We all have bad weather stories that we love to share over a Dartmoor ale, or two...hic. Another thing we all share is the understanding that out camera kit is rather expensive...! Do we all share the same understanding that we are also quite expensive when we go wrong? One thing the adventure sports industry taught me was "get geared up in good gear and the weather wont matter." I think it was actually the Rossignol rep who said that once at a winter sports trade show!
One reason most of my camera gear and lenses are second hand is because I spend out on a fair amount of outdoor clothing. Im kind of addicted to it if Im honest...! Craghoppers, Helly, Northface, Keen, Merrell, Karrimor, Five Seasons and so on. The seasons dictate what I spend out on and Im as happy as a pig in s*@t in an adventure outlet.
Recently Ive become wiser with my expenditure....
Some brands offer weather beating performance at a price, however dont always deliver on their word. Other brands really shine through as total winners at a more affordable and sensible cost. One of my recent trials has been some of the Craghoppers and Karrimor range. They have been around for a while and I must say Ive never really bought into them before as I have been a bit of a label shopper. Lesson learned, hard earned money wasted. Im a convert. No longer do I spend £200+ on a jacket that promises me super fit total dryness and breathable heaven.
Craghoppers have really come on. Their stretchy soft shell style jackets knock my others for six and my Columbia fleeces are ski only wear now Ive discovered Crag`s range. I have their "Motion" stretch fit shell jacket and I must say its fantastic. Waterproof, windproof, breathable and even has waterproof zips all over. It delivers on its description and is now my shell of choice on all camera outings. Also my tough Crag fleece lined trousers have taken some stick from the elements and granite of Dartmoor National Park this last season and they still wash up like new. Climbing tors and decending into the steepest river gorges with camera bag on, the clothing hasnt torn, worn out or let me down yet.
I have totalled up my walking boot expenditure for the last decade: over £250. Brands like Brasher, Merrell, Salomon and a few more. All good, all solid performers and served their purpose within the season of purchase. However Ive had a pair of Karrimor event boots for three seasons, yep three, now and they are still going strong. Snow, mud, the cruel river Dart and dusty coastal trails have punished these trusty boots and still they surpass any others I have owned.
So, all that said, I guess what I am saying is pick your kit wisely and it will deliver. Trial other brands and compare well before you spend out. Times are hard and I, like most, would love some new lenses. Im saving money on clothing kit so maybe, just maybe that 17-40l isnt too far away.....