Category Archives: Equipment Review

Karrimor Mount Mid Review

OVERALL SCORE: 4.5/5

Overview

I bought these boots to replace my old ones that I have had for 9 years. So far, I have been using them mainly on low level park walks, hillier walks with the dog and I have taken them out for a long thrash on occasion. I am limited by the current travel restrictions (Feb-21) so I cannot get to any serious hills, however, I have been using them almost daily for the past few months in various levels of winter weather.

Sole of Karrimor Mount Mid Boot

Overall they have performed well against everything I have been able to do with them so far. I found them easy to break in, easier than other leather boots that I have had before and once I had broken them in, they have been comfortable, dry and snug ever since.

I have found one area in which they seem to struggle slightly, and that is when there is snow lying on the ground, the tread seems to quickly fill up with snow and create a flat icy pad on the bottom of the boot. This is not ideal as you can then start sliding around. It is an easy fix however, as you can knock off the snow that has accumulated on the boot. I am not 100% sure why this occurs, but I think it might have something to do with the pattern or the depth of the tread on the sole.

Side shot of the Karrimor Mount Mid Boot
Karrimor Mount Mid Boot – Taupe

Comfort and Fit

I’ve nothing to complain about here. When I first put the boots on to start wearing them in and around the house to break them in, they felt well cushioned, if a little stiff. After a few days of wearing them in and climbing up and down the stairs the stiffness was gone and the soles had moulded to my feet somewhat. The first meaningful trip outside the coped with well, conditions wise they handled the mud, rain, tarmac and footpath all fine, no issues at all as you would expect from a modern boot.

With regards to the fit, the heel padding inside is pretty comfy and allows for a decent amount of flexibility there. I have quite narrow heels, so the good level of padding helps reduce slipping at the heel. As these are the MID version of these boots, there is also a low and a high version, the collar of the boot sits just above the ankle bone, giving support to the ankle without restricting movement higher up the calf.

4/2 Closed-Open Eyelets

In the front end of the boot, the laces come pre-threaded through the four sets of closed eyelets. Personally, I think I would have liked the closed eyelets to stop at three, giving me more open eyelets to play with. As it is there are two open eyelets above the closed ones, totalling six eyelets. I think an even split 3/3 of open and closed eyelets would have been better and helped with keeping the heel secure through better tensioning of the laces across the instep and ankle.

As it is though, the additional padding helps me with that anyway, so its not an issue for me, but it your foot is different, or you prefer a different fit, you may find that the lack of a third open eyelet may cause your heels to slip a little. There are ways to lace your boots to help prevent this too, so don’t worry, these boots will still work for you!

Technical

There are a couple of technical parts to these boots, although they are not the most technologically advanced. The first thing is that the mesh used on the boots is both breathable and waterproof. I like that the material chosen has both of these features, the waterproofing that has been applied has held for me so far, I have not yet had to re-proof them to better their water resistance. I also like the fact that my feet have not got too hot due to this breathability.

Dynagrip is the Karrimor name for the technology that they use their soles to improve grip and shock absorbtion. After a walk of 10 miles I can tell that the shock absorption is good, in so much as I have not had sore knees or lower back from these boots.

I mentioned in the introduction that I had issues with the boots grip in the snow, so I am not completely confident in the design of the DYNAGRIP soles for this purpose, they certainly seem slippier than my old boots were. In the normal conditions that I do the majority of my hill walking in however, the grip and traction offered by the soles is great, including in the wet.

Durability

Having tested these boots in every terrain that I currently have access to, I can say that after 6 weeks of nearly daily use, that I have had no problems with any aspect of the boots durability. Having tested them on tarmac, hills, mud, snow, ice and everything in between, I have covered a range of terrains and given these boots every opportunity to fall apart. They have not done so.

There is a bit of blind spot in this testing, and that is I have not yet taken them on a hike longer than about 10 miles and I haven’t tested them on the harshest terrain like boulder fields or overly rocky ground. The current travel restrictions are hampering my ability to get to the right sort of ground as I cannot travel outside of my council area. An area that does not include any hills of note.

To be honest, I don’t have any concerns that they won’t stand up to this test when it eventually comes, but I did want to say that they have not been tested in the harshest of environments…yet.

Features

The boots feature a padded ankle collar, a feature that I really like. I have had boots in the past that have rubbed or cut into the backs of my calves during a long walk, which is awful. However, these boots do not have this problem due to the padded collar. It is still stiff enough to provide the support needed, but it is comfy enough to reduce the pain of high ankle boots. They have done a good job of treading that line.

The next feature listed is something called the ‘Frame Flex Chassis’. This is the underlying skeleton of the boot and the way it is designed to flex with your foot as you walk. As someone who is not a huge boot buff, or particularly interested in the physics of boot design, all I can say is that it works. In the past with various sets of boots that I have owned, I have had sore and tired feet after a long day wearing my boots. This has not happened with these boots and it is due to the Frame Flex Chassis. My feet are no longer fighting with the sole of the boot all day, but supported in the way that they flex and bend whilst walking.

Value

The manufacturers recommended price for these boots is £69.99. However I have found them here on Amazon for £39.99-£49.99, which is a steal for these boots. Whilst they have their issues, the main one being grip in the snow, the Karrimor Mount Mid are good general use boots that will cope with anything you can throw at them.

By comparison, the other boots that are out there on the market for a similar price are likely to have poor quality, or not be able to cope with the thrashing that the Scottish countryside can dish out on occasion. With the technical aspects of the Frame Flex Chassis, they are probably more comfortable to wear and walk in too.

For under £50, you could do a lot worse than these boots. Its a recommended from me.

Conclusion

Overall, as you will probably have guessed, I would recommend these boots. I think that they way they are built and the levels of comfort I have experienced make them worth every penny of their low price tag. If you are looking for a specialist boot that will do you serious winter trekking or extended periods in the winter, I would look elsewhere.

For those of us who do the majority of their walking in the spring, summer and autumn and want an all-rounder that will cope with the specific challenges in each of these seasons, I don’t think we need to look much further than the Karrimor Mount Mid walking boot.

This page contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you. However, I have not been paid to promote any product above any other, so opinions are my own and un-biased.

Hi Tec Storm Boot Review

Overview

OVERALL SCORE 4.1/5

I bought these boots for the first time way back and they were like slippers. I bought them in advance of my attempt at the Coast to Coast walk as the boots I was using at the time were quite heavy. Overall a really solid boot although not completely waterproof due to the mesh upper, but great for a summer or dry spring/autumn day on the hills. They lost marks for the waterproofing as well as a little discomfort that I had when breaking them in and on the long walk around the collar of the boot.

I know that there can be a little bit of snobbery out there in the hillwalking community about boots, but I really believe that there is an important trade off against the price you pay. You will see from many of the products I recommend, that I like a bargain where I can get one and I don’t believe in paying over the odds for something you can get for a better price. You may lose a little quality, but if you are happy that you are not climbing the high alpine peaks and you don’t need to rely on you kit to keep you alive (generally) then choosing a “lesser” brand might actually be the better choice. This is true of the Quechua BOOT NAME.

I love these boots and would recommend to friends and family. Hence why I am recommending them to you.

OVERALL SCORE 4.1/5

Hi Tec Storm Boot

Comfort and Fit

Once these boots had been broken in, they became my go to boot for all my hill walks. They were really comfortable. The fit was the size that it said it was, no need to buy a size up or down and as someone with quite a narrow foot, the ability to really synch them together has been great.

The flexible fabric of the tongue and upper really lend themselves to a nice tight fit which helped me avoid blisters on long hot days in the Cumbrian hills. The toes are also wide enough to let you walk properly without feeling like I was too tightly bound. Having a boot strapped to my ankle and heel areas whilst letting my toes move and flex with the terrain is a difficult combination to find in my experience, and these boots performed the feat quite well.

The downside to having my heels and ankles strapped quite so tightly is that in the heat, which is rare in Scotland, there can be a bit of rubbing around the cuff of the boot, which after about 3 days did get a little sore. However if you are planning day trips or overnight walks, then you shouldn’t have any issues.

Technical – 3 tier sole

The sole of this boot is made of three distinct tiers for added comfort and performance. The inner sole, which is removable, is made of EVA (a high density foam) for added compression and comfort, the mid sole, again made of a compressed EVA. This is nice a thick and helps prevent sharp objects from penetrating and being felt by the foot. Lastly, the outsole is a hard wearing rubber (multi-directional traction or MDT rubber) gives advanced grip on all terrains according to the manufacturer.

I felt that this combination offered comfort, protection and grip – which is exactly what the manufacturer says it does. On other boots I have had, some of the soles wore away in places, so I was pleasantly surprised by this sole as it lasted a fair bit longer than other pairs of boots I have had.

Durability

As I said, I bought my original Quechua boots in 2011. I only relegates them to dog walking boots in 2020. 9 years of walks, hikes and general abuse is quite good as far as I am concerned. I would say that I am not out in the hills every week, so it has not been hundreds of hill days, but these boots have done well over 1000 miles and have not caused me any reason to worry about their durability.

Even now, the seams are still solid and the stitching, eyelets and laces are still in good condition, with no obvious wear and tear on them. If you are looking for a good quality boot for a very reasonable price, these boots will last you long enough to get your money’s worth out of them.

Features

  • Suede and mesh combination
  • Dry-Tec Waterproof Membrane (hmmm…)
  • 3 tier sole
  • Versatile lacing, with both open and closed eyelets

Value

As boots go, these are some of the lowest price boots you will find without compromising on quality. Sure, some of the other big brands may well be some cool feature or something, but you could end up paying three times the price for it. You may also find cheaper boots out there, but you run the risk of getting a poor quality boot for your money.

These boots are the lower end of the middle of the road price-wise and I think over deliver on the quality side of the equation. They are priced up to £60 on Amazon, which I think is good value for money.

Conclusion

Overall, as I said at the beginning, I love these boots. I am having to wear some other boots sometimes now as they are starting to wear out. However they have lasted a long time and clocked up lots of mixed terrain miles. Their durability and value, I think, makes them an exceptional buy and a great addition to your hill walking boot collection.

This page contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you. However, I have not been paid to promote any product above any other, so opinions are my own and un-biased.

Karrimor Jura 35 Rucksack Review

Overall Score: 4.6/5

Overview

A few weeks ago I wrote a post focussing on packing a rucksack and included a few of the rucksacks that I have and have carried in the hills all across the UK. This rucksack was not included in that post as I was still in the process of deciding which rucksack to buy to replace my older day sack. I’ve had my Berghaus Day Pack for years and it is showing signs of major wear and tear. One of the supports has worn through its fabric housing and sticks out a little way. On its own, not an issue but when carried for hours at a time, it can make you feel a little uneven, not something that you want when planning multi-peak bagging trips that can take hours.

I’m already a little bit in love with the Karrimor Jura 35. Its comfy, roomy and can take a beating on the hills. It pretty much ticks all my boxes. We got ours in the khaki/olive colour scheme, which I quite like too. So, anyway, keep on reading to find out why I decided on the Karrimor Jura 35 and why I think it would be a great rucksack for you if you’re in the market for one.

Karrimor Jura 35 Rucksack

Comfort and Fit

This bag is a little longer than my previous one and I had concerns prior to purchasing it that it might hang a little lower and get in the way when walking. I’m not a big guy, so these things matter to us shorter folk. However, even when fully loaded, the rucksack sits nice and high on my back, helping me maintain my centre of gravity. Its not so high that I topple forwards, but allows to carry the bulk of the weight on my hips using the waist belt.

Sliding Clip on the Chest Strap

The waist belt and straps are made from the same strong material that the manufacturer calls KS p300BRS. I have no idea what that is. But it is strong and flexible enough to be comfortable walking around. The buckles and clips used to adjust the straps are well placed and slide easily, making it super simple to adjust everything for the perfect fit. I really like the way that the chest strap can slide up and down the piping on the shoulder straps so you can adjust the height of the chest strap. I think it’s a very clever way to make things just a little more comfortable.

The back has the WindTunnel and Coolmesh technologies, that keep air circulating between the rucksack and our back, keeping you cool on hose warmer hikes. This is reasonably standard for rucksacks these days, but it’s good to know it’s there to help reduce any hot spots.

WindTunnel & Coolmesh

WindTunnel is Karrimor technology that helps to minimise the contact between the pack and your back, this allows for more air to circulate, helping to keep you cool. This technology is paired with their Coolmesh fabric and together, they do a great job of keeping my back cool.

WindTunnel and Coolmesh Back

The design is two vertical padded pieces of the Coolmesh fabric straddling an open space between them for the air to flow through and keep you cool. Its quite a simple system, but works well.

There is one downside to the Coolmesh fabric that I feel I should mention. When you put your pack down when you are taking a break sometimes small pieces of debris can get caught in the mesh. Its just a bit annoying to find that there are bits of dirt/twigs/heather in the mesh when you take the rucksack off at the end of the day.

Durability

The Jura 35 rucksack is as robust as they come. All the stitching, zips, straps and clips seem solid and secure and I can’t see any issues with the fabric or rain cover. Having used the rucksack a few times in different conditions I can say that I have no concerns about the durability of the rucksack or any of its components.

Features

Waist Belt Clip

Capacity: 35L
Back System: Windtunnel
Contact mesh: Coolmesh
Access: Zip access to base compartment
Dividers: Zip out compartment divider
Pockets: Fixed side pockets, lid pocket
Hydration system compatible
Fabric: KS p300BRS
Weight: 850g
Raincover: included
H53 x W28 x D14cm (approx)

Value

I picked up this pack for £24.99 from SportsDirect. You can also get it for the same price on Amazon. For under £25, I think this rucksack is great quality, durable and built to last. Other rucksacks in the same price category come with similar features, it doesn’t have any one thing over and above other rucksacks that makes it stand out. The thing I like about it though is that whilst it doesnt have a flashy gizmo or crazy feature, it performs really well at all the important categories and beats many of the competition in this price bracket across the board.

That’s really the reason I chose this rucksack above others out there on the market, is that this is really solid, dependable pack for almost any occasion.

Conclusion

So in conclusion, should you buy this pack? If you are looking for a rucksack that you can rely on throughout the year for day trips into the hills, yes, you should. I cannot see many rucksacks that would compete with the Jura 35 for that price.

Be aware that the mesh might get some dirt in it at some point, but treat this rucksack well and it will look after you for years.

This page contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you. However, I have not been paid to promote any product above any other, so opinions are my own and un-biased.

BEST Hiking Gloves 2021

We are in the depths of winter and if you’re like me, you’re constantly pulling on a pair of gloves when you head outside. Whether to climb a hill, de-ice the car or head to the shops, gloves are key part of my winter wardrobe. So, which are the best gloves out there and which do I use?

Best Gloves for Kids

TRESPASS VIZZA II KIDS

We have a set of the Zorro gloves, which has been replaced by the Vizza II Kids. My kids love them, they are warm, keep you dry and are tough enough to take kid size pounding. These are not the top of the line gloves you can get, but they are more than adequate to cope with most of the things a kid will put them through throughout a winter season. My kids have used their set in the wet leaves in the woods in autumn, they have also used them for snowball fights in the garden. The gloves have coped admirably with it all.

The fingers and thumb have a toughened outer on them to cope with scrapes and rough usage, as well as an adjustable wrist strap to help keep them attached to little hands. A elasticated cuff helps keep wrists warm as we well as snow/ice out. The outer shell is water resistant – in fact my kids have never complained of wet of cold hands, but I think in a deluge they might struggle. Inside a fleece lining adds to the comfort as well as adding a layer of warmth to the gloves.

Overall a great, inexpensive option for little ones that will keep them toasty and dry in almost all weathers. You can pick up a pair on Amazon for a reasonable price under £20.

Best Windproof Gloves

HKXY WINDSTOPPER XY

Now, these are maybe not the most expensive glove nor are they the most recognised brand, but I have been using these gloves all autumn and now into the winter for walking the dog and generally out and about. They are great! I used them on a recent trip up Tomtain, where they performed really well too. They come with a zip fastening running up the back of the hand and finish right at the heel of your palm. They come in three sizes, so be sure to select the right one. I have a medium size, which fits me really well. My wife has the small size, which she says are perfect for her.

They also have pads on the index finger and thumb, which allow you to use your phone. Which is really handy and something I didn’t know that I had missed really until I had this option. No more faffing about taking of gloves to answer a call for me! Having a bit of a scout about online, you can actually find these gloves under a few different brand names, so have a look around if you’re thinking of buying a pair.

Quality wise, if have had no issues at all, I’ve been using them almost daily for about 4 months, and they haven’t caused me any problems. Something that I would highly recommend, sometimes, you don’t need a full on winter glove, especially on dry but breezy days. These gloves stop your hands overheating whilst keeping the worst of the wind off.

Here is a link to Amazon, where I got mine, they stock a few different designs and similar gloves, so click the link and be sure to look around for the best ones for you (or buy 2 pairs!).

Best Gloves for the Snow

TREPSPASS GOHAN SKI GLOVES

I am going to focus here on hiking in the snow as that is what most of you will be here for, these gloves will also do the playing the snow with the kids and things too, but you might be able to find a cheaper more effective pair if that is all you need. Overall, these are the gloves I use the most when out in deepest winter. The reason for that is they are versatile and can cope with almost anything (bar a rip in the material).

The fit is good and comfortable, I have seen a few reviews out there stating that the sizing can be a bit off, and best to order the size up from normal. I would agree that the fit is quite snug, but I prefer that if I am trying to do things, I don’t want a load of excess material flapping about. That’s my preference though, so it you are betwixt and between, maybe go for the larger size.

Windproofing is great, no issues there, in snow they are good too as the snow doesn’t seep into the seams. I have had an issue when its really, really wet where my finger tips get a little damp. Nothing major, but its worth noting that if you plan to submerge them, you’ll end up with wet fingers.

I think I would go as far as to say that they are my favourite gloves of all that I have. That will have something to do with the adventures that I have had wearing them, but the overall glove is also excellent. Amazon sell them, head over and pick up a pair, you won’t regret it.

Best Running Gloves

EXTREMITIES TOR GORE WINDSTOPPER

I know not all of you will be keen runners, neither am I, but I thought I would include these here. Running requires a different set of equipment to hill walking purely because, in my experience, you tend to get warmer and sweat more the faster you move. That’s one reason that you will find these gloves are much thinner than any of the other gloves I have recommended.

Taking that on board, there are still occasions that require additional levels of warmth, when it is particularly cold or windy where I will put gloves on to make any longer runs a little more comfortable. When looking at a running glove, for me, wind proofing is key. These Extremities Tor Gloves are great for that, the clue is in the name I guess.

I like the chunky wrist strap which is easy to loosen/tighten on the run as well as the easy way my hand slips right into the glove without too much pulling and straining. The additonal material provided for grip on the fingers and palms is useful, but I dont have much use for holding onto things when I am running. I also guess it would be good if you were into cross country and things where you needed to put your hands down to clamber over obstacles and things – not my bag, so dont hold me to that one!

You can pick up a pair here for a reasonable price.

All prices are correct at time of writing.

This page contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you. However, I have not been paid to promote any product above any other, so opinions are my own and un-biased.

Karrimor KS-300 Fleece Review

Overall score 4.7/5

So you’re looking for a mid-layer fleece and have stumbled upon the Karrimor KS-300. Want to know why I think this is the best fleece that I own? Read on and I will explain…

Overview

Low price (if you look around) and high quality, this fleece is a versatile addition to any walkers equipment list. High levels of comfort an durability make it perfect as an outer layer in the drier spring/autumn or mid layer in winter under a waterproof outer layer. I love this fleece and would recommend to anyone looking to add something in this category to their wardrobe. Overall 4.8 out of 5. The slight deduction is for the fact that it doesn’t squash down into a tiny bundle for packing into a rucksack. Recommended purchase here for the best price (at the time of writing).

Comfort and Fit

Credit: Sports Direct.com

The fit on my KS300 is perfect. Its snug, warm and great for those autumn/winter days out. The sleeves are just the right length and aren’t tapered too much, so if you do get a bit warm, you can roll the sleeves up. The front pockets are perfectly placed for comfortable use and the drawstring around the bottom hem allows you to pull in the fleece around your body, preserving body heat when its particularly breezy.

The neck panel is also a nice touch as when the fleece is done right up to the top, it’s not itchy or irritating. There is no hood, so it is likely that you will pair this fleece with another jacket of hat on the chilly days outside.

Technical – Heavy Weight Fleece

The material in this fleece comes in at 300g/m2 (hence the name KS300, I guess?) which is perfect for a winter mid layer. I have also worn this fleece as an outer layer on a dry autumn day without any difficulties. However, I would suggest that it is a bit much for those balmy summer days. The only downside is that as the fleece is quite heavy duty, it doesn’t pack to the smallest bundle. If you are looking for something lightweight to pack away at the bottom of the rucksack in case it gets a bit chilly, I think there are better options out there.

Durability

Zip fastenings – credit sportsdirect.com

Overall, I have worn this fleece both indoors and outdoors in the warmer months and depths of winter and it has coped with everything that I and 3 kids can throw at it. The material (100% polyester) is strong enough to handle being brushed up against rocks or jumped on by a dog. The stitching seems to be super strong, and all the joints between the material panels have a good solid double stitch to keep everything together.

The zips on the front, front pockets and Napoleon pocket are well attached with metal fastenings and good sized toggles to aid in opening. Overall, I am very impressed with the way that this fleece is put together and the way it has stood up to what I have needed from it.

Features

Full Frontal Zip

Zipped Front pockets

Zipped Napoleon Pocket

Karrimor Branding

Machine Washable

Value

The list price on this fleece at karrimor.com is £39.99. Do I think that’s good value? I think its reasonable. This is a really good all round fleece and if you look at other similar level fleeces out there, £40 is ok. However, if you search around you can bag yourself a bargain. You can pick up this fleece on Amazon for £19.99 + delivery. Do I think that’s good value? – Yes! that is an amazing bit of kit for a very good price. You’d be mad not to at that price.

Conclusion

This is the best fleece that I own. Its comfortable, warm and durable. The pockets are a good size and well placed. For me personally, I prefer to wear it as an outer layer in the autumn and spring time as I have other jackets that I prefer for the winter, but I have tested it under a waterproof outer layer and it works really well. Its probably the most versatile piece of clothing in my hiking wardrobe, and for that reason alone, I think its the best item in there.

All prices are correct at time of writing.

This page contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you. However, I have not been paid to promote any product above any other, so opinions are my own and un-biased.

Munro Bagging Log Book – Update

In my recent post on the 7 Best Ways to Track Your Munro Bagging, I reviewed this book using a friends copy and asking their opinion on using it. I now have my own copy and thought it would be a good idea to add my own thoughts on this book and using it myself. I am going to review the book focussing on each constituent part, in order so that I can be sure not to leave anything out.

Munro Bagging Log Book – Foreward

The first page in the book is dedicated to a sort of foreward. It covers some basic safety information and a short guide to what Munros are and what Munro Bagging is. I found it quite basic, in that there is a plethora of information that could have been included and I do think that it has been ‘dumbed down’ a bit. Maybe I am a bit more knowledgeable about the Munros than the target audience for the book, but I though this first section could have more in it, especially if people get the book that are new to Munro Bagging. I want people to be excited by the idea of being out in Scotland’s hills and wild places, this would have been a great place to start that relationship. I would have liked to have seen more.

Munro Bagging Log Book – Munro Finder

This section is again one page long and it almost serves as a contents page for the book. Each Munro is listed by height as per the main section of the book, with the relevant page number attached. As a reference piece I can see why it is included, however I question whether the person looking up a Munro (usually by name or location) would automatically know its height?

Having the Munros listed like this does make sense to a point though. After a hill day, you want to log your achievement in your log book, you can easily find the Munro you have climbed, by height as you will have been looking at it on your map all day, find the relevant page and complete the information in there.

However, if you were thinking that this could be used as a planning tool, this is not what this book is for. It is very much a climb a hill, tick it off type of book, which absolutely has its place in the Munro Bagging community. I talk a little about planning for a hill day in my earlier post How to Start Hillwalking – Before you go which looks at some of the key planning tools I use when planning a day in the hills.

Overall, this section is useful to those completing the log book, but not much more than that.

Munro Bagging Log Book – The Munros

Now we come to the main part of the book. 282 pages of Munro listing good-ness. The Munro’s are listed in height order, starting with Ben Vane at 915m all the way through to Ben Nevis at 1345m. Each page features the name and altitude of each hill, space to enter the start, summit and finish times for each hill notes on who you walked with, ascent and descent times and a section for your walk notes. I imagine that I would but things like the going under foot, any key happenings from the walk and other bits and pieces in here.

There is also a section for the weather on the day, and a grading section for difficulty, views and enjoyment. Altogether is has space for all the basics that you need to log for your hill day. Its a great little tool. I did find that sometimes there isn’t a huge amount of space in the notes section, mainly due to the one page constraint for each hill, but I did find that it was sometimes a bit of a squeeze.

Also, we all know that Scotlands hills are beautiful places – could the authors have found some space in the book for some imagery showing the Munros at their best. I am sure that this was an editorial decision to not have that and keep the book really clean and simple, however, in my opinion, it would have been nice to have some pictures of some of the key summits to whet the appetite.

One cool little thing that I quite like, is that there is a tick icon in the top corner of each page for you to tick when the hill is climbed. I know its not a big thing, but its a nice touch that will allow me to quickly see, at a glance, if the hill has been climbed or not.

Munro Bagging Log Book – Notes and Emergency Numbers

I have had a bit of a think about this section and I cannot figure out the reason for it. Why would you need a list of emergency contact numbers in your log book. Perhaps the authors were envisaging this book being in a car or a hikers pack on a hill day? For me it is too large to fulfil this function, which makes this section redundant in my opinion. I can’t quite figure it out.

Munro Bagging Log Book – Munro Finder A to Z

This section fulfils the need I outlined above, for a list of the Munros ordered by height or alphabetically. It will allow those people that don’t have the recall to remember specific heights to find the appropriate page for their hill. In my opinion, this would have been better in place of the previous Munro Finder section at the beginning of the book to assist people in finding the correct hill.

Although, the fact that it is there does help somewhat, as even though it is in the back of the book, the resource is still available to those that need it.

Munro Bagging Log Book – Conclusions

Overall as a simple way of logging your hill climbing and Munro Bagging exploits, this book is great. It gives you everything you need to track a complete round of the Munros. For those readers looking for something a little more, perhaps to assist in planning or to serve as a fully fledged walk diary, this book is not it.

To be fair to the book, it does not claim to be so. It is designed to be a logbook and nothing more. I personally feel it fulfils that brief admirably.

You can buy your copy of the Munro Bagging Log Book and Journal by clicking the link.

HEAD TORCH REVIEW: Pathfinder 21 LED Headlamp

You’re out in the hills, the walk has taken longer than anticipated and the light is fading fast. The sun is setting over the skyline to the west and its getting harder to see clearly. You are struggling to ready your map in the gloom and your footing is becoming un-sure. Its time to reach into the bag and pull out the headtorch. Which model do you pull out?

Let’s face it we have all been there, and your choice of head torch is really important to ensure you can continue to be safe as it gets darker. With the lack of ambient light in most wild places, this can happen quite quickly and if you are unprepared you will get caught out. Not only is it important to carry a head torch on every walk (see my post on a rough packing list for a hill day here) but also spare batteries for that torch. You just never know when things are going to take longer than you think and you will be caught in the falling dusk.

I have used a Petzl headtorch for quite some time, and I’ve been quite happy with it overall. However, I was gifted a new headtorch recently and now I have had a chance to use it, I thought I would review it for you all to give you my opinion.

Pathfinder Head Torch 21 LED Packshot
The Pathfinder 21 LED headtorch

Overall Rating 4.2 out of 5. Buy your Pathfinder Head torch here.

Pathfinder Head Torch Review – Packaging

At first look, the Pathfinder Head Torch comes well packed in informative and kind of cool looking packaging. The front of the packet refers to the 21 LEDs, 100,000 hour lifetime (I have not tested this claim…), adjustments that can be made, light modes and water resistance.

The rear of the packet has more the more technical information, battery operation and changing procedure. The torch itself comes in the really hard to open blister packaging that I find incredibly frustrating. Not to say that this impacts on the torch itself at all, but hey, you wanted my opinion. Overall, the packaging is solid, preventing damage and informative.

Pathfinder Head Torch Review – First Look

On opening the packet (the less said about that the better), the first impression I had is of its weight. Its a bit lighter than I anticipated. There was no battery in it at this point, so I will have to factor that in, but it was still lighter than I was expecting. The torch face is nice and big and the straps look comfy.

I have read a few online reviews for this product that say that the straps are useless and come apart really easily. I cant see any evidence of this and now also having used it, I can say that I have had no real issues with the straps at all. Once, did one strap escape its clip, but it was easily sorted in a matter of moments. They are wide, comfy and easy to get a good fit. I had a bit of a play with the straps and the adjustable angle on the torch itself, everything looks as you would expect. One thing I have found in the past with previous head torches is that the battery compartment is really difficult to open – this one is very easy, a quick twist of the shaped bevel and it pops right open.

Pathfinder Head Torch Review – Usability

Whilst the opening of the battery compartment is quote easy, putting it back together is quite fiddly. I can imagine that with cold fingers, this could be quite challenging. Just something to bear in mind if you plan to use the torch a lot in winter (and lets be honest, with the length of the days in summer, we rarely need head torches here in Scotland).

Wearing the head torch is as comfortable as the first look suggested. I did find that the horizontal strap twisted itself when pulled tight, but it is easy to sort out to avoid any discomfort when wearing the torch for long periods. Tightening and loosening the straps is easy both on and off your head so you can adjust as you go and make changes on the fly.

Pathfinder Head Torch Review – In Use

Lastly, the road test. The torch functions well, the low light setting is perfect for around a camp site or in a tent if you are camping out and want to avoid glare. I’m not sure why the medium and high light settings are set differently, I think I would have been enough to have a low abs a high light setting, but both perform well for those high powered tasks such as looking for a navigation point or a feature in the dark. It would also help being spotted or finding your way in foggy conditions.

The flashing light setting would be great for attracting attention if the need arose too. It’s high powered enough to be seen from quite a distance. The on/off/toggle button is easy to reach whilst on your head, so if you needed to switch functions on the go this would be easy to do. It is placed on the right hand side, so perfect for a right handed person like me. Potential to cause some issues if you are left handed, but I cannot test that being a righty.

When I have been using the head torch, I have not needed to switch settings quickly, but the low light setting and the high powered setting have definitely worked for me. It’s comfy, I’ve worn it for about 2 hours straight with no issues. It provides light where I need it, the adjustable angle feature makes it easy to point the beam where I want it to complete whatever task I’m doing at the time.

One point to note that on one walk, I took the head torch out of my pocket and one of the straps had come loose from its clip. It’s was easy to fix, not a bother at all, but worth noting that it is possible for this to happen when it’s kept in a bag or pocket for a period of time.

Pathfinder Head Torch Review – Scoring

So to score this product, I am going to take a little bit off for the packaging as they could do better with that, let’s take off -0.1.

I’m also going to deduct points for the battery changing procedure as it is a bit fiddly and I think that could cause issues when it’s really cold out. -0.7 for that as, I think, with practice it will get easier but the design does not lend itself to easy operation.

Apart from those points, I cannot really fault this head torch, so the overall score for the Pathfinder Head Torch is 4.2 from a possible 5.

To bag yourself a Pathfinder Head Torch, click the link below.

Buy your Pathfinder Head Torch.

That’s some face…

This page contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you. However, I have not been paid to promote any product above any other, so opinions are my own and un-baised.

7 Best Ways to Track your Munro Bagging

Munro Bagging in becoming increasingly popular as an outdoor pursuit. So much so in fact, that on warm summer days, there can be many people out in the hills and it can feel crowded. We are not going to debate the benefits or downsides of this here, but suffice to say that with all these ‘baggers’ out there, I thought it a good idea to write up a little about the Best Ways to Track your Munro Bagging and the ones still left to do. I personally use a combination of some of these to track my climbs, and I will show you how I use them. 

1) Wall Tick Map

So this is a real simple one. A wall mounted map that shows the entire of Scotland with all the hills noted on it. There are quite a few versions of this sort of map out there, so you will need to select the one that you like the most in terms of style and content.

Munro Tick List Close Up

The Munros are normally numbered and refer to a key with the full list of all 282 Munros. Sometimes there will also be the regions and their respective heights included too.

Munro Tick List Key

As you can see from the above images they are clearly defined, without too much topographical information to confuse matters. Generally a good way to keep track of things. 

Wall Tick Map – Negatives

There are a few downsides to these maps. I used to have one myself but I found that due to its size, sometimes things got a little confusing and muddled, the distinctions between the hills was quite hard to see. Also, because it is a paper map, it can get damaged as it is used. I had to get rid of mine because it got ripped and torn and generally looked really beaten up. 

Wall Tick Map – Positives

These maps are great for keeping track of your bagging in a simple and concise way. If you are not too bothered about any other information other than whether you have climbed a hill or not, these are definitely for you. They are also relatively inexpensive and look great on the wall if you look after them. A real conversation piece that all of your friends will ask about. Who doesn’t want to be asked questions about hiking?!

To pick up a wall tick map, I would look no further than Amazon who have a good selection of the different brands. Just click on the link above to go to the GuideUs.co.uk version featured in the images. 

2) Wall Scratch Map

Now I actually have one of these. It is similar to the tick map, but instead of the key on the side, there are little scratch panels that cover the hill names on the map. The idea here is that once you have bagged a hill, you can scratch off the name. Under the scratch panel the name is still there but it is in a different colour. 

Scratch Map

So you can see, the gold colour are the ones that I have not yet climbed and all the other colours (as separated by region) are the ones that I have climbed to date. On the map that I have, the hills area colour grouped by region and you can also scratch off the region once you have bagged all the hills within it. There is also an individual hill counter along the bottom to measure your progress to 282. 

Scratch Map Key

Wall Scratch Map – Negatives

I think that the biggest negative that I have with my map is that I wouldn’t group the hills the way they are on the map, its a bit annoying to think that you have completed (compleated?) a region only to find that there is an outlying hill that has been grouped within it. That aside, having learnt my lesson from my tick map, I also bought a frame for it. The same downsides for damage and tearing that are true of the tick map are true of the scratch map too. Lastly, some of the colours chosen by the manufacturer are quote similar to the gold colour on the scratch panel. I would think that the one thing you would have to do when choosing the regional colouring is to not choose one too close to the gold. But no, there are a few that you have to double check to ensure are climbed. 

Wall Scratch Map – Positives

I’m really happy with my map. I like the visual representation on the map and the action of actually scratching off a hill or a region is very satisfying! The map is well made and looks great. Its a neat and easy way to log my successful hill days. I would highly recommend this option if you are looking for that quick and easy reference when planning which hills to tackle next. 

You can pick up a scratch map for a decent price in a few places, here is a link to where I got mine – Amazon.

3) Walkhighlands.co.uk

Probably the best known resource for hill walking in Scotland. Walkhighlands.co.uk is the place to go online for anything to do with walking in the UK. Not just Munro Bagging. The amount of information and detail is brilliant for helping with route planning, the images are exceptional and I really don’t have a bad thing to say about the site in general. 

Specifically looking at the Munro Bagging elements, once you create an account (free) you can then upload walk reports and images of your hill days as well as mark those hills as climbed. Walkhighlands will then create an interactive map showing all the hills that you have climbed and those left still to visit. I use this site heavily to log my walks and use the mapping tool. 

As you can see in the image, it is quite clear which hills are climbed and unclimbed. You can zoom right in to get a close up of the terrain too. 

Walkhighlands – Negatives

There is not a lot to say here. The one thing I might say is a negative (and at no fault of the website) is that sometimes when you click on a hill and you see that there are walk reports are available, the detail in them is not there. As I say, not a dig at the website, but it is frustrating when you are trying to research something and you have to scout about for the information that you need. Apart from that, there is nothing else to really say. 

Walkhighlands – Positives

You’ll probably have guessed that I am a big fan of this site. I use it extensively. When the walk reports are detailed, they are a great tool to have access to. The mapping feature, all the way to 1:25000 is so useful. I would encourage anyone thinking of collecting any summits (they also catalogue the Donalds, Grahams, Corbetts, Sub 2000s and Wainwrights) to sign up for an account and read the plethora of information available to you. You can also add your own walk reports and images for yourself and others to use in future. 

4) Spreadsheets

Some of you might laugh that I have included this option in the list – however I am shamelessly a big fan of a spreadsheet. They are infinitely customisable and can help keep track of your hill walking exploits. I started my Munro Bagging with a spreadsheet, but quickly moved to a wall map as it was more visual. 

Spreadsheet – Negatives

Spreadsheets are not always as visually appealing as a map or online tool. There is also nowhere to add multiple photos or long form walk reports that you can do with the Walkhighlands tool. However, there is something simple about a spreadsheet, reminiscent of the putting one foot in front of the other mentality that is sometimes required when Munro Bagging. 

Spreadsheet – Positives

Spreadsheets are accessible to anyone with a computer (which you probably have if you are reading this). That makes them the base line tool that everyone at least can have. The simplicity of a list with some heights and some dates appeals to me – as that is all Munro Bagging is in essence. Enjoying the hill day is vital, but ticking off the list is important too.

Here is a link to where you can download a spreadsheet for tracking your days out:

Steve Fallon

5) The Munros: A Walkhighlands Guide

This is the first book in this review. And its a great book. Written by Helen and Paul Webster, the minds behind the Walkhighlands.co.uk website. Its a ‘pocket sized’ look at each hill and region in Scotland and is a valuable tool to anyone planning a Munro Bagging adventure. When I read this book for the first time, I tried to read it like I would any other novel – its a bit dense for that – however as a reference guide its brilliant. 

It has a space in my planning arsenal when I have selected the hill(s) I want to attempt and I am looking at the terrain, the area and trying to find out what I can about my target. You could use this book by marking off those hills climbed on the relevant pages or folding down the corners of those completed. 

The Munros - Cover Shot

The Munros – Negatives

This book is billed as one to put in your pack, in my opinion it is a bit heavy for that. Its also a bit on the small side when planning your day. If your eyesight isn’t the best, I can imagine it would be quite difficult to read all the detail. It also won’t sit flat on the table alongside a map, which is sometimes a little frustrating. 

The Munros – Positives

This book is absolutely full of detail. The route maps are useful and I’ve certainly followed a few of their routes over the years. I like the size, even if it doesn’t sit flat on a table and is quite small, but my wife would hate it if I had loads of A4 walking books on the shelf! Its great as a guide, but I wouldn’t pack it in my bag to use on the hill. 

You can pick up a copy of this book here. Its well worth it in my opinion. 

6) Munro Logbook and Journal

Another book to look at now, although this one is designed to be written in as a log, rather than a reference guide. Honesty here, I do not have this book, but I do have a couple of pals that do, so my opinion is based on what I have been told rather than personal experience. (Update 08-JAN-21: I now have this book and have reviewed from my own experience here).

Munro Bagging Log Book - Cover Shot

 The inside of the book is a 282 page log of each of the Munros with space to fill in details such as your start time, total time walked, notes about the weather, who you walked with and various other things. 

It looks to be a decent way to log the key components of you hill day all in one place. 

Munro Bagging Log Book – Negatives

The formatting of the book is quite basic, with not a huge amount of room for detailed notes and verbose text. I would also like to see some imagery of the hills in question of something to break up the repetitive pages. Scotland’s hills are stunning and it would be great to see some of that here. Similarly, there are no suggested routes or maps, which could be useful if you don’t have access to other logging/planning tools. 

Munro Bagging Log Book – Positives

The hills are sorted by altitude, so there is a clear order to enable you to find the hill you are logging, which is quite nice, you often see alphabetical lists or by height, highest first, but having the heights ascending feels like you are building up to something as you progress through the book. I can see the appeal also of the simple format – this is a log book and nothing more. It will absolutely keep your bagging log up to date and ordered as you progress towards that magical 282. 

You can pick up a copy of the Munro Bagging Log Book here – its well priced and overall is a great tool to keep your bagging exploits organised. 

7) Blogging

I couldn’t write this list and not include a blog. It would be hypocritical. A blog is a great way to keep things organised and there are very few limits to what you can do with it. You can in essence design your own log book. I don’t think there is any need for me to explain what a blog is, you’ve found this one and read this far, I’m sure you know what one is by now. 

Blogging – Negatives

Blogs can be a bit of a pain to set up. They don’t need to be, but if you are not particularly savvy with this sort of thing (including yours truly) it can be tricky. Getting the format exactly as you want it can also be challenging, but perseverance will work wonders. 

Blogging – Positives

The thing I like about using a blog to log and chronicle your Munro Bagging is that you really can make it what you want. I have a list of the Munros that can be used for quick and easy reference, as well as a variety of walk reports and posts about all sorts of things. It allows me to get creative with my log, rather than just a quick tick on a map or in a book and moving onto the next. 

Blogs are free to set up too, the only one alongside a spreadsheet, which is always nice. 

OK, so to summarise, there are so many ways to log your Munro Bagging climbs, I have missed and left out a few from this list I am sure. I think the key is to pick the way that you like the most and give it a go. Remember, the most important thing is to get out and climb the hills, not obsesses over the minutiae of how to to keep track – although sometimes that can be fun too. 

Happy Bagging! 

This page contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you. However, I have not been paid to promote any product above any other, so opinions are my own and un-baised.