Apparently it’s almost Christmas, a point in the year which seems to be getting earlier and earlier. Our town council had the bloody lights up on 13th October! In a couple of years I can see them not bothering to take them down, just leave them up and enjoy that Christmas spirit all year round. But I digress, this isn’t a bitch about the commercialism and exploitation that seems to have overrun the country. It was to tell you about my recent kit purchases. The Christmas digression was down to having to suffer through Slade and Wizzard whilst I was in Millets the other day – looking for gloves.
A previous post mentioned how I’ve been struggling with my current set of “waterproof” gloves, which are patently not waterproof at all. A helpful comment on the post (from Taffy) pointed me towards SealSkinz.
I did a bit of research of course and then took a drive to Chester, which has the largest concentration of outdoor shops in our area. It’s about 15 miles from us and generally a nightmare to get to – one road in and it’s usually full of traffic and then there’s the parking – extortionate at £3 for 2 hours – and that’s with a 5 minute walk into the shops – I can’t afford the city centre car park. However, once you get into the shopping centre you have Millets, Blacks, Ellis Brigham, Field & Trek, Great Outdoors and a couple of independents; Yeomans and Camp & Hike. You should be able to find what you need amongst that lot surely?
Sadly not. No-one seemed to stock SealSkinz, but everyone seemed to stock some other brand of waterproof glove, many of them extremely expensive and very bulky. I couldn’t see me operating the buttons of my GPS with fingers the size of jumbo sausages, or fitting my hand through the loop of my walking pole with mitts the size of boxing gloves.
In the end I went to a small independent outdoor shop in Northwich, only 10 minutes from home; One Step Beyond – who are just about to open an on-line shop. They had the full range of SealSkinz and a very helpful young man walked me through the range, the various features of the different gloves and we swapped tales of the difficulties of finding truly waterproof hand gear. I eventually purchased the SealSkinz Activity glove, which seemed to be a good compromise between protection and finger nimbleness (a word which surprisingly doesn’t come with a spell check warning).
I’ve had them on already – ascending a very wet Birchen Clough and they were great – instantly warm and kept my hands dry. The only slight issue was getting my wet hand into what is quite a tight fitting glove – that took a couple of minutes of faffing, so I will have to work on that technique.
In the end I never got to test these gloves properly in the wind and the rain, they were stolen from my car before I had the chance.