I am getting serious about climbing and hiking and have an opportunity to invest in some new clothing but there is so much to choose from. I currently make do with pretty substandard kit and don't mind spending some money for quality that will last but want to get what I really need if i am spending that much money.
I am interested in Mountain equipment and Montane, as I can potentially get their kit discounted.
Kit I think I require is:
General Purpose walking softshell
I know there is a lot there but if some one could point me in the right direction regarding some of the different models that would be great. Without trekking up to snowdonia there aren't many shops around here that could advise.
I generally stick to climbing and hiking in the UK mainly snowdon area, but get to other places every now and then.
Don't neglect base layers, boots and accessories like hats, gloves, buffs and socks. They probably make more difference than that between a £150 or a £500 jacket. Where are you though? There's usually somewhere tolerable within striking distance.
I have a few Helly Hansen Lifa tops for baselayers, buff and bridgedale socks and decent gloves.
I currently wear altberg boots but I am looking at getting a different pair in the near furure.
If you do a lot of hiking, you could do a lot worse than get a big properly engineered umbrella too. It cuts down the wind and works as well or better than a waterproof jacket (in all but the windiest conditions). I also find that after a prolonged walk in fairly windy conditions with intermittant rain, I have been hunching my shoulders and my face has been hammered by the weather so I'm pretty knackered, I feel a lot better when using an umbrella because I stand up straighter and my head is basically completely protected from the weather. If it is warmish and you are sweating, an umbrella gives the ultimate breathability that no waterproof will ever approach.
Only disadvantages of an umbrella are that it's more weight to carry, it can't be used in severe wind, it can make walking into the wind more difficult and if you are angling in low against the wind, it can cut down your visibility of terrain in front/side of you.
I find the Montane Prism a bit of an all rounder.
You just have to get one of them,if its discounted.
Montane Terra trousers.ditto
I also have the montane waterproof trousers ,but find that I sweat a lot in them.
Always wore North Face Summit series softshells ,but have just got a Jack Wolfskin Electron ,which I am happy with.
If walking in all seasons waterproof trousers are essential. Quick drying trousers are not enough if its hammering it down all day, you will be cold miserable and it could cause problems.
I have some montane kit and it is all excellent. Sizes come up a bit small so bear it in mind when ordering. Cant help you with specifc stuff though as i am a lady!
Dont forget to keep an eye out on here for 2nd hand gear. Folks tend to take good care and you could get some bargains stretching ut budget even further.
I have just bought the Montane Alpine stretch and love it. Have been climbing a couple of times in it both outside and indoor and found it fab. Prism are good too I have the mens Montane version of a Rab Vapour Rise and love it too for a good layering system ie: t or l/s icebreaker, Alpine Stretch and then the Montane version of the Vapour Rise.
I think the Mountain Equipment waterproof trousers (firelite) are good but are quite narrow at the bottom, zips don't go very far up maybe about 30-40cms.
As a climber I like to have stretch in my trousers. I have a pair of Kuhl Splash trousers which you can roll up when the weather is warm. Other options for you could be the RAB Sawtooth softshell, Mountain Equipment Ibex or Chamois softshell trousers. Montane and some mountain equipment trousers do taper in at the bottom. Morpheus waterproof shell might be good, I think it is stronger than the Firefox which isn't made for taking a heavy backpack and long hikes.
Hope this is helpful.
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