I am not going to go into every single piece of kit that I took in detail for two reasons. Firstly, anyone who wants to can see my Wet Weather set-up in the Gear Lists page of my journal, above. Secondly, I intend to post on the kit for the TMB shortly and that will contain much of the analysis of my kit and why I am taking it.
However, there are some items that I am not taking to the Alps and they deserve some comment here. Firstly, the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 again is my shelter of choice. It suits me perfectly, is light, ridiculously easy to pitch, stable and comfortable. I cannot fault it. My one concern, the durability of the groundsheet, has yet to become an issue and, even in wet weather, not a single thing has irked me. That it is small, I have admitted previously, but that does not matter to me at all. When wet, I also find it dries very quickly - more swiftly than the Power Lizard, for example. On harder ground, the Vargo titanium tent pegs do not always penetrate fully and I am going to take some V-pegs which will be stronger pegs for that sort of ground. Three will be enough, in my view, for the Fly Creek and the Vargo pegs can deal with the other pegging needed.
The Vaude Power Lizard UL has developed some further annoyances. The flap over the zip is so tight when the tent is pitched taut that opening and closing the fly is almost impossible to do without catching the flap and it has now been ripped slightly by this irritating design flaw. It is also incredibly fiddly to pitch the end poles in inclement weather and, frankly, Vaude need to address the small pockets that the poles go into - they're just way too difficult to get the poles into when the tent is not co-operating. It's still a great tent for the weight but these issues need resolution. I'll be sending my reviews and final comments to Vaude - perhaps they'll be assisted by them.
The Western Mountaineering Summerlite bag remains solid. It is well made and I have experienced no down leakage at all. Temperatures were not particularly low so, at 16C, I was a little too warm in the bag and needed to unzip. At 10C, I was fine with just merino leggings and the Montane Bionic T. The bag is a nice fit and lofts quickly when unpacked. The zip supposedly never catches - that's simply not right. All zips catch, because of the way we need to pull them when we're in a bag. That said, it does not catch much at all and is easily removed from the snag if one does occur. Great, versatile bag which, with the addition of an insulating layer, will serve many different temperatures. At just short of 600g, it's great.
As you can see, my wet weather gear remains brilliant - the Haglöfs LIM Ozone Jacket and the Montane Venture eVent pants. I'll deal with them in the TMB post but they were great. Not the absolute lightest, (although pretty damned light) but effective.
I like the Evernew DX but, whilst it served us hot water for re-hydrating food & brewing a hot drink, it was a ponderous dawdle due to effect if the wind on the MSR Titan itself and the only reason we had a bit of a wood fire was because I snagged some twigs before we started knowing we'd find none in the hills! I query whether it is the right piece of kit for high-level hillwalking. There are better meths stoves that protect better from the wind - Trail Designs Caldera Cones for example. Another note: the DX will destroy the ground you place it on so you do need to find a rock or carry aluminium foil instead. I am looking again at canister stoves, especially the Gosystem Fly (Ti). As has been pointed out, it's a rather lovely looking piece of kit, well manufactured, light and effective. The Evernew DX system weighs 85g, with about 200g for 250ml of meths. The Fly (Ti) is 50g with, again, about 200g for 100ml canister of fuel. I don't mind waiting for a little while (7-8mins is fine by me) to boil 500ml of water but 10-12mins and never actually achieving a rolling boil in medium wind and cool air, even with a windshield, got me thinking - one of the things I liked about the DX was its versatility but unless we're trekking low down, there's never going to be any wood to pick up which defeats one of the advantages of the DX. Suddenly, it is actually not that versatile at all and a canister system is likely, with a proper windbreak, to be more effective. If the weight is good, then I want to give it a crack. As I have an MSR Titan Kettle, that stove seems the best bet. I'll revert on my findings. Any advice on a windbreak? I was thinking of using a Neo Air, slightly inflated, a reasonable distance away...
The Neo Air is annoying me as I like the comfort of it on my hips and shoulders, but the way I sleep has my knee hanging off it, which gives me an oddly painful knee in the morning - not a good idea. I am not going to suffer the weight penalty of a full length fellow, so I am looking at other options. One might be to put the Gorilla under my feet - it's nothing to do with cold and I am not sure how effective that will be but it'll be worth considering. The other is to see what else there is on offer, including a Z-Lite cut short. Never slept on a CCF mat so might be worth thinking about. I have bought one anyway and will try it out.
The Integral Designs Silnylon pack cover was problematic. Where the Gorilla is not full, the extension collar is not used so there is little for the top of the pack cover to grab on to. In high wind, it came off twice as we ascended Llewelyn. The Sea to Summit cover has thicker bungee cording, is easier to adjust and benefits from a strap across the middle of the back. It's only 10g heavier so that'll be on my list unless I can do something with the ID cover. I remain convinced by pack covers however, rather than liners or a multitude if drybags as a wet sack is a heavy sack.
Three recent purchases from Sea to Summit: 13litre drybag which replaces my heavier Exped bag and remains a serviceable pillow when filled with excess kit at night; a titanium long-handled spoon which makes eating food out of a bag far less challenging (a spork was a pointless gimmick for this endeavour); and an S2S pack towel which will not replace my lighter MSR pack towl for now - it is for the showers in refuges on the TMB. A word on the MSR Pack Towl - I used it to mop the flies of both tents after rain as there was no chance the sun, still slumbering behind clouds as it was, would do it. Wringing it out, repeatedly, worked well & I must've divested the two shelters of 500ml of rain water between us that way. It then dried quickly. It has a multitude of uses so is a very useful item.