During packing for my long distance, fast walk of the Cornish North Coastal Path (the North Coast of Cornwall in six days), I had to think quite a lot about the gear I’d be taking. In particular, I had to consider how to keep the weight as low as possible. Even though gram counting doesn’t sound very cool, you’re going to have to lift every excess gram you bring, with every step.
During our walk, we passed 60,000 steps on one day and averaged about 50,000 so you can see how each gram suddenly starts to add up. Carrying a couple extra kilograms can really be the straw that broke the camel’s back. This is especially emphasised when walking on the coast path, where constant, severe ascents and descents can play havoc with your joints.
In this post I’m going to talk you through a couple of light weight and space saving garments I brought with me. Starting with the…
Vanir Logr Jacket Review
The coat I decided to take on this adventure was the Vanir Logr Jacket by Helly Hansen. This is a new coat that I hadn’t worn a great deal but I thought the trip would be an excellent test of its features. The biggest feature that made me want to take this jacket with me was its high waterproof, windproof and breathable performance.
If you’ve looked at my route plan, you will see the intense ascent and descent that occurs on some large sections of the Cornish Coast Path. During these times I knew that I would need a coat that was highly breathable. I knew I’d be perspiring like crazy during these climbs but didn’t want to keep removing the jacket if I over heated.
The coat’s Helly Tech fabric has a rating of 10,000gm moisture vapour permeability which was pretty good on paper and even better in reality. Even when pushing hard up steep inclines I didn’t overheat. Furthermore, Helly Hansen have ingeniously placed heat zone venting. These are very discreet vents placed at the back of the neck and in each arm pit. They look a little like vents that you would get on a tent and work fantastically at releasing hot air. Due to their action flap design, they maintain the coat’s high integrity waterproofness. So even though a lot of heat can escape, at the same time no rain can enter.
I was really impressed by the two different fabrics that the Vanir Logr is made from. You wouldn’t notice to look at it as the colours are identical but it’s actually made from two very different fabrics. The hood, front body, top sleeve, cuff and shoulders are made from a highly waterproof polyurethane laminate fabric. This is good as it has a slight stretch but is great because of how waterproof and breathable it is. It has a slight shine and water just slides off it.
The second fabric is a double weave softshell centre front panel, back body, under sleeve and side body. Using this other fabric in these areas is a brilliant idea. The softshell material is very breathable and works well to release heat and vapour. It also contains 11% elastane so highly stretchable and provides the coat with some awesome flexibility. This makes the Vanir Logr a perfect active coat. Despite all these different fabrics and design features, the jacket weighs in at just 380 grams, meaning it isn’t going to weigh your pack down if the sun does manage to come out!
The Vanir Logr Jacket has five pockets and has some really nice design features. It has two outer pockets as you’d expect. These both have protected entry to further deflect rain away. Inside the jacket there is a chest pocket on the right side as well as a lower interior pocket on both the left and the right. These are created by cleverly stitching the side and lower walls of the exterior pockets to the jacket, thus creating extra interiors pockets without adding extra material.
There are a few really nice finishing touches that make this coat really comfortable to wear. These include the fit and aesthetics of this coat which are both really strong. The inner collar is made from brushed tricot which is really soft and nice against your skin. The pull cords on the hood and waist are all made from high visibility cord which makes them easy to locate and quick to adjust.
Aesthetically I really like this Helly Hansen coat, I opted for a really bright shade as I like being highly visible on the mountains. If you prefer something a little bit more subtle, then it is available in more muted tones. As with some of the other Helly Hansen range at the moment, they have added some high vis fabrics to the design, these feature around the collar and zip and to me are reminiscent of Helly Hansen’s nautical heritage. After well over a hundred miles, I can report that this is a stellar coat which I’d highly recommend to anyone searching for a well priced, light weight, technical outdoor outer layer.
Buff Hat – Two Layer Microfibre & Polar Review
Until I tried the Buff Two Layer Microfibre & Polar Hat, I was a firm believer in chunky, big beanies. I am now, however, a complete convert to the slim Buff hats. There are several reasons why.
Firstly, these hats pack down so small. I can crunch mine down in my hand and it will fit inside my clenched fist. What is even better is at just 40 grams, it weighs next to nothing. To put that weight into context, 40 grams is the same as some cereal bars!
The tight fit not only keeps it close to your head and ensures that your bonce is kept cosy and warm but also makes it excellent for wearing underneath helmets. I thought this would be especially great for winter mountaineering and climbing. In fact the person who inspired me to wear one of these was our winter mountaineering skills coach who wore one. He had climbed five of the highest peaks in each of the seven continents including Everest. I decided that if these were his choice in hat, then they must be pretty good.
The Microfibre & Polar Hat BUFF is a double layer hat; the outer is made with Buff’s incredible microfibre and inside with a soft polar fleece. The outer microfibre layer is treated with Polygiene which means that it will remain fresh because the silver ions prevent the build up of bacteria in the fabric. The interior soft polar fleece does an amazing job at keeping your head cool whilst not being bulky or getting in the way.
Helly Hansen Waterproof Trousers Packable Pant Review
I love these Helly Hansen Waterproof Trouser Packable Pants. Vicky has a pair of the girl’s version and wears them all the time. I’ve always been jealous of these and have finally got my own pair.
These packable shell trousers fold down smartly into their own pocket. This means that they are ideal for stashing in the bottom of your bag. When we go travelling in the summer, I will be taking these for sure as you can’t have a little bit of rain spoiling your day. As the weather in the UK and all around the world is very unpredictable, waterproof trousers can be essential when you have to be outside all day.
They are an excellent partner to something like Helly Hansen’s Vanir Logr Jacket. When I’ve been caught out in the rain whilst wearing both, I’ve got totally soaked and have still stayed totally dry underneath. As you’d imagine it provides all the features you’d expect from Helly Tech Weather Protection gear such as a two ply fabric construction with fully sealed seams.
On top of all this it has been treated for durable water repellency. I know this claim is fully justified as Vicky’s well used old pair have been up loads mountains in the rain, covered in mud and washed and are still fully waterproof. The water just forms droplets on the fabric and rolls down. Luckily they are long and wide enough that they come down just a little way over your boots and this doesn’t traffic the water towards your socks!
These packable waterproof trousers feature pockets on either side and a fly making them very convenient to wear. As they take up so little room and weigh just 383 grams (for my medium size), they are ideal for light weight walking and carrying around with you on all your adventures and travels. If you don’t already own a pair of waterproof trousers then you really can’t go far wrong with these. As they are so small and light weight you’re going to be happy to take them everywhere with you and then you’ll have them to hand when you need them!