HR Kit: Wet! Wet! Wet!


The Haute Route in August – ah… warm and sunny. Maybe…

Obviously we need to bring water proofs. Although I’ve been hugely impressed by a pair of Paramo Cascada trousers for winter user – Paramo‘s just too heavy for summer. So something light and breathable.

I’ve been amazed at how breathable eVent based clothing is. My Rab Drilium jacket has actually allowed me to dry out after I put it on over a wet t-shirt. But if I had to get a new jacket I’d probably go for the Montane Quick Fire I’ve not used one but I’ve been very, very impressed by all the Montane gear I’ve had and I hear good things about the Quick Fire in particular. They’re well cut – especially their women’s range.

For trousers it’s hard to beat the weight of the Montane Atomic Pants (“Atomic Pants” – that sounds very odd in British English!). My large ones weigh in at an amazing 178 grams and really do pack down to the size of a large orange. They’re pretty breathable (not to eVent standard but not bad at all) and the pair I have now are very waterproof. The first pair leaked like tea bags! But Montane sent me out a new pair (with a credit card number as security) that I needed in a hurry while they tested them. Sure enough there was something wrong with them and that was that. So if you have a pair that don’t seem right – send them back!

With my long legs and a pair of approach shoes the rain runs straight off the trouser legs and into my shoes. So I spent a while looking for small, short, light gaiters. And a thread on OM turned up the perfect pair (all outdoor knowledge is there… somewhere…). They’re made by a Canadian company called Integral Designs who are a very nice bunch of people and are happy to talk about making up kit to order should you be so inclined (I haven’t have anything made… so far). Shortie eVent Gaiters are perfect. At 70 grams for the pair including the stuff sac there’s no reason not to throw them in the bag.

And of course – the SealSkinz socks I might have already briefly mentioned in an earlier post.

One bit of kit that’s proved to be incredibly useful in the recent sun/rain/wind cycle that we seem to be running through every half an hour in the UK has been a Montane Lite Speed wind proof. Fantastic bit of kit that I wish I could have bought years ago. It has a really big range of comfortable conditions from sun (with wind) through to a showers. And with mine weighing only 186 grams (large) and packing down, as they say on the site, to the size of an apple it’s always with me. But, probably not on the HR. I’m expecting warm and dry, or wet and soggy. So at the moment I think it might stay at home. I’d be interested to know if anyone would take one though?

So that’s

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • “Shortie” gaiters
  • Waterproof socks
  • Possibly a wind proof


12 Replies to “HR Kit: Wet! Wet! Wet!”

  1. So is the Montane Female eVENT Super-fly Jacket the closest female equivalent to the Montane Quick Fire jacket?

  2. Well it certainly appears to be to be – which is a shame since it’s sticking with the usual policy of gear makers to create the most technical garments only in a men’s fit.

    On the other hand the Super Fly is an excellent jacket – LB uses one all the time.

    I’ve just noticed they’re bringing out a new women’s fit version of it:

    And OM has just had a preview of it:

  3. Interesting site. We’re starting the HR next week and have decided to go with Paramo Cascadas, Velez’s and a Vasco, simply because of the relatively huge breathability. We won’t take fleeces to offset some weight.

    Having done the TMB using Paclite tops and bottoms, I’d rather have extra weight and bulk if it improves breathability and comfort. I’ve not used Event, so can’t comment on that, but I use Paramo in Scottish summers if there’s any possibility of rain and luckily don’t often find it too hot.

    Other than my SLR and the Paramo stuff, we’re still going much lighter than last time, which can only help.

  4. I’d be very interested to hear how you get on with the Cascadas. I am hoping it’s going to be warm enough to zip off the trouser legs on my converts (it has always been before when I’ve been in the Alps even in September!).

    Of course foul weather could change that for the whole trip and make me wish I had the Cascadas (another reason to look forward to the Winter season those things).

  5. Sorry if I sounded like a Paramo evangelist. That stuff’s only for suitably bad weather, as I intend to do as much of the walk as possible in shorts and Teva Wraptors. If I never have to put the wet weather gear on, I’ll be delighted.

  6. Ah… shame in a way – I was quite hoping that you’d find they were comfortable enough!

    Makes more sense now.

    But do let me know how it goes and how the snow, err, isn’t.

  7. As an update, we feel that we were right to take all the Paramo gear, despite the weight. We had a couple of spells of rain, cold and even snow and were grateful for the total confidence and comfort that Paramo gives.

    I’m happy to go lightweight within reason, and have since bought Vapour Trails and a compact camera to reduce our weight further, but I really don’t want to lose the relative comfort in bad weather that we get from Paramo, so I won’t be going back to lighter shells.

    As an aside, the Teva Wraptors were an unmitigated disaster, but teh Montrail CTCs were absolutely excellent (and light).

  8. Thanks very much for that Eric!

    It’s a tough choice indeed. After a winter of being more comfortable than I’ve ever been due to Paramo (well, Cioch) I’m not looking forward to the plastic bag effect of even the eVent based Rab Drilium I loved last summer.

    I’ve got some plans though… but that’s another entry.

    Interesting that the Wraptors were no good. I’ve found sandals tend to blister badly after a couple of days of hard use myself.

  9. One thing I’m wondering Ed – did you have any other trousers than the Cascadas?

    I’d have roasted for most of the route if I only had them, even with their huge vents (do zips all the way down the legs still count as “vents”?)

  10. As for trousers, I had Montane Terras, but never wore them on the walk. I used Terra shorts all the time other than when I had the Cascadas on those few times.

    Now that the weather’s improving, I’m wearing a Mountain Vent shirt with a Fuera smock, unless rain is almost guaranteed in which case it’s back to the trusty Velez and a baselayer.

    FYI, my wife and I did a 12 mile walk in the rain yesterday, wearing Velez Adventures and Cascadas, and were perfectly happy sitting on our luxury TAR Lite Seats drinking tea in the pouring rain but feeling dry underneath. Driving back, the gear dried off in about half an hour.

    I just can’t face the thought of going back to sticky wet gear, even if it means saving a few hundred grammes.

    I looked at Cioch and was a bit tempted by their summer waterproof, but we have so much Paramo gear that I really can’t justify anything else.

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