NeoAir – having to revert to using my old Thermarest Prolite last weekend reminded me a) how comfortable and warm the Neo Air is and b) that I still need to repair it after it mysteriously developed a 1 inch rip/cut it. Ok, its a little narrow and there extra depth means that I wish I had bought the regular size rather than medium so my legs don’t dangle off the end and I don’t need such a high pillow but the pro’s (packed size, low weight, comfort and warmth) well outway the con’s. Of slight concern is the fact that the rip simply appeared in benign use – our daughter was sleeping on it on a carpet and in a sleeping bag. In the morning I was surprised to see it deflated and presumed I hadn’t tightened the valve correctly until I noticed a tear (more like a clean cut). No idea how it get there and its been difficult to track down a Thermarest ‘fast and light’ repair kit.
ME Combin trousers – been wearing these over winter and have been surprised how comfy (stretch). warm and
LIM Barrier Smock
Suunto Core – the watch saw its first real outing and I took the user manual to read in the tent just in case! One thing I miss from not using my old Garmin GPS was using the altimeter to help gauge progress and even estimate your location. Knowing the weather was to be warm and dry I wasn’t unduly worried about trending the barometric pressure as a weather indicator. The Core has an auto function to switch between barometer and altimeter the logic being if your are not climbing then changes in abolute pressure are related to changes in barometric pressure, and then when you are moving and gaining height then it assumes that pressure changes are related to altitude changes. This works well and saves you having to think about what setting you ought to be in. I set a (guestimated) reference altitude at the campsite and left the watch in the altitude view, giving me a simple on progress as I headed up Pen y Ole Wen. At the summit I reset the reference altitude to match the summit altitude and I was impressed by the accuracy for the rest of the day. I also started the loggng feature which maintains a total altiude gained/lost, change from start and offers a wee altitude profile graph.
As is the norm on these watched the temperature sensor is affected by your own body/wrist temperature when you are wearing it. To get an accurate ambient temperature reading you need to remove the watch from your wrist for 15/20 mins. I took it off at night and noticed a temperature of 3C in the middle of the night – which explains why I felt a little chilly in my Minim 300.
I didn’t use the digital compass but for someone who dropped and lost their compass on their last trip then having any form of back-up is a good thing. All in all, I was happy with the Suunto.