From time to time, we will be adding some of our favourite walks, cycles, and climbs for you to try yourself! From a 5 mile stroll through the leafy New Forest, to a 35 mile cycle accross the Purbeck Hills, we will try to add a variety of different lengths, locations and styles for you to enjoy. Likewise, any of our trips away will also get a write up!
If you are heading off somewhere adventurous, or have a favourite route, then let us know, send us some info and some pics and we will add it to our blog!
The Boreas Pull On is a bit of strange one at first glance. It falls into the ‘Windshell’ category, but it isn’t one of these Pertex shells that you seem to find everywhere. It is made from a Polymide/Spandex blend, known by Rab as Matrix SWS. It is a soft, comfortable and stretchy fabric, but also one that is light enough and compact enough to not cause any concerns when stashing it in your pack.
I’ve never really got on with the traditional windshells – whilst I understand their super lightweight and compactness is almost unparalleled in the outdoor world, I’ve never found them very comfortable. They often feel clammy against the skin, are noisy and never seem to hang particularly nicely when you where them. That’s why I was so surprised when I first tried the Boreas. It is completely different and as far as I have seen over the last 2 years of use, doesn’t fall down in any of those pitfalls found in those normal windshells.
It is UPF 50+ and is a brilliant wicking layer. Using this over the summer of 2013, in those boiling temperatures, it was very cooling and comfortable to wear. The flat lock seams do their job, and improve the feel of the fabric next to the skin.
It is a very slim fit, and being a pull on, can sometimes seem a bit tricky to work your way into, but once it’s one, it really does feel brilliant. The hood is a close fitting, under the helmet kind of hood, so would be ideal for those long summer pitches, where you want a little more protection than just a t-shirt.
So, as I finish this review off, I find myself wondering if it really is a windshell at all. It’s really a mix of windshell, softshell and base layer all in one, but however you categorise it – it is a brilliant little product, and for only £50.00 for the 2014 season, is extremely good value. It is often overshadowed by lots of exciting new technologies and products, but really, it works brilliantly and is one of the most versatile and well used products I own.
Take a look today at Rough Gear, along with a brilliant range of new Rab clothing!
This summer, we have something a bit different arriving at Rough Gear. Norrona, those brightly coloured Norwegians, have done it again, and updated their mountain biking range and as you would expect, it is rather special. Fjøra sits in the middle of Møre og Romsdal, on the western coast of Norway, and is the name of Norrona’s mountain biking collection. We are very excited about this range cannot wait to receive it!
Take a look at some of Norrona’s athletes testing the new kit out:
I’ve been using an Osprey Raptor 10 for the last 3 years or so now and it has become my go-to bag for a whole host of activities. The raptor bags (available in three sizes; 6, 10 and 14) are the core of Osprey’s Biking range.
They have been around for 3 or 4 years now – I have actually used and abused both versions of the rucksack – the first one has travelled the world and has since been adopted by my girlfriend. The latest version is currently hanging up and drying from our latest mountain bike excursion and it is this latest incarnation that I will be reviewing today.
The Osprey Raptor 10 is a fully featured mountain biking bag, complete with a 3 litre Osprey Hydraulic Reservoir. This means that you’ll have ample space for all of your inner tubes, pumps, tools, all of your emergency layers, the odd energy bar as well as 3 litres of your favourite tipple! I have to admit, I have never been a fan of hydration reservoirs – yes, they make sense, but I just never really seem to use them.
That being said, the Osprey Hydraulic Reservoir is by far the best that I have ever come across and the way that it integrates itself into the bag is very effective. The reservoir hose that usually follows the shoulder harness has in this case been enclosed by a thin mesh. This feature has been lifted and adapted from the Osprey Kode ski bag and does a very good job at keeping everything secure and in place.
The fact that the reservoir sits in a separate compartment also means that it won’t interfere with any of the other bits and bobs you might be carrying, whilst the magnetic bite valve will neatly keep the hose secure on the sternum strap. As a result, I have used the reservoir on a few routes across the Purbeck hills and whilst I’m far from converted, it did its job very well.
Another of the major tweaks that the new Raptor has undergone in comparison to the older version is the back system. Both use the Osprey AirScape backsystem – a vented foam, however the most recent version of the Raptor is far more ventilated, with large, open channels keeping your back cool. I have used both versions on long, hot rides around Dorset and Hampshire and let’s face it, the first version was good, but it has been subtly refined to improve the all-day comfort of the bag.
An additional feature that has been added on the latest version is the roll out ToolWrap – a convenient, secure pouch, specially designed for bike tools and spares. If you’re the kind of person who will take the entire workshop with you, you may struggle for room, but otherwise, for those of us who might be able to change an inner tube, change the saddle height or perhaps, at a push, adjust the gears and brakes, we should be ok! The zipped pocket on each side of the hip belt is a useful area to store small snacks, phones – a very useful addition!
Whilst the Raptor 10 has been designed exclusively for mountain biking, I have found that it is equally as good for using when hiking or as a small daypack when exploring cities. You may argue, that an Osprey Talon 11 may be more suitable for this – I also asked myself the same question. The Raptor just feels a little bit more stable, a bit sturdier and well, just a bit more up to the job. Because of this, it carries heavier weights much more effectively regardless of if you are walking, cycling, skiing or just mooching around Milan.
The Raptor is available in three different sizes; 6, 10 and 14 litres, as well as a women’s specific version, also in 10 and 14 litres, known as the Raven. This results in a range of bags which are suitable for a huge range of cyclists – so if you’re off down your local trailway, or heading out for a 50 mile epic, you’ll be able to rely on the Osprey Raptor range to help you get there.
I love this little rucksack – I’ve owned the very first version for years now and quite frankly, it’s still going strong. This more recent version seems to be heading the same way and will last me for years to come. Whenever I head out to the trails on my MTB, this is the one bit of kit I will always grab and take along with me. However, this 10 litre rucksack falls into a very competitive group, with offerings from all of the big rucksack manufacturers, as well as other alternatives from Camelbak, Haglöfs and Norrøna. However, Osprey’s distinctive design and look make this stand out from the crowd. A bunch of innovative, yet truly useful features ensure you get the most from the bag, and keep on riding.
+ Very well laid out – it’s clear that there has been a lot of thought going into the bag.
+ Lots of useable, decently sized pockets.
+ Excellent hydration reservoir – even if you’re not a fan, it does work very well.
+ Very versatile design, suitable for skiing, walking, general use as well MTBing.
+ Zips pockets on the hip belt, ideal for trail side snacks.
+ The Lid Lock system, carries your bike helmet securely, perfect for those pub stops!
+ Reflective detailing and light attachment point make sure you stay safe on the roads.
+ The W’s version (Raven) features a female fit and slightly more feminine colours!
– £85.00 is a lot of money for those who don’t want to be using a hydration reservoir.
– It seems to be constantly muddy but perhaps that might be my fault…?
Whenever, I think of deep, soft powder, I think of the Alps, Canada and Norway. Norrona ambassador, Andreas Wiig, recently took a trip to Japan to meet fellow ambassador, Yuta Watanabe and discovered a true winter wonderland. Deep powder everywhere you look… Snow covered trees and that magical silence you have when it starts to snow… Both riders were using the lastest range of Narvik clothing, ideal for backcountry freestyle – take a look at our range today:
Narvik – Backcountry Freestyle. Well that’s what Norrona say. Designed to allow for the highest levels of movement and style the Narvik collection are perfect for any aspiring freestyle skiers or snowboarders – and is at home on the steepest slopes, in the deepest powder or in the biggest snow parks.
The Warm2 Stretch Jacket is no different. Thanks to the Polartec Powerstretch Pro fabric, this fleece jacket is perfect for fast paced freestyle skiing & boarding. For years I have gone through all my outdoor activities without ever using a Polartec Powerstretch product, but now I have given it a go, I don’t know how I ever managed. It seems that someone like Norrona needed to make one for me to take notice and give it a go…
The amount of 4-way stretch is almost unbelievable, and gives you virtually unrestricted movement. But it isn’t just the stretch that makes this fleece so good – it’s the comfort of it. I have never worn a more comfortable fleece than this. I may not have ever worn a product of any fabric that has been as comfortable as this. The soft fleece inner feels fantastic on the skin and the tough nylon outer glides under any other outer layers, whilst adding a brilliant level of durability.
The Narvik Warm2 also features some really nice little extras like the thumb loops to help keep any spindrift or draughts at bay, whilst a plus a welcoming pair of well positioned hand warmer pockets to thaw out freezing fingers. The high collar of the jacket means that you can really huddle into the warmth when the wind picks up, whilst the long sleeves mean that your wrists won’t be exposed whether you’re using the thumb loops or not.
This jacket is the kind of thing you can throw on in the morning, ski the steepest black runs and jump the biggest kickers all day and not take off until you’ve finished chilling out in the evening at the Chalet. Perhaps the only downside to the jacket is that, well it costs £169.00 – but if you want the best fleece jacket available…? In that case, it’s worth every penny.
If you had asked me a few years years ago, what the major flaw of down was I would have said moisture. If down gets wet, you’re pretty much stuffed. It takes an age to clean and dry again as well as it loses its lofting ability. Every year, we would have a customer who came into the shop who had got their down jacket soaked through, and after a couple of hours of tumble-drying, it was still as flat as a pancake. It really is the Achilles heel of down.
This winter, Rab have applied a treatment to all of their down clothing – the down has become hydrophobic; ensuring that the down absorbs substantially less water, so retaining more loft and warmth.It also speeds up drying times when damp and will withstand repeated washing. This is applied at the washing/cleaning stage of the down preparation, meaning that it far more effective than aftermarket products available.
Another major benefit of hydrophobic down is that any oils or sweat from your body are now far less likely to penetrate the down itself. It will stay cleaner for longer – and that it definitely a good thing.
I have tested my Infinity Endurance Jacket a little in damp conditions, and it is difficult to see how well it really performs with soaking it. In reality, I’d still keep my down jacket inside if it was raining, but I got caught out in a shower, it’s a little more reassuring knowing that you’ve got a bit more protection.