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Pro Review – DMM Pivot

DMM-Pivot-M1
Dave from CGR takes a look at the new Guide Plate from Welsh gear legends DMM.

I use guide plates (or autoblocks) a lot, I use them in my own personal climbing and when I am working. They are very useful for a variety of reasons. I can be hands free for a time, to take photos for instance or put some extra clothing on. I can bring two clients up to the belay more efficiently so I have been a real fan of them ever since the ‘magic plate’ days. They have come a long way since and we have reviewed many on the site.

The new offering from DMM has been getting some reactions when I have showed it around at the crag and amongst mates – mainly that ‘it’s just another gimmick’. At a first glance that may seem so but a closer inspection gives away a great innovation.

dmm-pivot-indirect
The moving head on the DMM Pivot was useful when using an indirect belay.

There are usually two issues with autoblock devices, one your screwgate does not have complete freedom. That is the actual locking part of the carabiner will not go through. This may seem trivial but when you are winter and ice climbing it can be a real pain in the backside faffing around. Well I won’t need to faff any longer as the head is massive and easily takes any screwgate you throw at it.

Secondly, lowering some-one is always a little more tricky that you think it’s going to be. There are some tricks you can use to assist lowering but the DMM Pivot made it a breeze. They have really thought about this weakness – the pivoting head stays in place whilst the slightly elongated head takes most carabiner noses to make levering so much easier. Genius!

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The DMM Pivot was easy to use in Autoblock mode.

Another plus is the fact I can move the head out of the way when I am belaying ‘normally’ (as in an indirect belay). This helped in feeding and taking in rope. The Pivot performed well in all test situations, autoblock, indirect belay, abseiling and ascending. The official weight is 72g and the trusty CGR scales weighed it in at 71g.

The DMM Pivot is a beautifully engineered and made belay device. Hot forged in Wales, the stated weight is 72g. The colour schemes are standard DMM Red, Blue and Green and instructions for use are laser etched at the sides. The Pivot is rated for rope diameters of 7.3 to 11mm ropes. I felt it wasn’t so smooth with fatter ropes, but generally the paying out action was fine.

Overall rating: ★★★★★

So in conclusion, I feel the DMM Pivot is not a gimmick but a great innovation. If you are using a guide plate a lot you are going to notice these changes and if you think about it, if you are lowing something it’s because there is a problem. When there is a problem you want things to run smoothly, the DMM Pivot will really help.

Climbing Gear Reviews are an independent reviewer of climbing, skiing and mountaineering equipment. Fronted by Kevin Avery, a trainee IFMGA mountain guide and former Gear Editor at UKClimbing.com, alongside Yorkshire based MIA Dave Sarkar, they provide completely honest and 100% impartial reviews. Click here to see their page.

Product Video:

DMM Pivot Features:

  • Multi-use lightweight belay device
  • Pivot ensures easy rope control
  • Suitable for ropes from 7.3mm to 11mm

Colour: Blue or Red
Weight: 72g

Full DMM Pivot description here.

Facewest’s ‘How To’ – Mountain Marathon

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Stu at the LAMM 2015

A mountain marathon is a 2 day test of mountain craft and fitness. Most people run them but there are walking classes in some events and plenty of walking done by the runners. You will be out, unassisted, for 2 days and be required to eat, sleep and take care of yourself whilst navigating a course in a mountainous environment, whilst carrying all your gear. If you are thinking of doing your first mountain marathon or aiming to improve, these guides may be helpful. A mountain marathon can be thought of as a cross between an orienteering race and a long distance fell race.

Ever wanted to give it a go?

stu-review

Our Mountain Marathon expert, Stu, has written a couple of guides to provide you with a little bit more information and some great tips and advice on Mountain Marathoning.

Mountain Marathon Guide. Part 1 – Prepare
Mountain Marathon Guide. Part 2 – Tactics

 

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Pro Review – MSR Reactor Stove

MSR-Reactor-Stove-M1

Pro Reviewer:

kevavery
MSR claim that the Reactor Stove System is: “the fastest and most fuel efficient stove ever made” and that it “delivers that level of performance in the cold and wind of the real world.” Kev took that as a gauntlet thrown down and has since tested it in some of the most challenging situations in Europe from the Eiger North Face to the motorway service stations of the UK! What’s his verdict?

msr-reactor
Using the hanging kit to melt snow in the tent porch.

The MSR Reactor is an integrated cook system where the burner and pot/heat exchanger are designed to all work together as one unit for maximum cooking efficiency. The pot/heat exchanger comes in 3 sizes: 1l, 1.7l and 2.5l . I tested the 1l version which is perfect for a pair, allowing you to melt snow to make water or simply boil water to make hot drinks and add to freeze dried meals. The obvious downside of this system is you are pretty limited with your cooking options but it is essentially a water boiler and let’s face it, the reality is that you are not really going to be cooking a gourmet meal strapped to an alpine north face or big wall. I use this sort of system for convenience and efficiency and if I’m car camping, I take a double burner and proper pans!

So the MSR Reactor stove system is best for missions where you need simplicity and are short on space and weight. Alpine climbing, backpacking, big walling etc. I have primarily used it for melting snow to make water to drink and also rehydrate freeze dried meals but it has also had the odd outing in motorway service station carparks when I’ve been too much of a tight arse to buy their overpriced coffee (MSR do a French Press accessory so you can even have the real thing)!

In use I was very impressed with the performance of the MSR Reactor Stove System. I need to point out there were no scientific tests going on so anything I say is just based on observation and anecdotal comparison from having used other similar units, but here goes. It boiled water quickly at low altitudes, MSR claim 0.5 litre of water boils in 1.5 minutes and at low altitudes I would say this was fair if there was no wind and the temperature was above freezing. Remember that altitude, temperature and wind will always affect the performance of a stove. MSR do point out that any comparisons they did were in a lab and you can see some test results in the diagram below, although the competition is not specified.

msr-reactor2

The main test for me is how well a stove performs when melting snow, and at this job we felt it was awesome, definitely quicker than rival systems I have used. The main limiting factor was nothing to do with the stove itself and more to do with the performance of the gas canister in cold weather and at altitude. It is definitely worth insulating the base of the canister from the cold ground (MSR make little feet for the canister to do this job, but you can also use their excellent hanging kit or perch it on your foam sleep pad) and even going as far as wrapping the canister body in a piece of foam. I tend to sleep with the gas canisters in my sleeping bag too as this speeds up getting your morning coffee no end!

The MSR Reactor Stove is high quality, feeling robust but light. It is not the lightest or most compact system out there but it is one of the most reliable I have used, although not 100% reliable. Whilst bivvying on a cold, windy night below the Matterhorn’s North Face we really struggled to light the burner and keep it lit. Once the heat exchanger pot sits on the burner it does shelter it from the wind but in the meantime we just couldn’t get it to light due to the exposed position we were in. I did wonder if the stove was faulty but a pair of friends up there with us had the same stove and it also had exactly the same problem. Luckily we were able to descend and find enough shelter so we didn’t go thirsty but half way up a huge face, this may have been a different story.

One other point about the way the pot/heat exchanger sits on the burner is that it doesn’t attach in any way like for example, Jetfoil stoves do. It simply sits on the burner. This has pros and cons but the only major drawback is it is easier to knock the pan over than with the locked on systems, but at least if it’s not all connected you only knock the pan over and not a towering raging furnace, that you then have to risk burning yourself to knock off.

The Reactor Stove System does not have a built in igniter and you need to carry a lighter, matches or flint and steel. This is mainly a good thing as I’ve found that any stoves I’ve had with integrated ignition have usually broken within a few uses. However I do wonder if it would have helped in the above situation (where it wouldn’t ignite in the wind) as you could light it whilst the heat exchanger pan was already on the burner which would offer wind protection. You can only light the burner over the top, not from the side though.

The lid and pan handler are integrated and easy to use which is a nice touch, and the pan features a pouring spout allowing easy drainage. As I mentioned earlier, MSR make a hanging system to go with the Reactor and this is a really useful accessory, being light simple and compact. It also securely integrates the pot and the burner making it much more difficult to knock the pan over.

msr-reactor3
Great for alpine bivies.

I did find the nesting of the burner in the pan for storage to be a little unsatisfactory. MSR claim the burner and a 4oz gas canister nest perfectly in the pot with the lid on but I could never seem to get the burner to sit in and still get a canister in. Either me being incompetent (probable!) or the dimensions needing a rejig?

So all in all the MSR Reactor Stove System is a great stove for backpackers and alpinists who want to boil water or melt snow. You’re not going to cook in it as such but it’s designed more with rehydrating freeze dried meals in mind. It is high quality, efficient and robust. We did have problems with performance in the wind though and the burner doesn’t nest satisfactorily with a gas canister in the pan.

Climbing Gear Reviews are an independent reviewer of climbing, skiing and mountaineering equipment. Fronted by Kevin Avery, a trainee IFMGA mountain guide and former Gear Editor at UKClimbing.com, alongside Yorkshire based MIA Dave Sarkar, they provide completely honest and 100% impartial reviews. Click here to see their page.

Product Video:

MSR Reactor Stove Features:

  • Unmatched Wind Protection: Radiant burner head is enclosed by heat exchanger for maximum protection in even the windiest conditions
  • Maximum Efficiency: Patent-pending radiant burner and heat exchanger make the Reactor the most efficient all-condition stove system, so you carry less fuel
  • Integrated System: State-of-the-art stove and high-efficiency pot are combined into one compact, easy-to-use system

Weight 1L: 474g – pot and stove
Weight 1.7L: 496g – pot and stove
Weight 2.5L: 588g – pot and stove

Full MSR Reactor Stove description here.

Graham’s Coast to Coast Cycle

In June I took a week out of the office to cycle the Coast to Coast. The route I planned to take was created by Tim Woodcock which starts on the West coast of England at St Bees and finishes in Robin Hoods bay on the East. The route is almost entirely off-road and cuts right through the glorious North of England, including the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors national parks. The plan was to spend the week covering the 210 miles and carrying all my own gear.

 

Start - St Bees

St Bees

My first day was to be an easy one; leaving St Bees at 4.30pm, I rode along the side of Ennerdale water, past the Black Sail YHA, over Black Sail Pass and into Wasdale for an 8:30pm arrival at Wasdale Head. This was the first time I had experienced Ennerdale, and I was pretty blown away with the how amazing the valley is. The Youth Hostel at the head of the valley is only accessible on foot or by bike and makes a perfect base for climbing on Pillar.

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Ennerdale Valley

Monday was a pretty tough day’s riding, starting in Wasdale and finishing in Kentmere, taking in three big climbs. I was pretty tired when I arrived in Coniston so after a good feed I opted to miss out two small sections of the route and ride from Coniston to Ambleside and Troutbeck to Kentmere via road.

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Top of Walna Scar Road

I left the Maggs Howe bunk barn in Kentmere on Tuesday morning at around 8am. I was hoping to get to the Tan Hill Inn for mid-afternoon. The riding after Kentmere eased off a bit as the terrain changes from rocky climbs and descents to long slogs over boggy moorland. Arriving at the Tan Hill inn was a nice milestone, the sighting of the ‘Yorkshire Dales National Park’ sign providing a nice little boost to morale.

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Welcome to Yorkshire!

On Wednesday I rode from Tan Hill down into Keld, through the Swaledale Valley, to Richmond and finally onto Osmotherly. I’d made the decision to crack on to Osmotherly from Richmond as there was a nice 25km or so of road riding, meaning that I could hopefully finish a day earlier than anticipated!

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I was extremely lucky with the weather, having wall-to-wall sunshine every day, much to the envy of everyone back in the office. I paid the price for this on Thursday, where I was struck with the worst sunburn I’d had for years. To finish off Thursday I rode from Osmotherly through the North Yorkshire Moors and onto Robin Hoods Bay. This part of the ride was brilliant – very fast riding over moorland double track and excellent views of the moors and East coast.

 

All credit must go to Tim Woodcock for creating this route; it packs in some really amazing riding through some incredible terrain.

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Robin Hoods Bay

 

As this was the first self supported ride I have done, I wanted to make it as comfortable as possible both on an evening and whilst riding. This meant carrying normal camping gear such as tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and cooking gear. All my gear was to be on the bike so I tried to pack as light as possible.

 

The kit list

Bike & bike bags

 

Sleeping

Tent – 1 Man bivvy Tent

Sleeping Bag – Mountain Equipment Xero 200

Sleeping Mat – Thermarest Prolite

Pillow – Exped Air Pillow UL

 

Clothes

Waterproof Jacket – Montane Minimus jacket

Waterproof Pants – Montane Minius pants

Warm Jacket – Rab VR Lite jacket

Windshirt – Montane Singletrack jacket

Riding clothes – Shorts, Bib, jersey, etc.

Buff x 2

 

Spare Clothes

Base Layer – Arcteryx Phase SL LS Crew

- Arcteryx Phase AR Bottom

Spare Shorts – Marmot

Socks – Smartwool pHd outdoor light crew

 

Cooking

Stove -MSR Pocket Rocket

Cook Pot – MSR Titan Kettle

Fire Steel

2 x Small Gas canisters

 

On top of my main kit I also carried a small First Aid kit,small wash kit and bike repair kit (spare tube, multi tool, Leatherman CS2 etc) and food. Food wise I took two Expedition Foods main meals, 3 bags of fruit and nut trail mix, 5 energy bars and 5 x gels, and picked more food up en-route.

 

 

Facewest’s ‘How To’ – Washing and Reproofing Clothing

Washing and Reproofing Clothing

Caring for your outdoor gear is something that most people probably don’t spend much time or money on – after all when you’re not out using it all you want to do is be planning the trip, not doing extra washing. However, it is a good idea if you want the performance of your clothing to last. Click the links below to skip to the relevant section:

The most commonly used phrase in this article is check the manufacturers instructions, and with good reason. Nearly all the manufacturers have a product care page on their website which is a great source of information.

Waterproof Membrane Fabrics

Why doesn’t my waterproof keep water out anymore?

Membrane fabrics work by having an air permeable porous layer within the fabric that allows water to pass through as a vapour but not as a liquid. Wearing synthetic fabrics under your shell allows perspiration to wick away from the body and then evaporate. The evaporated water can then pass through the breathable membrane. However water on the outside of the fabric is made of groups of molecules that are too large to pass through the porous membrane thus the garment is waterproof.

The outer surface of the fabric has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment, this ensures that any water on the surface of the garment will bead and shed away. However as time goes by the DWR finish will wear away, particularly in high wear areas such the the sleeve ends and shoulders where you might wear a pack. As this happens the garment may appear to be absorbing water (wetting out) and the wearer may complain of being wet. This is not because the membrane is no longer waterproof but because the membrane can no longer breathe. Evaporated moisture from the body cannot now get out and is condensing on the inside of the fabric, rather than moving through it. Yet the garment is still waterproof from the outside elements. This problem is also caused if the garment has been worn a lot without being washed as the tiny pores which the water vapour has to pass through to keep you dry become blocked with oils and dirt from the body. The easiest way to cure this problem is to wash and treat the garment with a DWR finish.

How often should I wash my waterproof?

If your waterproof garment is wetting out significantly then it’s probably time to give it a wash and reproof. Unfortunately washing and reproofing waterproof membranes will never quite manage to restore the performance back to as good as it was when new. The reproofed DWR doesn’t last as long as the factory applied coating so the frequency at which performance starts to drop off will slowly increase with use so you’ll end up washing older garments more regularly. If you’re having to do it after every use then it’s probably time to think about getting a new one.

How should I wash my waterproof?

The various membranes may differ in the exact treatments to restore waterproofing, however the process is largely the same. When it comes to cleaning and proofing it is essential to follow the manufacturers instructions, though these may not tell you which cleaning and proofing products to use. Before you actually start to clean the garment ensure your washing machine is free from any detergent and fabric softener residue. The main area to clean is the detergent draw, just take it right out and wash it off under a running tap. It may be worth setting the machine off on an empty cycle to flush any resides from the insides.

Most brands recommend either Grangers or Nikwax products for washing and reproofing. Both these brands offer a some different products and methods to get your waterproof garments back up to scratch…

  • Tech Wash tends to be very good but they are expensive and time consuming as you also have to buy a separate reproofer to apply once the garment has been washed.
  • There 2 kinds of reproofers. Wash in reproofers apply the DWR coating very easily and it tends to last for a decent length of time. However as the DWR finish is also applied to the inside of the garment breathability is significantly reduced. Some also require activation by tumble drying.
  • Spray on reproofers are the other option. They are quite time consuming and you do have to be thorough to make sure it is applied evenly all over the garment. The advantage with them is that the DWR is only applied to the outside, so maximum breathability is retained.
  • There are also 2 in 1 treatments which will wash the garment and apply a new DWR coating. These work fine, but the DWR finish is also applied to the inside of the garment, which reduces breathability significantly. The advantage of this however is that it’s more cost effective and quicker, although the garment usually has to be tumble dried for the DWR to be activated.

Please read the cleaning and care instructions that come with the garment or check the brand website. It is also very important to make sure your washing machine is free from fabric softener and detergent residue as these can damage the membrane permanently.

Softshells (membrane and non membrane)

Should I wash my Softshell?

Yes. Softshell fabrics fall into two basic construction types, those with and those with out membranes, though the washing and reproofing process for both is the same. Just as with waterproof garments the membrane in softshells with a membrane will stop working due to oils and dirt and the DWR finish can be worn off, so if the garment does get wet breathability and water resistance will be significantly reduced. Non membrane softshells offer a wind resistance by having tightly woven fabrics, a DWR finish is applied to keep water off and to allow the weave to breathe. If the DWR finish does get worn off then it will need replacing to keep the garment performing at its best both in terms of breathability and water resistance.

Can I just bung it in the washing machine?

It’s best not to. Essentially these garments are treated in the same way as a hard shell jacket, they should be washed at a low temperature using a specialist washing product in the washing machine and then apply the DWR finish. Nikwax and Grangers are both reputable brands who make specialist washes and reproofers for softshells. Tumble drying some garments may improve the DWR, but check the label first and make sure it’s not done for too long or on too high a heat setting.

The other more economic option is the use a 2 in 1 wash/proofer. This makes the whole process a lot easier, quicker and cost effective, however the DWR coating is applied to both sides of the fabric which will result in impaired breathability.

When it comes to cleaning and reproofing softshells, whether with or without a membrane, please take the time to read the manufacturers instructions or check their website.

Down and Synthetic Insulating Garments and Sleeping Bags

Should I wash my down jacket/sleeping bag?

If it’s really dirty, yes. Washing down filled garments or sleeping bags needs care – the insulating properties of down can be seriously reduced by washing at the wrong temperatures or with the wrong chemicals and even by not drying it properly. Most people tend to avoid washing down products however, like any other garment they are going to get dirty and cleaning them becomes unavoidable. When done correctly it will also restore performance which may have been lost over time.

If you don’t need the item urgently then the best way to get down clothing and sleeping bags cleaned is professionally by a down specialist. Rab offer a cleaning service for Rab down items, you can find the details on their website here. We also recommend;

Although this does take time they do provide an excellent service.

Can’t I do it myself at home?

Yes. There are specific cleaning products available which have been formulated to clean down filled items and refresh any DWR coating on the outer fabric. Before you wash any down products please take the time to read the manufacturers care instruction. It is essential that you take the time to ensure that there is no residue from detergents or fabric softener in the washing machine, ensure that the detergent draw has been thoroughly cleaned out.

After washing any down garment it is critical to tumble dry on a medium setting in order to rejuvenate the down, this also restores the DWR finish. During tumble drying the garment should be removed every ten minutes and shaken to separate and loosen the down. Most persistent nodules may have to be broken up by hand but be as gentle as possible.

What about synthetic insulation?

Synthetic insulation is easier to handle and can often just be washed on a cool cycle in the machine. Always check the label and follow the manufacturers instructions. The care section of the manufacturers website is always worth checking.

Base and Mid Layers

Surely I can just chuck these in with my weekly wash?

Hmm well… Manufacturers don’t recommend this to maintain maximum performance, but to be honest this is what most people do. Whilst just washing it with normal detergents will not actually permanently damage the garment as it would with membranes and down, it will reduce their performance. The washing powder residue will clog up the fabric and reduce it’s breathability and wicking. To stop this there are specific products available for cleaning synthetic and wool base and midlayers, which will maintain breathability and wicking performance.

 

Pro Review – Petzl Sirocco Helmet


Pro Reviewer:
DaveSharpe

I have been using the Petzl Sirocco helmet now for just over a year on everything from British trad climbing to Grandes Courses and have found it’s performance to be nothing short of brilliant. My Sirocco was a replacement for a very well used Petzl Elios, a helmet that I had used and abused for many years but had finally reached retirement age.

davesharpe-sirocco
Dave using his Sirocco during BMG Summer training. Credit: Steve Long.

The Sirocco has been around for a few years now and is currently the lightest fully certified climbing helmet on the market. Unlike many of the other very light helmets around today it is made of expanded polypropylene foam and not polystyrene which means it has a certain amount of ‘give’ and can flex a little without breaking, a definite advantage when being lugged around in your pack or when travelling abroad. The design is simple and uncluttered and comes complete with a magnetic buckle (useful for one-handed operation), head torch clamps and a very basic but supportive strapping system. The helmet is well ventilated so doesn’t get too hot when being used for mid summer cragging or when things start to heat up in the Alps.

davesharpe-sirocco1
Dave and Kev Avery (both Sirocco fans) on top of the Matterhorn after an ascent of the North Face Schmidt route. Credit: Kev Avery, CGR.

The helmet is still definitely not as durable as an ABS type shelled design (I have put a couple of dents in mine) but with a maximum weight of only 165g for the larger size, a compromise will always have to be reached. As a testament to how lightweight and comfortable the helmet is I have forgotten to take mine off when walking out from routes on more than one occasion. A stark contrast to helmets of the previous generation…

Pros – Lightweight, very comfortable.
Cons – Not as durable as other, heavier helmets. Also has a tendency to blow away if left unsupervised on a windy day!

Overall though, it is a brilliant, comfortable helmet and a solid bet if you are after the lightest possible helmet and don’t mind compromising a little on durability / longevity.

Dave is a Trainee IFMGA Mountain Guide and rope access IRATA L3 based in Kendal. He enjoys all different types of climbing and skiing, but has a particular passion for Scottish winter climbing and Alpine climbing. Click here to see his page.

Petzl Sirocco Helmet Features:

  • Certification(s): CE EN 12492, UIAA
  • Monobloc shell of expanded polypropylene (EPP)
  • Textile adjustment system
  • Excellent ventilation distributed around the shell
  • Entirely adjustable and adapts to all head shapes
  • Removable comfort foam is quilted and lined with absorbent fabric
  • Magnetic buckle allows the chinstrap to be attached with one hand
  • Two lateral holes for VIZION visor
  • Two hooks and rear elastic for attaching a headlamp

Full Petzl Sirocco Helmet description here.

New DMM Climbing Range

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DMM is the latest brand to become available at Facewest. Born out of Moorhouse Engineering from Bethesda, Wales, over 30 years ago the brand has developed into a leading manufacturer of climbing and mountaineering hardware. Now based in Llanberis, the brand with its forging and engineering background goes from strength to strength.

DMM produce a broad range of climbing equipment and it was a challenge to select a range of products that would complement our existing line up as well as to introduce some new and exciting lines. As you look through the range you will see there are four screwgate carabiners, three belay devices as well as the usual quickdraws. Though the screwgates may well have cross over uses they are all unique in their own ways. Most notably being the Revolver with its integrated wheel. This allows a rope to run with vastly reduced resistance working superbly during crevasse rescue, hauling on big walls and on running belays where rope drag is an issue. The two HMS carabiners perform similar functions but the Sentinel is a lot smaller, ideal for rigging belays, but will only take a couple of hitches. On the other hand the Boa is a large carabiner that handles well, even with gloves in winter conditions, this will take several hitches and is a great addition on multi-pitch mountain routes.

DMM-Revolver-Screwgate-M1DMM-Sentinel-HMS-Screwgate-M1

 

Revolver Screwgate                                                                                         Sentinel HMS Screwgate

The two quickdraws at first look very similar but the key difference between the Spectre 2 and the Chimera is weight, with the Chimera being the lighter and ideal for hard trad where every gram counts. The Spectre 2 is a little more beefy with thicker 11mm Dyneema tape and is a better choice as a higher use ‘every day’ quickdraw, as well as being a bit friendlier on the wallet. The Spectre 2 also comes as single carabiners and in a colour coded rack pack.

DMM-Spectre-2-Quickdraw-M1DMM-Chimera-Quickdraw-M1

 

                                    Spectre 2 Quickdraw                                                                   Chimera Quickdraw

Wallnuts are DMM’s equivalent of the Wild Country Rock with sizing being very similar however they are a little more flared and have a scoop face. Rocks, Stoppers and Wallnuts will all seat in the same 90% of cracks but with the scoop and flare Wallnuts stand a better chance in those awkward 10% of cracks.

Three different belay devices? Well the Pivot and the Mantis are virtually the same, with the Pivot having an additional ‘pivoting’ attachment loop allowing it to be used for Direct Belaying, often referred to as Guide Mode. Personally I would go for the Mantis, the lighter option, and belay in a more traditional manner from the belay loop or via the rope loop.

DMM-Pivot-M1DMM-Mantis-M1

 

                                              Pivot                                                                                                Mantis

DMM do a selection of slings of varying widths in either Nylon or Dyneema. The choice to take only the 8mm Dyneema slings is purely to allow us to offer a really thin and more importantly a light sling, they do however have the same breaking point as 11mm Dyneema. The other advantage is they will go through tighter threads, so if you want weight reducing slings this is the ideal option, one I will not hesitate to take advantage of.

DMM-Dyneema-8mm-Sling-M1

 

                                     Dyneema 8mm Sling

 

 

View the full DMM range here

New Aquapac Range

Protect your equipment wherever you are, whatever the conditions.

100% waterproof bags and cases for cameras and phones, and the toughest dry bags around.

Aquapac Trailproof Duffle
Aquapac-Trailproof-Duffle

An extremely tough yet simple waterproof bag – perfect for travel or expeditions where your possessions might get wet. Made from 500 denier vinyl it it will stand up to a tough time when travelling without being punctured or torn.

A roll top with a Velcro seal makes these packs easy to seal for complete waterproofing of the contents and the 4 compression straps make sure that it all stays together on the inside of the bag with no spills. The integrated carry handles are long enough to sling it on your shoulder whilst the bright colour makes it easy to spot and helps to keep the contents a bit cooler if it’s left in the sun.



Aquapac Camera Case
Aquapac-Camera-Case-M4

A protective, fully waterproof case which allows for good quality photos to be taken through the case so you don’t have to remove the camera and risk it getting wet. It is completely waterproofed to an IPX 8 rating which means that it can be fully immersed for at least 30 minutes to a depth of 10 metres – perfect if you want to take pictures when snorkeling or in the pool.

The supple TPU case allows for easy operation of the camera through the case and the front and back LenzFlex windows give a clear window to take and view photos through. The Aquaclip closure is easy to use – just twist the two levers to open and close the case. It even comes with 3 desiccant sachets to absorb condensation in humid climates.

Size Dimensions Ideal for… Case Weight
Mini
Small cameras with no zoom lens. 35g
Small
Compact cameras with an optical zoom. 49g
Large
Odd shaped compact system cameras.
Cameras with a larger optical zoom lens.
56g
Hard Lens
Most small digital compacts with an optical zoom. 63g



Aquapac Whanganui Case
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Designed to protect valuable electronic goods from being damaged or broken by excessive rain and water. The really nice thing is touch screen devices can still be used via the TPU window and conversations can still be heard on your phone. The Whanganui comes in five sizes so you can protect anything from your iPod through to your handheld games console and on to your tablet.



Aquapac Trailproof Drybags
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Simply put – a super tough drybag. Made from 500 denier vinyl it’s not likely to rip or get punctured and with the simple 3 roll top closure it’s not likely to leak either. What else do you need from a drybag?

Take a look at the full Aquapac range here

Special Offer – 10% Off Luggage

10% Off Luggage

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Whether you only take the bare essentials, or you need to fit in every last bit of equipment, there are options from large-capacity wheeled luggage and holdalls to lightweight flight cases and kit bags.

 

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Hurry, you only have one week! This offer expires on Friday 12th June.


 

Carry On Luggage

 

Wheeled Luggage

 

Kit Bags and Holdalls


Pro Review – Arc’teryx Cerium SL Jacket

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Pro Reviewer:

kevavery
Kev tests out the Arc’teryx Cerium SL Down Jacket. SL stands for SuperLight and at 185g, the Cerium SL Down Jacket from Arc’teryx, is just that.

A while back I tested the Cerium LT Hoody, one of Arc’teryx’s first forays into the world of down clothing, and was mightily impressed by the quality, cut and innovation. So how does the Cerium SL fit into that range? Well Arc’teryx say that the Cerium SL is a jacket: “Offering great warmth-to-weight in a super compressible package, this is the lightest weight down jacket in the collection filled with 850 grey goose down. This backcountry specialist jacket is intended primarily as a mid layer in cool, dry conditions.”

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Climbing in the Arc’teryx Cerium SL Jacket on a cold day in Riglos, Spain.

It is a really versatile insulation piece, best suited to cold dry weather (as down loses it’s insulation properties when wet). I have used mine for literally every conceivable activity. It made a great midlayer whilst skiing in temperatures as low as minus 20 this winter, is perfect to throw on at the crag whilst belaying, an extra layer on lunch stops, as well as wearing casually out and about. The integrated stuff sack in one of the hand warmer pockets means you can stuff it away and clip it to the back of your climbing harness and because the Cerium SL jacket is so light and packs down so small (not much bigger and less than half the weight of a standard tin of baked beans) there is no excuse to not take it with you.

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The Arc’teryx Cerium SL Jacket is great as a lightweight belay jacket. Seen here in it’s integrated stuff sack, clipped to the back of my harness whilst climbing multi pitch routes in Riglos, Spain.

Whilst primarily a down filled jacket, the Cerium SL is strictly speaking, a down/synthetic hybrid as Arc’teryx have opted to use their proprietary Coreloft synthetic insulation in strategic areas, namely the shoulders, armpits and cuffs. Why is this? Well, the idea is that these areas are more prone to dampness and by putting synthetic fill in them it makes them more durable and doesn’t compromise warmth. It also doesn’t seem to compromise weight either as you get a lot of warmth in a sub 200g package. In fact this is the lightest down jacket in the Arc’teryx range. Being a down jacket, the main parts of the jacket are filled with down! Arc’teryx use a 850 fill European grey goose down which is incredibly high quality and lofts well even after prolonged storage in it’s stuff sack. A key distinction that should be understood here and one that is not made very clear by manufacturers, is the difference between US and Euro fill power when it comes to down. Basically 850 US and 850 Euro are not the same and the on the Euro scale, 850 is much better quality than 850 US. This is something worth considering, whatever down products you buy.

The face fabric that is used on this jacket is Thisela 100% nylon / 1.9 oz/yd², 20g/m². Arc’teryx claim it is: “A very stable incredibly lightweight 7D ripstop taffeta that offers and excellent strength-to-weight ratio.” It feels incredibly light and soft but beyond this there is a toughness and durability that I haven’t seen in fabrics used on other similarly light weight products. I’ve rock climbed, skied in and generally abused the Cerium SL and it hasn’t yet got as much as one single hole in it. One downside, and this is purely cosmetic, of these kinds of lightweight fabrics is that it does have a certain transparent look to it that might not appeal to some, but that is just because the fabric is so thin and light. It is also windproof. Other than that, there is not a lot to say about the Cerium SL Jacket. It has two zippered hand warmer pockets, a simple collar, high quality front zipper (all zippers have minimalist glove friendly tabs) and the quality and cut you’d expect from Arc’teryx. Like I say, I’ve climbed in mine and it doesn’t hinder movement and it fits well either as a midlayer, being low bulk it works ok under a harness, or as a light outer layer. So all in all the Cerium SL Jacket from Arc’teryx is a winner. It is so light and compressible, as well as incredibly simple that it covers a multitude of activities and is a superb and versatile addition to the wardrobe of any outdoor enthusiast. Just remember though, it is a down jacket and down won’t keep you warm if it’s wet, particularly noteworthy for UK users!

Overall rating: ★★★★
Climbing Gear Reviews are an independent reviewer of climbing, skiing and mountaineering equipment. Fronted by Kevin Avery, a trainee IFMGA mountain guide and former Gear Editor at UKClimbing.com, alongside Yorkshire based MIA Dave Sarkar, they provide completely honest and 100% impartial reviews. Click here to see their page.

Arc’teryx Cerium SL Features:

  • 850 (EU) fill European goose down
  • Coreloft synthetic insulation
  • Super light face fabric
  • DWR finish (Durable Water Repellent)
  • Collar height provides warmth
  • Two zipped hand pockets
  • Pockets use lightweight minimal zips
  • Lightweight minimal front zip
  • Low profile elasticated cuffs
  • Elasticated rear hem

Colour: Carbon Copy or Riptide
Weight: 160-185g

Full Arc’teryx Cerium SL Jacket description here.