I think I’ve turned the corner on the Mumps today! Feeling much more like my usual self this afternoon, so much so that Tex and I are off to Langdale tomorrow for an Esk Pike and Bow Fell walk. Whilst I had some free time I pursued what, for me, seems to be an epic search for the perfect baselayer. This may seem like a trivial issue to most people, but there are special considerations for fat fellwalkers like me. Namely the facxt that I can’t (or won’t) wear Freddy Mercury tops without something on over the top of them; so a tight fitting baselayer is out, except in the winter, when I know I’m going to have to wear at least a fleece on top of it all day. Therefore I have a winter baselayer and a summer baselayer…. Summer baselayers are generally Craghopper or Regatta cotton-based shirts. I prefer something with long sleeves and a collar so that I can roll the former down and the latter up when the sun comes out. I hate suncream – it makes me sweat like cornered virgin – so I have to go for coverage instead. These do not wick away moisture of course and when I sweat I end up with a very sweaty back – and if the walk is long enough I end up with a sweat rash at the bottom of my back where the pack rubs. This is very painful. So I’m about to try a new summer baselayer to wear beneath my shirt – a vest! Yep, a good old fashioned white cotton vest, like my dad used to wear. The vest is light enough that I can carry a spare one to change half way through the walk and hopefully prevent the sweat rash developing. I’ve gone for a sleeveless one to prevent overheating and I’ll see how I get on tomorrow. £3 for 2 from Asda. Winter baselayers can, by definition, be a bit more technical and figure hugging, as they are not going to be seen by the general public – unless your unlucky enough to be passing me in the car park at the end of the walk when I’m getting changed out of my sweaty gear. So far I’ve tried a Helly Hansen technical long sleeve and that worked well – it insulates and wicks moisture and keeps me warm, but its now falling to bits and they don’t seem to sell the version I have anymore. I’ve also tried some generic technical tees with supposed wicking and quick drying abilities – but generally they’ve been rubbish. So I’ve just ordered a set of silk baselayers (top and bottom), from Gear-Zone. The top is a long sleeve and the bottoms are full length longjohns to replace my Helly Hansen LJ’s that are falling to bits now. It will be interesting to see how good they are at insulation and keeping me warm. I also bought them as a “sleep layer”, to wear inside my sleeping bag when temperatures get a bit cooler. I thought if I’m doing Hadrian’s Wall in mid-September there’s a chance of cold nights. I’ll do a gear review if appropriate when I’ve tested them.