The nights are drawing in. The temperature is dropping, and the rain is falling. I should be excited; the Scottish paddling season is kicking off. Months of blustery days, where the heavens open and you go paddling almost every weekend.
This year however my drysuit is stranded in Canada. Summer boating plans got kiboshed due to the pandemic and I’m back in Scotland without my trusted latex companion. The long john wetsuit drafted in as a reserve haunts my hallway. It was great in the summer. Warm weather days, and a laugh at the retro styling meant I was happy in it. Now it hangs in the hallway, dripping, like a form of psychological torture. Reminding me of what lies ahead. Cold. Wet. Miserable.
When I’m at paddling events or on a river when I meet other paddlers it is pretty much guaranteed that someone will be wearing an Astral Green Jacket. After all it is a stand out design that works really well. However I have recently picked up a Kokatat Hustle R and wanted to take the opportunity of comparing the two in a little more detail.
The Astral Green Jacket and Kokatat Hustle R I have here are EU versions. For the European market the Green Jacket has a side entry feature where as the US version does not. The Kokatat Hustle R has some additional reflective SOLAS tape on the shoulder straps to meet newer ISO requirements in the EU.
The Palm Side swing HMS Karabiner looks like a fairly conventional karabiner that has had some weight shaved off and a trick anodised colour applied. I thought exactly this when it landed here at Unsponsored HQ.
I didn’t even look at the name, as it was obscured by the paperwork, before removing the karabiner from its display card and checking out the gate action.
When you pick up a karabiner it is compulsory to test out the gate action. That is the point that I realised the Palm side swing karabiner was a little bit different.
The newest addition to the flat pedal mountain bike range is the Five Ten Trail Cross LT. The version we have here is the LT version which is more trainer like that the Mid Pro we reviewed on the site a couple of months back.
Size wise I still think that these run a little large. I usually wear Five Ten or Salomon in a UK size 10 and did originally order a pair of Trail Cross Mid in that size. However I found that the shoe is super long. I sent them straight back and now have a pair of UK 9.5s which after my first ride out fit great. So these LT versions are also 9.5 and as expected fit well.
The Nevis is an over the head slab PFD with a number of features I have not seen before in a PFD.
The Nevis PFD is the culmination of research from UCLan, design by Barney Caulfield and testing worldwide by Bren Orton. At its core is the Delta Fit adjustment system. Two wings that wrap your ribs, reducing pressure on your abdomen, helping you to breathe and increasing mobility. Set-up to go in five fluid steps, with fewer buckles (including new load tested aircraft grade aluminium hardware). The Nevis has the world’s first Piggyback adjustable quick release chest harness, improving upon the latest research, so that releasing your harness doesn’t affect the fit of your PFD. The Nevis sets a new standard in fit and safety.
Living in Fort William as a kayaker means one thing – a good, comfy and durable dry suit is a must! Lochaber has rain even in the driest months. In fact, we have an average annual rainfall of approximately 1777mm or 70 inches; a kayakers paradise. However, for those of us who feel the cold, a mean annual temperature of only 8.6 °C can be a enthusiasm-killer if you’re body isn’t guaranteed to be warm and dry whilst paddling, even in the summer months when you’re catching post-work Moriston laps until 10pm.
Ok, we are going a little off piste with this one as it is definitely not kayak or canoe related. When the water is low and the surf has dropped off I get out on a bike. This now includes mountain bikes and road bikes.
I’ve been after a good mudguard for sometime and the Proguard hit my radar a few months ago. I pre-ordered bot the Proguard standard and mini.
The Handler is GoPro’s move into the hand held grip market for waterborne users. It is designed to perform a very similar role to the GoPole Grenade grip with the added bonus that the GoPro The Handler is designed to float (even when using a Bacpac).