Archive for September 22nd, 2011

September 22, 2011

Ultralight face warmer from Manfur

by backpackingbongos

It’s getting to that time of year when the cool autumn air nips at your face when you step outside.  I was therefore keen to test a new product that eliminates that problem from an up and coming cottage industry called Manfur.  As you are all probably aware, when ordering from a small niche cottage manufacturer there is often a wait of several weeks whilst they build your gear to order.  This was no different when ordering from Manfur.  Their products take between a week to several months to individually craft your order to exact specifications.  The option that I went for took a good couple of months before I received it.

Natural fibres are all the rage theses days, for example Merino and bamboo.  One manufacturer makes waterproofs that mimics the action of animal fur to help pump moisture away from the wearer.  Manfur have also gone down the natural route whilst perfecting their products.  They describe their material as a ‘natural, fully lofting yarn’.  They have a patent pending so don’t go into too much detail of the exact specifications.

Initially I found my Manfur Ultralight face warmer a little bit itchy.  However like many new garments, it soon softened up after a few washes.  It truly is a warm garment, during a blustery few days in Pembrokeshire I hardly noticed the cool air whipping my face.  There are no seams that rub and although some of the edges are a bit rough it is easy to trim them down.  Breathability is excellent, although I have to admit that I have not had the opportunity to test it out during really hot weather.

Weight is obviously an issue for many ultra lightweight backpackers and I can confirm that it weighs only a few grammes.  The only fault that I can really find is that it is a use once product.  If you wish to take it off, a new one will also take several weeks to be produced.

The makers of Manfur have also been working on a new product called ‘Ladyfur’.  This has yet to take off and probably won’t catch on for a few more years yet.  This is probably a niche market as I have seen very few women wearing ultralight face warmers.

Disclaimer: Obviously the integrity of bloggers whilst doing gear reviews are paramount.  I would like to point out that although I received my Manfur product free of charge I have been under no obligation to put in a favourable review.  I have tested this product extensively and under many different types of conditions, no just popping to the shops to test gear for this blogger.

There are some risks to using Manfur products and they should be used responsibly.  Manfur take no responsibility for small children pointing, the risk of fire hazards whilst smoking or food getting attached to their product.  It is recommended that they are washed regularly to maintain full loft and comfort.

September 22, 2011

Losing my tent in the mist at night

by backpackingbongos

Some things really should not happen.

It was midnight and Corrina had retired to our tent for the night.  I sat in our Tentipi, snug in my down jacket, beer in hand reading the paper whilst radio six played in the background.  The weather outside was horrendous, a howling gale was whistling around the tall shelter, a low moaning sound followed but a sudden shudder of the fabric.  There was a dawning realisation that I was going to have to visit the loo, a quick dash to a hedge being unacceptable this time.  Karma was about to come and give me a good slap in the face.

A couple of hours earlier Corrina has declared her intention of visiting the loo and had asked me to accompany her.  We were in a campsite in Pembrokeshire, but had selected one of their ‘wild’ pitches.  This involved a five minute walk from the farmhouse through a few fields, simple during the light of day.  At the time it was pishing it down and I selfishly declined to accompany her on a nocturnal walk, dejectedly she set off alone into the wet and windy night.  Five minutes later she was back, saying that she could not find her way, asking if there was a metal feed tray en route.  I confirmed that there was and she successfully navigated her way there and back after a second plea for assistance.

Now it was my turn and I exited the Tentipi into the dark night.  The rain had finally stopped and had been replaced by a dense swirling mist.  It was exhilarating walking through the fields, with a combination of absolute darkness, a full on gale and swirling mist.  The weather made me feel like I was walking across exposed moorland, or high in the mountains.   The beam of my torch was cut short by a constantly moving wall of white.  I reached the farm buildings with ease, feeling bemused by my partners lack of direction.

On my return leg, it all went horribly wrong.  Passing our car which was parked just inside the top field, I picked up the grassy track back to our camp.  I started to feel uneasy when I noticed that the track was wider than I remembered it, a trick of the eye?  My unease grew as I passed through a gate and noticed a patch of gravel, that definitely was not there before.  Ok, I realised that I must have gone wrong somehow and backtracked towards our parked car.  Gathering my senses I stood at the car and visualised getting out and walking towards camp.  I set off once again.  Like some sort of weird frustrating dream I once again found myself in the same location.  I started to panic a little bit, it felt like I was part of a massive practical joke, someone coming along and moving the scenery around whilst I was in the loo.  I returned to the car a second time before heading back into the darkness.  Nope, that did not work out either as I was soon back at the patch of gravel.  I started to tell myself that perhaps I simply had not noticed it before?  This time I pressed on to a fork in the track, taking a right turn I became even more alarmed to find the woods that should have been on my left were on my right instead.  A picnic bench loomed out of the mist, I initially thought that I had found my way back, I really panicked to see no tents there.  To cut a long story short, our campsite eventually appeared out of the mist half an hour after setting off from the toilet block.

God help me if I need to go off and dig a hole in the night whilst wild camping!

I think that there is a moral to this story somewhere as well………………….