Hati’s favourite gear of 2023
This was a year of attempted gear streamlining, which does not come naturally to my womble instincts. But alas, in a bid to minimise consuming, save a bit of money and instil some peace in my household, I have been most careful in what I acquire and where I acquire it from this year (especially when it comes to jackets; I have quite a lot of jackets).
When you work outdoors, your kit is your uniform and it takes a right bashing. I did not necessarily buy all these bits of kit this year, but these have been some of my favourites:
OMM Kamleika Waterproof
Okay so this was a new purchase after two days of carrying my (relatively) heavy waterproof round the OMM… but FINALLY I own a lightweight-yet-actually-quite-waterproof waterproof jacket that meets the Fell Runners Associations taped seams requirements.
The best way to get an idea of OMM’s Kamleika jacket is to find a shop where you can wear and feel it as its fabric is a huge selling point. Somehow it is both waterproof and soft and stretchy, which makes it really comfortable to run in and, amazingly, silent! It is not the lightest jacket in their range, but is far more waterproof and protective the feather light options (Storm Ciaran tested!). In the past I have worried about lightweight waterproof jackets delaminating under a larger running pack (you see a lot of this), but the fabric seems durable and so far I have not seen any signs of rubbing.
My only regret is that my jacket is black so I’m a bit of a stealth runner, but that was all that was available on the OMM sale rail.
Montane Extreme Smock
They don’t make these anymore (mine was second hand) but it is a similar style to Buffalo’s smocks with a pile lining and pertex outer.
I moved into my smock back in early September and have resided within it ever since. Admittedly it was a little too warm for it in early September, but it really came into its own as we got into a rather damp and miserable Autumn. Mostly I wear it with just a base layer underneath and it keeps me the right temperature for the whole day (literally: I have bouldered, climbed, walked and camped in this jacket).
I like the smock for the cosiness and giant pockets, but you can also get it with a full zip. The smock can be a little awkward to escape if you have broad shoulders, so if that’s a concern the full-zip mght be a better option…
Opinel No 8. Outdoor
I’ve had this for a few years but it’s a proper pack staple no matter what I’m doing. Despite its several features, my favourite thing about it is that I don’t have to worry about it in extreme weather or when it gets soaked. The polyamide handle seems super resistant to everything and is very low maintenance, which I prefer to the traditional wooden handles. You never know when you’ll need to cut cheese!
Go to this link Whitby & Co and use this code WHITBYALEXEKINS15 for a 15% discount on all products on the Whitby & Co website including Opinel Knifes.
And you’ll find Alex’s in depth Opinel review here.
Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta 6.0
I have always used hand-me-down running packs that are not quite designed for purpose or – worse – provoke the dreaded chafe!
This year I visited the local Ultimate Direction supplier (Beta Designs) whose lovely running team helped me with the fit and size or my running pack. I left with the Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta 6.0, a 10 litre vest-style pack (the men’s Ultra Vest 6.0 is designed for longer torsos with wider shoulders than the women’s fit).
The vest is designed for ultras (as the name would suggest), but laso is ideal for linear station to station runs where you need a few warm bits in your bag for waiting around, as well as carrying an emergency warm layer on big poor weather outings. When not fully packed out, you can cinch various bits in so that it doesn’t bash around as you’re running. Feature-wise, the many pockets are super helpful and, most essentially of all, it doesn’t chafe – hurrah! A good reminder that it’s worth getting your running clothes fitted properly.
Again, a bit of regret that I went for the stealth black colourway, but at least this year’s Percy Pud hat is very visible.
Mountain Equipment Citadel Jacket
Will you permit me one more jacket? They really are my vice!
The Citadel is ME’s biggest warmest synthetic layer. I picked mine up in one of Mountain Equiment’s famous sample sales at the back end of last year, ready to head up to the highlands to play in the snow. I’ve been wearing it whenever possible throughout our somewhat more mild sheffield winter (to break it in?). Citadel doesn’t come in a women’s specific fit; I am usually a tall 10 – 12 and wear a men’s medium, which comes up a little long in the arms but fits over all my other layers at chilly belays.
You can find out more about the Mountain Equipment Citadel jacket here.
Beyond the Edge Ltd is based in the Peak District, easily reached by train from London and within easy travelling distance from Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham and other Northern towns and cities.
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 Peak District National Park which has some of the finest rock climbing, bouldering, walking and hiking in the world.