By Shane Hutton
Weighing in at around 460g this camping mattress is perfect for any ultralight hiker or bike packer. It rolls up to approx 200mm long and about as wide as a fist so it's pretty slimline to fit in your pack
I use a schnozzle to inflate my mattress to avoid bacteria build up from your breath. It inflates almost to the size of a lilo. It has separate inflate and deflate 1 way valve system to ensure you don't lose any air
The insulation in the bottom is perfect for reflecting the cold ground ensuring a warm nights sleep. I have used this mat at above 4000 metres whilst camping in Nepal and it was perfect. I have also been camping in snow and have not felt the cold from the ground at all.
This mat is also relatively quiet when you are rolling over. I won't say it's silent but it is better than most of other mats.
We are currently using 2 of these mats as we bike tour the Great Divide MTB Route, and so far they have been robust enough to be used almost everyday for nearly 2 months...pretty good for ultralight gear.
The only problem I have experienced with this mat and I think it is only in the older models is there is a valve in the deflate port. This can make it painful to dump all the air out and get a good roll done with the mat. I have solved the problem by removing the valve. The only time my mat has gone down is when a small piece of fibre has been wedged in the closed deflate valve causing it to weep slowly and result in an uncomfortable nights sleep.
So if you are looking for a quality lightweight roll mat for pretty much any camping situation I would certainly advise the Exped syn mat 7 UL.
You can get them from Bogong Equipment Melbourne CBD
Just the name conjures up images in my mind of a mud loving, water dwelling snake. So if they have named them after an awesome animal like this I better try them .....
These are the next shoe in my La Sportiva collection. They are designed for short course mountain runs & vertical K`s. They have a much more aggressive lug pattern than the Helios. They also have a 4mm drop so are classed as a minimal shoe.
I was blessed the day I received these shoes as we received an awesome downpour of rain. You beauty let’s give these things a real test. First thoughts when slipped on... MMMMM comfy. Very interesting heel cup (I will explain shortly)
I decided with the rain I would take these to one of my favourite trails. Stoney Rise Walk this trail has it all, steep, technical, Rocky and most of all CLAY. There is nowhere to hide on this trail. Usually done as climb (160mtr ascent over 900mtr) I decided for a real test let’s run down
As soon as I hit the clay these shoes did not disappoint. They stuck to the clay, rocks & any other obstacle like glue. I hit the bottom of the trail a little surprised not have taken a nice swallow dive at some point and thought the next test was to run up & see how they felt as a climbing shoe. After all, this is what they were designed for. Weighing in at a touch over 300 grams men`s US size 10.5 Again they were excellent. Nice and light the aggressive lugs were grabbing without any trouble.
They have a nice stiff toebox which came in handy as I am very good at kicking the rocks on my way up a climb.
The stiff heel cup was great they felt snug & I felt all my energy was not being taken up by extra padding. They reacted so well to the climb, enough cushion to protect my feet from any sharp rocks but thin enough that I could sense what was happening under foot.
I really like the slightly wider toebox in these shoes. My deformed little toes are not trying to escape. I have a problem with having slightly wider feet and my little toe`s always wear holes through the side of my shoes. It actually hurts quite a bit until there is a large enough hole for my toe to stick completely out.
NOTE: Do not attempt to run on the bitumen with these shoes... They will chew you up and spit you out. You don`t see an Anaconda slithering down Bourke street.. These shoes are designed for the rough stuff. The more aggressive the terrain the better they perform.
I would say anyone who enjoys Mountain / Technical or just steep trail running would love these shoes. Running in the rain the water beads off them & they drain so well. I cannot wait to hit some scree & snow in these shoes :)
GOOD FOR: Short/Middle distance steep runs, Technical trail up down. Racing fast
NOT SO GOOD FOR: Longer runs, Also if the laces loosen the stiff heel cup causes a lovely rub on the Achilles. Make sure you get a proper fit when buying these shoes
I also ordered my shoes a half size larger than normal. They seem to fit nicely.
I bought these myself from Bogong Equipment in early 2014.
Pared-down and packable, the Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket is an H2No® Performance Standard 2.5-layer nylon waterproof/breathable hard shell for seriously wet weather.
Aside from stunning landscapes, Southern Patagonia is known for one thing: wet weather. For trekking and hiking in drenching conditions, our Torrentshell Jacket provides H2No® Performance Standard protection that's durable, lightweight and versatile. The 2.5-layer nylon jacket has a waterproof/breathable barrier, a DWR (durable water repellent) finish and stuffs into one of two zippered handwarmer pockets (with a carabiner clip-in loop). The hood rolls down, stows away, and has a laminated visor, the center zipper has minimal welt exterior and interior storm flaps and the ventilating pit zips have storm flaps and DWR-treated zippers. With a microfleece-lined neck, hook-and-loop cuff closures and a drawcord hem.
I was looking for a jacket that was robust and waterproof enough to keep dry when its raining hard, yet something that was light enough to comfortably run, as well as being compact enough to stuff it in my pack without it taking up too much room, or adding too much weight.
The Patagonia TorrentShell came very highly recommended by a good friend of mine, who works in an outdoors store during the week, and explores the extremes of Tasmania’s wilderness on the weekends. If there's any recommendations to take, its hers! She said “Richelle, this jacket keeps you dry in the toughest conditions, looks great, and best of all, it never rides up at the back when you are hiking or running with a backpack!”. I was sold. I then passed on specific purchase instructions to Shane, who was buying it for me as a “secret” birthday present!
Adventures So Far:
Excellent – so far I haven’t had any water permeate through the jacket, so I can’t fault it to date. I haven’t worn it in torrential rain just yet, but if my experience thus far is anything to go by, I'll be trusting it 100%.
Breathes pretty well, on warmer days when walking/running uphills and heating up Ive opened the underarm vents, which seems to help with getting too warm. At no point thus far have I sweated more than just a little bit when working hard. . On warmer days, I tend to get damp in my forearm/wrist area, but I put that down to sweat.
I love the microfleece neck cuff, very smooth and silky fabric against my neck. The underarm vents are very practical, the velcro cuff fasteners are functional and the stuff pack pocket very convenient. But my favourite parts by far are the hood that just sits on your head perfectly, without decreasing your peripheral vision, and the longer back on the jacket to ensure greatest coverage.
Comfort and Mobility
In terms of comfort and mobility, when im hiking and running, I don’t even notice I have this jacket on. And the true test was the XC Skiing, and again, didn’t even notice I had it on! The awesome thing about this jacket is that it doesn’t ride up even with a backpack on!
I bought 1 size bigger than my usual size to allow for the possibility of wearing my puffy jacket underneath.
Weight and bulk
At 320g it’s a lightweight jacket. I'm sure there are plenty lighter, but this was the lightest I found with multiple waterproof layers.
At $159.00 (AUD), I think for such a high quality lightweight jacket, this is great value for money. As an added bonus, its a Patagonia product, which I've always associated with great quality!
This jacket was purchased for me from Paddy Pallin in Launceston, Tasmania, in April 2014.
Colour: Tobago Blue
Size: Size XL
By Richelle Olsen - slow runner, hiker and general outdoorsy-type
Finally a gear review aimed at the girls! But that doesn't mean you boys can zone out....here's some great advice for the female runner in your life!!
Thought that its high time that I shared my thoughts on running bras.....specifically my all time favorite, the Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra!
Designed specifically for runners, the award-winning Ultimate RUN bra reduces bounce by up to 78%* and provides ultimate friction-free comfort.
• Infinity-8 support system counteracts the breasts' figure-of-eight movement during running
• Soft, seamless inner reduces rubbing or chafing
• Non-slip, wide padded adjustable straps
• Reflective tape across cups for high visibility
• Full back opening for easy on and off
• Made from moisture-wicking, breathable fabric, sports performance fabrics
*University of Portsmouth 2009 (Scurr et al) - testing carried out against 'no bra' conditions.
Available in sizes: A 30-36, B/C/D/DD/E/F 30-38
"This award winning high impact bra has you feeling uninhibited during your workouts. The clever racer back design allows for more adjustability than most racer back bras. Most people find this bra much easier to get on and off than traditional racer back bras. We find this model fits tight in the band, which has us fitting women with a size bigger band, and a size smaller in the cup."
My boob size (38 D) is not designed to run in any ordinary sports bra. I’ve had some good, and some bad ones in my time, but as I begin to run more and more frequently, I’ve felt the need to get a bra that will offer me 100% support.
The first thing I noticed about this bra is that its pretty lightweight. Many sports bras for us bigger boobed ladies a made up of thick structured material, and often feel like they wont breathe very well during a hot sweaty run. The other bonus of it being lightweight is that it dries after a wash in no time, great for frequent washes.
So heres my thoughts.....
This bra is very firm, almost tight around the band, but not enough to feel like it digs in. The support around the boobs is very firm, without feeling squished. It comes up high enough at the front to cover most of the cleavage, but without the restrictive feeling like you have a bra that comes up to your neck!
The shoulder straps are wide and padded and never move, they are very comforable. When I first put the bra on, I do feel like the weight of my boobs is pulling on my shoulders, but once I settle into the bra this feeling goes away.
When I am running I don’t feel any movement of my boobs at all! It's so much more comfortable than when I’ve run in other bras. I don’t notice my boobs, they aren't an issue, even when I’m running downhill (I've been known to hold them down when running downhill when no ones around! And I don't think I'm alone!!!)
I will say however that this isn’t a bra I can wear all day. After 6 hours or so, the tight band around my sternum becomes a bit too tight, and I look forward to taking it off.
The true test for me was completing my first ever trail half marathon, consisting of 4hrs of sweat and rain. I jumped in the shower that night, waiting for the sting of chafe around the band area, between my boobs, under my arms…..NOTHING! Now that’s an awesome bra!!
Getting it on:
I've always struggled with getting bras on, getting my hands behind my back with enough co-ordination to do up a clasp has often been beyond me!! This bra is great in the fact that I can do up the band from the front, twist the whole bra around to the back, pull up the straps, then reach behind and do up the racer back clasp (that clasp is really easy to do up!) Sounds complicated, but it works perfectly for me! For those with even more dexterity will find it even more simple!
Getting the right size/fit:
I was keen to get it right the first time when I headed out to buy a sports bra for running. I had heard great things about She Science, so one Sunday afternoon I headed into their store in Kew, just outside the city of Melbourne.
She Science is the first retailer worldwide to use motion analysis software to analyse dynamic breast motion. This optional analysis is conducted in private change rooms using motion analysis software and treadmill technology.
Tish, the owner, was super friendly, and helpful in determining what I wanted in a bra. What's it for? Do I prefer wire or wire-free? Do I prefer racer back or regular back? In a couple of questions she had narrowed it down to 3-4 bras. Then it was time to head out the back to the very private changeroom/treadmill area. Unlike the bra fitting ladies in Myer and DJ's who stand there and watch you get the girls out and poke and prod some of your most intimate areas, Tish is very discrete, and really values your privacy when helping you fit the bras.
With the first bra on, I jumped on the treadmill, with a screen in front of me showing footage of the video camera that was recording my movements. Building to a slow, then moderate jog, I could watch as my chest moved (or didn't move!) with each stride. In total I tried on 3 bra's, all of which felt great in terms of restricting movement, however when reviewing the video, 1 of the 3 had me bouncing all over the shop! Its amazing that I couldn't feel that! There's the value in the video there, it shows you what you can't feel for yourself. So with just 2 choices, I went with the Shock Absorber, as it was much more lightweight.
So I hope this has helped you in your running bra decision.....but what I will say is that I have learnt from She Science is that more important than the bra is the fit. And I will tell anyone who will listen about the service from Tish and the team at She Science!!
I now own 2 of these bras, so they must be doing something right!
She Science http://www.shescience.com.au/estore/style/sab5044.aspx
This tent is the first ultra-light tent I have ever owned. It weighs in at 1.6kg As the name states it’s a single person there is a Moondance 2 as well. It`s a 3 season tent and is suited to Australian conditions. I have taken this tent to Tasmania & used it in some pretty rough conditions & it held up very well.
I was given this tent to help me with the Tassie Traverse a 670km run through Tasmania, where I had a few nights camping out alone and had to carry all my own equipment. This tent was perfect. It takes around 5-6 min to put it up. Perfect after a hard 9+ hr day of running.
It has a fully sewn in base. The seams are factory seam sealed so this sucker is not leaking. The floor is rated to 10,000mm PU coated rip stop nylon. Just be sure when you set it up you are not on any sharp objects
It is so simple to put up it even has colour coded poles. All you have to do is match them up. Once the base is constructed throw the fly over and do up the Velcro job done. There is ample room inside to sit up whilst preparing your sleeping gear or eating food. There is also a very convenient zip in the top of the base to allow you to get to a small flap that holds the fly open allowing the condensation to escape. I learnt this after a night with it closed J
The vestibule is not huge. In fact it is probably the only down side to this tent. It is pretty small, I don`t really expect a huge one when it is a single person tent. However I can squeeze my shoes and pack in there. There is enough room in the tent to house shoes and pack which is what I did as I was worried an animal may run off with my shoes and who needs that J
Another problem I have come across is on the warmer nights even with the flap open to let the condensation out I have woken in the morning and it has been horribly wet. This is not fun when packing the tent up knowing you will have to get it out later to camp the following night. Again I am not sure if this is a common problem with ultra-light tents.
The price is great for under $400 you can have one of the best tents on the market. That is light weight and will stand up to almost all conditions. I have had this tent in some pretty windy situations and it was nice and warm inside and didn`t flap around.
One of my favourite features is the bag it comes in. It`s not a token bag that once you take it out for the first time, that`s it your never getting it back in. It has plenty of space and a strap that you can pull tight to compress everything once it`s in!
This tent was provided to be by Bogong Equipment in Melbourne
By Shane Hutton, Ultra and Adventure Trail Runner, who recently completed the epic Tassie Traverse in these Helios.
Where to begin.....
These shoes are by far my favourite. I had never run in a pair of La Sportiva`s, all I knew was they made great mountaineering/climbing shoes.
The first thing you will notice when you put these shoes on is how light weight they are. They are sold as lightweight, highly breathable shoes. The mesh used is light and welded with overlays to give you a snug fit.
They drain extremely well because of this. I have run in mud, snow, rain, & dry conditions and find my feet dry quickly and the shoe does not weigh me down being waterlogged.
These shoes have a low drop 4-5mm. So by most standards a minimal shoe . If you are new to minimal shoes I would suggest wearing these shoes in slowly.
The sole has some cushioning but is still light weight enough that you can feel a good contact with the ground. I enjoy being able to feel the different surfaces under my feet so this is not a problem. The only time I have had a problem is on the odd occasion when I have been running over very sharp large rocks. You can sometimes get one on the ball or mid sole of the foot & it does hurt.
The toe box on these shoes is very solid. I have kicked many rocks and tree roots and have loved the fact that I did not hurt my foot. Some people have said they think the shoe has a narrow toe box. I have medium to wide feet and have not found this to be a problem, However the sizing of the shoe is a little off from regular so I order mine a half size larger than usual.
Down to the best part..... The GRIP....... La Sportiva use a product called " FriXion" rubber. This rubber is extremely grippy. I was a little dubious when I first looked at the tread pattern on these shoes. It did not look like it would do a lot but wow was I wrong.
These shoes give me traction on every surface, they are simply amazing. I guess when you make climbing shoes you may know a thing or two about grip. I have 100% confidence in these shoes sticking when I need them to stick. A friend of mine said ** You could run up a tree in these shoes**
The tread pattern is very different from most. It doesn`t have huge lugs to trap all the mud in. Each of the small lugs is slightly higher or lower than the opposing one giving a unique traction on all surfaces.
They have a sewn in tongue which helps stop the mud and debris from entering the shoe. I find that once these shoes are on that`s it, leave them alone. No fiddling mid race.
Cons: The only downside I have had with these shoes is, being a lightweight shoe they have the tendency to rip or tear easily. I have also had the outer around the top laces fray and come apart quickly but this does not alter the performance of the shoe and will not stop me from purchasing another pair....
** Disclosure: I paid for these shoes. They were not donated to nor am I sponsored by La Sportiva.
I purchased mine from Bogong Equipment in Melbourne CBD. Pop and see the team, or grab a pair online!
I would highly recommend these shoes to anyone. You won’t regret it. Happy Running :)
UPDATE 17/7/2014 - Additional disclosure: I have recently been asked to become a brand ambassador for La Sportiva. Please note that when this review was written i had no affiliation with La Sportiva at all. I'm super excited to be brand ambassador now , as I love their shoes!!
Reviewed by Shane Hutton
I will start off by saying I bought these shoes out of my own pocket on a great recommendation from a friend. I had a pair of Peregrine 2`s and absolutely loved them from the moment I put them on, so was very excited to purchase the 3`s.
I purchased the P 3`s and put them on for my first run. A 40km trail run that covered multiple types of terrain along the Great Ocean Trail.
First Thoughts: Comfortable as with the P 2`s. As soon as you put these shoes on you notice the extra cushioning in the mid foot region. For a dedicated trail shoe with a minimal drop these shoes are comfy. They seem to keep the minimal feel without jeopardising the comfort of the shoe. I have had no trouble with blisters or my feet getting sore after 50km as I have with other minimal shoes.
Specs: These shoes have a 4mm drop so on the minimal side. They have a little more cushion in them which is why I believe I have been able to wear these shoes back to back to back without pain in my feet. I have done a 120km training run on the Saturday and backed up with no blisters or pain in my feet for a 70km run in these shoes on the Sunday. They weigh around 300grams. They have changed the rubber sole of these since the P 2`s using a rubber that seems to have more traction, making these shoes even more stable over trail surfaces. I have run in mud, snow, slippery tree roots, dry trails and soft sandy beaches.
They have reinforced the toe box on the 3`s with some light rubber around the edges. The toe box is probably slightly on the narrow side but they do tend to stretch out a bit with running.
Feel: As with the P 2`s these shoes are comfortable from the get go. The chunky lugs on the bottom seem to handle all types of terrain on your more technical trail. The extra cushion in the sole is worth whatever extra weight it adds. Having comfortable feet is a big plus when running 100km or Miles
Drainage: This is probably the only downside to these shoes. It seems they have not quite worked out their drainage system with these shoes. They don`t seem to hold a lot of water but the extra cushion in the sole does not drain too well. Although the P 3`s are a lot better than the 2.
Lacing: I love the laces on the new P 3`s. They are using as thicker lacing system. Once they are done up that’s it I have not had to re tie them every 5 min when I trip over them.
I had a lot of trouble with the 2`s damn laces were always coming undone. They seem to have rectified this problem on the new ones.
Durability: So far so good. I have done approx. 300km in these shoes and they seem to be holding up very well. ( The 2`s ) seemed to wear out rather quickly, but these are holding up very well. I have run through mud, snow, ice, dry trails, wet trails & am so far very pleased with the durability of these shoes.
Summary: I am a big fan of these trail shoes. I have had great success with them over the 2 pairs I have owned. I am really pleased with everything the 3 has to offer and have been told the P 4 has stepped up a level and cannot wait to get a pair of those next year. You can pick up a pair of these at a great price from The Running Company Geelong West.