Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A stroke of luck

I and, I know, many other backpackers, have been bemoaning the fact that Inov-8 have discontinued their Terroc trail shoe. It wasn't waterproof and had lots of mesh in the upper. Wet came in and then went out. They dried pretty quickly. They were brilliant. My first introduction to Inov-8 was the Roclite 315 which I bought at Braemar Mountain Sports when doing the TGO Challenge in 2010. I had been wearing boots and my blisters were so bad. I was fitted with the Roclites and they were so comfortable. They enabled me to finish the last few days of the Challenge and, to cap it all, the shop posted my boots back home for no extra charge - superb service.

I then worked my way through probably three pairs of Terrocs. And now they are no more. I recently ordered two pairs of Roclite 295s from Cotswold Outdoor in a sale but, when they arrived (the right size but different fits) they seemed so garishly coloured and tackily made that I returned them. Anyway, I really don't want brightly coloured shoes that I wouldn't also want to wear in the high street.

So, to get to the point, I found on Ebay someone who was selling a slightly used pair of Roclite 295s but probably a previous incarnation and they look fine. I was the only bidder and acquired them for a good price. As you can see from the photos, the uppers are basically the Terroc and the soles are Roclite.

Friday, 1 January 2016

New tent!

As a result of the damage to my Laser Comp referred to in the last posting, I had an opportunity to buy, at a reasonable price, a tent that should withstand most conditions. It's a Saunders Jetpacker Plus, a two man tent, but spacious for one. It was made in England by the now defunct Saunders firm that I believe ceased trading in 2010. The tent was made probably in the late 1970s or so. It's not really lightweight, weighing just over 1.8kg but it's pretty bombproof. It seems very well made with a good sized porch. It will take a bit of getting used to an end entry tent, compared with the Laser Comp which is side entry. It's roomier though and I can sit up at the front end. I'll only use it when conditions are likely to be rough. The front end is supported by two aluminium poles that fit into a round block with a spike that goes through a brass grommet in the fly sheet. I've experimented with substituting the poles with trekking poles but as one of the aluminium poles seems to be permanently fixed into the round block, I don't think this would work as a weight saving exercise. If anyone knows any differently, then I'd like to know. It may be possible to fashion a block from wood, make two holes at the base for the pointed ends of the trekking poles and make a spike from something. I reckon I'm going to be pleased with it and may get a chance to use it in a couple of weeks.

Laser Competition damage

The Laser Comp clearly isn't necessarily an all year round tent. It's good, but not perfect. At the tail end of Storm Desmond and on the edge of it in the Peak District, it was pitched for a weekend in gale force winds for some 36 hours. It survived but the little plastic buckle at the foot of the zip pulled away. The buckle was left intact but one side ripped away from the tent. It wasn't a great problem as I used a tent peg to secure it - this could be done from the outside (when I was leaving the tent unattended) or from the inside (when I was in it). However, it is a weakness, I think, as a friend who also had a Laser Comp suffered exactly the same damage.

Here's a photo of the repair I've done, using a scrap of Dyneema gridstop.