Monday, 26 September 2011

Distraction techniques

Having finished planning my route for a possible future Challenge, I decided to step away from the maps before my tweaking went a tweak too far! I’ve worked out distances and ascents, food parcel drops and accommodation.

Instead, I took a sideways step towards gear. Oops.

I happened to heft my Karrimor Wildcat 60-65 at the same time as David’s Jaguar 65 the other day and realised that, despite being of sightly lesser capacity, mine is heavier. A whole 400g heavier. No wonder I felt relieved when I swapped packs at Laggan! So, I started vaguely casting about for a replacement. I had been considering Deuter and Osprey packs and decided Osprey was the likely winner. That was the easy bit.

I like the women specific packs, Ariel 55 and 65, mainly because I have a problem with hip belts. Due to my shapeliness, I tend to find it tricky to keep a hip belt in place and I thought a specific one might help. I also like having a separate compartment for my sleeping bag.  However, neither of these packs are lighter than my current pack, the 65 is obviously a similar volume, so they were duly discounted.

That left me with the Exos 58 or 46. I’m concerned that  (despite my guide kit list weighing in at around 10kg, it’s quite bulky,) I’ll never squeeze it all into a 46, so the 58 may be a better bet and is still over a kg lighter than the Wildcat. However, it has been pointed out to me by a far more sensible and less impulsive person, that spending that amount of cash warrants taking my kit to a retailer and trying one. That’s the plan.

To further distract myself I’ve been reading up a few previous Challenge reports and on Shirley’s I found a reference to this hostel. I haven’t changed my route, just my stop over that night!

Still at Shirley’s, I found myself investigating her favourite bits of kit. Quite how that led me to this isn’t immediately obvious, but I then made another sidestep from a new pack to a new tent! A particularly tempting offer on both the one man and two man versions, so I need to go and cook dinner. Now!

All in aid of distracting me from my annual fasting blood test tomorrow.



Laura said...

Just a thought.....I am shorter than you are - that tent's head height is only 95 cms - I would find that too low! Best look for something over a metre - it beats trying to get dressed lying down!

Louise said...

Funny that, it crossed my mind. My Kraz is 100cm (I think) I can sit up in it, but I still tend to get dressed lying down. I find it easier to control.

Gayle said...

I've never tried the Osprey Ariel (isn't that one with a moulded hip belt?) nor any Deuter pack, but I have found that the Osprey Exos is the only pack I've ever used on which the hip belt will stay where it should be. None of that constant pushing back down that I've had with all of my other packs.

That said, it's obviously a very shape-sensitive thing, so there's no guarantee that what works for me would work for anyone else.

Regarding the tent (incidentally, have you seen the thread on Outdoors Magic on the subject of the Zephyros? It's at: I would also have thought that 95cm is a bit too low for comfort, but looking at the spec of the Laser Competition I see that it's the same height, and I have no problem at all in the Competition. (mumbling slightly: did I ever mention that we once took all of our kit with us to try a tent for size too?!)

Mick said...

Hi Louise, I've used the Exos 46 litre on my previous few trips and found it to be comfortable, spacious and robust. Don't be put off by the 46 litre capacity - the zipped back pocket is sizeable and the external back pocket is also capacious.

Perhaps you could view the 46 litres capacity as a goal?

I do think that it does have a few too many stringy bits dangling from it but these have been dealt with by passing the bag to Gayle and saying "fix it". Seemed to work for me.

Also the Osprey bags have, in my humble opinion, the best belt mechanism of any that I have tried (and I've tried a few). Also, Gayle found that it doesn't ride up either (nor did I - but I'm not as 'curvy').

If there's any way we could get one up to you easily, you could have a loan of mine (or Gayle's)....

Best make it Gayle's - I'm a bit possessive about mine - it's got sentimental value.

Louise said...

Hi both!
I am erring(?) towards a 46, seeing it as a goal rather than an obstacle is a more positive thought! I should email Hugh and Barbara about the hip belt (my friends who bought the bubbly at The Park) they both also have 46s and Barbara may have experienced similar problems to mine.
I'm planning a trip to Aviemore for a little browsing, so hopefully I'll get to try one out, I'm just trying to narrow the field as 'twere before I get there. Otherwise I'll be a glowing beetroot, humping my full pack up and down the High Street, popping into different shops to try each one. Pleasant image. They couldn't have all the packs in the one shop, that would be too simple! Thanks for the thought, you are very kind and I appreciate it.
As to the Zephyros, being made by Terra Nova along the lines of the Laser, I thought it worth a look, but I'm loath to give up my Kraz, it may not be the best, but I feel attached to it now. We've been through alot together...

Alan Sloman said...


I had the Osprey Exos 46l and found it too capacious, so I went with the 44 litre Osprey Talon (which is slightly heavier, but a more comfortable ride)

I *almost* squeezed everything into my 33l Talon but my food bag for five days scuppered that one. it does cope with food for three days though.

Go with a small pack and dump stuff that won't fit in. Lighter that way!

And choose a sturdy tent with good headroom. (I adore my Wanda!) We have had five people playing a game of cards in Wanda..)

Louise said...

Hi Alan
I'll definitely be replacing my pack (I think) but I think I will be taking my time. I discovered this year that there was nothing in my kit list that I didn't use, so I'd be loath to ditch anything. I think I might need to replace bulky items over time.
As for the tent, I'm quite attached to my Kraz really, but it's one of those bulky items. A bit of a quandary on a tight budget.

Gayle said...

Just been looking at the Kraz versus the Zephyros (because it puts off having to do more stuff with East to West photos!). From what I can see: 1) they're both 95cm tall; 2) they weigh within 100g of each other; 3) the Kraz has a wider inner; 4) the Kraz is longer; 5) the Zephyros has a bigger porch overall; 6) the Kraz has a smaller packed size; and 7) they'll both flap in the wind (admittedly the latter point isn't evident from the manufacturers specifications, but I seem to recall that you said that the Kraz flapped and I know from experience that the Competition does, so I assume the Zephyros would too. (I've also just discovered that I have a problem typing Zephyros with the letters in the right order).

The clincher for me on the tent would be that for £120 you would be saving less than 100g and no volume.

Don't know if it will every be repeated, but last year Field & Trek at one point had the Laser Competition on sale at £140. Worth keeping an eye out.

(And, by the way, Mick and I do talk to each other occasionally, but apparently not when both commenting on the same blog post!)

Louise said...

It's ok, tent is on hold, but you've picked up on the bits I overlooked, although I had noticed the bigger porch, something that is a slight issue. I need to pay more attention to detail and be less excitable... I think keeping an eye out for a Laser bargain isn't a bad idea.

Still have my eye on an Exos though...