A review of the best gear I’ve used in 2020. I haven’t bought much equipment this year because of COVID, so the gear mentioned below is not necessarily new kit but are the items that have been most frequently worn in 2020. All the items have been well used and tested in variety of tough working conditions.
I had been using my old Five Ten Access Approach shoes most days for four years and, as they were getting very tatty, I made a quick visit to the Outside shop in Hathersage to find a replacement. I ended up choosing the Sportiva TX4 as they are nice and comfy and they looked durable enough for working days on the gritstone. They have a leather upper and good sticky rubber. These have been used on pretty much all the rock climbing courses I’ve run this year. I must have been looking quite stylish because Chris has now bought a pair!
Petzl Meteor Helmet
For a couple of years I’ve been using a Petzl Sirocco helmet which is fantastically light and very comfy, in fact it’s easy to forget your wearing it. Unfortunately the weight is achieved by compromising on the helmets durability. Looking ahead to Scottish winter courses and hopefully the return to Himalayan expeditions after COVID I wanted something that would survive a winter battering and being chucked about in a kitbag. The Petzl Meteor is actually still very light but unlike the Sirocco has a plastic shell protecting the foam so will take a bit more abuse. I’ll still use the Sirocco for personal rock climbing but the Meteor for everything else.
I chose this for a very particular reason; I simply wanted a simple and durable hardshell waterproof with a big hood to fit over a helmet. It didn’t need to be particularly light just robust enough for everyday instructional use. A certain amount of our work involves standing around in the rain so I also wanted it to be big enough to chuck on over a load of layers. The Alpkit Definition has done the job extremely well. It has been great as a waterproof outer layer working on wet days on the Peak District gritstone edges and has protected me from some particularly foul weather up on the Kinder plateau.
Rab Cirrus Flex Hoody
I’ve had a Rab Cirrus Flex Hoody for about three years and it’s become one of the most versatile items of clothing I own. It’s been used in the Peak, North Wales, on Kilimanjaro, in Chamonix and in both the Indian and Nepalese Himalaya. The synthetic insulation drys quickly and it works a mid-layer or as a quick extra layer for lunch breaks.
Mountain Equipment Echo Hooded Jacket
We have been using Mountain Equipment Echo Hooded Jackets as our Beyond the Edge branded jackets for a couple of years and they have been fantastic for all elements of our work. It’s great over a t-shirt or base layer in summer or when walking in warmer weather and it layers well with insulating items. I can’t think of a days work in the last three years when I haven’t worn one of these. A very versatile soft-shell jacket.
For more information on gear and equipment have a read of Alex’s blog on Equipment & Clothing for Scottish Winter Walking & Mountaineering
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We are one of the UKs most experienced providers of climbing, walking, scrambling, mountaineering and navigation training courses.
Most of our courses are run in the nearby Peak District National Park which has some of the finest climbing, bouldering, walking and hiking in the world.