Gear Reviews.

Posted By: Creator of Zsup

This trip has been a minor experiment with my equipment. Almost all of which is new, and me being a virgin backpacker would like to share the pro's and con's of my equipment.

For this trip I have brought what would have equated to a soldiers full battle order and more. Perhaps equal in weight, but way better in quality. The stuff I have are, Vaude Astra 65+10 backpack, Marmot Phoenix Waterproof Jacket, Millet Polarstretch Mid Layer, The North Face Fortress Peak Full Gore-tex boots, The North Face Apex Bionix Gloves, Chamelius Sunglasses, Millet Axiome 32 bag, Sportiv Trackpants, Uniqlo midlayers and Heat-tech. Those are the items that I use most often.

In this post I shall review my gloves, boots, and bags.

First up, my gloves. The North Face Apex Bionix gloves.Supposedly water-resistant, breathable softshell which is ideal for cold excursions, with light insulation. Sounds good at the price of about 50 bucks. But it turns out that its unbelivably true. The insulations so light that it leaves my hands cold, even without the wind or rain touching it. As a result, the hands take far too long to warm up in the gloves. It is also not ideal for cold excursions, because it blocks wind like cotton blocks wind. The only thing I'm willing to give it, is the fact that its water-resistant, in fact almost waterproof, as I have worn it in the rain, held wet stuff, washed it, dipped it into water, and my hands are still dry.

Verdict? Not too happy with the gloves, as they are currently of little help to me in single digit temperatures. I would however recommend them to climbers who are expecting showers, or wet conditions.

Next, my bags. My Vaude Astra 65+10 is excellent. It comes with a rain cover, enough compression straps to ensure that all the stuff within it is locked down tight, and the bag fits really well, not to mention the hip belt positions the weight of the bag really well. I have no doubt that this bag is an excellent purchase at 180 bucks. My Millet however, is slightly disappointing. Its extremely light, just over half a kilo for a 35 litre bag is excellent, plus it comes with water bag compartment, straps, hip belt, and the main compartment with lid. It also came with two plastic back panel supports, which I removed so that I could squeeze the bag into my main backpack. On hindsight, this is starting to look like a seriously bad idea. It seems that the bag is unable to position weigh properly without the back supports; even though they are really just two plastic sticks. I have carried the bag for two weeks for in-city trips, and I must say that its a real pain to carry it. However at 52 bucks for such a cool bag, which would probably work really well with the supports, I can't complain.

Verdict? Vaude Accept 65+10 is perfect, great price, great look, great performance. Millet Axiom fails to perform, but I would still recommend it for light packers.

Lastly, are my boots. My lucky buy. The North Face Fortress Peak Full Gore-tex boots. These boots are fully equipped with Gore-tex waterproofing, leather outers which repel water, and a really nice insole. Best of all? I managed to get it under a hundred dollars, cost it was apparently a used pair. Not that it affected me at all. The boots have seasoned very well, and I have tried it time and again for its waterproofness, and Gore-tex has yet to fail. The leather uppers are extremely smooth to touch, and one can hardly expect it to repel water, but it does with class. The insole is amazing, as I have walked a whole day with these boots on (mind you these are not light, probably close to 3 kilos of shoe) and not felt even slight fatigue in the heels. So far in this trip, these boots have yet to fail, although they are starting to show signs of wear and tear; the folding area at the toes are starting to get worn down due to friction, but its no real issue, unless you mind staring at the upper absorb water, which at the end of the day fails to get past Gore-Tex.

Verdict? Perfect buy. Yet to fail, extremely comfortable, protects from cold, and is worth every single cent I forked out for it. Normal retail price may shock the tootsies out of you, cos its about 300 bucks for a pair.

With that, I end my first gear review post. The gear I have with me will endure 3 months of torture, with little washing and lots of use, perhaps I'll have problems with them, perhaps not, but I will update it here for all to see.

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