Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

A use for a damp evening

28th May 2008

Given our desire for clear blue skies and bright sunshine, it might seem strange to say it but seeing the countryside draped in a misty damp murkiness has a certain allure, a somewhat primordial feel in fact. That isn’t what is at the heart of this post because I succumbed to the lure of soft shell clothing with the purchase of a North Face Apex Elixir jacket and these conditions presented an ideal opportunity to try it out in damper conditions than it has been seeing since I got it. The idea of soft shell is that there is at least some water repellency on offer though heavy downpours always will require something better suited to those conditions. If the Elixir keeps out drizzle and light rain like it has been doing (I am aware that Montane has something that is better in this regard), then the waterproof jacket can stay in the rucksack just a bit more.

Otherwise, the jacket has come in very handy on recent dry weather trips to Teesdale, North Wales and Argyll as well as going to and from work. It’s a lightweight affair, a good thing for when it stays in the rucksack, but that does not stop its allowing you to warm up on the move. Even so, I am not convinced that this is a cold weather item, at least not without additional layers, so the Polartec fleece remains the jacket of choice for those times. They are a while away yet so I won’t be dwelling on the prospect. If things continue as they have been going, it looks as if my summertime fleeces could have their place usurped by the newcomer. The pockets are big enough to take a map, even if getting one in to and out of them is a bit of an art. The sleeves are roomy and can be rolled up for ventilation or cinched at the wrist if it gets a bit nippier. All in all, the jacket is a versatile thing that is seeing a lot of use, which is just as well seeing that it cost me £90.

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