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Cheap gear


#1

Cheap gear is often not worth buying. However, there is the occasional gem. My Adidas coat has been a constant companion on the mountains for nearly 10 years. At under £20 it was warm, waterproof, windproof - and light too. Sadly the zip failed after Black Hill so it was consigned to the bin - owing nothing.

I bought it at our local TJ Hughes so I wandered in to see what they have nowadays. I picked up a good Regatta fleece for £6.99 and a well made Regatta waterproof padded jacket for £19.99 - far more technical than my Adidas - but will it last?

73

Richard
G3CWI


#2

In reply to G3CWI:

In general Regatta stuff seems OK for the price, I’ve got a fair number of their products. It’s cheaper because the brand name doesn’t attract the premium that some do. Mountain Hardwear being some of the priciest kit I’ve seen, often 25% more than similar items from other high priced brands.

Andy
MM0FMF


#3

In reply to G3CWI:

Sadly the zip failed after Black Hill so it was consigned to the bin - owing nothing.

There’s a good chance that had it happened to me, then my XYL would have fitted a new zip. Mind you, the zip would probably have cost almost as much as the coat did in the first place. Makes you wonder how the manufacturers can sell clothing at such low prices - Far East labour I presume.

My prized possession at one time was a pair of Kletts - lightweight boots made in Italy and purchased in Ambleside way back in 1970. Initially used for rock climbing, they lasted 35 years and sadly fell apart just before I got interested in SOTA. Their replacements proved to be totally unsuitable for winter activations and it wasn’t until I got my Kaylands in March 2008 that I had the luxury of dry feet in wet conditions.

One question Richard - did you have a ceremony ensuring the coat had a suitable send off to the great wardrobe in the sky?

73, Gerald


#4

In reply to G3CWI:

Regatta stuff does seem quite well made. My Regatta rucksack has seen plenty of use and is very tough. My only complaint is that the straps aren’t very comfortable when carrying heavy loads (SLABs!), for that reason only I upgraded to an Osprey sack.

Mountain Hardwear seems good gear and I don’t think it’s very different in price from other ‘top’ brands. MH is actually owned by Columbia Sportswear Company. My personal favourite brand is Mountain Equipment, although they seem to be slipping into the fashion market slightly, like The North Face.

I can recommend a hidden gem of a shop which sells Mountain Equipment gear at reduced prices. The owner is open to a bit of haggling too. http://www.hillanddaleoutdoors.co.uk

I hope you get on well with your new gear Richard. I bought a pair of winter walking trousers from Aldi a couple of years ago for £12 and they are great - cheap isn’t always low quality!

73 Colin
M0CGH


#5

It is the end of an era. The most experienced outdoor adventurer I know in the most unlikely looking jacket that you couldn’t even buy at Yeomens or Millets, never mind Blacks or TGO. Always an unlikely sight!

So no more “Did you Take That Yellowjacket?” jokes in response to your pursuit of Arctic Monkeys up Kinder Scout. Now you’ve upgraded to heights of Regatta! I had a green Regatta jacket from early 2003, which gave great service until a deserved retirement after the Pennine Way in 2006. I still have it in the wardrobe as a spare though.

My current Berghaus jacket cost four times as much as the Regatta coat, and is definitely better, but not four times better!

Tom M1EYP


#6

In reply to M0CGH:

For cheap Mountain Equipment gear try Magic Mountain in Glossop. They sell lots of slight seconds and samples as well as normal range at knock down prices.


#7

In reply to G1INK:

…closed some weeks ago. I was told that it was unlikely to open again for some reason. Is it open now?

73

Richard
G3CWI


#8

In reply to G3CWI:

Not sure Richard, not been for a few months. I phoned them to ask but it just rang out. Will be a loss if they are finished.

Btw bought 2 buffs from Aldi £2.99 each. Exactly the same as my £13 original but a different brand name.


#9

In reply to G1INK:

I got one from a eBay vendor for £1.04 plus £1.79 p&p from Korea. Seems to be exactly the same as my real one. Came just before Christmas taking 16days. However, the vendor is no longer selling on eBay probably because the Buff people screamed about copyrights etc.

Mine is a blatant copy having even lifted the images from the real Buff packing etc.

Andy
MM0FMF


#10

In reply to G1INK:

I’ve heard about Magic Mountain, but last time I googled Magic Mountain, I couldn’t find any info. The website stated that it was ‘under construction’. I rang the phone number and received no answer. I found some article stating that the landlords of the building Magic Mountain was occupying were in administration. I would be interested to hear if this firm still exists, as all of my enquiries and searches for information have drawn a blank.

I saw the Aldi ‘buffs’ too, but I bought some handwarmers instead!

73, Colin


#11

In reply to MM0FMF:

Mountain Hardwear being some of the
priciest kit I’ve seen, often 25% more than similar items from other
high priced brands.

I’ve been watching with interest the BBC TV news reports about the weather all around the UK. Almost without exception, the reporters (both male and female) are clad in identical Berghaus jackets! I saw one exception last night … one reporter in Yorkshire was wearing a Mountain Hardwear jacket.

In contrast, the poor Sky News reporters have to make do with North Face jackets!

I wonder if they buy them for themselves, or if they are “official issue”.
Perhaps they are gifts from the manufacturers!
:slight_smile:

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#12

In reply to G3NYY:

Perhaps they are gifts from the manufacturers!
:slight_smile:

Indeed, what a way to get your brand name in front of millions of people all sub-consciously soaking in the information. I often wonder whether the BBC actually purchase their Sony monitors…

73, Gerald


#13

In reply to G4OIG:
I’ve been happy with my Regatta fleece and sleeveless jackets. Seconds from a little shop in Barnard Castle a number of years ago. The sleeveless has even survived falling out of the passenger door of a Morgan at 30 mph.

Mind, I don’t do as much outdoor stuff as you ‘goats’ HI.

73 Graham G4FUJ


#14

In reply to G4FUJ:

The Regatta jackets and fleeces that my wife owns have been hard wearing and good value for money. The question is do you pay more and expect to get more out of what you buy… and risk making a bad purchase, or do you go with relatively cheap and cheerful and if it doesn’t suit then there’s not much lost. I would say the answer is that there is a quality line below which it is not worth going, but it is how to determine where that line lies that is the difficult thing.

On a related subject, I have been trying to determine whether I can buy some better socks and hopefully keep my feet warmer for longer when out in the cold weather. I even note some brands are TOG rated, but that is meaningless when I don’t know what the rating is for my current socks. Has anyone any recommendations?

73, Gerald
currently 82% goatified


#15

In reply to G4OIG:
I have two Regatta fleeces: one is used as a removable liner for a Regatta waterproof padded jacket and makes it suitable for the coldest weather. The fleece jacket has two poacher pockets which will accommodate OS maps and even an FT817! The Regatta goods that I have bought last well and are a remarkable bargain. Since even a very expensive jacket can be easily damaged in use why pay the outrageous prices charged for big brand outdoor clothing when a more downmarket item will give a more than adequate performance?

Incidentally, I also have a green waxed jacket that performs very well in the cold and wet, and will also accommodate an FT817 in its poacher pocket - an old technology but still most efffective…as long as you don’t mind being mistaken for a stray royal! :slight_smile:

73

Brian G8ADD

PS Gerald, I think you can still get thermal undersocks, they were great for Scottish snow and ice climbing!


#16

In reply to G4OIG:

The considered opinion of my colleagues at work and my own experiences is that you wont go wrong with Bridgedale or Thorlo socks. Footwear and socks is one of the areas where being cheap is not a good move. Bridgedale and Thorlo aren’t cheap but compared to some socks I bought when I started SOTAing they have lasted better and are more comfortable.

The other thing to remember is that walking socks wear out to quickly. The cushioning in the toe and heel will compress reducing the comfort if you wear them a lot. They’ll need replacing every 2 years if not sooner depending on how far you walk and if you’re a bloater like me.

So now I wear Bridgedale Coolmax liner socks with Bridgedale Endurance Summit socks. They’re a little hot in hot weather but I can accomodate that by rolling up my trousers and letting the excess heat and steam disperse! I may invest in some of those zip off trousers one day.

Andy
MM0FMF


#17

In reply to G4OIG:

On a related subject, I have been trying to determine whether I can
buy some better socks and hopefully keep my feet warmer for longer

I have been musing about socks too. My XYL got me a pair of Bridgedale Summit Endurance socks for Christmas, I was expecting to experience super cosy toes when activating Rombalds Moor for the VHF fun day. I can’t say the socks were much warmer than my other walking socks, even though they are rated the warmest socks that Bridgedale make.

I have a theory - I was thinking whilst trudging through the snow on my way to work, that is there any milage in that a thinner sock will allow a larger air space in the walking boot, therefore be better insulated?

I notice that with my really thick socks, my boot is a tight fit, and I feel that because there is not much room for air, my feet are colder! As far as my understanding goes, the idea of a thick sock is to trap as much air as possible to provide insulation, when the sock is compressed into a boot, the ability to trap air is lost.

Maybe I should buy bigger boots :wink:

73 Colin


#18

In reply to M0CGH:

I took that long to compose a post that Andy had posted in the time I was typing!

Bridgedale socks can be recommend, I’m wearing a 5 year old pair right now!

:slight_smile:


#19

In reply to M0CGH:

Colin, tight boots reduce the blood circulation in your feet which makes them colder and could encourage clotting.

73

Brian G8ADD


#20

In reply to M0CGH:
"that is there any milage in that a thinner sock will allow a larger air space in the walking boot, therefore be better insulated?"
Colin.
No. But this could also lead to blisters and excess pressure on parts of your feet.

Whenever you buy walking boots (or ideally any footwear) it is important to be wearing the socks (or type of socks) that that you plan to wear with them. when buying a new pair of walking boots, I always buy a new pair of socks first. Put them on in the shop, and then try out different boots to fit. Most people have different size feet, those with a significant difference can add a single thin sock to the smaller foot. Always buy for the biggest foot.

Ideally, always shop for footwear at the end of the day when the feet will be slightly larger. Get a snug fit, not too tight or too large.
Hope that helps.
73
Roger MW0IDX