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 baptism

23rd August 2020

It may seem an odd thing to do in the middle of a pandemic but, once I regained trust in home delivery, I have been replenishing or reinforcing my collection of hiking gear. Some items have lasted until now and need replacing while new needs also get identified along the way.

One of those new needs was having a smaller daypack than my somewhat worn 35 litre Lowe Alpine Walkabout 35. The reasoning was my not wanting to be so conspicuous on public transport during the times in which we are living. Usually, my Osprey Atmos 50 might have been out and about on many day trips too but I fancied something much smaller than that again.

In fact, I have stripped back what I carried to the bare minimum and none of my hiking trips have gone any further than Kinder Scout this year in any case. That may explain why I have navigated using the OS smartphone app in so many places when I knew so much of where I was going anyway. Even with staying close to home, the messaging about public transport usage remained with me so I even resorted to using a shopping bag in case any questions got asked. That worked until it amused a fellow hiker so it was time to get something more auspicious and it also helped that everything was opening up more and more by that point.

Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail 25 daypack

The result was the acquisition of a Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail 25 daypack. It had not come to my notice at the time that the item’s maker had gained an association with fellow outdoor gear purveyor Rab and that was less obvious that the number in the pack’s name because it was the 25 litre capacity that better suited my needs.

The pack’s profile is long and narrow but it accommodates necessary items like waterproof clothing, camera equipment, folded walking poles, water bottles and maps. The last of these fits into an exterior pocket while anything else that I need goes into trouser, shirt and jacket pockets anyway. In short, it swallows so much that I wonder how I managed to need bigger packs anyway but I suppose that anyone can fill whatever they have to hand.

While the exterior of the pack does share its feel with waterproof clothing, it was not something that I intended to test quite as soon as I did. That happened on a walk from Whaley Bridge back to my house while a long hefty shower soaked me near Windgather Rocks. Nothing inside got wet so I was left to dry out as I sauntered over Cat’s Tor and Shining Tor. The sun even came out to heat up the day as I passed Lamaload Reservoir and stayed that way as I went around by Rainow.

Rain performance has not been tested since then but the pack continues to see use and there was a reprise of the route a few days later in better weather so any irritation caused by not passing the way is well absolved by now. Now that I understand how people manage with smaller pack sizes, the AirZone Trail 25 could see ever more use yet.

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