated the Gore-Tex membrane when she was out in the rain and snow so her feet stayed dry. The uppers are made from yak nubuck leather that’s super tough and allows for a good climate in the shoe. They’re reasonably light too and have good grip on forest trails and snow alike. / 872 g for the Pair in Size 40