Run of the Month: East Devon Heathlands
East of Exeter, the landscape of Devon is a glorious mixture of rolling green hills;…
Each month we’ll be reviewing one of our favourite items of kit – something that we use and abuse on our wild running adventures. Here Sim introduces himself and his love of outdoor gear.
Firstly I must confess that I am very picky about my gear. If I’m racing, climbing or mountaineering I find it really important to know that the gear I’m using isn’t holding me back, I never want to think that maybe I would have been quicker or in better condition if I had used XXX instead of XXX. I’m a firm believer that you do need about 15 different rucksacks because although they are all good only one of them is ideal for a certain race, route or trip. I know that it is not always possible to have the perfect item of clothing or equipment but I really try and find it or modify something to make it. This way I know that it is only my own ability or fitness holding me back, I like the lack of excuses and I find it helps my motivation.
I have worked in the outdoor industry for several years and I have used this opportunity (and staff discount) to try out loads of kit from loads of different manufactures. I have also had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people to get their opinions and again working in outdoor shops I have seen what problems people have and what goes wrong. I run a lot on all surfaces from road to mountains and I race from short park runs and fell races through road and off road marathons, mountain marathons, ultras, adventure races and triathlons. I also climb, ski, swim (in open water as well as a pool), walk, cycle and do a bit of mountaineering so I often use the same kit in several different disciplines.
I’m telling you all this because I am going to start reviewing kit on this blog and I feel that it is really important to know who is doing the review. I’ve often read damming reviews of a piece of kit and been really frustrated because the reviewer wasn’t using the kit for its intended use e.g. of course a super lightweight running jacket will rip when you catch it on your crampons or wear out when you carry a 20kg trekking pack! So I intend to be very honest and very fair in my reviews. I will also make sure that I compare weights of items of the same size, again I’ve often been heard ranting at a magazine for comparing weights of different size shoes; how is that fair or helpful to anyone?
Over the next few months I’ll be reviewing some of my favourite bits of outdoor clothing and equipment, some of these will be items that I always fall back on and I’ll be able to do a long term test review and some will be of new items that I’ve just got and started using.
I welcome any comments, discussion or suggestions.