Which Waterproof?

WATERPROOF

You only have to look out of the window at the pouring rain and you start to think about when you’ll be able to enjoy the outdoors again! Well now you can laugh in the face of rain, because at Facewest.co.uk we have the solution. With jackets designed for some of the toughest wet conditions, you can be sure of keeping dry on your next expedition, or even in the British downpours!

Here we have highlighted 5 of the best, most durable, and versatile waterproof jackets in our AW14 range;

Arc'teryx Sabre Jacket

Arc’teryx Sabre Jacket

Primed for the slopes, this ski and snowboard jacket provides a top quality Gore-Tex waterproof shell for a layering system, allowing for plenty of room to wear as many or as few layers as you need. A great option in changeable weather.

Marmot Speed Light Jacket

Marmot Speed Light Jacket

Aptly named the Speed Light because it is one of the lightest Gore-Tex jackets out there, and is designed to be a quick solution that’s to hand when the weather takes a turn for the worse. It packs down extremely small and weighs only 350g, so you can store it in an accessible pocket when out and about. Perfect for those concerned about packing light.

Rab Neo Guide Jacket

Rab Neo Guide Jacket

This mid-weight jacket is designed with activity in mind. The fabric incorporates a stretch for freedom of movement whilst adding reinforcement in the form of waterprooof NeoShell in the shoulders, hips and cuffs. Ideal for cold and variable conditions.

Montane Axion Neo Alpha Jacket

Montane Axion Neo Alpha Jacket

Insulated yet highly breathable, this jacket combines NeoShell and Polartec waterproof fabrics for the ultimate protection. When you’re working hard this is sure to provide some relief from body heat, whilst maintaining a complete barrier from the elements. Optimal comfort and protection for those long days on the mountain.

Mountain Equipment Changabang Jacket

Mountain Equipment Changabang Jacket

This Gore-Tex jacket is designed for the toughest skiing and mountaineering conditions. Fully featured with extra pockets, pit-zips, snow skirt and adjustable hood, it still weighs in at less than 650g, keeping you moving fast throughout. The Changabang retains room for your choice of layering system, but provides a good amount of warmth in itself. Primed for serious expedition use and Alpine trips.

There are many more options in our full range of Waterproof jackets – click here.

Competition – Pick your winner

Strata

Entries to the competition have now closed, and we have compiled the shortlist of our 5 favourite tips:

    1)

  • Malt loaf users – Take one malt loaf, drop it on the floor, stamp on it. There, it fits in your pocket!
  • 2)

  • Ski touring – Don’t be tempted to over-pack. Moving keeps you warm. When you stop you have a decent down jacket or a sleeping bag. The rest of your clothing is layers (and you don’t need that much!), and if you feel your pack is now too light – add food, or enjoy a light pack!
  • 3)

  • Multi-day trips – get a friend to text you the weather forecast to save your phone battery
  • 4)

  • Treats – Take a treat with you, something you like e.g. coffee percolator or a hot chocolate, perhaps some whiskey! Tell yourself that if you make it past the hard part you can have some. It makes the bigger climbs less tiring and does wonders for morale.
  • 5)

  • Quickdraws – The answer to ‘stow on the go’. Attach quickdraws to your pack to allow for quick and easy access of items.
  • E.g.Stow-on-the-go

    Now we want you to choose your favourite. We have posted the shortlist on our Facebook page – all you have to do is comment with the number of your chosen tip in order to register a vote, and you can vote for as many as you want!

    Each tip will also be posted on our Twitter. Here you can retweet or favourite the best tip, or tweet us with the number. Remember to use #facewestcomp in your reply.

    The winner will be announced on Monday 20th October 2014. Get voting!

Injinji Toe Socks – Review

We’ve had another useful and informative review from one of our customers. In this post keen fell and trail runner Brook talks about becoming a toe socks convert:

“Socks can be an important part of your running kit, just as shoes or clothes may be. So I wasn’t surprised when recently I noticed my running socks where well worn out and many of them had holes. As I was looking on the net for some new sock ideas I found the idea of wearing a pair of Injinji toe socks under a normal sock. I liked it so I ventured in buying my first pair of toe socks.”

“When I received my Injinji liner socks, I paired it with one of my old running socks so to have 2 layer, and went out for a run. This combination didn’t work for me as my feet was getting more hot than usual and it also felt tighter. But I did like the feeling of having a glove on my foot instead of mittens. The toe sock allows your food to splay better as you run and you toes tend to move more freely in your shoe. Although I didn’t like the Injinji liner sock for running I decided not to give up and order a pair of Injinji Trail Midweight Mini Crew from Facewest.”

Trail Midweight

Trail Midweight

Here’s a description of the Injinji Trail:

The Injinji Trail MW is a midweight trail sock providing padding to the key areas of the foot, ideal as a trekking sock where the trail may be rougher and you will require greater comfort. The top of the Trail has a venting Mesh weave that is tight enough to prevent dirt from getting into the sock. The double cuff holds the sock firmly in place preventing it from slipping down into your shoe when on the move.

The Injinji seamless toe design aligns your toes properly within your shoe and prevents skin on skin friction preventing hotspots and blisters between your toes. The heel has been shaped for a custom fit preventing any slippage and bunching. A great all round outdoor sock for warmer weather.

Injinji Trail MW Features

Anatomical 5 toe design
Padded heal and metatarsal
Mesh top lock providing ventilation
Double cuff holds sock in place
Superior arch support
Coolmax Xtra Life fibre reinforced heel
47% Coolmax, 48% Nylon, 5% Lycra

“I went out running with the Injinji Trail socks and it was a near perfect experience. The sock perfectly adapts to my foot and the fit is snug but not tight. The sock never slips and my feet are always dry at the end of the run. Even when running in wet conditions my feed don’t get that wrinkly soggy look.”

“I loved these socks so much that I immediately ordered a second pair.”

To read the full blog post on toe socks click here.

Many thanks to Brook for writing this review. For more head to Brook’s blog at www.therunningbrook.com.

Our range of Injinji socks is currently on sale! Click here.

injinji

The Original Mountain Marathon

In a couple of weeks time the renowned Original Mountain Marathon takes place around the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland. Over the weekend of the 25/26th October a mass of dedicated runners and racers will ascend the hills and compete across a number of timed distances to accrue the highest points score.

Run since 1968, the OMM is the originator of the 2 day mountain marathon type event and is for teams of 2, carrying all clothing, equipment, tent, sleeping bag, food for 36 hours, navigating their own route and including an overnight camp. The event ensures to test your teamwork, self-reliance, endurance, outdoor and navigational skills.

There are 2 different types of class; Line where check points are located in a pre-designated order, and Score which requires good navigational skill levels to make choices in order to score points and must be completed within the time allocated. With its ever-increasing, worldwide reputation, the OMM attracts competitors from around 14 countries.

OMM

And, just in time for this challenging event, the new range of OMM products is now online at Facewest.co.uk.

With everything from racing packs to ultralight running wear, we’ve got you covered for all your runnning needs – whether you’re a competitor or just love to run.

See the range here

Are you taking part in the OMM? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter – we’d love to hear about your experiences and see your pictures!

inov-8 Race Ultra 290 – Guest Review

We’ve received a very thorough and interesting review of the inov-8 Race Ultra 290 shoe, and we thought we’d share it with you. Simon Blackburn, the tester who has over 30 years of running experience, took these out on a 44 mile trail race in the Lake District, and has since run over 100 miles of varying terrain in the Race Ultra 290. Have a read of Simon’s review below:

First Impressions

“I received two pairs of 290′s in the post as I heard they ran a tad small. I actually found them true to size (a big bonus if using mail order).

The clue is in the model name of all inov-8 shoes. So the RU290 tip the scales at 290 grams per shoe (for UK size 8). Whilst not as heavy or as bulky as some trail shoes the RU290 is certainly robust with multiple protection panels to toe and heel.

The biggest plus is, however, the fit. Whereas previously inov-8s have never been an option for me – due to their slim width and climbing shoe profile – the RU290 comes in a ‘Standard’ fit with ample space for toes to splay. Bonus!

This allied to the RU290′s heel to toe drop of 8mm brings the shoe into the sweet spot of 4-8mm for many runners unable (or unwilling) to forego the pains of submitting themselves to more minimalist footwear.”

The Upper

“Other than the pleasing fit and the colour the main thing that struck me about the RU290 is the lack of stitching in the forefoot area. Although not novel this is still a curse of some shoe designs that can lead to abrasion at certain flex points.

The midfoot of the shoe relies on a 4-bar TPU overlay system to the medial and lateral side. This creates good support and shows no sign of wear either in its length or at the lacing eyelets. Personally I’m a fan of having the extra eyelet at the throat of the shoe allowing for a snugger heel fit but overall this proved no real penalty. The tongue is of medium thickness with no perforation and a useful fabric anchoring system to prevent any ingress of debris.

For extra protection inov-8 offer their Race Ultra Gaiter. The RU290 has a neat on-the-shoe attachment system which means the gaiter can be easily clipped on and off. The gaiters don’t come with the shoe but can be purchased separately. This truly makes them a shoe for all seasons (or your average summer’s day in most mountain areas of the UK!)

Inside the shoe there’s no visible stitching and the heel and collar padding provide sufficient comfort without bulk. The insole itself is made by X-Static with a promise to eliminate odors whilst regulating temperature. I can’t say I noticed any great benefit over other insole units whose primary function would be one of support. But no abrasions or blisters is always a plus.

After 100+ miles of running there is zero wear and tear on the upper of the shoes. I’m sure if I could be bothered to wash them it would be hard to tell them from new. This is mainly because the upper is quite thick and there is a stitched panel around the total base of the upper where affixed to the midsole. There’s nothing gonna cause a tear in these puppies. The only indication of wear in any part of the upper is some decals lifting from the insole and a small amount of bobbling on the heel fabric.”

After the gruelling testing

After the gruelling testing

The Midsole

“Many brands tout a proprietary midsole material when it’s nothing more than EVA – a staple in running shoes for over 30 years. inov-8 is a brand based on the concept of a reduced running shoe and its arrow system has been used as a means to encourage natural running form and a minimal heel to toe drop. As a consequence, its shoes invariably offer a low volume of midsole foam.

To this end it would appear that cushioning is something that inov-8 is not overly keen to build into its shoes. And perhaps here is where we have a problem when launching an ultra shoe into a sector where two of the world’s fastest growing brands are gobbling up marketing share with a doctrine based on maximalist cushioning.

inov-8 have, however, incorporated a ‘multi-finger polymer Meta-Shank™ designed to align with each individual metatarsal for increased benefit from the Windlass Effect whilst retaining underfoot impact protection and flexibility.’ This aside what I can report is that the cushioning can best be described as mid to firm. This is perfectly trail-friendly but perhaps comes up short for extended sections of road running.”

Mucky, but not damaged

Trail friendly, firm cushioning

The Outsole

“All salute the outsole of this shoe. There’s no way inov-8 were going to slip up here (eh?) and their in-house design – Tri-C Endurance – is a mix of soft sticky, hard sticky and endurance rubbers with cleats specifically placed to deliver best grip. And boy it is tough. With zero sign of wear after 100 miles these outsoles should considerably outlast the midsole cushioning.

The tread pattern held up well on all surfaces although, it being summer, I’ve yet to blast them through any severe mud to see what (if anything) sticks.

What is slightly odd about the sole of the shoe is its flat profile and the lack of flex grooves in the forefoot. There is reference to a Meta-Flex groove on the sole of the RU290 but this seems to be placed about 2-3cms ahead of the shoe’s natural flex point.”

No sign of wear after 100 miles

No sign of wear after 100 miles

What I like

“This is a well constructed shoe with a massive off-road pedigree. There’s no shortage of grip and protection whilst on the trail and even without gaiters no small stones or earth entered the shoe whilst running on loose terrain.

Minimal exposed seems meant no abrasions; the Standard fit enhanced multi-hour comfort and the midfoot TPU overlays allowed for a secure fit once the lacing was fully dialed in.”

What I dislike

“These shoes got me through my first 44-mile trail ultra with a smile on my face and not a single blister on my feet so this is a bit like trying to find fault with your first sports car.

If anything I think this shoe is over-engineered. As a consequence many would argue it’s too sturdy, too rugged and yes – at over 10.2 ounces per shoe – too heavy to carry the word ‘race’ in its moniker.

Although perhaps tuned to trail running the cushioning is not as lively as I would like and this starts to really show if you escape its natural environment. When running on pavement or road the dense EVA midsole appears to deaden impact rather than create any bounce factor.”

Summary

“inov-8 is super capable of producing a great lightweight running shoe capable of conquering any mountain.

With the new Standard fitting and an uncompromising attitude that has seen them podium in every mountain running sport to date this is a fine early entrant for inov-8. I’m confident the Race Ultra 290 will prove to be father to a family of shoes that will grace many an ultra podium in years to come.”

Simon Blackburn is an endurance athlete, entrepreneur, wordsmith and occasional race commentator. With PBs of 2.40 for the marathon and 9.40 for the Ironman he still has a bunch of long distance challenges to conquer if only he would train harder. You can email Simon words of encouragement at sahb@live.co.uk.

The Race Ultra 290 is available from Facewest.co.uk now!

inov-8 have also launched a brand new range of top quality running clothing and accessories – see the 2014/15 range here.

Sneak peek – 14/15 Skis

Just in!

Just in!

So a few pairs of 14/15 Völkl skis were delivered to our door yesterday – and they’re looking mighty fine! Here we have (from left to right) the V Werks BMT 94, Mantra, Nanuq and Nunataq touring skis, and the V Werks Katana. Excellent all-mountain and touring options!

K2 Rockers

K2 Rockers

A few pairs of K2 14/15 skis then followed – pictured here are the Shreditor 102 and Shreditor 112 All-Mountain skis and, in blue, the Shreditor/Pettitor 120 powder skis.

Keep an eye out for these skis, and more to be released on our website – coming soon!

 

We still have some discounted 13/14 skis and other equipment on sale too – see here.

Snowsports Helmets & MIPS Technology

As winter draws ever nearer, so does the snowsports season – and that gets you thinking about new gear for any upcoming trips. Snowsports equipment is constantly advancing; in order to reduce weight, increase durability, provide better warmth, and perhaps most importantly, keep us protected. Helmets, whether you like them or not, have become an essential skiing and boarding item, particularly for any off-piste action. But do all of them really provide the actual level of protection required?

Our new range of Sweet protection helmets includes a couple of products that really stand out, due to the MIPS technology featured within. Both the Trooper MIPS and Igniter MIPS incorporate this new and innovative measure of protection. So, what exactly is MIPS?

Multi-directional Impact Protection System is a very effective technology that greatly reduces brain injury by imitating the way the brain protects itself. The brain uses a layer of fluid that keeps the brain separate from the skull. This fluid moves during an impact and therefore absorbs some, but not always all, of the energy of the impact. MIPS does not use fluid, instead the internal shell of the helmet will move independently of the outer shell during an impact. This movement, though very slight, absorbs rotational energy and will greatly reduce trauma to the brain.

Recently the Swedish insurance company, Folksam, commissioned a test to compare some of the latest helmets on the market to see if they really did provide the necessary protection. Of the 13 that were tested only 3 received a good rating, and the overall winner was Sweet Protection’s Igniter MIPS.

See the full test results

Igniter MIPS

Igniter MIPS

The Sweet Igniter MIPS shares the same great features as the Sweet Igniter helmet, but with the important addition of MIPS technology. It is an incredibly light helmet designed for all-round use – whether you’re in the backcountry, shredding lift-served piste or in the park. Fantastic ventilation makes the helmet comfortable all day long, stopping you overheating even in spring conditions.

Igniter MIPS construction

Trooper MIPS

Trooper MIPS

Again built with MIPS technology, the Sweet Trooper MIPS is a super robust and very strong snow sport helmet that provides a high level of protection and only at 650g. The shell has been built using Sweet’s Thermoplastic Laminated Carbon Fibre that is not only very strong but is also light providing excellent protection for the skier or boarder.

Trooper MIPS construction

See our full range of helmets, plus more protection solutions here.

New Dakine gear

We’ve just received some of the new Dakine Winter 2014 stock, and we are waiting on a few more items due in the coming days. Check out our pick of the lot below:

Split Roller 100L

Split Roller 100L

Everyone should have one of these, in my humble opinion! I use my own wherever I travel with bulky gear and the amount of space seems never-ending.

What customers said about the Split Roller 100L:
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ – “Fantastic piece of luggage. Exactly what I was after and as described. Loads of room and lots of separate compartments – will be using instead of a suitcase for all future holidays. Usual Dakine quality.”

Robert, Greater London

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ – “Very pleased. Robust, good quality and smart looking.”
Rich, Hampshire

Heli Pro DLX

Heli Pro DLX

Dakine’s Heli Pro range has been a long-standing and popular choice of snowsports pack for many. The Heli Pro DLX is the top of the line pack both around resort and up the mountain.

Women's Heli Pack

Women’s Heli Pack

Dakine’s best selling womens-specific snowsports pack – a classic season after season – this version features more feminine patterns and a female specific fit. Shown here in ‘Taos’, it has to be one of the best looking packs in the range.

Frontier Glove

Frontier Glove

Gore Tex® waterproofing technology combined with Dakine’s unique synthetic insulation creates the perfect glove for those unpredictable weather days.

All Dakine stock, even the new stuff, is currently available with 10% off!

Win a Rab Strata Flex Jacket!

Win a Strata Flex Jacket

Competition time!

We’re giving away a Rab Strata Flex Jacket with an RRP of £120 as a prize!

Tell us or even better show us your tip. It can be from racing, climbing, skiing or just a little something that makes any trip run more smoothly. Enormous life shifting idea or little knack, we want to hear it.

All you have to do is share these with us on our Facebook or Twitter pages:

 

  • ‘Like’ and/or ‘follow’ Facewest.co.uk
  • Explain your tip in a few words, preferably with an attached photo/video to best demonstrate your idea
  • Make sure that you tag us @Facewest and use the hashtag #facewestcomp – this way we’re sure to see your entries!

The best, most creative, and unique ideas will be put to a vote, and the overall winner will receive a Rab Strata Flex Jacket in a size of their choice. So, what are you waiting for?! Get sharing…

Facebook
Twitter

 

The closing date for entries is Thursday 16th October 2014 and a winner will be announced on Monday 20th October 2014.

Rab Mountain Marathon 2014

The 2014 edition of the Rab Mountain Marathon  is set to take place this weekend in the Lake District National Park. The event is a two-day fell running and navigation challenge for pairs or solo participants and has vastly increased in popularity since the inaugural event in 2007.

The Rab Mountain Marathon is a ‘score event’, which minimises participant congestion on the mountain and maximises route choice, offering a more personal and enjoyable experience whilst testing navigation skills. Everything is kept a secret until the beginning of day one, where participants will receive their maps and are left to their own devices to navigate a route in order to build up their score. It is also up to the competitors to carry all of their food and equipment over the two days, as well as having to purify water! This all takes place on challenging terrain in the Lake District, where capabilities will be tested and lateness will be penalised!

Here are some mountain marathon essentials that we recommend:

Mountain Equipment Xero 300

Mountain Equipment Xero 300

The Xero 300 weighs only around 800g and packs down incredibly small, whilst retaining essential warmth.

Mountain House Main Meals

Mountain House Freeze Dried Food

These main meals from Mountain House provide you with the vital calories and nutrients that a hard day of racing can take out of you – and they’re super-lightweight!

Jetboil Sol Titanium

Jetboil Sol Titanium

For cooking and boiling water, there are fewer more convenient and lightweight stoves than the Jetboil Sol Titanium.

Lowe-Alpine-SS14-Lightflite-25

Lowe Alpine Lightflite 25

A large 25 litre capacity pack weighing in at under 500g! Perfect for fitting in all your gear whilst keeping weight down.

Take a look at our full range of mountain marathon equipment here: All Adventure Racing

For useful information on mountain marathons, from selecting your competition to packing your stuff, all experienced first-hand by a seasoned adventure racer, check out Stuart’s guides here:

Part 1
Part 2

Got a question for us? Leave a comment, or ask us on Facebook or Twitter – we’re here to help.

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