Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Freeloader Pico solar charger

I forgot to do a review of this bit of kit on my TGO Challenge. It can be charged by connecting it to a USB socket on a PC. When fully charged in that way, it will give a half charge (two bars out of four) to my Blackberry Pearl when that is registering low charge. It was a different matter charging it via its little solar panel. Obviously, the more direct sunlight there is, the better. Whenever I could, I would attach it to the outside of my pack. I left it to charge for about three days. There was a fair amount of sun but, even then, it only gave the Blackberry one bar of charge - enough to keep posting to this blog and maybe a couple of brief phone calls. So, is it worth having and worth the £16.00 or so that it cost? Well, for the price and considering the small size of the solar panel, it's probably not bad and you get what you pay for. I shall stick with it. After all, it weighs very little and takes up no space but I'm not over impressed. I might invest in a spare battery for the Blackberry as well.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

TGO Challenge - kit review


My Golite Cave performed brilliantly, as usual. I've had it nine years now. Plenty of space, light to carry. Fortunately, there were no midges, otherwise I'd have need the bug nest to go in it. If this bit of kit ever needs replacing, I'll buy one in kit from from http://www.rayjardine.com/ray-way/Tarp-Kit/index.htm I also fancy making a backpack from the same source some time.


Although I have other packs, my trusty Golite Breeze was fine. I really don't like hip belts and, using the Breeze encourages me to keep the weight down. It's meant for loads not exceeding 20lb. At its heaviest it was probably 25lb but this reduced each day with food consumption.


My Alt-Bergs were not a success on this trip. I realised that I hadn't resolved the heel rubbing problem and the resulting blisters spoiled the enjoyment of the walk. The Inov-8 Roclites that I bought at Braemar were superb. The twenty mile day that followed was very easy. My resolution now is to wear trail shoes whenever possible, certainly through the spring, summer and autumn.


This was my first multi-day hike using a gas stove for many years. I liked it very much. The stove is a GoSystem Trail Classic and it only cost £16.00 or so. It's not the lightest but it was efficient and much faster to bring things to heat. I shan't abandon my meths stove though as I have over two litres of meths to use up.


These were Peter Storm ankle gaiters from Millets – cost £9.99. They were excellent. Unlike the Outdoor Designs ones that I replaced them with, they fitted snugly round my boots and were very effective in stopping water and general crud from getting into the boots.

Travel Tap

This was great. I would fill it from any water source I passed and was able to drink immediately. If and when it wears out, I shall replace it with a new, full price one.