Bloggers Vs the weather

by backpackingbongos

Unfortunately the weather won fair and square.  After perhaps the stormiest night I have spent in a tent, Martin and myself packed up at dawn and beat a retreat back down to our vehicles.  We got back pretty much twenty fours hours after leaving them.  The power of nature sometimes can be simply awesome.  The beck we crossed the evening before was a raging torrent in the morning, it simply would have swept anyone stepping in it away.  Water was pouring off the hillsides in torrents and the wind was howling down the valley like a banshee.

Too tired for a write-up now, that will have to come after I have done a trip report from last weekend.  So in the meantime, here a few things I learned (or got reconfirmed).

1. The Scarp1 is the best tent I have used in extreme wind.  Period.  Unfortunately the fly still leaks, which is a bugger but no water got through to the inner.  Some more seam sealing is needed but it got me through some really rough weather and my sleeping bag was still dry inside.

2. Salomon fastpacker mids have possibly the worst traction of any footwear known to man.  Wet grassy fells and they are not good companions.  Martin has probably got the opinion that I am a real clumsy twat but it was the boots, honest.  It was like traversing ice this morning and a nasty slip has left me with a swollen ankle this evening.

3. Paramo Velez adventure trousers are shite.  Half hour of heavy wind-blown rain and I had a wet arse and water running down the backs of my legs.  Shameful, don’t waste your money on these expensive white elephants.

4. Believe the weather forecast and don’t be too optimistic.  This is what we had today!

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27 Responses to “Bloggers Vs the weather”

  1. Thought you might be in for a battering. Glad you all made it back ok. Guess who went and spanked £130 on some Velez trousers Friday afternoon .Doh!

    • Cheers Karl. The Velez trousers will be fine as long as there is no heavy driving rain! Make sure that you do not fall over in them as well, they don’t like that either……….

  2. Those shoes are horrid. Bin them. Wild night but the kit did well. Paramo for both of us up top and I was warm and dry. I will pass on getting some of those trousers as they are rubbish. Scarp is bomber and we know the Trailstar is its equal in the wind. What a revelation that Hybrid shelter is. Only mistake I made was not having a gas stove. Yours was the shoe choice and believing the hype on those trousers. Good adventure and kit test as well; Look forward to the writeup.

  3. ooch! look fwd to the trip reports guys ;p

    good news about the scarp, not so good about the trews

  4. James,did you take the crossing poles with you for the Scarp ?
    Mark

  5. Look forward to the write up James, looks like you both had quite the night. 60-70mph winds is not to be laughed at, but probably the best test your tents will ever get.

  6. I’m surprised that the Fastpackers didn’t work. I’ve been in some dodgy slippery conditions and they’ve worked well.

    When I saw the weather forecast I thought it might be a bit hairy.

  7. Interesting. I think John Manning is braving the elements tonight. I wonder what gear he’s testing.
    I think I’ll wait until April!
    Looking forward to the reports….

  8. Looks like great testing weather!

  9. I’m amazed you even set off on a forecast like that, it’s hardly likely to be a pleasant experience!.
    Steep wet grass can be so slippery it’s sometimes used to practise ice axe arrest, hillwalking footwear doesn’t perform well on it. The only ones I’ve tried that work reasonably well are Saucony Kyotee running shoes, which have jagged lugs on the sole.
    So that’s another evidence exhibit to add to the Paramo prosecution pile. There seems to be an awful lot of anecdotal evidence on both sides but no objective controlled reports, but there is certainly a case to answer.

  10. Paramo worked fine up top Geoff. No issues. 3rd Element Jacket for me. Forecast was correct but we had hoped it could be wrong and camped in a spot which allowed fast escape if needed. Robin having seen James hit the deck on several occasions in the Howgills and Lakes I question the Fastpackers suitability for UK hill walking. PTC hit the deck on wet grass and James has. We had a good walk and it tested the kit we plan to take on the Challenge. If you are using a Scarp or Trailstar rest assured they cope very well in very strong winds. Just seam seal them well. Paramo tops did the job of keeping us dry but the trousers James used did not.

  11. Martin, it was good to meet up with you this weekend. We knew what the weather had in store for us and we tried to be optimistic, which is good! It’s good to know that if we have weather like that on the challenge, our shelters will be able to cope with it. Your Trailstar was a revelation, easily as strong as the Scarp1 at shedding the wind although I am glad to be able to seal myself into a shelter. I will now seek out a pair of Crosslights and see if they fit me well. I like the fastpackers but not on wet grass. I really liked the spider stove, great in the wind and safe to use in the porch, a great bit of kit. As for those Paramo trousers………..

    It certainly was a wild couple of days Dave!

    Mark I did use the crossing poles on the Scarp1, they really make a difference in strong winds, keeps in stable and the fly off your face. No flapping either just the wind whistling through the crossing poles!

    The write up will come soon Northernfall. Not sure how strong the winds were in the valley but strong enough to make you have to brace yourself when it hit you.

    Robin, the fastpackers were dreadful on slippery grass, no grip at all. They are great in dry conditions but I think I need to seek an alternative for when conditions are wet.

    Martin B, I can’t wait for an April backpack myself, nice long evenings are something that I enjoy. No getting in your bag at 4.00pm!

    Mark, the best testing weather you can get!

    Geoff, we knew the weather was going to be bad but the trip had been planned for a while now. Would have been a shame to cancel it because of the weather. My Paramo top as usual worked really well, it was just those new trews that let me down. I actually wrung my underpants out when I got home!

    The Paramo tops were great eh Martin? I now curse my fastpackers as my ankle is still sore this morning with a bit of swelling. Lucky that I did not do serious damage as I landed in a weird way, it was hard enough jumping that river as it was!

  12. Well, well, well….good testing conditions, eh? 🙂

    Was rough where I was in the Peaks. Mate joined me on Friday – we avoided all summits and ridges. I recorded 45mph average wind speeds (Friday) – proper buffeting you about it was. Made for hard walking. Didn’t bother recording speeds on Saturday as we just wanted to get out of it.

    Interesting about the Paramo trousers – I use the Cascadas and they work a treat. But in high winds and heavy rain you can get water ingress. It’s to do with the pressure. Perhaps these Veleze adventures are just ‘shite’? A ‘no-no’?

    Look forward to the trip reports from the weekend! 😉

  13. Did you wild camp in the Peaks Terry? We got on the summit of the calf on Friday and the weather was rough, however it was pretty benign compared to what appeared in the early hours of Sat. No idea what the wind speeds were, but they were high, especially some of the gusts tearing down the valley.

    The Velez trousers were a huge let down, pressure or not. £130 and I expect to be warm and dry. If I feel that something is ‘shite’ it only fair that I express that. Same if something is great I will convey that.

    A trip report with not very many pic (too wet!) will be forthcoming.

  14. Hi James,

    Yeah, I’d been wild camping (bar one night in a bunkhouse) since last Wednesday through to Sunday. Took the Sololite tent and come back with a kinked tent pole but no other damage.

    Unfortunately, wind speeds I weren’t able to gauge accurately at best on Saturday afternoon – my Kes broke. One of the fans on the wind speed meter snapped! 🙂 Oh, well – it was bad then….

    Know what you mean about the Paramo – thing is all gear to a degree has it’s limits. Thats one of them for Paramo. To be fair, my Cascadas were fine. Perhaps it’s these Velez that’s a problem then? Only you know, mind. I can’t afford anymore Paramo gear at the moment.

    That nice weather I been banging on about – first signs of it begin this week 😉 I’ll be back out for a few days again this week.

    Not all pleasure, mind. I do have work to do out there. LOL

  15. You slander your equipment too easily. What do you expect in extreme weather? Most equipment is compromised in some way – the perfect bit of kit that does eveything under all circumstances probably does not exist, whatever the marketing hype may say.

    Most footwear is going to have grip problems on steep wet grass or slippery wet rocks. Most waterproofs let in water somewhere when exposed to torrential rain for several hours or more likely you are wet inside from your own sweat which cannot get out.

    I suspect the low hydrostatic head on your tent may have caused some of your leaks if the weather was as extreme as you state – clearly it is not helped by you having to seam seal the thing yourself (very difficult to do perfectly).

  16. I travelled south on the west coast mainline from Glasgow to London on Saturday. Outside the window a world of rain-lashed murk passed us by, every burn and river was transformed into a raging torrent and I thought to myself: ‘Surely James and Martin will call it off, stay home and catch up on some origami or something’. Actually, I knew you’d go and the above post was anticipated almost word for word. Looking forward to your write-up – don’t suppose there’ll be many pictures…

  17. Terry it must have been bad to have snapped one of the fans on your wind meter thang! Remember that I expect a whole month of sun and frost during Feb!

    Hi Peter. Maybe I do have too high expectations for any gear that I pay lots of money for. If stuff lets you down in extreme weather then there could be the potential for things to get dangerous. We were lucky in the fact we only had a couple of hours to walk out.
    The grip on my footwear that day was as good as walking on ice, sure the ground conditions were bad but it was actually difficult to stay upright. Never experienced that with a vibram sole or with my inov8’s.
    The Paramo trousers started letting water in within half an hour, in fact by the time I got back to the van I actually wrung water out of my underpants. No time to get sweaty that day.
    It could have been the hydrostatic head on the tent as it is fairly low. Still happy with it as it shrugged off the wind so well.
    I think that one of the good things about writing an outdoors blog is that you can say how you feel about things honestly. You don’t need to pander to the manufacturers. If stuff is great then I am more than happy to say so!

    I did not want to wimp out Pete. It was fun but in a weird sort of way! Not many pics were taken, I think about 5 in all as I did not want to drown the camera. BTW I saw a man about a dog on Sun………….

    • The man and the dog. And so….?

      • We are being home checked by the local dog warden tomorrow after visiting and picking a pooch from the rescue centre. Met him a couple of times and taken him for a walk and he is a real sweetie. We think that we are going to have to put up with alot of cannine prejudice though as he is a staffie. Sadly most of the dogs in rescue centres these days are that breed because for some reason they are the idiots dog of choice. Maybe we will get him a really girlie collar and harness? When we visited all the other dogs were jumping up saying ‘look at me’ and barking alot whilst he casually walked over looked a bit sad and enjoyed a good stroke.

        Lets hope we pass and he turns out to be a beast who enjoys the hills. He is 4 so at his prime.

      • Brilliant! Fingers crossed, though can’t see them turning you down. Let us know when you hear whether you’ve ‘passed’. BTW, ‘Hydrostatic Head’, isn’t that a film by David Lynch? If not, can someone explain, please?

      • We passed Pete! We will be picking up our new furry friend on Friday morning, can’t wait! There will have to be a name change though as I refuse to use the name ‘Tigger’ out in public. From Fri onwards he will be called Reuben. Fingers crossed that he likes long walks in the hills!

        Hydrostatic head is a classic arthouse fetish movie………….Actually it is how waterproof fabric is deemed to be waterproof. Basically how much water has to be under pressure to penetrate the fabric. Lightweight tents often have a lower rating. Groundsheets have a higher rating as sitting on them will subject the material to a higher pressure and will stop water penetrating.

      • That’s fantastic news, James. And a huge turn around in the fortunes of Tigg… Reuben. I have a Jewish friend who inherited a ginger tom cat named after the German philosopher, Hegel. Not wanting to call a cat after a German phlosopher, she called it Beigel instead…

        I’m sure Reuben will take to hill-walking, he may not have been walked that much before though, you’d suspect. So perhaps introducing him to backpacking and bongoing gently would be the thing. I’m down in Brighton and will miss Dougal’s first walk around our ‘hood in Glasgow today. Still, one can’t be getting too sentimental…

  18. Hydrostatic head is not an issue. I had a small drop or two run down a seam I had not got enough sealant into. Same material as the Scarp. Silnylon and did fine. Paramo top was fine as well and I was dry. My shoes gripped fine on the same grass. So it is right to give kit a hard time if it fails.

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