Paramo Pajaro Waterproof, nice!

There’s few bits of kit that I feel are essential to spend just that little bit extra on, mainly the items that will be the difference between a good day in the hills or an absolute stinker.  One I feel is right at the top of the list when buying your fell wear, the waterproof coat!IMG_6049 IMG_6061 IMG_6062 IMG_6063 udr_greenfinches-early_1980s

I’ve had a North Face waterproof jacket up until last year which I got on with and thought I wouldn’t replace in a hurry.  But Mrs Hyde bought a Paramo water proof some time ago and I was mucho impressed.  Our walking buddie Dicko has had one for ages but he has that much kit I get confused with him and his clothing selection, his wardrobe must look like Go-Outdoors’ male section.  We used to come down from the fells on wet days and their attire always seemed to be bone dry, whilst I had the odd wet patch here and there.  So I bit the bullet and got myself the Paramo Pajaro!

One word; Awesome!  I have mentioned in previous blogs about kit, I sometimes gravitate back to old military bits and bobs, well, I just makes sense to me if somethings tried and tested.  This coat obviously wasn’t something issued to me in my army days, but if you have a good look at it, the design (pockets, zips, hood) it is a cross between the old Ulster Defence Regiment Greenfinch Waterproof and windproof smocks we got given throughout the 90’s.

As I said, I bought it last year and left it to now to blog about as I wanted to test it.  It’s now been through rain, hail, snow and wind and appears impenetrable.  As long as the temperature isn’t well into minus I’ve got by with just a base layer and the jacket on lot of the outings, mind you that’s not a true test, I forgot the layer of Yorkshire grit under my epidermis.

So, another kit ‘review’ which you may or may not take note of but if you have a bit of spare cash it’s worth a look at.  To be fair I use mine now for dog walking and general winter use, plus on the hills.

Another kit Blog, this time a thermal base layer.

I’m a creature of habit, if something works and works well, it takes something really special to change my decision when it comes to buying kit.  I’ve normally used something in the harshest environment to prove its worth, or know someone or some organisation that have used it and given it the ‘rubber stamp’.

In 1992 I went to Norway with 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines with kit I was issued, or IMG_6024what the army thought was good enough for that part of the world.  I was cold and wet for the first few weeks but watching the Marines operate in the clothing they had gave me a lesson in life.  The gear they were wearing was really good stuff, Helly Hanson and Berghaus to mention but a few.  It was clear to me,if I was to make things slightly more comfortable for myself I would have to invest in specialist clothing, and keep the issue stuff in my locker.

One bit of kit I saw the ‘Boot Necks’ (Marines) wearing was the Helly Hanson Lifa thermal tops.  This base layer was an absolute must.  I was issued a green cotton thermal number; ok it kept me warm but the sweat was collected like a sponge and in minus temperatures, this sweat got very cold and made life very uncomfortable.  I bought my first Lifa top on my first tour of Norway, I ordered it through a catalogue via the BFPO service and it was with me in weeks (no internet then).  I loved it; the feel was soft and not heavy like a cotton t-shirt.  I did my Arctic Warfare course and it was a life saver.  Days of sky marching with heavy Bergans (massive rucksacs) were a breeze as I was a fit lad back then so I could enjoy the view, instead of worrying about bad gear dragging me down.  The top wicked the sweat away like magic, days out in the field were great and without sounding like a minger, I got away with wearing it for a good 4 days without washing it before it got a bit funky.  The warmth it preserved was second to none, in minus temperatures on an active day, I could just have the top and a wind proof smock and was extremely comfortable.  As for storage, you can screw it up into the size of a tennis ball, it changed my life in the Arctic for the better.

This Christmas I asked for a replacement, yes for the one I bought in 1992, which by the way is still going strong.  I did buy another in the late 90’s, not to replace my first but to have a spare, however, that one did bite the dust in Bosnia in an ironing incident!

I still wear my first one and it is as good as new, it has been to Norway 5 times, 3 weeks in Canada and 2 tours of Bosnia.  I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve washed it in a make shift showers or sinks.  I’ve even had it in the desert for the cold nights and fresh mornings, it is really one of the most universal bits of kit I’ve had.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a kit expert or tester but if that isn’t a good ‘chuck up’ for a decent base layer, I don’t know what is!

G10 Watch, my favourite!

As promised, I would start having a look at certain bits of kit that I buy or come across in life.  I’m not endorsing the kit, I’m just saying why I have it, buy it or use it and have written about it.  If I blog about some bit of kit, I know there are other’s available which may be better, but I work (when possible) on a budget so what I write about may be of interest to my readers.


Christmas brought me something for which I’d been pining for ages, a Military Watch Company (MWC) G10 watch.  I had a good watch which had seen me well for a good 5 years and to be fair, there was nothing wrong with the Casio G-Shock, I had only one battery change in the 5 years, I guess that is average.  It sported so many features, those of which I didn’t use, I just wanted plain and reliable.

On Christmas day I unwrapped the packaging and my grin made me look like I’d slept with a coat hanger in my mouth.  I opened the slick silver metal box and there before me was a brand new G10 watch.  Immediately my mind went back to my first ever G10 watch that I was issued back in 1989 when I first started basic training for the Royal Engineers.

Now I know that the more avid military enthusiasts will immediately say, “The army didn’t get issued MWC watches, British squaddies, airmen and Seamen were issued Cabot Watch Company (CTW) pieces!”  This is true, however, for whatever reason my troop and I were issued MTC watches, and on issue the Cpl in the Quartermasters store brought our attention to this fact justifying the change saying, “They must be cutting back!?”  I was just chuffed to get a watch for nowt, well until I de-mobbed anyway.

They were all good watches but this one meant something more, it was bought by my loving wife and it brought back a few memories.  Even the strap was the same, Olive Drab webbing strap with no thrills.  A quality time piece which is used worldwide amongst military and law enforcement, anti-terrorist units plus marine companies and many more.

Click here for full details of this watch

It’s water resistant for 50m and ultra-reliable.  The strap lasts for ages and as long as you don’t want something all singing and dancing, it will with stand a nuclear blast, a bit like the AK 47 of watches for reliability but a Walther PK for coolness!

I don’t have to have a revisit to this blog for an update on this watch, as I know it will reach all expectations!


Happy New Year

Like most, a new year brings new beginnings, new starts and resolutions.  I have never been the sort to make resolutions because if I wanted to change things about my life, I did it there and then, not wait until 1st January.  I have noticed this blogs’ events have been very thin on the ground due to circumstances which I have been unable to control.  So, with this in mind I’m gonna change the dynamics of my blog.  Until now I have used my blog  to record the walks me and mine have done, which seemed to have good feed back so I’m not gonna change that, what I’m gonna do is add more events other than just walks.  This will include shorter blogs which will look at walks, kit, everyday outdoor life, work, family, animals, food and drink.  I think, after reading other blogs, it will be more like a journal with advice (whenever I can give) and decisions I have made.  After all, this year sees me enter my 50th year on this planet so I should know something!

I expect to have at least one new event (is that a good word?) a week if not more.  I’m trying to home in on my writing skills as I retire in 8 years  and may, not confirmed, want to write for a living!

Hope you enjoy!