Wednesday 27 June 2012

TGO Challenge Gear Review

My report on the gear I used on this years TGO Challenge, which had extremes of weather from wintry to heatwave, is now available on the TGO website.


  1. A link would be great here ;-)

  2. Looks like the website has screwed up the article? When i view it all the text is compressed on the right and mostly hidden? Is it just me? Tried re-loading the page also. I'm sure it'll get fixed.....unless the problem is my end? Cheers

  3. Just clicked on the link and it looks fine to me.

  4. I think the problem is browser-related. Just as rhodri described on Firefox, but fine on Chrome. For me, at least.

  5. Chris, quick question: You work the Inov8 Terroc. In your experience, how long to they last? I currently use the X-Talon 240 (on my second pair) but both a flimsy and start to fall apart after ~500-800km.


  6. Yep Mark. The old browser problem. Loads up in Chrome no problem......I'm off to read! Cheers

  7. Thanks, than it's not worth switching. Had hoped for a bit more, because they look more solid.

  8. Thanks Chris, most interesting. I have never come across those sleeping bags before.

    One thing that bothers me at the moment is the amount of jacket manufacturers that are moving more towards water resistant zips on mountain jackets without putting a storm flap on. These zips, great whilst new are going to wear, sooner or later. Whether it be friction on runners or bending of runner support material. Rendering the expensive jacket almost useless.
    My Cyphur jacket is currently back at OMM for tests after leaking.
    What’s your take on this point?

  9. Re: Alan R's comments.

    I wonder about "waterproof" zips too, and am unsure of their actual durability and waterproofness (without much of a stormflap, if any).

    One thing I noticed: I think the latest version of the Rab Latok - surely a jacket aimed at bad mountain weather - has gone BACK to a more conventional zip/stormflap combination.

  10. I've never had more than slight leakage through a water-resistant zip - however the jackets I've tried had flaps inside the zip with rain gutters to catch any rain that got through.

    The original Latok had two water-resistant zips offset from each other, which kept all rain out but were a hassle to use. I generally only bothered with one.

  11. Hi Chris and Jules. Hope you don't mind me extending this point.
    Funily enough i was in Ellis Brigham yesterday and i noticed that the Rab Latok has gone back to the original storm flap system.
    I spoke to one of the staff about water resistant zips and we went round numerous jackets.He confirmed that they are not reliable and will leak. Although some had a gutter on the inside water will still pass the gutter onto your mid/base layers. It's inevitable. According to this chap, the only reason they have gone this way is to reduce weight and manufacturing costs.
    Although cost reductions don't seem to have been passed on to the customer.

  12. Re: Alan R's comments, and at risk of extending the debate on someone elses blog (sorry!) ...

    Yes, I thought I was right in my original assertion about the Latok. In fact I had been considering getting one as my winter hardshell, but had been put off by the lack of stormflap on the previous version. I may now look again.

    This, I think, is clearly acknowledgement from Rab (albeit low key) that on one of their front line winter mountaineering jackets the use of the water-resistant zip has not been a roaring success in this instance.

    For the sake of a few grammes, I'd rather have as bomb-proof protection as possible, which is what the Latok always seems to have aspired to in the past.

    And as for the price argument, who'd have thought it on a £280 jacket?!

  13. I like water-resistant zips because they are easier to use than double-Velcro storm flaps (and they need to be double to be effective). Water-resistant zips aren't cheap so I don't think it's a cost issue. You don't find them on budget jackets. I've never had serious leakage through them, as I said, and I've often been out in some horrendous weather including the first Sunday on the Challenge. In winter conditions (snow) I prefer Paramo anyway because of the breathability and comfort.

  14. You should have got the OMM Cypher Smock. ;-)
    Any leakage through a water-resistant zip, however minor, usually occurs at flex points.
    Smocks work better in my opinion because of the shorter zip.

    Mike fae Dundee

  15. Ha ha! I guess that's why we are all different, and why we all love to chat about gear!

    Personally I would never choose a smock - too restricted in ventilation and awkward to get on and off. But each to their own. :-)

    So I guess we'll have to agree to disagree about water-resistant zips. Another reason I don't like them (in the main) is the way they are nearly all quite awkward to use and don't run very freely, which I would find annoying if trying to get my jacket on on a blowy day.

    BTW, I wasn't suggesting they were a budget option as such, just that it shouldn't make that much difference either way on a premium-priced bit of kit.

  16. Just been out today in heavy rain and strong winds in a jacket with a water-resistant zip - Montane Minimus. No leakage through zip, some dampness at back of collar, from rain that blew in hood I guess, and condensation in sleeves. Otherwise dry inside. I was out for 5 hours and in rain for 3.

    I used a Rab Demand smock on the Pacific Northwest Trail and wore it for most of the last month. I had no problems with it being a smock. I chose it because of the weight - smocks are lighter than equivalent jackets.

  17. Mike,
    My OMM Cyphur smock is, as i type this, back with the manufacturers as the zip is leaking. It's only been used about 10 times.