Friday, January 10, 2014

Camera Gear

For the long distance hiker who enjoys quality photography carrying a camera can become a chore, I love to use a Dslr but the size and weight becomes a problem, There are a few smallish Dslr's on the market but if you want the best image quality then the lenses themselves are very heavy, I purchased a Fujifilm XM1 for my hiking and so far have been happy with its size and IQ, OK so its not a pocket-able camera, I wanted a camera with a reasonable sensor size and density and one which i may add lenses to in the future, I would have preferred the XE2 but that is out of my budget, The sensors are basically the same in both, Carrying it where it is accessible becomes the next problem, I am a fan of Think Tank products, Excellent quality and well thought out and engineered, I purchased the 'Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 10', its a small bag that the Fuji fits snuggly into but has enough room where i can leave the lens hood on the standard lens, It has compartments on either side for batteries or a cell phone and has a pocket on the front where a rain cover is stored and again room for extras, Inside there is a pocket in the top for spare memory cards and the inside has a  nice and soft material as well as a movable divider is you want one, The bag comes with a shoulder strap and a belt loop which fits nicely on the waist strap of my back pack or even the chest strap if you prefer it that way, The top flap has a magnetic catch and overall feel very well made and worth the near $50. I use Think Tank cases for my Dslr and big lenses when traveling and can highly recommend them

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Boots Feet Boots Feet

 I would think THE most important thing that you need to succesfully cover long distances is a good pair of well fitting boots, Peoples feet are like their finger prints, Everybodies are different, Without going to great expense and getting custom made boots you will have to try on a lots of different makes and sizes, Over the years i have used Northface, Lowe, Salomom, Merrells and Columbia, I have to say that out of the box the columbia were soooo comfortable, But and there is always a but they did not last long, All the Merrells i have had have been very good and great value, I have had a couple of pairs of Northface and both were good but my feet seem to like Salomons, Last year i purchased a pair of their X Ultra Gore-tex Mid Hiking shoes, I got them from Campmor which is a great on line shop, Their service and prices are also excellent, I could not find them cheaper anywhere, Since receiveing the boots i have put around 700 miles on them, mainly on trails near my home along with some road walking and even shopping, They still look very good and are extremely comfortable, I have never had a blister or even a hot spot even walking nearly 17 miles in a day, I knew that before i go on the Camino De Santiago i would probably need a new pair and that it would again be Salomon, I viewed their website and suddenly i had that feeling when you see a pretty girl across the bar, Love at first sight in the form of their Wings Sky GTX 2, In orange and black they looked awesome, I looked everywhere for a better price as the $250 was out of my budget by around 50%, Nothing, Everywhere was the same, Not a penny less, Then i had all but given up when just before Xmas i was on Amazon when i noticed these at around $180, Wow now how can i get the money together quickly?, I went to the bottom of the page to read the reviews where i noticed a small tab with a code on it, I put the boots into my cart and entered the code in the promotions box and bang another 25% off so now $130, SOLD, I have only managed to walk around the house in them until today when i hiked a trail on the MST which was a little over 11 miles, The boots were fine, No hotspots or blisters, A word of warning is that they seem a tad big for their size whereas my other salomons are bang on for their size, I ordered the new boots half a size bigger and when they arrived i thought that they would be too big but after todays walk i think that they will be fine, Like when you put your backpack on you adjust the straps to how you want it to fit so you do with the boots, I walked about 40 mins before stopping and readjusting them tighter, This seemed fine my feet were locked in place but about a mile before the end my right foot felt tight, I guess my foot had swollen a bit so i loosened the laces a tad and all was well, When you walk 'listen' to your feet, If you feel the boots are too tight or too loose readjust them, If you are getting a hotspot stop and let your feet rest and breathe, the last thing you want is a blister, Miserable things that can be stopped if you are proactive, I used my ultra light Smartsocks and had no problems, No liner or 'grease', I would highly recommend Salomons to anybody but remember whats good for my feet may not be for yours,

 The boots have very good grip, Are much lighter than other boots i have tried and have a small skirt at the back of the ankle to stop stones etc dropping in, There is a locking clip around ankle height that grip your laces which is a great feature,Well thought out and you can feel the quality


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year

A little belated but i would like to wish everybody a very Happy New Year, 2014 is going to be a memorable one for me, The clock is ticking to my departure date in April, The flights are booked and i have already booked a nights stay in the Pyrennes to help break the first days walk up, Two reasons for this, Firstly no need to kill myself on my first and hardest day and secondly i want to get some nice landscape/sunrise shots so will be hoping for some good weather, I will continue to blog up until i leave and give some reviews on walking/hiking gear that i am using, I purchased a new pair of boots for the journey and these will need to be broken in before hand so i will be getting out for some long walks and will report back on how they are performing

All the very best for now