Aaron Flanagan recently went trekking in the Himalaya, where he was able to test out a range of outdoor clothing and gear in one of the world's highest proving grounds. Below are his insights into whether these items will suit your expeditions.
ARC'TERYX CERIUM LT HOODY
Super lightweight, super portable and eminently practical during the dry, arid, cold climate of the high altitude Himalayan tundra, the Cerium softshell quickly became my go-to outer layer whenever exiting my tent.
As temperatures during the night plummeted to zero, the Cerium became indispensable, able to be quickly retrieved from the mangled contents of my pack and zipped-on quick as a flash during moments of high-altitude insomnia-laden night time sojourns out into the campground to observe the stars.
We started our trekking at about half six, usually walking for about six hours so we could rest when the sun was it its most intense. From six to midday the temperature ranged from around 4 celcius to a maximum in the high teens. The Cerium was perfect as an outer layer over this range. Anything in the low 20s would probably have had it off and packed away.
Bottom line, this was an awesome jacket I wore every day I was in the Himalaya. The Cerium LT’s outer surface is moisture resistant, wind cancelling, and breathable, making it the perfect option for the cold weather adventurer.
Arc’Teryx has designed a lightweight classic in the Cerium LT. Ideal for hikers, skiers, climbers, outdoor lovers and even commuters, the Cerium LT Hoody & Jacket will make the hard yards a little bit easier this winter.
Arc’Teryx Cerium LT Hoody: RRP: $580
SCARPA KAILASH TREKKING BOOTS
I had these fitted by the folks at Paddy Pallin, and my word, did they fit like a glove.
During one of the most epic treks you could imagine, five days over more than 90 kilometres, pausing only to allow physical adjustment to the steadily increasing altitude, my feet were as snug as could be, even through muddy bogs and streams of glacier melt-water runoff.
At the end of every day, my feet were dry and fresh as a daisy thanks to the Kailish’s Gore-Tex construction. They’re super lightweight, too, which is very welcome when you’re slogging up a seemingly endless steep gradient at 5000+ metres.
Italian made, The Kailash GTX delivers the trademark GORE-TEX lining which offers a combination of lightweight construction and superior waterproofing. Its suede leather upper structure allows for easy breaking in, while the Hi-Trail sole unit boasts a Polyurethane wedge in the heel for improved stability. Traction comes courtesy of the durable Vibram rubber outersole, which should see you to the end of plenty of trails in their lifetime.
I put these through the absolute wringer, walking for 10 days straight, clocking up more than 100 clicks over rocky, wet and muddy terrain. At the end of the 10 days, after wiping off a bit of mud and dust, they were as good as new and ready to be stuffed into my pack for the trip home. I'm looking forward to putting them on for my next trek.
Scarpa Kailash Trek GTX: RRP $399.95
THE NORTH FACE MOTION PANTS
Man, these duds are comfortable. I wore thermal merino long johns under them, and these became indispensable.
Pants for outdoorsy folks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. These are so lightweight that you hardly feel you're wearing them. They also slide on easily when your have to get dressed lying down on the floor of a one-man tent, which could've been uncomfortable.
Often times I wasn't feeling the Mae West and having issues getting my duds on in the morning would have been horrendous. Swear words would likely have been unleashed.
I wore them every day of the trek, finding them far more comfortable and convenient than the other pair I brought along. I simply changed my merino base layers and let these take all the punishment during the trek.
Since returning home, they've been put through the washing machine and are good as new.
Designed to maximize your mobility, these mid-weight pants are crafted with durable Sorona® Triexta yarns, feature articulated knees for freedom of movement, and reflective trim that's visible when pants are cuffed.
The North Face Motion Pants: RRP $140.00
RAY-BAN JUSTIN SUNGLASSES
Light, tough and virtually unbreakable, my Justins were stuffed in pockets, slept on, rolled on and yet did their glare-shielding job whenever called upon.
They're great take-anywhere polarised sunnies that do the job without causing potential bankruptcy issues if you happen to lose them.
Ray-Ban Justin sunglasses are bold and fun with a fresh design inspired by the Wayfarer, but with a slightly larger Wayfarer frame and rectangle lenses.
Ray-Ban Justin Sunglasses: RRP from $185.00