Steve's Walking Blog

Take nothing but photographs. Leave nothing but footprints.

Equipment Reviews

I’ll be looking at the equipment I’ve used to give my opinion on it.

Pentax K-m Digital Camera

Carrying a DSLR on long walks is a bit of luxury, they are quite bulky and heavy compared to compact cameras and modern mobile phones, most of which come with cameras built in now.

However I am happy to make other sacrifices in what I take with me to have this camera, I just love the photos it takes.

It can be used like a simple point and shoot, it has autofocus and a very good auto setting, but it also allows you to mess with the depth of field and manual focus to take an even better picture.

The best thing about this particular camera however is that it still takes AA batteries. Most modern DSLR's use rechargeable batteries, meaning you need to find a power point after a few hundred pictures, something I wouldn't of been able to do when walking the SWCP. Pentax have also made the lens on their digital cameras backwardly compatible, so any autofocus lens will work, meaning you can find cheap second-hand lens and you know they will still make new lenses to fit for a while yet.

This camera takes wonderful pictures and even copes well with low light, it has an anti-shake system built in that actually works. It is very solid and robust, I've dropped it and even fallen on it and it still works well.

Newer cameras have a higher pixel rating than this, it is only a 10mp camera, but it does me just fine and I can't see me changing it anytime soon.


Karrimor Orkney 65 Rucksack

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Before I start you should know I love Karrimor stuff, even after they got bought out by Sports Direct they continued to make superb equipment at a great price. I really rate the footwear they make, I used a pair of their sandals on the SWCP and had no problems at all. I'm even wearing a pair of their boots as I write this.

However......

This was the worst rucksack I have ever owned.

The zip on the bottom compartment lasted about three days.

The internal drawstring at the top split after a week.

But the worst thing of all was the cheap plastic clips they use to hold the straps. The shoulder straps would be tight when I started walking and slowly get looser during the day, making the pack uncomfortable to carry. A really bad design.

I did look at replacing it with a different from one their range but they all seem to use the same clips, so I'm ditching them for rucksacks completely.


Wild Country Zypher 2 man tent

Day1 (10)

A fairly light, easy to pitch two man tent.

This is the one I used for my SWCP walk. Its classed as a two man, but you would need to be really, really good friends to share this. Large for one person, cramped for two. I love this tent, it was close to 2 kilos, so heavy by todays standards, but plenty of room for me and my gear inside the tent. Enough room to actually get dressed in it, rather than stumbling out half naked in the morning.

Very easy to put up and can cope in harsh conditions. If you stake it out properly and use all the guy ropes it can withstand really strong winds, but I didn't have to on the SWCP, because the weather was so good.

I got this one second hand and it was several years old when I got it. I've used it a lot and the floor has started to separate, the laminated layers of material are coming apart, so it leaks water in through the floor if you happen to pitch it in the way of a flow of water, as I found out when it started raining one night.

I'd happily have another Wild Country tent though, I really rate this one.


Gelert Solo Tent

Elan Valley June2013 (6)

These are available from a few different makers under different names, but they are all pretty much the same.

This is a very lightweight, easy to pitch tent that is as cheap as chips, mine cost £20 as an ex-demo from a camping shop.

I really like this tent, it goes up in a couple of minutes and has some nice features, the mesh inner is superb. The pack size is great and the poles are a decent size and well made.

The only problem? Its too small. Or at least it is for me, I fit in it just fine, but my equipment ends up outside of the tent. In the picture above I couldn’t even fit the motorbike crash helmet in with me.

Great for short hikes, but I couldn't fit a full rucksack in it, so no use for longer trips.


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