Bite-sized gear reviews, spring 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, others I have bought. I am a Houdini Friend and an La Sportiva & Helsport Ambassador.
Houdini MTM Thrill Twill Shorts
So these shorts I have been wearing pretty much the last nine or ten weeks, without and not to warm a break (they have been washed once a week and dried over night). They are comfortable, with a good length of just above the knee, and the two zippered side pockets are spacious. The shorts are airy, and as the name suggests (MYM stands for “Made To Move”) with these shorts you can do pretty much anything, from playing in the park with the kids to hiking and scrambling up a mountain. For the scorching hot weather we had these last months these were ideal, and when it’s again warm outside these shorts will be worn again! / 195 g in Size S
Houdini Activist Message T-Shirt
70€, available at Houdini
Until I bought some other T-Shirts last month my complete wardrobe pretty much consisted only of various Activist Message T-Shirts from Houdini. I love T-Shirts and these are for me the best ones out there. They’re made from 60% Wool and 40% Lyocell which makes these shirts damn comfortable - really nice soft and light on the skin. They also don’t start to smell easily - even in those 29°C days where I was sweating heaps I just aired it out over night and wore it again the next day - no sweaty smell lingered. These are fine for any occasion where you feel a T-Shirt is OK to wear - I wore these to my #OutDoorFN meetings, hiking, partying, going to the city - you name it. They’re available in a lot of different designs and colours so you’re bound to find one which you like! / 152 g in Size S
Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hoody
250€, available at Patagonia
So this hoody I have worn almost a complete week while I was hiking in Scotland and it has served me very well. As I run pretty warm quickly I would wear this when it was ridiculously windy and also in the evenings at camp, while at night it was my pillow - just wrap it up in the hood and its ready for sleeping! This insulation piece has a deep zipper which means it’s easy to vent, it has a small zippered pocket which holds a müsli bar and camera batteries, and the cuffs are narrowed down so it layers easily under another jacket. But the main thing about this hoody is how breathable it is. Like many other backpackers, I’m lazy, and stopping to put an insulation piece off isn’t one of my favourite reasons to stop hiking. As the insulation in this is just 40 g it is warm enough to keep me toasty, but with the long zipper it is easy to vent and stay cool. Add in that it has a DWR finish which means I can wear this as an outer layer. Overall a very versatile piece that is really good for the shoulder season months and cool summer nights. / 273 g in Size S
Houdini Come Along Jacket
150€, currently not available
The Come Along Jacket came along in the spring and has been along with me since then everywhere I went, from hiking on the Causeway Coast Way to a family hike in Nuuksio, this jacket packs down so small and light that I happily always tossed it in the pack to have it with me. Made from recycled Polyamide it is windproof and water resistant, very pretty thin and soft on the skin. It has a good hood, a small chest pocket in which you can stow the jacket when you don’t need it, and the sleeves have thumbloops. It’s not as good as the Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody which still is my favourite wind jacket, but it’s a wee bit lighter and does a damn good job at keeping the wind at bay. / 112 g in Size S
La Sportiva Akyra
The Akyra from La Sportiva has a 9 mm Drop which is quite a lot for me, and when I have worn shoes with little to no Drop before (Drop is the difference in height between the heel and toes) then I need some time to get used to the Akyra. I like them for long hikes in the hills (I’ve worn them on my Scotland trip, for example) but for running they are not my kind of shoe - because I like to feel closer to the ground. The laces are not very durable and fray or break, revealing the core. This is a surprise, as the laces on my La Sportiva TX2 are after two years of use still like new. The mesh upper is nice and airy, which makes the shoes dry relatively fast, and the Frixion sole has good grip on wet and dry undergrounds alike. They’re a very comfortable shoe otherwise, and I will be wearing them again on long backpacking trips. / 738 g for the pair in Size 42
On Running Cloudventure Peak
The Cloudventure Peak has seen a lot of runs over the summer from me, but no hiking yet. I liked the 6 mm Drop quite well, and these “Clouds” give a nice cushioning on the trails I ran on with them. They’re fast shoes, and really light, with a nice fit and good traction on rocks, gravel, and forest trails. My friend Dan likes them but has had issues with the durability of the clouds, and as I only ran around 50 km in them thus far please don’t consider this my final judgement - maybe I will do a full review on them next summer, after I have used them a lot more! / 496 g for the pair in Size 42
Luna Sandals OSO Flaco
95€, available at Luna Sandals
The Luna Sandals OSO Flaco is a shoe I have used a lot more! This is my second pair of Luna Sandals and like the first pair these are shoes, äh, sandals that I love dearly. In comparison with my OSOs these Flacos are a bit thinner and now have a Megagrip Sole from Vibram. They are my footwear of choice when it is above 15°C and sunny, I have worn them every day this summer, from morning till evening, hiking, cycling, walking in the city, going to events and everything else. I look forward every spring to the time that I can get them out of the closet again, and am a bit sad when it gets too cold to wear them here in Finland. I love these shoes, and can completely recommend them! / 396 g for the pair in Size 42
Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30
250€, available at Peak Design (click that link to get a sweet Discount on the pack, too!)
Since around two years I am using an Everyday Backpack 30 from Peak Design to carry around my camera gear. I have used it for day hikes, going to events like NBE, PING Helsinki, RopeCon and of course the ISPO and OutDoor. I love the sleek design and cool look, the pocket for the laptop and small items is great. The two side pockets are large enough to carry two waterbottles each or a tripod. On the inside you can adjust the design yourself and I have it set up to carry my Drone, my A7 III in the middle, and my a6500 + Rode VideoMic Pro+ on the top. The two zippers - one on each side - give fast access to the pack, in addition to the smart lid on the top. There’s also two zippered pockets on the insides where I carry Filters, my lens cleaning kit, and an external harddrive. I even have used the pack for grocery shopping (for which I found it not so good), but when I’m on easy day hikes and in the city on assignments, then I have really liked using the Everyday Pack. / 1.875 g for the 30 l Volume Pack
BUFF Pack Run Cap
I only had a very short relationship with the BUFF Pack Run Cap. I though an ultralight cap which keeps both the sun and my hair outta my eyes is great, but the truth is that the visor is pretty small and didn’t keep the sun out of my face. What was the bigger problem is that the One-Size-Fits-All construction with the elastic closure in the back is super uncomfortable for me - even on short runs the cap pushed into my head so that I could not imagine using this cap for any hiking. I’m back to using my old hiking Visor, even if it is a wee bit heavier. / 30 g, One-Size-Fits-All
Arc’teryx V110 Rolling Duffle
I thought we had the perfect Duffel with the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler - and then Arc’teryx comes along, gives their amazing Carrier Duffles a pair of wheels and a frame which protects the content, and then you have me scratching my head and wondering if this V110 might not be even a wee bit better? Well, it is an amazing piece of luggage. I have used it on many trips this year, and packed all the kit from the kids and me in it when we moved to Helsinki, and still had some space over. It’s huge, it’s easy to transport, it’s stylish, it’s durable and it is water resistant. If you have to transport all the gear a few times per year on family or work trips, this is a serious piece of luggage which will help you transport it comfortably from A to B. Now if it would still fold up as small as the Cargo Hauler when it is not needed… / 3,5 kg for the 110l Volume Version
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