/ Better gear from yesteryear!

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open_gym - on 23 Sep 2017

I was hanging up my 20 year old (at least) army surplus 'Norwegian "Norgee" shirt' to dry and was mentally comparing it to modern flimsy technical base layers, and it certainly wins in the longevity stakes. Is everything better from the lightweight generation, especially for climbing where we give clothing a hard time? It struck me that there must be other hidden gems of gear and clothing that pre-date the soft-shell, so I thought I would ask your favorites. You can include modern versions of old classics! Ventile? Tweed? Wool? Lets hear it for classic gear.
Post edited at 19:39
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GridNorth - on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

Back in the early 70's I had a lightweight combat jacket that only cost a few shillings from an army surplus store and did everything a modern soft shell does.

Al
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mark hounslea - on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

Classic blue helly Hansen jacket. They never died and you could follow lines of blue fluff up routes at Gogarth!
1
oldie - on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to mark hounslea:
Had HH fibre pile salopettes with elastic braces, once snow and ice stuck onto them they were really warm and windproof (igloo principle?)....however looked like a polar bear and the extra weight tended to drag them down.
kevin stephens - on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to mark hounslea:
With thumb holes, I still have mine but it's shrunk a bit.
Post edited at 20:22
kevin stephens - on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

Joe Brown extendable rucksack. Moac original chock
oldie - on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to kevin stephens:

Still use both. The JB sac just because its very light (buoyant with a child's inflatable ring) and put a canoeists drybag in it for sea level traverses .
oldie - on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

Would like to see larger wedges manufactured again that are able to take cord (no extender needed).
Remember the red suede Messner boots with a plywood stiffening from the 70s....really worked well: comfortable, little breaking in needed, light, took crampons, waterproof with a polybag placed over socks. Limited life though.
Martin Bennett - on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to mark hounslea:

> Classic blue helly Hansen jacket. They never died and you could follow lines of blue fluff up routes at Gogarth!

Yeah - No 1 on this list - Helly Hansen Polar jacket. I bought two in 1972. They were £4-19-6d. each. After about 20 years the zips went - I just sewed 'em up and use them as pullovers. I have a pair of the bottoms too - make a great caving undersuit. Still got 'em. Indestructible.
Gustavo - on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

Lets face it..... most of the gear sold nowadays seems marketed as designed for fast and light ascents.... and people seem to buy into it. What it really boils down to is cheap and flimsy materials and a marketing campaign sucking people in. Terra nova, rab, mountain equipment etc..... the quality was much better years ago, before they sold out and now just rely on the brand name.
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Timmd on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to Gustavo:
Not Mountain Equipment I wouldn't have thought, and Rab seem to be putting more vislon zips into jackets than they were for a bit.
Post edited at 21:38
wercat on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to Gustavo:

if the stuff wears out quickly people can claim that it is because they are getting out so much!
Pedro50 on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to kevin stephens:

> With thumb holes, I still have mine but it's shrunk a bit.

Are you sure?
Gustavo - on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to Timmd:

I've got a ME goretex jacket. Great material but poor design. The storm flap behind the main zip folds back on itself once the jacket is zipped up. The result, in driving rain, the jacket leaks. Just a poor design.
I know designs have come on a lot since 20 or 30 years ago, but a £300 jacket shouldn't have simple design faults. What's wrong with an external flap with a bit of velcro to hold it in place... just doesn't look the part perhaps...

Rab seem to make waterproofs which leak and windproofs which are anything but...

derryclimbs - on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

Any kiwi's out there? ...Swanndri... say no more!
3leggeddog on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to kevin stephens:

> With thumb holes

Length Faircloughs?
Timmd on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to Gustavo:
> I've got a ME goretex jacket. Great material but poor design. The storm flap behind the main zip folds back on itself once the jacket is zipped up. The result, in driving rain, the jacket leaks. Just a poor design.
> I know designs have come on a lot since 20 or 30 years ago, but a £300 jacket shouldn't have simple design faults.
I know designs have come on a lot since 20 or 30 years ago, but a £300 jacket shouldn't have simple design faults. What's wrong with an external flap with a bit of velcro to hold it in place... just doesn't look the part perhaps...

Mountain Equipment respond really well to gear feed back, I think. I've contacted them about a couple of things, and (I'm assuming I wasn't the only one to tell them) have seen changes in later designs which reflected what I'd mentioned. I was really impressed. You've nothing to lose.

> Rab seem to make waterproofs which leak and windproofs which are anything but...

I reckon if they're actually sold as windproofs, they're probably going to be, but I've no experience of much of other Rab gear other than their down jackets, and some VapourRise trousers from years ago.
Post edited at 22:11
Gustavo - on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to Timmd:

Thanks. I'll have to contact them and see what they say.
open_gym - on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to derryclimbs:

Thats a good call actually. Something you can still buy, if you don't mind being mistaken for Ray Mears. Has anyone used one of their coats in proper UK rain?
TobyA on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to derryclimbs:

I've got one, it is itchy as hell and has a collar, like a shirt collar, that doesn't really serve any purpose. I love it because I bought it in Auckland 25 years ago but I hardly ever wear it because I have numerous modern fleeces which are lighter, as tough, warmer and generally better designed for outdoor use. Good for sitting round bonfires though because sparks don't melt it!
Dave the Rave on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

Good post, and a little uncanny!
I was going to post along the lines of
' does ageing make you seek out the gear you wore when you were younger'?
Personally, I've got old stuff and new stuff but most of the latter is on its way out already.
Do you wear your old stuff out of functionality, sentiment or both ?
For me it's both, and I search for replacements for the old stuff that I've either lost or worn out.
Timmd on 23 Sep 2017
In reply to Gustavo:
> Thanks. I'll have to contact them and see what they say.

I didn't get any response back, but a couple of changes happened in their products in the following year or 2.

I forgot all about it and then realised what they'd done.
Post edited at 22:36
Pyreneenemec - on 24 Sep 2017
In reply to Dave the Rave:

>
> I was going to post along the lines of

> ' does ageing make you seek out the gear you wore when you were younger'?

> Personally, I've got old stuff and new stuff but most of the latter is on its way out already.

>

I really loved my yellow North Face Mountain jacket-bought in 1998-so much so that instead of buying some light-weight thing produced in the sweat-shops of Vietnam ( when the double zip bust) I bought a second-hand one on Ebay. It was in amazing condition ( only urban use) and at £80, a gift !
Dave the Rave on 24 Sep 2017
In reply to Pyreneenemec:

> I really loved my yellow North Face Mountain jacket-bought in 1998-so much so that instead of buying some light-weight thing produced in the sweat-shops of Vietnam ( when the double zip bust) I bought a second-hand one on Ebay. It was in amazing condition ( only urban use) and at £80, a gift !
Ive still got my TNF Karakorum from then. Lovely nick and good for winter outings as its bright yellow. Bought a Berghaus Mera Peak off eBay for £50 too.
Timmd on 24 Sep 2017
In reply to Dave the Rave:
Intercepting a brother's long length Berghaus Goretex XCR snowboarding jacket with vislon zip and storm flap after he dropped it off at the family home to go to a charity shop is one of the best things I've done, it only needs re-taping and is in good nick otherwise.
Post edited at 20:00
David Bennett - on 24 Sep 2017
In reply to Pyreneenemec: I've got a pink(sorry berry) mountain jacket and salopettes from then and they are definitely more robust and protective than my current set but weigh a ton. Wish I could still buy them...,

bouldery bits - on 24 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

My buffalo active shirt is half as old as me. It's absolutely class. Obviously you can still get them but a big plus from me.

ME dragonfly. Awesome tent. Wish they still made these.


5.10 gallileos. Outrageously good all day trading shoe with enough about them for super precise bouldering / sport. Need mine resoled....
Dave the Rave on 24 Sep 2017
In reply to Timmd:

Magic! As you know, storm flaps are the way forward otherwise it's a batman cape.
;)
ben b - on 24 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

I wish I still had my old Berghaus Ice Star pack, purchased in 1989 from Cotswolds in Shepherd's Bush. Light, comfortable, capacious and entertainingly coloured in purple and lime green. It was an ideal winter/alpine pack (apart from the axe fasteners, which were rubbish but easily replaced). I'm sure the guy I sold it to is still wondering when it will wear out....

b
derryclimbs - on 24 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

yep, pretty much indestructible. Unlike my current fleece which as three very ventilated bonfire burn marks in it now.
Timmd on 24 Sep 2017
In reply to Dave the Rave:
Since it was intended for a charity shop, I've either saved somebody from getting wet or recycled something which would have been thrown out. I did a good deed in intercepting it.
Post edited at 22:34
John Stainforth - on 24 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

My old school rugby shirts were the toughest cotton shirts I ever possessed. They lasted for about another ten years of continual use in the outdoors after I left school. Ideal for rock climbing.
nniff - on 25 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

Fine call on Norwegian army shirts - mine date from 1987 and are still worn daily for dog walking.

I still have a green helly fleece with thumb holes and tail - c.1985.

My original goretex bib=vi bag got thrown out in the Summer when the sealing tape finally peeled off - apparently it's now to be recycled as stuff sacks.

I also use, from time to time, an old folding Karrimor bivi mat from one of the original purple Haston Alpinistes.
Trangia on 25 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

Ventile jackets and ventile tents.

Heavy by today's standards but very very robust and lasted for decades. Wool balaclavas, and woolen gloves. Woolen jerseys. Primus stoves - virtually indestructible.
Deadeye - on 25 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

My stitchplate is pretty enduring.

However, the list of things that are better in the modern age is long:
- fleece rather than wool
- decent gloves rather than dachsteins
- quarks rather than barracuda and chacal
- ropes everywhichway
- slings 6mm dyneema cf. 1" nylon
- composite mountain boots
etc.

Clothing durability is the exception where longevity has been traded for lightweight.
baron - on 25 Sep 2017
In reply to Deadeye:
I'll take my wooly jumper over a fleece anyday.
My dachstein mitts are still going strong after 30 years.
So are my nylon slings.
And don't even get me started on the price of boots!
Post edited at 20:05
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Stuart the postie - on 25 Sep 2017
In reply to baron:

Jesus, how did your dachsteins last 30 years?! I've had many, many pairs, lucky if I could get 12 routes wearing them climbing, always hole at the thumb!

Stuart
baron - on 25 Sep 2017
In reply to Stuart the postie:

Probably due to me climbing less than 12 ice routes in those 30 years!
Coel Hellier - on 25 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

ME Ultrafleece has got to be one of the best ever materials for British cragging and all-round outdoors stuff. Why oh why did they discontinue with it?
rabthecairnterrier - on 27 Sep 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Because it was so hardwearing it never wore out, which is great for the buyer but not so great for the sales department.
I have an ultrafleece jacket which shows little sign of wear despite being 25 years old, and still gets an occasional outing, though these days it's mostly used for gardening (the horticultural variety thatis).
Jim Walton on 27 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:
Can I offer up the Rohan Super Striders? Possibly the best leg wear for scrambling and general mountaineering ever made.
Post edited at 17:06
wilkesley - on 27 Sep 2017
In reply to Jim Walton:

I got rid of my Rohan salopettes a couple of years ago because the elastic had finally perished. Now wish that I had found somebody to repair them! I may still have my Super Striders somewhere.
Goucho on 27 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

I'm a terrible gear horder, and have enough old gear dating back to the early 70's to start a museum.

I still use my Chacal/Baracuda ice axes for all my alpine climbing - tried Nomics, but they just felt weird - and my Joe Brown sac, MOAC originals and original figure of 8 decenduer still see regular action.

But in all honesty, modern gear is just so much better in virtually every respect, although possibly not as bomb proof regarding longevity.

I think what old gear really is, is an umbilical back to the long lost innocence of our wild-eyed youth
open_gym - on 27 Sep 2017
In reply to Trangia:

Great call on the ventile. I have a Howies ventile 'pilot' jacket that has had very little wear due to the lack of pockets. I must go and find it. Ventile is a fine fabric unless it is raining continuously.
nuts and bolts - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

Been covered on the forum in the past but Faces Gems are the favourite nuts on my rack. A lasting regret that I did not buy a full set before they went out of business.
cragrat on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

HB Quadcams- light, narrow, easy to place, but sometimes not so easy to remove!
radddogg - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

I'll do you a deal, give me all your new gear in exchange for all my old gear. Winner winner chicken dinner!!!
radddogg - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to cragrat:

I've got four for sale if you want
OwenM - on 29 Sep 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

North cape capalene base layer tops, they just never wore out, I've three that are twenty years old and still going strong. Of course that wasn't so good for North cape and probably why they went bust.
cragrat on 29 Sep 2017
In reply to radddogg:

Thanks for the offer, but I've decided to put new slings on my old ones!
open_gym - on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

I was hoping to see a bit of bitching about how bad modern tents are. I remember when I was 12 I was perfectly comfortable in a Force 10. Now I am old and fat i am uncomfortable in every modern tent which doesn't have a proper bed in it, and they all feel cold. This of course, is quite clearly the tents fault and not mine.

I used to happily walk in German para boots. Now my feet hurt in the best modern shoes, and its the boots fault.

Deri Jones - on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to OwenM:

I've still got a load of kit from the North Cape seconds sale at University in the early 90's - the pile jacket is still going strong in the work kitbag (if a bit singed in places) and I've only just binned the thermals, as they tended to get a bit rank after a couple of hours! Well designed kit - the reversible windproof fleece was ace - Marmot's Driclime is the closest I've come to them, but the arms don't roll up as well.
tripehound - on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to mark hounslea:

Helly Hansen polar jkt. Best kit ever. Wish they still made them, as pile is vastly superior to fleece. Still got one in the cupboard.
tripehound - on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

> I was hoping to see a bit of bitching about how bad modern tents are. I remember when I was 12 I was perfectly comfortable in a Force 10. Now I am old and fat i am uncomfortable in every modern tent which doesn't have a proper bed in it, and they all feel cold. This of course, is quite clearly the tents fault and not mine.

> I used to happily walk in German para boots. Now my feet hurt in the best modern shoes, and its the boots fault.


But modern tents are hopeless certainly for Scottish winter camping, as the condensation in nylon tents is just horrendous. The old Blacks cotton tents (Arctic guinea, and Good Companions pyramid tent) were really warm and dry in Scottish conditions. Mind they were heavy but we usually just camped by the road in the Gorms and Creagh Meagaidh etc. Sigh!!!
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Arete - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to tripehound:

That's not my experience at all. Never had any condensation inside my Zephyros, and that includes having a dog in there too after a hill day.
Arete - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to Gustavo:

Care to provide any actual evidence at all for that statement? I wouldn't describe any of my outdoor stuff (from Rab, ME, etc.) as flimsy. I prefer to rely on evidence, as opposed to the old man technique of picking something up and going "this feels light and soft, it must be junk".
2
Chris Sansum - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

The old Karrimor rucsacs (eg Hot Rock etc) are awesome - they just keep going. Simple and super-hardwearing.
An Exiled Northerner - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

I can't believe no one has mentioned Ron Hills or the old KSBs.
SNC on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> ME Ultrafleece has got to be one of the best ever materials for British cragging and all-round outdoors stuff. Why oh why did they discontinue with it?

I heard (from a probably well-informed person) that dropping Ultrafleece was a condition of getting the licence to use Gore-Tex.
Fredt on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

In the seventies I bought a 'breathable' Regatta waterproof for £10 from a shop in Castleton. Lasted me several Scotland and Alpine seasons, did the job excellently.

My latest jacket is a £350 quid Gore-Tex Pro jacket. Can't see its any better.
Coel Hellier - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to SNC:

> I heard (from a probably well-informed person) that dropping Ultrafleece was a condition of getting the licence to use Gore-Tex.

But why would that be, given that the fleece and waterproofs are not direct competitors?
Pyreneenemec - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to Chris Sansum:
> The old Karrimor rucsacs (eg Hot Rock etc) are awesome - they just keep going. Simple and super-hardwearing.

Indeed they are! I still use my original, purple Alpiniste 65 (1991 )and red and black Hot Ice (1995) for all my mountain activities.

My Ultimate Tramp 1 tent (1980) is still my first choice when I have a short solo trip. The solid A pole system has withstood horrendous gusts !
Post edited at 08:44
Calvi - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to Pyreneenemec:

> Indeed they are! I still use my original, purple Alpiniste 65 (1991 )and red and black Hot Ice (1995) for all my mountain activities.

> My Ultimate Tramp 1 tent (1980) is still my first choice when I have a short solo trip. The solid A pole system has withstood horrendous gusts !

Still use my old Jag E63, bought in 1985 and still going strong.
tripehound - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to Arete:

> That's not my experience at all. Never had any condensation inside my Zephyros, and that includes having a dog in there too after a hill day.

Nylon tents are ok in the summer if not a little "sweaty" compared to a quality cotton tent, but in the winter there is no comparison compared to nylon as far as condensation is concerned. ( modern tents are better in dry Alpine climates admittedly)
johnwright - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to Chris Sansum:

> The old Karrimor rucsacs (eg Hot Rock etc) are awesome - they just keep going. Simple and super-hardwearing.

My Hot Rock sac just keeps on going. I have been using it for delivering Yellow pages around my local streets and estates.
It a bit scruffy but it’s not showing any signs of wear.
bouldery bits - on 20 Oct 2017
In reply to James Meredith:
Helly Hansen Lifa boxers! Bring them back.
Post edited at 22:35
Hawklance - on 22 Oct 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:

and Lifa Long johns!
leewil86 - on 22 Oct 2017
In reply to Arete:

Had a pair of rab trousers can't remember the name they had elastic draw strings around the ankles they ripped bouldering after a month (shite) , also had a north face jacket leaked through the zip ....shite .
DubyaJamesDubya - on 23 Oct 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

Durability is all very well but if your stuff lasts forever you can't keep replacing it and thus cannot justify spending as much time in shops.
The New NickB - on 23 Oct 2017
In reply to baron:

> And don't even get me started on the price of boots!

Boots do seem very expensive. I think the reason for that is that they are one of the few items of outdoor equipment where the cost has more or less kept up with inflation.
GarethSL on 23 Oct 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

If a decade ago could be considered yesteryear (well I consider it)

Then my vote goes for the original Arc'teryx Gamma MX and Alpha Comp hoodies. They are probably the best softshells ever made, especially when they were being made in the motherland. Sadly no longer the case, whilst both available in one carnation or another they just are not what they used to be.

The MX was basically a cult item.
Fredt on 23 Oct 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

Royal Robbins Yosemite boot was brilliant, then I think the Scarpa Mescalito even topped those, and were the best toughest approach/mixed/scrambling boot ever made.

The original 5.10 Guide Tennies were tons better than any version since.

Why are newer versions never an improvement?
Raymondo - on 23 Oct 2017
In reply to GridNorth:
> Back in the early 70's I had a lightweight combat jacket that only cost a few shillings from an army surplus store and did everything a modern soft shell does.


Blue jeans and combat jacket, what else would you climb in back then, LOL.

http://i1011.photobucket.com/albums/af231/velohead/RD%20Climbing%20Avon.jpg
ripper - on 23 Oct 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:

> 5.10 gallileos. Outrageously good all day trading shoe with enough about them for super precise bouldering / sport. Need mine resoled....

Damn you! I tried to buy some of those a couple of times but the shop didn't have them in my size, so I just went with Anasazi VCS - and then they stopped making them

I have a Phoenix Goretex/Thinsulate ski jacket bought from a ski show in Manchester in the mid '80s, that's still in perfect nick and a really good design - high collar, good storm flap, big pockets, bomber chunky zip, warm, light and comfy
JimR - on 23 Oct 2017
In reply to James Meredith:

Whillans harness .... step up from the old yellow troll harness aka the ba' crusher.
Chris Harris - on 24 Oct 2017
In reply to Martin Bennett:

> Helly Hansen Polar jacket. I bought two in 1972. They were £4-19-6d. each.

Pedant alert.

Decimalisation was in Feb 1971.

Lion Bakes on 24 Oct 2017
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Durability is all very well but if your stuff lasts forever you can't keep replacing it and thus cannot justify spending as much time in shops.

But you can hustify spending as much time climbing instead of shopping.
Martin Bennett - on 24 Oct 2017
In reply to Chris Harris:

> Pedant alert.

> Decimalisation was in Feb 1971.

Bejaasus they must be even older than I thought. That was definitely the price, purchased from the short lived retailer run by the father of my then friend and colleague Paul Holiday-Scott. Hence the neat price - I didn't ask for discount, wishing to support their new business as well as I could.
I do like your pedantry though - you're clearly a man after me own heart, but with a better memory.

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