Haglofs Winter 2013 Part 1

Christmas has come early!

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We always get excited around this time of year when the new winter clothing ranges start to arrive at Rough Gear Towers.

Haglofs autumn and winter offerings are always eagerly anticipated and they haven’t let us down with this season’s great looking range of Pro Shell, Soft Shell or insulation layers … here’s a peek at a few favourites:

Roc Hard Jacket: the Bruce Willis of Haglofs shell jackets. The Roc Hard has been developed using the very latest 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell technology for the ultimate in waterproof protection and breathability. Slightly longer in the cut, Haglofs have developed the Roc Hard Jacket without shoulder, side or inner sleeve seams to avoid chaffing and to enhance durability…

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… and with more pockets to pick from than Fagin’s gang of street urchins, the Roc Hard Jacket has a sizable load carrying capability that’s all backed up with water resistant zips throughout.

Bungy II Hood: If the Roc Hard Jacket is Bruce Willis then the Bungy II Hood is definitely the Bruce Lee of the range: super-stretchy, clean lines and slim fitting, the Bungy II Hood is lithe in its cut and is super-smooth to look at and wear.

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Polartec PowerStretch Pro fleece fabric provides extremely high weight to warmth ratio and the Bungy II Hood has a next to the skin comfort level that’ll have your running your hands all over yourself in no time.

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Flatlock seams feature throughout the Bungy II Hood to minimise bulk and enhance durability, plus there are no seams whatsoever in the shoulders again to reduce chaffing but promote comfort and durability.

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Just slip the hood on for the complete Ninja effect!

Women’s Gecko Q Hood: with a 4-way stretchy construction and a flatteringly feminine cut the Gecko Q Hood is an extremely versatile Softshell jacket that’s lined with a cosy fleece on the inside and a smooth weather resistant, durable fabric on the outside for long lasting protection and comfort.

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The Women’s Gecko Q Hood also works well as a mid-layer for when the weather really clams up, but thanks’ to its four way stretch woven fabric you won’t encounter any restriction to your freedom of movement.

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A couple of hand warmer pockets adorn the outside of the Gecko Q Hood while on the inside there sits a zippered chest pocket for small valuables and the like. We really like the soft and smooth thumb loops and cuffs; snug and luxurious without feeling restrictive at all – a lovely bit of kit all round.

Women’s Ulta Q Jacket: form and function in perfect harmony; and we reckon Soft Shell jackets don’t come much more feminine in design or high in specification than the women’s Ulta Q Jacket from Haglofs.

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Fully featured with too many neat design elements to mention here the women’s Ulta Q Jacket is as technical as it is stylish. This combination makes the Ulta Q suitable as a durable mountain mid-layer or outer, or something to quickly slip into after your spinning class at the gym.

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The Ulta Q is highly wind and water resistant thanks to the inclusion of a Windstopper membrane and is further supplemented by its unique thermal qualities and high levels of breathability; add all these attributes together and it’s easy to see why the women’s Ulta Q Jacket is a desirable addition to any discerning winter wardrobe.

Norrona’s answer to the British Wet Weather

Norrona Fjora Dri 1 Cycling Gear

Posted by Colin

You’ve got absolutely no excuses to go out cycling in the rain now!

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Check out Norrona’s superb lightweight Fjora Dri 1 waterproof cycle top and over-trousers for Scandinavia’s answer to the British wet-weather programme. Both the Fjora Dri 1 top and Pants boast a range of features and a dry-ride comfort that promises to vastly reduce the usual: ‘it’s raining so I can’t be bothered,’ syndrome.

I’ve used the Fjora Dry 1 jacket and trousers for both on and off road riding that’s included carrying a daypack for hours on end in the murky reaches of Exmoor in some pretty appalling weather.

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But even on my daily commute along the converted trailway the surface can get pretty mucky when it’s wet, so the Dry 1 top and bottoms have certainly had their fair share of mud and rain on and off over the last six months, but it’s now mid-September and autumn has hit hard: the temperature has fallen dramatically and the precipitation is, well … precipitating down!

Norrona’s Dri 1 waterproof and breathable fabric really is as good as they promise, the fabric has a warmer, less clammy feel to the touch feel on the inside than some other manufactures fabrics of choice; this is especially nice if you’re wearing short sleeves and the skin comes into contact with the cold inner fabric.

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The outer surface fabric is softer than other similarly styled cycle apparel, less crinkly if you like; quieter too. This makes for a comfortable ride as the Dri 1 Jacket and trousers mould to your body and legs. The trousers are snug fitting and you will struggle to get anything else other than cycle shorts on underneath, but that’s the point, the Fjora Dry 1 system is best used in anger out on the trail when pushing hard across the moors and mountains in crappy weather; Norrona’s Fjora Dri 1 cycling apparel is technical, high performance cycle clothing at its best.

 

On its way! – Schoffel Ski Wear is heading toRough Gear

Posted by Colin

Schoffel Ski Wear

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In a major coup of unprecedented proportions we are pleased to announce that Rough Gear has joined the ever-so select list of retailers for World renowned ski brand: Schoffel.

Who? Schoffel, the high tech, high quality ski wear manufacturer who have been doing it longer than anyone else and who supply the clothing to Austria’s National Ski Team; you know … Schoffel?

Ok, so you still haven’t got it? Schoffel are probably the finest manufacturers of ski wear anywhere in the world, and they’re just as fussy as to who stocks it.

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Rough Gear has finally dipped its toes into the world of top-end ski clobber (notwithstanding that we already do ski mountaineering and powder ski wear from Norrona and Haglofs of course) but Schoffel is different – it looks more like traditional ski wear in the sense that it appeals to the piste hungry cruiser who knows exactly what he or she wants. which is? … The most gorgeous ski wear available to those who won’t look out of place with the other beautiful people on the sun-kissed slopes of St Anton, Mirabel, St Moritz or Courchevel – are you getting the picture, now?

We’re stocking a select range of both men’s and women’s ski wear which we think will appeal to our customers, and from this season we can springboard into next year’s collection with an even larger selection; here’s a taster of what’s on offer for this coming ski season:

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And if you’re wondering what the Schoffel catch phrase ‘ Ich bin raus’ translates into, well … ‘I am out’ as in the sense ‘I am outside, what are you doing’ … make of that what you will but it’s still the best skiing gear ‘out’ there.

Stay tuned for further updates as they come in on the fabulous new ski range from Schoffel … ‘are you out there?’

Norrona Winter 2013 Collection Part 2

Lofoten: dramatic archipelago off Norway’s North-western shoulder, home to the midnight sun, maelstrom tides, where the word maelstrom originates, and an amazing range of clothing that’s as beautiful and unique as the islands themselves.

Lofoten Gore-Tex Primaloft Jacket

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If layering up to keep warm isn’t your bag then take a good look at Norrona’s warmest waterproof Freeride jacket: the Lofoten Gore-Tex Primaloft Jacket. It’s crafted together using a blend of Gore-Tex Waterproof and breathable membrane and Primaloft synthetic insulation.

The Primaloft insulation keeps the bulk down and the warmth in while the Gore-Tex keeps the water out; and at and at a tad over 1000g the Lofoten Gore-Tex Primaloft Jacket is certainly no heavyweight.

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With more features than Ridley Scott’s film career the Lofoten Gore-Tex Primaloft Jacket is a powder skier’s dream: removable powder skirt with silicon grip, articulated elbows, laminated hand gaiters, taped seams, YKK water resistant seals, helmet compatible hood, soft chin protection, and the list goes on …

Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Jacket

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On the other hand, if the flexibility of layering up is your bag then maybe this beauty is for you? Made using the latest ripstop Gore-Tex Pro Shell stretch fabric, the Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro is a shell jacket that’s got versatility and classic styling bred into the very fibres of its construction.

Designed primarily for freestyle skiing and deep alpine powder days the Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Jacket offers the highest levels of protection and comfort in the deepest snow or even the wettest of weathers; this works particularly well if you’ve ever enjoyed late season skiing in Whistler where it can be dumping it down with fresh snow up top but pouring with rain in the valley floor.

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Freedom of movement plays an important part when deep powder skiing and the ripstop Gore-Tex Stretch fabric is a new and important innovation to freestyle skiing. Other neat details include: laminated hand gaiters, radio/key card pocket, removable powder skirt with silicone grip, soft chin protection, underarm ventilation and YKK water resistant zippers to name but a few.

/29 Wool Jacket

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29th April 1929, Jorgen Jorgensen stitches together his first outdoor equipment and the Norrona clothing company is born. 80 or so years later and Norrona’s latest lifestyle clothing range gets a new name – /29. Tenuous it may be but there’s no doubting the heritage that’s gone into the makeup of these lovely garments.

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Another neat exercise in morphing nature with manmade fibres, the /29 Wool Jacket has wool on the outside for warmth and polyester on the inside for comfort – man and nature in perfect harmony. Interestingly, the wool is reprocessed from old garments which is great for the ecology, there’s also a little nylon thrown in for good measure to aid the polyester keep its shape.

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Practical styling features include the high neck that’s the perfect foil for keeping the wind out, and the two hand warmer pockets keep small valuables safe and your digits functioning when the temperature drops – the /29 Wool Jacket is at the cutting edge of practical and stylish winter clothing from Norrona.

Norrona Winter 2013 Collection Part 1

Norrona’s Winter Selection 2013/14 Part 1

Posted by Colin

If you’ve been living on Mars for the last ten years then we might (only just) forgive you for not knowing too much about Norrona or how fabulous their clothing and kit actually is, so, just in case you have come from the red planet, here’s a quick peek into just some of the gorgeous kit that’s landed for winter 2013/14.

TROLLVEGGEN Gore-Tex Pro Jacket

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Norrona’s Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro Jacket gets its name from Norway’s ‘Trollveggen’ or ‘Troll Wall’ which at a stupendously sheer 5,950 feet from the valley floor to the top makes Trollveggen Europe’s highest vertical and overhanging rock face (the peak over hangs the base by 150 feet); it’s no wonder that Trollveggen, situated in the Reinheimen National Park on Norway’s West coast, is regarded as the cradle of climbing in Scandinavia.

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The Trollveggen is a fully-featured mountain Jacket that Norrona dutifully describe as ‘our most durable, weather protective and waterproof jacket’ – classic Scandinavian understatement if ever there was! The Trollveggen is a true work of art that’s as tough as it is lovely to look at and wear. Detailing and finish is faultless and the Trollveggen is one of the true mountain jackets that include fully waterproof YKK Aquaseal watertight zippers.

With such a famed and treacherous mountain wall as its name sake the Trollveggen Jacket has a great deal to live up to – and it does, and at Rough Gear we firmly believe that Norrona’s Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro Jacket is probably the finest waterproof and breathable shell on the market today.

Slip the Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro Jacket on, and you’re halfway up the mountain already!

 

NARVIK Gore-Tex 2L Jacket

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With its softer, quieter and highly supple face fabrics, the Narvik Gore-Tex 2L Jacket is a different kettle of fish (herrings, I suppose) to the Trollveggen and is named after Norway’s third largest city rather than some grumpy mythical creature.

Designed for freestyle and backcountry skiing, the Narvik Gore-Tex 2L Jacket is longer and baggier in its cut and fit, it’s still packed with neat features designed to keep the powder out and the heat in to make the most of your time in the snow.

The Narvik Gore-Tex 2L is a purist’s dream and has all the hallmarks of a garment that’s been through the rough and tumble of deep powder skiing to bring you the best protection you could ever wish for in the snow: freedom of movement, venting for when the action gets too warm, a snug fitting removable snow skirt with silicone grip, helmet compatible storm hood with wired brim and a radio/key card pocket are to name but a few of the features adorning the Narvik Gore-Tex 2L Jacket.

 

Norrona Women’s RØLDAL Warm3 Jacket

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Pronounced a little like the famous author: Roald Dahl, the women’s Roldal Warm3 is a technical fleece jacket that’s fits the bill for just about any winter pursuit: from topping out on a Scottish Munro to checking out at Top Shop.

Super-cosy to wear, the Roldal Warm3 is constructed from gorgeous Polartec Thermal Pro Fleece that traps warm air to retain body heat without too much weight or bulk.

Incredibly quick drying and highly breathable, the Polartec Thermal Pro is regarded as the market leading warm fleece fabric in use today; and once you’ve worn it outside you’ll understand why. The Warm3 is also the ideal mid-layer insulation garment when the weather turns really cold but the excellent moisture management qualities of the Polartec Thermal Pro fabric ensures that you’ll stay comfortable all day long.

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The design bod’s at Norrona have made the Women’s Warm3 jacket as stylish as a technical fleece can get without any frills, just practical, cosy performance and a warm comfortable fit that’s a real pleasure to wear.

Keen Clearwater CNX Sandals

Keen Clearwater CNX Sandals

Product review by Colin

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The Clearwater CNX is a brilliantly slimmed down take on Keen’s original sandal concept; and notwithstanding bedtime, I’ve pretty much lived in a pair this summer.

Synonymous with footwear with large rubber pebble kickers covering the toe area, the stripped-back Clearwater CNX Sandals sit comfortably within the company ethos, but even without their trademark yellow badge sitting like a fat wasp on the heel, you’d know in an instant that the Clearwater Sandals belonged to the Keen range.

To be honest though, I’m not normally a sandals kind of person (visions of bearded types wearing woolly hats and white socks with their sandals have kept me away) flip-flops, yes, but sandals, no …

… Until the Clearwater’s caught my eye that is!

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Super-lightweight and comfy as old slippers is how I’d best describe the Clearwater sandals, the mix of a Polyester webbing over Keen’s more traditional fabrics ensure they have kept their shape and looks, even after a good dousing of surf and wet Purbeck sand.

They’re dead easy to slip on too: just slide your toes in, pull the heel tab back, a quick tug on the bungee lace and you’re away, safe and secure – simples!

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The non-marking rubber soles are soft, sipped on the tread for extra security, yet feel supportive all day long; like I said, I have pretty much worn them all-day, every-day over the last month or so (bought mid July 2013 – yes, I actually bought them, that’s how keen I was!) and coming in at a paltry 238g there’s not exactly a lot of weight to lug around, and finally, the hydrophobic mesh repels water like a rabid dog; ok, not the best simile … but you get the picture.

So, what’s the verdict on Keen’s Clearwater CNX Sandals?

Well, I bought a pair; my wife now has a pair, my children each have a pair, and the dog …

Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX Trail Shoes

By Colin

Zut Alors! You might trip over the length of the name, but Salomon’s waterproof XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX trail shoes come dripping with the latest off-road technology; plus a little Gallic ‘je ne sais quoi’ thrown in for good measure.

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Like most running footwear Salomon’s XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX are Far East made and seem well engineered and were impressed by the quality control and sound looking workmanship on our test pair.

(In the context of this review, we’ll shorten the product title to XA Pro GTX) 

So how do the component parts of the XA Pro GTX measure up?

 

Uppers

The upper face fabric looks really tough, and dense undergrowth holds no fears for these shoes; the sharp brambles made no impact into the fabric and the XA Pro GTX’s still look relatively new after a couple of months hard (muddy) plodding.

The uppers are Gore-Tex lined; giving you all the waterproof protection you need as well as a high degree of breathability. What you have to remember though is that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

The XA Pro GTX version will not be as breathable as the standard XA Pro, the GTX version also feels stiffer, possibly due to the Gore-Tex lining; but there you have it: if you want year round weather protection then the XA Pro GTX is a must, but if you’re a spring and summer warrior then the standard non Gore version will serve you well – especially when it’s hot.

We came across a disparity in sizing up for the shoes, the Gore-Tex shoes seemed to come up a half-size bigger compared to the standard Ultra’s. This is important as the wrong fitting shoes might turn your toe nails black in no time; so always check with a specialist stockist first.

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 Midsole

Even off road there’s always a large degree of pounding that your knees and feet need to overcome, or get used to, and so the mid sole area that absorbs the majority of the impact must be of good quality. The XA Pro’s employ a substantial moulded EVA sole with a depth ranging from 21mm to 11mm giving a realistic feel from impact to pushing off so you’re far from being fully divorced from the ground but  still giving you plenty of impact protection.

Tread/siping

Siping is the technique that manufactures use to get more edges from a single knobbly bit of rubber to enhance the grip. Grooves and chamfers are cut in, and around the said knobbly bit to produce a greater area of rubber and edging that will be in contact with the ground, this creates a more useable tread pattern, fore and aft, to produce better grip across all surfaces; and it works a treat on the XA Pro GTX Shoes – simples!

Lacing

For quick-fire lacing Salomon use their tried and tested Quicklace System; a simple tug on the cord pulls the uppers over and around your foot very evenly to give excellent, micro-adjustable settings to get that secure and snug feeling in no time at all; then simply tuck the cord into the little pocket at the top of the tongue, and you’re away.

This type of system isn’t to everyone’s liking; we’re sure this must be down to aesthetics rather than function because in our experience it works as good, if not better, than standard lacing; especially if you’re in a hurry. The spread of pressure by the Quicklace System is evenly spaced across and over the length of the foot making for a very secure and snug fit.

 

Fit

We came across a little disparity in sizing up for the shoes, it isn’t a problem but the Gore-Tex shoes seemed to come up a half-size bigger compared to the standard Ultra’s.

Having sorted the size issue the initial impressions of the XA PRO GTX were very good, certainly comfortable to wear and the fit was reassuringly snug, but not tight; you still need some room for your feet to swell up a little through the course of your activity, but you don’t want to be sliding around in them either.

My foot shape is on the slim side, but the XA Pro’s wire lacing system pulled the uppers over and around my feet comfortably without creating any pressure points; I like the fact that the lacing spreads the load along the whole of the foot rather than being tight in just one area which might cause discomfort as your feet swell.

Stability

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This is excellent, firm under foot with no discernible roll with my feet held nicely in place by the footbed. Pushing off is very good too, the tread pattern really working hard over mixed surfaces; it really is a treat: not too aggressive to slow you down, but certainly enough to not slip as you push off through the mud or lose surfaces; although there’s not much anyone can do about gravel and small pebbles of course.

Verdict

Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX Blue

Michelin Stars all-round; in a parallel universe where trail shoes become TV chefs’ the Salomon XA Pro’s are definitely the Gordon Ramsey of trail shoes: aggressive, confident and loud, but performance wise – they can’t be faulted.