We got back yesterday from a wonderful four day trip to the South Downs in South East England. The trip was, in theory, an opportunity for us to check out all of the travel gear we’d been buying and to get a feel for how they performed when tested. In reality, the real driving force behind the trip was to get the three of us (Myself, Dad and Alan) out from behind our relative desks/bars, escape from the city and immerse ourselves in the wonders of the country.
Unfortunately, one of the pesky side-effects of all that wonderful outdoors is the weather. By being outside you’re, well, outside. And therefore you’re exposed to whatever the English weather Gods (a temperamental bunch) feel like throwing at you. They were, it would seem, entirely on board with our plan to test out our walking gear and duly helped us to test our equipment in a multitude of weather. Thrashing rain? Check. Lacerating hail? Check. Glorious sunset? Check.
To be fair to the Gods, their efforts were not in vain as we certainly have a much better idea of what our gear can put up with. But that’s the next story. Right now I’m going to look at the gear I didn’t take. What prompted me to kick my soggy self for not bringing it as someone (mentioning no names – Dad) looked smugly on in contented dryness? Here we go:
So you’re three hours walk from the nearest pub and the heavens open. As you stumble along, soggy and chilly, you begin to fantasise about arriving at a warm and welcoming local pub serving excellent food and boasting a great selection of local ales. You imagine finally getting to peel off your freezing and soaked through trousers (more on that in a moment), scrape your squelching socks off of your feet and put on something altogether warmer and dryer. But wait, your clothes weren’t packed in a Sea to Summit e-vac dry sack? They were carelessly left unguarded in your backpack to take up more room than necessary AND help soak up some of that lovely rainwater that found it’s way into your pack? Ok, point well made Dad. I gotta get me some of those next time. (I’m also eyeing up the compression sacks for transporting my snuggly yet bulky down jacket to Patagonia, stay tuned for a more in-depth gear list.)
Oh how I wish I’d had these with me! Bless them, my current Berghaus hiking trousers did their best, but we had some serious rain to contend with. The kind of rain which left my cream trousers absolutely drenched through. If the fact that they then decided to efficiently direct the rain directly into my socks and shoes wasn’t bad enough, they were rendered see-through in minutes. Yes, really.
Mr Smug on the other hand whipped out his Berghaus Paclite Pants popped them on over his walking trousers and proceeded to stride along the path, unhampered by squelching shoes or underwear on display. Did I mention they only weight 185g and pack down into a bag little bigger than my girly-sized hands? And they’re on the ‘to buy’ list.
Do I have any pictures of this rain storm? Can I show you how ridiculously limited the visibility was or how silly Alan and I looked when we got all soggy? Is there any documented proof of Mr. Smug’s purposeful non-damp stride?
No, there isn’t because I was too worried about damaging my camera. A fair concern, given the buckets of water which were coming our way. But I would have loved to get some photos of the experience and so I wish I’d bought the Aquapac Waterproof Compact Camera Cases which I’d been eyeing up at the Outdoor Show. We’re off hiking in the Lake District in a couple of weeks and I fully intend to snap our happy faces mid-deluge. Camera case here I come.
What gear do you wish you’d taken on your adventures? Have you used any of the above items? Any advice for dealing with Mr Smug?