The Mountain Equipment Himal & Supercell Jacket

On December 20, 2012, in Reviews, by Charlie

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If you’re not familiar with the brand Mountain Equipment then here’s a little bit about them to make sure that you’re clear about this great British brand.

Mountain Equipment was founded in the early 60′s when a couple of guys saw a gap in the market for the design and production of technical clothing and equipment, specifically climbing and high altitude gear. This was fuelled by the boom of air travel and accessibility of mountain ranges further and higher than the Alps. Today M.E. have a great collection of waterproof jackets, down clothing, gloves, hats and accessories. Here I’m going to talk about two products perfect for this time of year. The Himal Jacket and the Supercell Jacket.

The Mountain Equipment Himal Jacket comes from the down collection of jackets which stems from the expedition level down jackets to super-lightweight body warming gilets. The Himal weights in at 860g which is lightweight considering the warmth and features achieved. It’s insulated by 675+ fill power down meaning that it’s not quite up there with the 800+ jackets for warmth and weight but it means that it’s cheaper to buy and ME can stuff more down into the jacket to achieve great heat retention. The down is kept in check by a Drilite Loft II outer, this is totally windproof, highly water resistant and lightweight which is ideal to allow the down to loft up and trap heat, thus keeping you warm.

The construction of the Himal is a combination of box wall and stitched through so you get the best of both worlds with the ease of movement in the arms and superior heat retaining properties of box wall over the main body and hood. There are also lovely features like the EXL system which Mountain Equipment have integrated into the helmet compatible hood and the back of the Himal. This is a series of lightly hugging elastic cords that make the jacket hug your body so reducing cold spots and adding to the comfort. Other stand out features include and internal mesh pocket for a water bottle, exterior Napoleon chest pocket and 2 hand warming pockets.

The Himal Jacket ticks all the right boxes for a winter jacket to be used in British and Alpine adventures. Highly water resistant, windproof, supremely warm, helmet compatible hood and lightweight for the punch. If you like the sound of this then you’ll love the fact that we have the Black and Neptune colours in stock now with 40% off at £143.99. While stocks last so hurry.

Next on the list is the Mountain Equipment Supercell Jacket. This is a fully featured, Gore-Tex Active Shell, waterproof jacket perfect for mountain use, trekking and backpacking. The use of Gore-Tex Active Shell makes the Supercell incredibly breathable so for those who like to stomp around, working up a sweat, this jacket is for you. ME have given it a longer cut so it’s more like the walking jackets of old, the longer cut gives greater protection from wind, rain and snow.

The Supercell Jacket benefits from the quality of the Mountain Equipment design along with the legendary Gore-Tex warranty which combine to create an amazing waterproof which works beautifully well through wet and wild weather. The Active Shell means that while you’re working up a sweat your jacket is allowing all the moist air to escape to create a comfortable and dry environment. Dress the Supercell up or down depending on the weather, I’d recommend buying a micro baffle down vest, smock or jacket to go under the Supercell in the winter and in the summer you’ll be comfy just wearing a technical tee or baselayer while the Supercell keeps the rain off in the warmer months.

If you’re interested in the Supercell then to make the deal a little more appealing we’ve managed to find some stock of the black at 40% off making it and absolute bargain at £131.99.

 

British Brands for British Weather

On December 18, 2012, in The Outdoor Archive, by Charlie

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The Brits love to moan about the weather and most mornings at work are met with a sarcastic ‘lovely weather today’. It’s true, the weather is horrible most of the time and it feels like it’s getting worse as each year passes. Constant storms, floods and a persistent lack of sunshine isn’t all bad news though as the philosophy ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad choice of clothing’ and as our boss here says ‘No such thing as a problem, only solution opportunity’ come into play.

The solution to solving inclement weather is to approach it with outdoor clothing and equipment which is designed by none other than the weather hating British. Who better to design and manufacture weather bashing gear?

So, what we have is a group of brands which have grown from our own waterlogged soil and who have listened to the perpetual moaning about the weather and who have decided to stop moaning and start the making solutions, lots of them.

The first of which is Rab. This fantastic British brand, inspired by the British climber and explorer Rab Carrington,  is growing from strength to strength with cracking ranges of waterproof jackets, down items fit for expedition, legwear, sleeping bags, wind shells, gloves, gaiters and more. Founded in the early 80′s Rab have focused on the fast and light side of the market spilling out some of the finest lightweight outdoor clothing on the market. One of the recent triumphs, and a personal favourite of mine, would have to be the Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket. This Rab jacket delivers fabulous warmth, versatility and super-light performance at a competitive price which is hard to beat in the battle of the micro baffles.

The second Brit in the pile is Mountain Equipment. These guys have been running since the 60′s and have some epic accolades desired by all brands in the outdoor market. Kitting expeditions out for the first ascent of many 8000m peaks and delivering season after season of top quality outdoor clothing.  Mountain Equipment today have an enviable range of clothing, equipment and accessories which are accessible by everyone no matter if you’re a weekend rambler or you’re planning to scale the north face of the Eiger. One of the most interesting and notable introductions of late is the Firefox Jacket. This Gore-Tex jacket is lightweight, waterproof, highly breathable and it’s slightly stretchy making it a great all round piece for walkers and climbers wanting something a little more than a waterproof. It’s use of Gore-Tex Active Shell is highly breathable and lightweight making it perfect for high output activities.

Third but by no means last is Montane. This brand is dedicated to designing and manufacturing lightweight, functional and breathable outdoor equipment and clothing. They’ve produced items such as the legendary Mohawk Jacket, Spektr Smock and the Air Jacket so they know their business for sure. Montane are a technical brand and were one of the first to recognise the benefits of eVent fabrics which now is widely used across waterproof clothing and equipment. Montane are one of the brands which you go to if you’re after some gear to help you in areas such as mountain marathons, ultra trail running and fast and light trips over British and Alpine terrain. Smart, technical and British engineering aiding people achieve their goals through innovation and design.

 

Lead up to the ‘Grizzly’

On October 5, 2012, in The Outdoor Archive, by Charlie

It’s been a while since anyone has posted on the Togblog and the reason is pure laziness…. No, that’s a lie. We’ve had an incredibly busy few months over the Summer and unfortunately it’s the blog and social media which has taken a bit of a battering. For this we are sorry.

I’m Charlie and have written a couple of posts before, mainly about mountain biking and the like. If you’re not familiar then I’ll try to summarise what I’m like and the recent changes in my life which have lead me to participate in a few unusual events. Unusual for me anyway.

I quit smoking 2 years ago in March, not that I’m counting the days ( the 1st at 5pm)….. and this, along with working for Webtogs, kicked me in the right direction to entering a few races over the summer including a couple of triathlons, road races and the Wiggle Mountain Mayhem, a 24hr MTB race. I now own a garage full of bikes and bike bits but this is not where this post is headed.

Now that the nights are drawing  in and road cycling is becoming slightly dangerous I have been persuaded into trail running by Warehouse Mike our resident athlete and before you could say knife I’d entered a race called the ‘Grizzly‘. Now for those of you who are unaware of this race it’s a 21 miler from Seaton in Devon and it’s a multi terrain, extremely undulating race designed to knock you sideways with cliff paths, a million steps*, shingle beaches and styles to navigate – oh dear Charlie. I have no idea why this race sold out in 3 hours and I still have no idea why I entered. I maintain that my excuse is as it was when I was at school and in trouble “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, sir”.

So, Mike and I are entered into this Grizzly race and training has commenced with a bang. I went out around the woods and Stour Head gardens last night straight after work, on my own, and was happily running away on a 10k course we’d mapped out previously when a couple of things dawned on me. Firstly, the light was fading pretty quick so I needed to buy a decent head torch, and secondly if anything was to happen to me it would take at least 12hrs before anyone noticed me missing.

Towards the 8k mark where the route navigates through a few fields and in front of the beautiful Stour Head House, where there are usually friendly cows, the farmer had obviously swapped these ones for ‘Grizzly’ ones. As I was thinking ‘are you going to move’ the cows were obviously thinking ‘whose this pipsqueak on our turf’. Well to say I’ve never spun and run as fast as that is an understatement. I’ve never experienced that life flashing experience until last night and it freaked me out somewhat – needless to say it added minutes onto my training time as I had to find my composure along with my pride and my heart which had leapt into the nearest tree.

Two things learned last night. I need to buy a decent head torch, which luckily the Silva rep arrived today and we’ve added some seriously epic head lamps to our range. The second lesson was to give cows a wide birth, no matter how rare you like them.

Thanks for reading and hope to post again soon with more adventures.

Charlie.

* I’m not sure how many steps there will be but there are likely to be a lot!

 

This weeks #walkwednesday route is a proper work out along the South West Coastal path. Coming in at 8 miles, you have some fairly serious hills and all the wild beauty that the Jurassic coast has to offer. So far I think you’ll agree it’s been a funny old summer, I’ve not had the chance to get out and about to do as much walking as I would ideally like to, but a couple of weeks ago, my friend Chris and myself finally managed to head out for a stroll. Chris was worried about his fitness, so we decided to test it and get a solid days walking on along the SW Coastal path. Not only was it a good test of fitness, but Chris had not even heard of Durdle Door, so I was quietly looking forward to seeing his reaction when we came to it.

The day started out with a little drizzle and after we had parked at Lulworth Cove it was heads down to get up over the first hill, strolling on in silence. The rain seemed to keep some of the tourists at bay and it wasn’t long before Durdle Dor was in front of us, and Chris had a huge grin on his face. It’s a classic sight, and I will never tire of seeing just what our planet is capable of creating.

durdle dor

Leaving the crowds behind, we carried on along the path, and began drinking in the cliffs and sea ahead of us. It has a fair amount of up and down, so we stopped on Bats Head for a spot of lunch and a breather. There were few people on the path and we felt privileged to have such a beautiful environment to ourselves.

The weather forecast had been for a cloudy rainy day, and although we could see the clouds inland, the day gradually brightened to reveal a child’s picture of what the coast should look like with cloudless skies, a rich blue sea and white sailing ships dotting the waves. It was pretty much the only day this summer that’s been like it! There wasn’t much talking, but the grins came readily and easily to our faces. Reaching White Nothe Cottages, we spied the smugglers path down to the sea and set off down a seriously steep path to the beach. It’s not for the faint hearted, but if you do trek down there you will be rewarded by abundance of wildlife, and at the bottom a stunning beach that we had to ourselves.

bats head beach

Taking a rare opportunity for this summer with the heat, we stripped off for a dip and then basked in the sun to dry off before the long hard slog back up the path to the top. The stroll back to the car was across the fields affording us a larger vista of the coast, and a flatter journey for our tired legs.

Most of my walking encompasses hills and mountains and I need to make more of an effort to visit our coast. The feeling of space, along with the challenge of the inclines along the SWC Path made it a day to remember. The route is shown on the Social Hiking map below, it’s also available to download on Viewranger or you can right-click and download the GPX file here.

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Mayhem of mud

On June 25, 2012, in Adventure Stories, by Gareth

Well the teams are back and there are some fairly shattered folks after the Mountain Mayhem this weekend. The story of the weekend seems to be Mud. Oh and then a bit more on top. Cycling proved tricky in the conditions with folks pushing their bikes for up to a third of the course. There’s been a few negative vibes on Facebook to do with the gloop but the guys & gals here have had a good time, despite the best endeavours of mother nature.

We’ve pulled together our best photos of the weekend along with a couple of videos to give you a taste of what went on.

Camp mayhem

Team Webtogs

Lucys team

Bottom of one of the hills

Unicycle nutter

Charlie shows a bit of leg

Charlie keeps smiling

The Islabikes team racing on kiddy bikes

Post race gloop

To all those who went and participated – we salute you! If you went, how did you get on and is anyone planning on tackling it next year?

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Mountain Mayhem this weekend

On June 22, 2012, in Adventure Stories, by Gareth

Five of the Webtogs team are off to do the Mountain Mayhem this weekend in weather that’s looking a bit iffy to say the least! Mountain Mayhem is the largest and the most prestigious 24-hour mountain bike event in the world, where teams of up to 10 cycle off road for a total of 24 hours around a 10 mile circuit in Eastnor Castle Deer Park, Herefordshire. There’s a lot of night riding as a result, so the guys are really looking forward to testing out some of their Silva head torches, particularly Tim with his Silva Sprint plus.

Mountain Mayhem at nightWe’ve got two teams entering, Charlie, Keith, Mike & Tim are in one and Lucy has teamed up with other friends to cycle with another. So far today, everyone appears to have been huddling over computers nervously watching the weather forecast. Early reports have said the site and course resemble classic Glastonbury circa 1997 – not pleasant….

Best of luck to everyone who is entering this weekend, if anyone has entered previously or is taking part, we’d love to hear how you got on or what you think of it, so please post up in the comments below.

Photos courtesy of Nic R & Andy Armstrong on Flickr

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