The past year has been a bit rough, I was made redundant and while trying to find work again I was not in the right place to write any posts or edit the few podcasts I have recorded.
I stared a new job back in May and now I’m ready to start picking up where I left off.
If you have any suggestions or questions please get in contact through the Facebook page
Wet feet are not fun, I had a pair of walking boots that had a hole in them and anything deeper than half an inch resulted in a soggy boot for the rest of the day. I was saving up for a new pair of boots and was sent a pair of Sealskinz Mid Weight Mid Length Socks by Blacks to review.
I have had these now for 2 years and have taken them with me on trips to Hungary, Norway and Sweden, as well as all over the UK. With my holey boots I was able to enjoy being out when it was wet, yes I still had a soggy boot until I managed to get new boots, but now my feet were remaining dry and I was feeling happier at the end of the day.
I got myself a second pair to allow for changing during the day on long walks and when winter camping in the mud on a scout camp to rotate through them. By the nature of keeping water out I found that they kept sweat in, so I would advise bringing some foot powder and comfortable socks to change into at the end of the day. As the old saying goes take care of your feet and they’ll take care of you.
Given that I have already added a second pair and I am looking at getting another pair in the future, I would and do recommend Sealskinz socks for anyone who spends time in the outdoors.
I have been using the Snugpak Sleeka jacket provided by WebTogs for just over 6 months now and it is an item that has become part of core my outdoor kit. It has been on several trips in the UK and came with me on my trip to Norway & Sweden earlier this year, I have found it to be a versatile item of kit and it is fast becoming an item of clothing that will come on many future trips.
Just like Snugpaks Softie Elite sleeping bags this jacket is very efficient at keeping you warm, while walking around Oslo with tempatures just above 0°C I was comfortable with just a shirt under the jacket. It was a nights wild camping next to Lake Rodjen where the jacket cemented its place in my kit for future trips. When the sun went down and the tempature plummeted, the Sleeka jacket kept me comfortably warm. Placed inside a dry bag it made a great luxurious pillow (who says you don’t have to be comfortable while roughing it) and it the morning after a invigorating plunge in the lake (there was still ice on the water on the far bank of the lake) played a big part in warming me back up while eating a ration pack breakfast and drinking pine needle tea.
Since then it has been on all but one trip I have been on and the trip where I did not bring it I spent most of the time regretting it. So with the colder weather on its way this jacket will get more use over the coming months, so if you are looking for a new jacket to stay warm during Autumn and Winter a Sleeka jacket from Snugpak will see you right.
Shortly after getting my DD Camping Hammock I made the decision to buy an underblanket, I had been using a sleeping pad between the two layers of the hammock and found it a little bulky when sleeping. I looked at a few underblankets and decided to purchase the Sungpak underblanket, the service from DD Hammocks was great as always (DD Hammocks no longer stock the Snugpak underblanket as they now have their own version).
My first thought was how do I attach this to my hammock and I tried various methods of attaching the underblanket over two years until I found Dutch Ware Clip On Quilt Hooks and Quilt Hangers, now my underblanket is very easy to attach or remove and does not slide out from underneath me in the middle of the night.
So I no longer find myself waking up in the middle of the night with a cold back and having to move everything back into place to feel the benefit of it. Why are attachment methods like this not included with underblankets? The simple answer would be each persons hammock setup is different, so it’s not a one size fits all solution.
Back to the underblanket, the outer is made from paratex light fabric and is filled with softie premier to reflect and trap heat proving a comfortable well insulated nights sleep. It packs down pretty small and takes up the bottom third of my pack 23×24 cm and weighs 1320g if you count the weight of all your kit. In the future I hope to add the Sungpak Hammock quilt to my setup in the future to compliment the Underblanket.
The first time I used the Alpkit Hunka XL Bivvy Bag was inside a tent! On a recent scout camp I decided to try a small lightweight tent that was in the stores and had only been used once before me and I was woken on the first night by a drip that was landing on my sleeping bag. Luckily I had packed the bivvy as I had intended to see how me and my sleeping bag fitted into it before I took it on a #microadventure to iron out any problems with the setup I was planning to use. So I reached over to my bag, pulled the Hunka XL bivvy out and wriggled into it carefully so not to rip it as I was still in my sleeping bag. I was expecting it to make more noise when moving about, but once inside it was very quiet and spacious. While pulling the draw cords (which seem to be a bit fiddly) I found myself staring at a “Made in China” tag, which is a shame as I was under the impression that Alpkit made it all in the UK?
I decided to use this without a tent on an overnight trip to an axe throwing course with some other Scout leaders, there was two reasons behind this decision. Firstly to reduce the weight of my kit by switching a tent for a tarp and bivvy combo, secondly I was fast approaching a trip to Norway and Sweden where I would be spending one night bivvy camping on the shore of Lake Rojden (Which actually straddles the border between the two). It feels like a tardis, so much room inside something that packs down to almost half the size of a British Army bivvy bag. Being breathable you don’t wake up feeling like you have slept in a carrier bag, if you are sleeping in a bivvy bag to stay out of the bad weather you don’t want to end up with a soggy sleeping bag because of condensation.
Available in 3 different colours Kelp (olive green), Lego (royal blue) and Chilli (red) you can decide to stand out or blend into your surroundings. If you need a slightly smaller (regular) size Hunka is also available. If you are looking to get outdoors and have your own #microadventure Alpkit had a bundle which included the Hunka and a few other items to help get you started, at the point of writing this up it was not in stock.
So after a few uses I think this will be an item that goes in my pack each time I go camping even if I am using a tent, as I have found that it increases the warmth of my sleeping system and it has the advantage of not needing you to get out of your sleeping bag to make use of it unlike adding a liner does. The only complaint I have is they don’t stay in stock for very long, but that just goes to show how popular they are and rightly so.