Christmas gift guide
If your struggling to buy a little something for the climber or outdoors-person in your life CGR have come to the rescue. You’ll find below a summary of all the products that we featured in the Twelve Days of Gearmas on our Facebook page. Likewise if you’d like to send a handy hint to a loved one perhaps tag them or share this feature – non too subtle we know but it’s got to be better than another pair of Mickey Mouse socks!
Hydroflask 16oz Coffee
Hydroflask 16oz Coffee Coffee is pretty much synonymous with climbing whether it be kick starting your brain on cold bivi or firing you up for one more go at the problem on a chilly winters day out on the Grit. Hydroflask have a huge range of vacuum insulated stainless steel bottles, tumblers and flasks. The Hydroflask 16oz Coffee flask we have here will keep your Americano hot for around six hours and will be accepted at most high street coffee shops as a ‘large’ or equivalent, cutting down on wasteful paper cups. Some vendors will even discount your purchase so depending on how much of a coffee addict you are the Hydroflask 16oz starts to pay for itself as well as doing a bit for the planet! I’ve been using mine for days out on the grit and plan to put it to use for that drive form the hut to the Ben or Glencoe just to make those early winter starts a bit more bearable. It’s also come in handy so you can enjoy finishing your coffee on the way to the crag when your climbing partner turns up 45 minutes early. So far it has proven to be completely leak free which is a blessing as far too many flasks these days have complex pop-up lids that leak like the proverbial sieve – but do keep an eye on the ‘seal’ in the lid when washing it because if that pops out you will have a problem. Sadly the neck isn’t quite large enough to fit an Aeropress so you can’t brew directly into the Hydroflask itself. Oh and it makes a rubbish hand-warmer but that’s because it’s keeping your brew nice and hot! BTW it works for all hot beverages – not just coffee ;->
Grivel Roller . Falling in crevasses is not something you want to be thinking about round the festive season but if you’re going to be climbing or skiing anywhere with glaciers then it’s essential to plan for how to get yourself or your partner out if the worst happens. Obviously you need to learn how to effect a crevasse rescue and actually practice (with a qualified guide would be safest). You’ll soon discover how ropes annoyingly cut into the crevasse lip and what a pain friction is. The Grivel Roller won’t help you with the former but it will dramatically reduce friction in whatever rescue system you set up. Bending a rope round the tight radius of a carabiner generates lots of friction – it’s how virtually every belay device from the original stitch plate onwards works, which is great for belaying but not so good for hauling and rescue. The large version we have here at CGR has ample room for a Petzl Micro Traction and Tibloc so you could just clip it to your harness and have all the components for an efficient Z haul system ready to go. Grivel’s twin gate system is freeze and foolproof – you can’t forget to do it up which is handy in the stressful scenario of a rescue and Grivel are perhaps the only manufacturer that pull tests every single one of their carabiners so you know the quality is second to none. Besides the ‘hope I never have to’ rescue usage the Grivel Roller can also be used to reduce friction on long pitches or when climbing convoluted routes on a single rope. Likewise it can be incorporated into hauling systems and rope ascending set ups to make them more efficient than running the rope over the narrow bar of a carabiner. All in all a great bit of kit combining a quality pulley and self locking carabiner into one neat package.
RRP Small £22.00 Large £26.50
Sea to Summit TPU Guide Waterproof Case for Smartphones
(Anyone with a phone!)
Sea to Summit TPU Guide Waterproof Case for Smartphones. For better or worse the Smartphone has become an essential part of many peoples outdoor kit; you have camera, communications, navigation and not forgetting that ever present social media connection all rolled into one neat package. But they’re fragile and only a few are even splash proof. So if you’re venturing outdoors in the UK or any mountain region around the world then some form of protection is in order. There are some excellent hard cases out there that provide both shock and waterproof protection but the issue can be that they are a pain to fit/remove and can make your stylish phone a little bulky and frequently a little ‘unresponsive’ to the finer gestures on the touch screen. The Sea to Summit TPU Guide Waterproof Case for Smartphones (a bit of a mouthful!) solves many of these problems. It provides a fully waterproof ‘dry bag’ sty;e cover that is easy to fit and remove. I’ve been using a simple gorilla glass screen protector and slimline shock proof case for everyday use and then poping my phone in the Sea to Summit case for waterproof protection out on the hill. The optical quality clearplastic allows good touch screen visibilty and responsiveness (but do squeeze out any excess air) and you can still use the camera. A simple ziploc and roll top fastening seals water out but means you can easily remove your phone when needed. Two lash loops allow you to clip a carabiner or lanyard to the case.
Edelrid Bulletproof Quickdraws
(Obsessive Sport Climber)
Edelrid Bulletproof Quickdraw Everybody loves and needs quickdraws – well almost everybody, there’ll be some knarly alpinist who’s never touched one I’m sure but they’ll be moaning into their whisky or Genepi about Christmas by now anyway. One problem that the dedicated sport climber comes across is that although lovely lightweight aluminium carabiners are great for trimming the weight on the red point they do wear out with the repeated stresses of ‘working’ a route/project. Both the repeated running of the rope across the carabiner or the action of the carabiner twisting and rocking on the bolt hanger will wear the aluminium. This is a bad thing especially if your rope is coming into contact with a worn edge. With typical Germanic ingenuity Edelrid have developed a solution which has already garnered an award at ISPO. Their new ‘Bulletproof’ range consists of a hybrid aluminium carabiner with a steel insert where rope or bolt hanger cause most damage and wear. The carabiner itself has the excellent low profile keylock nose for snag free clipping and unclipping making this altogether an excellent piece of kit for the dedicated sport climber. There is also a belay carabiner coming using the same technology. The result is a marginally heavier quickdraw but one that will have a massively extended lifespan, something that will also benefit your rope as with no rough edges developing (admittedly more likely on the bolt end of the quickdraw) there will be less wear and tear on your rope. The ultra high performance rock athletes out there may worry about the extra gram or two on their rack for the on sight that the Bulletproof represents but they can perhaps save them for working their über projects – the rest of us will hardly notice especially if you’re stick clipping or bolt to bolting to get the draws in!
Outdoor Research Ascendant Balaclava
(Scottish winter enthusiast/Winter Alpinist)
OR Ascendant Balaclava. OK balaclavas are not the most sexy piece of kit (unless you have a penchant for the Mexican Wrestler look!) but they are very, very practical when things get really cold. Really when it’s miserable they can not be beaten. When I started climbing I had one of those fold up peaked woollen balaclavas as modelled by Joe Brown in ‘The Hard Years’ which was worn mostly ‘beanie’ style but a few years of careless careless washing and it was hard pressed to fit Action Man! There is no such issue with the latest Outdoor Research Ascendant Balaclava. This is a thoroughly modern über comfortable balaclava using Polartec Alpha Direct and Pertex Microlight 20D strech woven shell fabric together with a Polartech Powergid face-panel to improve breathability . Like my old woollen balaclava it can be worn ‘beanie’ style if the weather is not too inclement but can easily be rolled down to seal out the elements. It will work as a neck gaiter with the hood section folded back so that it can be pulled up if conditions deteriorate and can even be worn ‘Beau Gest’/medieval peasant style with with the hood on the crown of your head and the flap down the back of your neck to protect you from the sun, maybe for that chilly but sunny high altitude glacier? In fact the display card presents you with a myriad different ways to wear it. Like the rest of OR’s Ascendant range utilising Polartec Alpha Direct the breathability is exceptional so there is little risk of overheating while active and it is ridiculously light and fast drying. If you know someone who loves Scottish winter climbing then this is a gift that will be much appreciated when they’re stumbling around on top of the Ben or the Cairngorm Plateau in a hoolie.
MSR Pocket Rocket Stove Kit
(Camping and bivi buff)
MSRs ubiquitous Pocket Rocket stove has become the byword for ultralight canister stoves. They recently introduced the Pocket Rocket II an updated, even lighter, even more compact version but the original is still available as part of this comprehensive value for money kit. The PocketRocket Stove Kit comprises of the original Pocket Rocket, 2 litre hard anodised aluminium pan with a super stable handle and transparent drain lid, two insulated mugs, two deep dish bowls and two folding sporks. The pan is a great size to boil enough water to re-hydrate two meals and with its compact attached folding handle you’re never going to be searching for a lost pot gripper. The transparent lid lets you keep an eye on proceedings and if your boiling up pasta or noodles it works as a drainer. I love the deep dish bowls – in fact I have a couple already (one fits perfectly around my MSR Reactor stove kit), they’re big enough for a decent sized meal and the high sides stop you sloping stuff over the tent floor if eating inside. The mugs are a unique shape to let them pack compactly but you soon get used to them, I used the stainless steel version throughout the summer and being insulated it helps keep that brew warm on chilly evenings. The folding sporks are novel but I’m not convinced. The original Pocket Rocket stove itself really needs little introduction, super lightweight and compact and the only way you’re going to beat it performance wise is to go for a ‘system’ stove like the MSR Reactor or Windburner which incur a weight penalty. The nice thing about the Pocket Rocket kit is you can choose what to take – pack the lot for foolproof ‘everything package’ to take on a trek or whilst valley camping for two or just the stove and pot for that lightweight bivi. The only down side to packing the complete kit is there is no space for a canister inside the pot. Keep your eyes open for the stripped down version coming in 2018 with a smaller pot, pot lifter and stove for the mega minimalists out there.
(Any climber – especially Gri Gri users)
The DMM Ceros is the latest belay specific carabiner from the Welsh masters of metallurgy. Combining several innovations into one very slick package the Ceros is probably the best belay ‘biner we have seen. A horn, first seen on the DMM Rhino, prevents assisted belay devices such as the ubiquitous Gri Gri from rotating onto the carabiner’s spine and causing a cross loading scenario. An internal downward opening wire-gate that allows you to clip the Ceros onto your harness in one intuitive motion prevents the Ceros from rotating into a dangerous orientation. Because this internal wire gate opens downwards (unlike some other examples out there) you can clip it onto your belay loop one handed with ease and can’t pull it of accidentally. Basically you get the benefits of the DMM Rhino and the DMM Belay Master combined but with greater ease of use and a weight point half way between the two; 87g for the screw gate Ceros. The upper end of the Ceros is solid in cross section and smoothly radius-ed to facilitate smooth paying out of the rope for your leaders desperate clips. The usual DMM refinements are all there as well; snag free key-lock nose, smooth screw gate action and laser etched batch codes. The Ceros is available as a screw gate (my favourite I’m simple at heart) Kwiklock and Locksafe varients and even with a captive bar for those situations where you want the connection to be tamper proof. Overall probably the best belay ‘biner you can buy for use with assisted brake devices!
Climb-On Compostable Stick Sublime Slimline Bouldering Brush Friendly Feet Deodoriser
We’ve grouped these three items together as they form a sort of boulderer’s ‘care package’ and are all distributed by the excellent folk at BetaDesigns.
The Climb-On Compostable stick is a lip balm style tube of the classic climb on bar. Formulated from beeswax, lavender oil and neroli the bar has naturally antibacterial, moisturising and skin restorative properties and in the words of Climb-on “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.” so is safe both for you and the planet. The Compostable part comes from the fact the tube is made from cardboard so when you’re finished with it it can biodegrade unlike the more normal plastic ‘lipbalm’ type sticks. Essential kit for multiple days on the grit or those trips to Fontainebleau. Use it to help your tips recover as well as to moisturise skin exposed to the sun and wind. RRP £7.50
Sublime Slimline bouldering Brush. I backed the original Sublime brush on kickstarter so I’m already a bit of a fan of these brushes. The orginal brushes in both nylon and boars hair have proved to be amazingly durable and work brilliantly. This new version is unsuprisingly given the name a slimline version. With a more conventional ‘toothbrush’ style handle it will slip into all those elasticated brush holders that the original Sublime brush was a little too porky to fit into. Whisper it; you can even fit it into that holder on your little waist mounted chalkbag – you know the ones all the old dudes carry around! When I said the handle was conventional that’s not exactly accurate as it has a cunning dogleg to stop you skinning your knuckles as you brush that hold on tip toes and it is super durable so no snapped handles. The head is finest boar hair (9000 of them apparently but I’m going to take Sublime’s word on that) and does a fantastic job of cleaning up the holds with out damaging the rock beneath. Ideal for the boulderer in your life or perhaps as a handy hint to your mate who leaves the problems caked in chalk and tick marks;-) RRP £5.50
Friendly Feet Deodoriser. You’ll know if you need this or if you have to share a car/room with someone who does! Non stretch synthetic rock boots can be great performance wise but unfortunately combine them with sweaty bare feet and you can end with olfactory offence weapon. The Friendly Feet Deodoriser renders the most obnoxious of rock boots nose friendly with a few quick squirts meaning that you and your rockboots can cohabit again without offence. RRP £12.50
Leatherman EDC Rebar
(Winter/mixed climbers or anyone needing to repair stuff!)
I’ve owned a Leatherman Pulse (now discontinued) for over a decade and it has accompanied me everywhere from Morocco to Norway, desert to alps. I even took its baby brother the ‘Squirt’ on the Marathon des Sables. Multitools make for a killer present for the man/boy in your life as they tick both the tool and gadget psyche elements in one go – case in point I spent a good 30 minutes fiddling with the EDC Rebar when it arrived (Shiny! Gadget! Tool!)When the original Leatherman appeared I remember being somewhat cynical of the whole folding pliers multi tool imagining that they would flex and be ineffective. As soon as I handled one I realised how wrong I was: these things were bombproof. I’ve lost count of the number of problems this tool has sorted over the years – the most recent was just prior to a CX race when a friend borrowed it to replace/tighten his presta valve core 5 minutes before we were gridded!
The EDC Rebar is a new addition making up part of Leatherman’s full size tool range. In case you are not familiar with the whole modern acronym thing EDC is short for Every Day Carry, tools and equipment that you would normally carry with you. One problem with many of Leatherman’s products (and many other knives/multitools) is that they can potentially fall foul of the UK knife carry laws as they have locking blades (must non-locking and 3″ or less blade – there’s a lot more to it than that and there are circumstances that are exempt but that’s minimalist summary). The EDC Rebar is a UK legal carry as it has no locking blade – in fact no blade full stop. All the provided tools lock, flat blade screw drivers, Phillips screwdriver, saw, file, scissors, can/bottle opener and awl. Then there are the superlative pliers – these are a step up from those on my old Pulse as they have a replaceable hard and soft wire cutter blades and still maintain the rock solid performance. Some people might lament the lack of a blade but given that I’ll have a climbers knife on my harness having a pair of scissors on the EDC Rebar back at base is a reasonable trade off. I probably won’t be carrying the EDC Rebar up any routes but it will be a permanent member of my winter ditty bag that stays in camp or the hut, the file is even beefy enough to sharpen crampons and axe picks. Winner!
Stockists RRP £94.95
Klean Kanteen Insulated
There has been a growing awareness of the damage that disposable plastic bottles do to our environment and the contamination that plastics in general are creating especially in our oceans. Klean Kanteen promotes environmental sound practice and production by producing long lasting and sustainable products that replace disposable (or otherwise) plastic cups and bottles. The Klean Kanteen Insulated is made from just stainless steel, sustainable bamboo and silicone (for the watertight seal) so not only is it tough and BPA free but it is stunningly beautiful as well. Ours was supplied with the lovely bamboo cap but there are five compatible caps including a ‘sports’ type push top style if you’re worried about spilling your water at the gym or splashing it all over your down jacket at the crag! The all stainless steel interior means that your drinks are fresh tasting and free from that plastic taint and the bottle is a cinch to keep clean. A secure loop on the cap means that you can clip this bottle to a bag (or even a harness if you were so inclined) and take it with you anywhere. Being insulated it will keep your drinks hot for a claimed 20hours or iced for a claimed 50hours! So better tasting water, stylish and saving the planet – an ideal gift!
Krieg Children’s Chalkbag
(Little climbers who will soon burn you off)
If you know a youngster who is a mad keen climber and they’re not already putting the clips in for you then chances are they’ll be using a hand me down adult chalk bag. Nowt wrong with that but imagine the parent points you’ll garner when you gift them their own specially chosen Krieg Chalkbag! For starters there’s the kudos of a small ‘cottage industry’ manufacturer whose been in business for 20 years. Then there’s the fact that these are top quality scaled down versions of the adult models – a bit like those ‘mini-dipper’ three finger chalkbags that were briefly popular in the 90s – except these are designed to accept a youngsters full hand. Materials and construction are top notch, there’s a sturdy non collapsing brim, quirky fabric prints, a zippered pocket and a belt with a clever whistle buckle. Designs run from the cute to the outright quirky and are more reminiscent of the climbing culture than athletic endeavour which is a nice way for kids to appreciate our ‘sport’.The only disappointment was when I opened the package and realised it wasn’t an adults chalkbag and I was going to have to give it away – I love the lizard print too as it reminds me of late 80s French limestone for some reason…
DMM Organic T Shirts
(Environmentally conscious fashionistas)
Everyone needs a DMM T-Shirt whether it be for the honed boulderer showing off their ‘guns’ or the alpinist chilling down in the valley – or just going for pizza. DMM’s latest offerings tick all the boxes available in a variety of subtle and stylish prints including a (Llanberis) Pass, Torque Nut and Pick graphic. My favourite is the Pick graphic that looks like a mountain landscape until closer examination reveals the outline of the T rated pick from DMMs own Switch/Apex ice tools! Made from Organic cotton the meet Fair Wear Foundation and Carbon Reduction standards so helping reduce impacts on the environment. A quirky hem tag informs you that the T-shirt is rated to a full 0Kn so please don’t belay from it!;-) Sizing is quite generous going by my size small which is over 39″ chest (!) so you may want to size down for the tight on the bicep look.