23rd January 2019

The best bits of kit I used in 2018


As you can imagine, my kit gets used a lot and I have zero tolerance for poor kit. Occasionally I’m lucky enough to get the odd piece for free, but even then if it’s not as good as it should be I won’t use it and I certainly won’t endorse it. The following bits of kit were all paid for by myself

Jez brown climbing instructor guide

Guiding and wearing the Nano Puff on the classic A Dream of White Horses, HVS

Patagonia Nano Puff jacket. 

I’ve got a lot of Patagucci kit. They have me hook line and sinker. But I don’t care. It was hard to pick just one item from the list, the Ascentionist 45l pack is ace, their water proofs ideal (Cloud Ridge, Galvanised, Triolet) and so much warm kit from Micro Puffs to a bad boy Fitzroy down jacket. But the Nano Puff just about comes out top, it’s so versatile not many days go by that I don’t wear it. Plenty of pockets, warm enough, very breathable and super packable. Honestly, just get one.

Five Ten Hi Angle rock shoes. 

I’ve used these for a few years now and they work so well for me, so well that I’ve stockpiled some! Down turned and pretty stiff, I don’t know how they’re so sticky. To look at you’d think they’re for hard sport climbing only but I use them for almost all my climbing now, trad e1 upwards, any bouldering, all my sport, a worn out pair for training, I even used them in preference to my awesome Five Ten Whites when I did Beltane (7b+) on the slate.

Five Ten Hi Angles and Arcteryx harness

Five Ten Hi Angles and Arcteryx harness keeping cool in the shade. Cheeky appearance for my lovely Dewerstone chalk bag too!

Despite being pretty aggressive they’re so comfy for me (very personal of course), I can wear them all day, just slipping them off every now and then, with ease ‘cos they’re velcro. You will get blue feet though!

Most of my pairs of Hi Angles are the normal version but I’ve also got a pair of the yellow synthetic version which I’ve been using for about a week now, they fit just the same.


BD Creek 50 ruck sack.

This pack is a beast and I love it. I’ve seen a few people using them in the UK but here in Spain it’s like 1 in 4 people have one.

black diamond creek 50

BD Creek 50. Ace.

Cavernous, tough as old boots and simple. It’s the perfect cragging bag for me and I love the big side zip for easy access. I’m not going to start mountaineering with it as it’s twice the weight of my Patagonia Ascentionist, but for what it’s designed for, I’m not sure how you’d beat it. I’m using it daily at the moment and it easily swallows an 80m rope, two pairs of rock shoes, flip flops, chalk bag, extra chalk, harness, 20 draws, guidebook, warm up kit, big down jacket, thin down jacket, lunch and plenty of water, Sony a6000 and medium lens and the usual detritus that floats around in there.

Old review I did here: https://www.jbmountainskills.co.uk/news/2018/03/black-diamond-creek-rucksack-review/

ArcTeryx harness.

I’ve used a lot of harness’s in my time, but the ArcTeryx range are hard to beat. Yes they cost a fair chunk but they’re so comfy. I actually use two:

SL 340, for sport, two gear loops only and fixed legs.

FL 365, for everything else, 4 gear loops and fixed legs.

They’re both basically the same design and I wouldn’t use anything else. I wore my DMM Mithral the other day, nothing wrong with it, but the comfort isn’t in the same league, the design is inherently different to most harness’s. I hang a lot in these, I whip a lot in these, there really is nothing I’d change.

Black Diamond Z poles.

winter skills course scotland

Sticks, great all year, not just winter!

Oh my knees, I wish they were pain free, but they haven’t been for years. Poles help me a lot though and I certainly notice the difference between using them and not using them. There’s loads of poles out there but I like the fact these fold down so small and aren’t carbon (carbon’s light but more snappable). These things have lasted me years but you do need to look after them by drying them and putting the odd dab of lube on them – I find bike lube the best.

Best of the rest!

Black Diamond Vapor helmet. 

It’s flipping light and most importantly fits me really well whereas other helmets like the Petzl Sciroccho don’t.

DMM Alpha Sport ‘draws.

I love DMM kit and use shed loads of it. I love Dragon cams, Phantom crabs and loads of other stuff (except their skinny ropes), but I’m in sport climbing mode so these draws are worth a shout out. I’ve used them for years and they take so much abuse but still retain the perfect clipping action. Great for grabbing too…!

MSR Pocket Rocket stove.

Tiny, light, always works. Does exactly what I want a stove to do.

Adidas Terex trainers.

Best approach shoes ever made? Possibly. Five Ten rubber on the front, proper tread on the back, no Gore Tex. They climb well, they scramble well, they walk well. Perfect.

The disappointments…

Only one I think!
Nordisk Telemark tent.

I wanted this tent to be ace, and in many ways it is, but the condensation is next level sadly, I’m not sure I’ll be using it again.

That’s the 2018 round up!

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