Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Testing Testing

The Camino is getting close, Just over 3 weeks before i board a plane to the UK, I want to be sure that the gear i have works as described and will fit my needs, Its been a long cold winter here in NC but i have somehow managed to miss most of the rain on my training walks, I did get caught in a small shower weeks ago, I put my Eddie Bauer Rainier jacket on and completed the walk, I did notice that i was a bit damp when i got home but did not think too much about it, Last week it showed rain for Monday so i put on my Eddie Bauer Rainier and my REI waterproof trousers and set off on a 10 mile trek around the country roads where i live, It was raining when i left and i felt a cold sensation around my neck and shoulders within 10 minutes of leaving, The rain was a very heavy drizzle, Within 30 minutes i could my arms getting wet and by the end of the walk i took the jacket off and was very wet if not saturated in places and would say 60-75% of the jacket was wet through, I did contact Eddie Bauer but did not get much in the way of an answer so i went to REI and was shown some NikWax products, Firstly the Tech wash which cleans your jacket and then the TX spray on water repellent, I bought the 5oz but would recommend a bigger bottle as it barely covered the jacket, The jacket was cleaned in the clothes washer with the tech wash and left to dry before using the TX, Nikwax does do a product that you can also put in the washer to proof it and i think this may be a better solution so you know its been totally covered and that you have not missed an area, The jacket certainly comes up clean and last weekend i walked in very light rain and the water beaded nicely and just fell of the jacket, I will need to test the jacket in harder rain before i go, I have to say i love the jacket so was very disappointed to see it fail in the rain, Hopefully the reproofing will sort the problem,It just goes to show that you need to test any item that you buy for a long journey, If i had not and got caught in a storm in the mountains it could have been a serious situation, I wore my old Salomon GTX hiking boots on the long wet walk, By the time i hit 8 miles i could feel my feet getting damp but as it was still raining i decided to carry on and suffer the blisters which i could feel forming, I ended up with blisters on both feet on the pad area, One was very small, tiny even and the other larger but not too bad, I pinned the larger of the 2 and drained it and put a band aid on it, In the morning i redrained it but i could see there was a slight infection so i bought some iodine from the pharmacy and applied it, Man that stuff stings but it not only cleans the blister but dries it out, The next day the areas looked fine and although you could feel them it was not uncomfortable to walk on and 2 days later you would have never known that they were there, I will mention that when i walk or hike i carry my backpack with around 20lb it it, I used an REI rain cover and the backpack was perfectly dry at the end of the walk except the exposed straps of course,
Yesterday i did a small walk around our neighborhood of around 2.5 miles before heading out on a trail and decided to just walk until i felt i had had enough, I ended the walk with just over 18 miles under my belt and nearly 21 miles or over 33 KM for the day, I normally wear my old Salomon GTX boots on longish walks but decided to try the Salomon Sky GTX boots that i will take on the Camino, I have been steadily breaking them in although in truth they really are pretty good out of the box, I had some Dr Scholls inserts in, At the end of the walk my heels were pretty sore in one small area, I had stopped a few times and rested with both boots and socks off and towards the end i had put a blister band aid on both feet in that area and this worked as i ended blister free, Although it was a tiring day it was very enjoyable and the weather was lovely, I proved that i had the endurance to walk that far and in reality i could have put a few more miles in but it was getting late, And that my boots should work well for the journey, I doubt there will be many if any 20+ mile days on the Camino but i know if i want to push myself i can,