Headtorches – Fancy 10% off?

Halloween headtorch

Now is the perfect time to get yourself a headtorch, and at Facewest.co.uk we’ve got a huge range of them, suitable for all activities – perfect solutions for trail running, mountain biking, walking the dog, basically anywhere you’ll need some (or lots of) light!

Black Diamond Ion

Black Diamond Ion

The Ion packs a lot of punch both for it’s size and for the price. It is by far the lightest 80 Lumen torch that we sell, weighing in at a mere 48g including batteries. This combination makes the Ion the perfect choice for those wanting a lightweight torch that will provide a good beam or for an emergency back-up torch.

Petzl Nao

Petzl Nao

This is the first update Petzl have done on the already impressive Nao and it is now capable of a massive 575 lumens with a much longer burn time. The reactive lighting technology measures the amount of light being bounced back at the torch and adjusts the power and beam pattern accordingly, so that the relative light level remains the same. This allows you to have an amazingly bright light last a long time from a pretty small battery without having to continually adjust the power setting yourself.

This product has been reviewed by Facewest’s Stu – see the full review here.

Mammut X Shot

Mammut X Shot

A lightweight and extremely versatile headtorch, primarily designed for mountaineering, trekking and expedition use. It features a single highflux LED which gives a powerful 110m beam and two angled definition LEDs, providing a close range flood beam. This makes the X Shot a great torch for close navigation where you can use the main beam to identify features and then the flood to avoid dazzling yourself when map reading. The X-shot’s remote battery pack ensures that the torch is stable enough for runners which, combined with its power to weight ratio, makes it a great adventure racing torch.

Silva Trail Runner II USB

Silva Trail Runner II USB

An excellent runners headtorch that benefits from being able to be charged via a USB port, whether on a computer or wall socket. If you run to work you can then charge it through the day ready for the run home. The LEDs of the Trail Runner II USB are housed in a unique barrel shaped unit which gives a really wide angle adjustment from almost straight down to about 15į above horizontal. The barrel shape also aids heat dispersal which improves light output and battery life.

See our full range of headtorches here.

Want to know more about ‘lumens’ and ‘burn time’? Read our How To Choose A Headtorch Guide. Also, see our Headtorch Comparison Chart for a full run down of the range.

Fancy getting 10% off any headtorch in our range? Head to our Facebook page for details on how to claim your discount voucher!

Remember, remember – this offer expires on the 5th of November!

SealSkinz

Sealskinz

SealSkinz are renowned for producing top quality waterproof accessories for hiking and biking or, in fact, wherever it’s likely to be cold and wet. With the patented breathable and waterproof technologies that SealSkinz products have to offer, there are few places where a pair of their socks or gloves won’t come in handy!

All Season Glove

All Season Glove

The Sealskinz All Season Glove is the perfect all-round glove for use in the hills and mountains where a medium level of insulation is required. With pre-curved fingers and a soft goatskin leather palm, these gloves not only provide an effective barrier against the elements, but also feel very luxurious and comfortable.

What our customers said about the All Season Glove:
★†★†★†★†★ – “A beautifully warm, completely waterproof and hardwearing glove. These have to be the best gloves Iíve used for cold and wet-weather cycling and if they ever wear out Iíll be getting the same again. I wasn’t sure that they would be flexible enough for cycling but theyíve been absolutely fine.”

Neil, Preston

★†★†★†★†★ – “Bought these just before the bad weather set in and they are really great so soft and warm but not bulky. I use these for walking the hills with our dog here in Scotland and would highly recommend them. Buy from Facewest and you won’t be disappointed. I am buying a pair for my wife now so she can enjoy warm and dry hands.”
Adrian, Aberdeenshire

Mid-Weight MidLength Sock

Mid-Weight MidLength Sock

Perfect for all season walking and other lower aerobic activities, this sock is possibly too warm for cycling and running unless in very cold conditions but is fantastic for walkers, mountaineers and those working in the outdoors. The sock is insulated yet fully waterproof and breathable thanks to its membrane construction, and features a lovely Merino wool lining.

Winter Cycle Glove

Winter Cycle Glove

The Winter Cycle Glove provides the serious biker with rugged waterproof coverage and complete insulation for those winter days on the road or trails. These gloves feature a durable palm and gel padding for increased grip and comfort and added insulation to provide high levels of warmth.

The Winter Cycle Gloves are also available in a female specific fit: SealSkinz Womens Winter Cycle Glove

Waterproof Overshoes

Waterproof Overshoes

Base of overshoe

Base of overshoe

The first overshoes from Sealskinz, and they certainly match up to the Sealskinz reputation. This close fitting overshoe is completely waterproof and comes with openings for the cleat and heel, making them perfect for road cycling in the wet and/or cold, and with Kevlar protection around the foot and heel to prevent damage.

See the full SealSkinz range here.

Coll Tex Whizzz Glue

Coll Tex have a new skin glue on the market called Whizzz. Check out my first impressions video here.

 

Off-Piste Essentials

Vallee Blanche

When you’ve skied for a long time, and you can handle all the piste can throw at you – where do you go from there? For many the answer is off-piste, obviously! Though an ‘off-piste career’ usually starts by taking on those relatively simple, slightly carved up slopes off the back of a chairlift or by the side of the regular piste.

When you really start getting into your off-pisting, the prospect of making tracks in untouched snow becomes the new attraction and fresh powder is like the holy grail. Now, when you reach the top of the cable car, your journey up the mountain isn’t over – it has only just begun!

Some people think it’s slightly crazy to hike even further up the mountain, but if you want to lay your tracks down and ski some challenging stuff, then this is the only way to do it. Nevertheless, it’s not a simple case of ‘just ski it’, and some knowledge and understanding of the mountains is vital, and investment in your gear is essential.

This is no longer a case of getting the best equipment to improve your piste skiing, this is a case of saving someone’s life, even your own. Backcountry skiing throws up numerous hazards, avalanches are a constant danger and once you leave the patrolled ski area you are exposed to the elements – you have to be prepared. Here are some of the essentials:

Avalanche Packs

Avalanche

All avalanche airbags, regardless of brand, work on a principle that states that if you shake a selection of shapes, the larger ones will rise to the top, even though they may be heavier. The principle is well proven and also known as the ‘Brazil Nut Effect’; in a bag of mixed nuts, the brazil nuts will always be on top. In an avalanche, it’s best to make yourself like a Brazil nut.

Want to know more about how they work? Read our Avalanche Airbag Information.

At Facewest.co.uk we have the UK’s best range of Avalanche Packs – click here to see it in full.

Transceivers, Shovels & Probes

Mammut Barryvox Pulse Package

Mammut Barryvox Pulse Package

The ‘big three’ of avalanche safety are a transceiver, probe and shovel.

A transceiver is a small device worn on a harness system on your chest, below your clothing. As soon as you leave the safety of the resort, you turn the transceiver on to ‘transmit’ mode – meaning it constantly sends out a radio signal while you are skiing. If you’re buried in an avalanche, rescuers (either your companions or professional rescue services) can switch their transceivers into ‘receive’ mode – meaning they will pick up the signal from any transmitting transceivers in the area. The display on the front of the transceivers will help lead them to the spot in which you are buried.

Using a transceiver to search will only give you a rough idea of where someone is under the snow – due to the 3D nature of the transceiver signals and search area they may actually be a couple of metres away from the closest transceiver reading. If you simply start digging, there’s a high likelihood of missing your victim and possibly digging down straight past them. By the time you’ve found them, it may be too late. A probe is used to poke down in to the snow until a hard object (i.e. your friend) is found – telling you exactly where you need to dig.

The final stage of an avalanche rescue is digging the victim out. A shovel is essential for this – and you’ll need one each to ensure you can get to your mate as fast as possible. All avalanche shovels will have a removable and/or retractable handle for easy storage in your pack. There are both aluminium and plastic bladed shovels on the market – a metal blade is recommended as plastic sometimes isn’t strong enough to get through hard-packed avalanche debris. The longer the shovel handle, the easier it will be to dig.

We have put together some excellent Avalanche Safety Packages, or alternatively you can look at our individual essentials below.

Transceivers

Shovels

Probes

Got any questions to ask on the subject? Call us on 01943 870550 and we’ll be happy to answer any queries.

Enjoy your skiing and remember to stay safe!

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 wasnít 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 didnít 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 didnít 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

Hereís 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 donít 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 VŲlkl 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.

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