High UV Buff with Insect Shield

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High UV Buff with Insect Shield

I’ll start like I start all of my reviews; with a disclaimer. That way you can decide if you want to read on or not. This High UV Buff with Insect Shield was sent to me by Anth at Kitshack to review. Anth contacted me. I was given the choice of Buffs that I could have to review. Kitshack were kind enough to send me the High UV Buff with Insect Shield and I get to keep it. I have no vested interest in Kitshack who make this Buff other than to share my views and opinions; good, bad or otherwise.     The High UV Buff with Insect Shield is new for this year. What's new? Compared to your normal everyday Buff, it's got insect shield. This invisible and odourless protection helps against mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers and the dreaded midge. I like the sound of that, protection against the midge. Always a winner in Scotland. This should last for up to 70 washes. It doesn't stop there either. The fabric also offers high UV protection against the sun's harmful rays blocking 95% of them. Another winner, especially for me and my pastey white Scottish skin.  The fabric is a one piece tubular construction and no seems as standard on all Buffs. It's made with 100% Coolmax Extreme which is a special 4 channel fibre that wicks sweat away from your body fast and help it to thermo regulate better. It is also treated with Polygiene which helps to keep the bacteria away and the Buff smelling fresher longer. The fabric is also colour fast so won't fade and it shouldn't loose it's elasticity.

Tookie Indoor Gear Test™

I put it through the Tookie Indoor Gear Test™. Not that I really need to seeing as I already own two Buffs and know what they're like. This basically consisted of sticking it on my digital scales which weighed it at 38g which is right on the money compared to the website figure. It also got a good old poking, stretching and look over. I'm happy to say that it's all good. Well made as is to be expected. Not a loose fibre or any fraying in sight. The fabric is soft and comfortable to wear next to the skin which is really helped because it doesn't have any hems or seems. It gets to the stage where you don't know it's on when wearing the Buff around the house. Lounging on the couch watching the television. Lying on the floor. Doing the dishes. You know the type of thing. It's also probably the only time I've tried to make any of the other head coverings that you can. Other than the neckerchief or hat. You have to make sure that the gear is comfortable. If doesn't work around the house it won't work outside. Passed with flying colours. BUFF_DSC4386

Out and About

I never go for walk without wearing or carrying a Buff at the very least. I think they are excellent bits of kit. I've even been known to go out on the town with a Buff on. There's colour and patterns galore and one to suit every out fit. Helps keeps the neck nice and snug on the walk to the pub and no where near as bulky as a scarf but has all the benefits and more.

This one has worked well on many occasions and there's not too much I can say about it. The Buff did it's job unnoticed. Just got on with it. It was never a distraction. Personally that gets top marks. Something that I keep noticing or fidgeting with is no good. I'm in the outdoors to enjoy myself, hopefully with no hassles.

I admit that I did go out my road in trying to test the insect repelling properties. I was a bit sceptical so I would go stand in the middle of the wood on warm and muggy days. Searching out the midge in it's usual haunts which isn't too hard in the west of Scotland. I could sometimes just go and stand outside my back door. Just to see if it would live up to the claim. I was impressed and it worked really well and work even better when the Buff was worn like a face mask.

One thing they don't advertise about the Buff is hope much it stops your stubble catching on a zip. Yep, you know what I'm talking about, you and your hispter beard or designer stubble know well. It's doesn't get along with a high collars and zips. The Buff helps that.

Me, I love a Buff. They may not be for you but everyone is different. I never go out with out one. Like I've said previously I've only ever worn them as a scarf or a hat. Versatile and multifunctional which is always good. Can't fault them. Well made and comfortable. If you don't have one get one and remember a Buff is not just for the hills.

You can see the full gallery of photographs here on flickr at Buff headwear. More will be added as and when I find them.

Vango Ultralite 900 Sleeping Bag

VANGO_ULTRALITE_900_DSC3143 sleeping bag

Vango Ultralite 900 Sleeping Bag.

I've had this for a while now but I’ll start this like every other review I do; with a disclaimer, that this Vango Ultralite 900 sleeping bag was sent to me by Rachel to review. Rachel works for a company called Silverfox Travel & Outdoors and she contacted me. We had a discussion over a few emails and she suggest that I could choose a sleeping bag from the website. I picked the Vango Ultralite 900 sleeping bag and Rachel was kind enough to send it to me and I get to keep it. I have no vested interest in Vango, the company that Rachel works for, Silverfox Travel & Outdoors or the sleeping bag itself other than to share my views and opinions; good, bad or otherwise.

First Impressions.

I had the Vango Ultralite 900 delivered to my work to save some hassle if I missed the delivery at home and jaunt over to Lanark and back. It was delivred pretty quick and all compressed up in it's stuff sack. Compressed down like that it's pack size is about 25 cm by about 20 cm. Which is pretty reasonable for a synthetic sleeping bag. Not really being able to look at it properly at work I left it alone.

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Once home I got in about and had a good look over it and a thorough read of the attached bumpf on the tags. As well as going through the now standard Tookie Indoor Gear Test™ with the help of my daughter. On first inspection that sleeping bag looked well made, a few long ends of some threads but nothing loose or not finished. I fiddled with the zips and closures. Pulled on all the toggles as well as climbing in and out of the bag. My daughter did the same.

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As always I find a standard sleeping bag big. Being 5'7" on a good day. It does have it's advantages in that I can snuggle right down into the sleeping bag or stick I can just stick an insulated jacket or fleece down the bottom and eliminate that wasted space. In the house it did find the bag to be very warm but I do run hot. Even the small Bunten found the bag warm when she was doing her test. I think what helps this was that it has a really good neck baffle to keep the heat in and the drafts out and the hood seems to work well. However it does have a two zip that can be used to vent the bag.

The sleeping bag is made from Nylon. 40 denier ripstop on the outside to make it hard wearing and mini ripstop on the inside. This is very soft and comfortable next to the skin. The bag is insulted with Insulite® Superfine synthetic insulation. This is a blend of spiralised, siliconised fibres. The bag also incorporates Vango's Thermal Embrace System. Which comprises of elasticated threads with an off-set double layered construction. This always you to move freely and also helps to eleminate the dreaded cold spots.

The bag is rated down to -5°C, with and extreme of -22°C and has a maximum comfort of 18°C, personally at that temp, in that sleeping bag I would be far too warm. Again on the converse of that I would have to have all my clothes on for that. It does mean that it's a sold rated 3 season bag and 4 seasons at a push in my opinion. All their temperatures are independly rated against the EN 13537:2002 standard.

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According to Vango the Ultralite 900 is designed for wild camping and long distance backpacking. Personally the weight and pack size go against that for me. I would want something lighter and of less volume for that kind of activity but then that's where prices start to rise rapidly. It is good value for money.

In Use.

I found using the bag to be fine. The only real issue I had is snagging the zip. Having said that I having found a sleeping bag yet that I haven't managed to snag the zip. Except maybe my top bag but that doesn't have a zip. I did find the bag to be very warm for me at times and having to strip down to my underwear in the middle of the night as I was sweating. That led to a really cold morning trying to get dressed.

There's no signs of wear other than where I keep snagging the zip on the fabric on the inside. Bearing in mind I've only had a few nights in this bag but it seems to hold up well to general wear and tear.

After being compressed it lofts quite well after a good shake which might not be too practical in a small one man tent but left alone for a bit it's just fine. It's really comfortable to sleep in. Nothing to get snagged in and all the toggles are easily adjusted from in the bag for the hood and the baffle.

Conclusion.

This is really more of a my opinions of the Vango Ultralite 900 sleeping bag than a comprehensive review. That would need a few more good nights in the bag. The bag has some really good features for the price and looks to be a durable sleeping bag, time will tell but I'm happy to use it and I will. Maybe not for humpfing around the hills when I've got lighter bags available with the same temperature rating. However it would be a good all round bag for someone starting out.

You can view the full set of photographs on flickr here Vango Ultralite 900 Sleeping Bag. This will get updated from time to time as I sort through any photographs with the bag in it.

Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe

Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe Collar I’ll start like I start all of my reviews; with a disclaimer. That way you can decide if you want to read on or not. This Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe was sent to me by Hannah at Snow+Rock to review. Hannah contacted me. I was given the choice of a few bits of kit that I could have to review. Snow+Rock were kind enough to send me Icebreaker Anatomica and I get to keep it. I have no vested interest in Snow+Rock or Icebreaker who make the merino top itself other than to share my views and opinions; good, bad or otherwise.

Out the box, yes it came in a nifty wee box, so once I got it out the box the Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe felt light and soft. I have a couple of merino tops as I'm a fan of them, they are around the 200/260 weight. This was 150 weighted merino fabric and I could feel the difference. The top is made from 96% merino and 4% elstane which I assume is to help with keeping it's shape. I stuck it on the scales and it came in at 155 grams for the size medium. Definitely lightweight. Icebreaker are marketing this more as underwear than a base layer. Not sure what the difference there is unless they are going for the, you can wear it everyday not just on the hills, other outdoor activities? I got the monsoon (grey)/heat(orange) colourway which measns some colourful contrasting stitching for the seams in a bright orange. All these seems are forward facing which really helps to stop the chaffing. Nothing fancy going on just practical well made top. I like long sleeves as you can pull them up and down depending on how I feel, the weather, midges These ones are raglan sleeves for extra freedom of movement, it also means no seams on the top of your shoulder for rucksack straps to sit on.

Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe BaaCode

What I did really like about what Icebreaker do with clothes and not just the Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe and I thought was a bit different, was the baacode. You see what they did there baacode. Made me chuckle. You can trace where the wool and sheep originated from back to the source through the supply chain. They're trying to be different, trying to show that they have nothing to hide. It's a laudable concept and maybe one that more manufacturers could follow. My baacode took me to 3 stations out of a possible 120. All on the south island of New Zealand, Middlehurst Station, Te Akatawara Station and Walter Peak Station. The site gave me the names of the farmers, size of the farm. All sorts of stuff and some videos as well. It also made have a look at the nifty box that the top came in to see what it's green credentials were. If your care that much for the animal and it's well being then you should what your packaging is doing. I'm please to say that this born out with the package using sustainable inks and cardboard. Good show.

Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe Icebreaker

Next step was to try it on. The Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe has a slim athletic fit which is tight but not in a restrictive way, it's comfortable. It just means that if you're built like me and not an model/athlete/body builder then there's no hiding the big beer kite or those moobs. It also means there's no embarrassing photos of me wearing it. Wouldn't want to put you off your tea and I sure as hell don't want to see myself. I put it through the Tookie Indoor Gear Test™. Which basically means I crawl about the house in it, relax on the couch, do the dishes and my daughter and I play with the Barbies in the toy room. I'm Ken obviously. You'll be glad to know that it passed. No itching, scratching, chafing, riding up or any other general annoyance. Nice and light to wear. Never too warm or too cold. On this top the sleeves are long for me and stretch over my hand. It means they end up bunching at my wrists. Both cuffs have different stitching. Not sure if that's deliberate or because it's a sample that I have. Anyway I like it makes it easier to tell me left from my right. It's also long length-wise for me which is great means it can tuck it in properly and keeps my lower back cosy and protected. Remember I'm 5' 7" on a good day with a reach of 30 odd inches.

Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe Cuff Details

I've been pulling this on all the time when I've been going out and not just up the hills or walking through the woods. It's even been on when I've been out tidying the garden but like all merino tops the Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe has a tendency to get soggy especially around your pack where there's less ventilation and restricted airflow but I found this one to be better than the others that I own. I'm no expert but it may just be down to the weight and fineness of the fabric that it dries out really quickly. It never really felt wet. I was never cold with this top on and most of the time I wore it under a wind shirt. It's comfortable on the move, none of the itch I've had with other merino tops. I know for various reasons that merino is not everyone's favourite material for a base layer but I'm a fan. You almost don't know you have it on at times. If I could change something it would be to add monkey thumbs. Tops with monkey thumbs are great. It's not a deal breaker the Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe is still a good base-layer a very good one. It's a winner for me.

You can see more photographs of the top on flickr here.

Berghaus PolarPlus Fleece Jacket

This arrived pretty late in the year, just as the weather had turned for the better after the long cold winter and round about the time that I was gearing up (no pun intended) to move in to a new house, not that it matters greatly. I came home to a parcel waiting for me. There's something about that, that gets me excited like a child. I opened the parcel and was immediately struck be the weight of the folded up fleece.

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Montura Magic G Active Shell

The shell that I was given, volunteered to in the car park was the Montura Magic G Active shell. Montura are an Italian outdoor clothing manufacturer that I couldn't find that much about. They have a website that's under construction but by all accounts they are an up and coming company doing well over in Italy and that side of the Alps.

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