What’s new in the kit bag? SKIING AUSTRIA

Six countries, fifty-four hours of driving and many frankfurters later – we are all home after an incredible two weeks. In August this year my Dad proposed the idea of a skiing road trip for the Christmas holidays, inviting all the ‘kids’ (of whom I am the youngest) plus partners, friends… whoever fancied it. And so we did. A week before Christmas day my dad and I packed up the truck (nicked named Truck Norris in our family) with everyone’s kit and hit the road for a 3 day drive to Austria (via Switzerland to collect my brother and Vivian who now live in Zürich).

Despite having grown up skiing, my skis have hardly touched snow over the last five years while being at uni (i.e., skint). Which, unfortunately for my bank account meant my kit bag needed some updating. My skis, boots and poles were all still intact thankfully – but my old ski pants and jacket were so worn and miserable looking I wasn’t up for trusting them to keep me warm.

SO – on the list was new ski pants, a jacket, thermals, goggles, gloves and socks. Which was just enough to almost bankrupt me for the year. But good kit is worth the price tag if it’s going to last years upon years.

Deciding what to get was so tricky, ski trends change ALL the time and it’s too expensive to ever keep up. But I am really really happy with what I ended up buying so I thought I’d share some pictures and info about the kit I got. (My only regret is not going for something brighter, but hay ho). I decided on something a little more glam than I’d usually wear, really fitted and supporting a bit of faux fur – there’s a first for everything and I loved it!

Jacket £399

Poivre Blanc Women’s Stretch Ski Jacket

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  • Very insulated and warm – I only needed one base layer underneath
  • Fitted and flattering
  • Three way stretch fabric was great for movement
  • Weatherproof and breathable
  • Good pockets (ski pass, phone, + 2 more)
  • Stylish and technically good
  • Long sleeves and long body – perfect for tall girls (I’m 5ft10)
  • Detachable hood/fur

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  • Snow skirt didn’t go tight enough around my hips
  • Pockets aren’t big enough for a spare goggle lens

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Ski pants £199

Poivre Blanc Women’s Stretch Ski Pants

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  • Waterproof and warm (no needs for thermal bottoms)
  • Elegant cut and well fitted
  • Although being tight, they are as stretchy as gym leggings!
  • Inside snow gaiter worked perfectly
  • Zippered gussets at the ankle for ease when putting boots on

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  • Slightly short on my leg – but not really an issue when wearing ski boots

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Goggles £180

Smith I/O MAG (bought from Tiso)

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  • Magnetic lens changing system is so quick and easy you can do it without taking the goggles off your face!
  • Includes bright light and low performance lenses
  • Lenses didn’t fog up at all
  • The photochromatic lens works virtually in all conditions and the rose lens is a game changer in flat light
  • Fit comfortably on my face and around my nose without any air gaps

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  • No complains at all – i’d highly recommend these goggles to anyone

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Thermals £110

Icebreaker 250 Vertex Long Sleeve Half Zip

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  • 100% merino wool
  • Extremely soft, flexible and comfortable for wearing all day
  • Lightweight and very warm – I wore only this under my jacket
  • Half zip was perfect for temperature regulation
  • Seems are offset from prone rubbing areas

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  • Zero complains – it’s the perfect base layer

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Gloves £75

The North Face Women’s Montana GTX Mitt

My hands are badly affected by raynauds disease which causes quite a bit of pain and discomfort when they get cold, so finding a good glove was really important. I’ve waisted so many hours in previous years sitting inside mountain restaurants trying to defrost my hands – but I have finally found the solution in these gloves.

  • Completely waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX insert
  • Insulated inner with inner glove separation for maximum warmth
  • High rise wrist to stop any snow or wind chill getting into the glove
  • Wrist bands were really handy when pulling gloves on and off (usually to take photos!)

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Socks £28

Falke Women’s SK2 Ski Sock

All round great skiing sock – merino wool mix – warm and breathable!

Overall,

I was extremely happy with all of my new and old kit on holiday. Having good quality kit really makes a difference in enjoyment as well as safety in the mountains. Getting cold is always miserable in my experience, and I never last long once the cold reaches my hands – those North Face mitts were an absolute find! And fingers crossed, now that my kit bag is full I won’t need to top it up or change it for many many years.

Huge thanks to Tiso for all their help and advisement before my trip. I was kindly gifted my ski jacket this season in exchange for a review, which I am extremely grateful for.

Thanks for reading – if you have any questions feel free to send me a message on Instagram @ronamcmillan

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Christmas Day attire

 

 

Trespass #DoSomethingWild

Have you ever dreamed of visiting the Northern Lights? Well, thanks to Trespass you have the chance to WIN an all-expenses-paid trip for two people to the Northern Lights in 2019 – yep, that includes travel, accommodation, food, expenses – everything!

One lucky winner will take an equally lucky friend or family member on an all-expenses-paid trip of a lifetime to Karesuando in Sweden.  The winner will stay in either a cosy hotel or traditional log cabin on Scandanavia’s official Northern Lights Route.

The full package includes:
  • Return flights (from select UK airports) and airport transfers
  • Full-board accommodation
  • Thermal suits and boots
  • Northern Lights Forest Task
  • Reindeer Camp
  • Call of the Wild Husky Safari
  • Northern Lights Snowmobile Safari
  • Snowshoe Introduction
  • …and £500 spending money!

I am well and truly gutted I cannot enter this competition, but if any of you guys win… I totally wouldn’t mind chumming you on the trip!

So here is the challenge – Trespass want us to go outside and #DoSomethingWild. I ran to the nearest river and launched myself in, but this could be anything. Climbing a hill, doing a handstand, a dip in the sea, indoor climbing, outdoor climbing… whatever it is just remember to snap a picture or video.

To enter, here’s what you need to do
– follow me on Instagram @ronamcmillan
– follow @trespass on Instagram
– post a photo of your daredevil skills
– tag trespass and #dosomethingwild
– for an extra entry challenge someone else to #dosomethingwild (for T&Cs head to @trespass bio)

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I am so excited to see what everyone gets upto over the next few months (you have until January 7th) to enter the competition. If you are struggling for inspo I will be posting lots of entries on my Instagram story @ronamcmillan.

GO WILD (but please be safe – don’t go wild swimming alone or in dangerous places).

 

 

Anatom Q2 Ultralight Hiking Boots

Forecast said blue sky, light cloud cover. What did I get? Zero visibility and unforgiving rain. Standard. But, on the bright side I took my new boots for a spin and tested their maximum waterproof-ness and durability in dreich conditions.

I haven’t had a new set of boots for 7 years – my old kicks were completely knackered, no longer watertight and so worn through it was becoming impossible to walk a mile without getting blisters.

So here they are - the shiny new boots

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After a summer of running around hills in trail shoes, I was dreading the return of clumpy heavy boots. So my main concern for new boots was to find something as lightweight as a trail shoe but waterproof and robust (hopefully to last another 7 years).

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Why did I choose the Anatom Q2 Ultralight?
  • They really are ULTRAlight
  • They feel soft and flexible – I didn’t need to break them in at all
  • The insole and midsole is shock absorbent and comfortable
  • They contain a waterproof and breathable membrane to keep the foot dry
  • They have well positioned eyelets and laces with good grip
  • They have a narrow heel area to avoid feet slipping around (common blister area for me)
  • They have a reliable tred – ideal for wet conditions

16km of rugged inclines and one boggy decent later – how are the boots doing? Overall – really good. My feet are wet, but that is no fault of the boot. Water got in over the top – so gaiters are a must next time. I have NO blisters, which is a first for me – I didn’t have to re-tie my laces at all and my feet are actually feeling really fresh and unharmed.

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If you are in the market for a new walking boot or shoe I would recommend looking at the Anatom footwear website. All footwear is designed, made, tested in Scotland and built to last. www.anatomfootwear.co.uk

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Theme of the day – map out, map away, map out, map away. Bad vis all morning, but made the 16km stretch feel a bit more adventurous. 3500 calories down, very soggy and no views to vouch for… but happy with my new boots and feeling pretty satisfied with my two dinners tonight – so that 5am alarm was 100% worth it this morning.

Thanks for reading – keep up with recent adventures @ronamcmillan

GoApe Aberfoyle

With a beastly winter coming our way I am starting to cram as many outdoor activities I can into Autumn before we are hit with -temperatures. The last few weeks have been very sea/loch based for me so I was keen to stay on dry land for a few days – and yesterday I took that to another level and went sky-high! I don’t know how I have managed to go 5 years in Glasgow without ever visiting GoApe – but if you live in the area, or nearby any of the other GoApe courses you have got to give this a go.

Adele and I got SO lucky with the weather, I booked two weeks prior to our visit and when I woke up yesterday morning it was one of those cold, crisp and sunny autumnal days. SCORE! But if you don’t get so lucky, I would recommend bringing waterproof trousers and a jacket – if you have as much grace as me you’ll be on your backside often and therefore pretty wet and muddy!

While GoApe is a great place for children, you don’t need to be a young flexible whiz kid to enjoy this place. We went for a girly day out and had a blast. I also think it would be such a fun alternative date idea – I’d much rather swing about trees for an afternoon than go for cocktails. Although, cocktails post tree swinging would be nice…

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So what to wear and what to bring
  • Closed toe shoes (trainers were perfect)
  • Trousers/gym leggings – that can get a little mucky
  • Waterproofs if its going to be wet
  • Gloves would be a good idea – I didn’t bring any and my hands were getting sore towards the end (big wimp).
  • Some snacks, or pennies to buy snacks at the end. Tree swinging makes for thirsty work.
What to expect

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On arrival you are given safety rules to read through (pretty important as you are responsible for your own safety on this course). Then given a safety briefing by a team member who then ensures you have your harness on correctly, and shows you exactly how to clip on and off all the wires.

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Thrown into the deep end – the start of this course is a spectacular 426m zip line through the trees to the first landing station where you begin the route.

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With a body pumped with adrenaline you make your way round 5 different aerial assault courses with various challenges on each – my personal favourite being the Tarzan swing. Ahhh ah ahh ahhhhh!

My least favourite being…img_7901.jpg

Always time for a quick selfie (you can take phones/cameras round as long as they zip away in the a pocket).

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And finally at the end – after many Tarzan Jane fails and a very muddy bum we were presented with a certificate of awesomeness. Thanks Go Ape!

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I also thought I’d mention – if the whole family is coming along but only a few people want to participate in the Go Ape course… there is lots more to do. Plenty trails for walking/biking in the surrounding areas, also Ben A’an and Ben Venue are right next door for hill walkers. And for those with tired legs – the cafe is great and has incredible cake!

Go Ape Aberfoyle

Keep up with recent adventures @ronamcmillan

Rona X

 

Kit Review – DRYROBE

A Dryrobe has been on my kit wish list for almost a year. I had a shot of my brothers Dryrobe on Christmas day last year and it was incredible. We had been out on the water and in the water all day and I got very very cold. This isn’t usual for me, I do get cold easily and I’m used to it. However that day I had next level chills; and the Dryrobe got me home without getting dangerously cold.

So, to my delight – a Dryrobe has been added to the kit bag just in time for winter adventures. This piece of kit is for when a towel doesn’t quite cut it anymore, you need more warmth and more protection from the elements – pre swims, post swims and for general use in cold situations.

When would I use it?

Wild swimming – for the last two weeks I’ve not needed to bother with clothes when I jump in the car or on my bike to get to the water. Dry robe before and after every swim, no shivery changing situations and straight into something that will warm me up.

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Competitions – it’s obvious now when I’m at triathlons and open water swims (usually cheering on my mum) that Dryrobe’s are becoming an essential bit of kit. There’s always a lot of standing around before and after a race, and often transport on boats with a lot of exposure to weather. Staying warm and dry in these situations is so important.

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Car park changing – I can say bon voyage to the car park struggle. Trying to get your pants on the right way round without your towel falling down – with numb hands its always a battle. Dryrobe = cosy changing palace!

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Photography – this is a bit of an alternative use, but since the weather is getting colder I’ve used my Dryrobe on a few occasions for photography. If I’m out with my tripod for long periods of time not moving I get really cold, so it has been really handy for that.

Van adventures – van dressing gown? The best thing ever. I say van and not tent because the Dryrobe takes up quite a lot of room so it’s not ideal for tent camping, but perfect to have in a van.

Boat journeys – wind chill is something I always forget to consider if we are heading somewhere on a rib/open top boat. Sticking my Dryrobe on over my wetty keeps that wind off, as well as sea spray and rain.

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Features
  • Completely waterproof and windproof
  • Super warm synthetic lambs wool lining
  • Full lengths 2 way reversible zip
  • Fleece lined pockets
  • Lightweight (1.3kg)
  • Waterproof chest pocket
  • Internal zip pocket (phone, wallet, iPod)
  • Huge A4 sized internal pocket
  • Velcro wrists
Key Benefits
  • Fits over clothing/wetsuit
  • Re-use multiple times without it feeling wet
  • Provides protection from the elements
  • The lining draws water away from my skin
  • Dries me instantly and continues to keep me warm
  • Hands kept warm in the insulated pockets
  • Stores my things safely (phone, money, camera, snacks)
  • Lightweight to carry

To sum it up, I can’t fault this product. It great, and truly a lifesaver for someone like me who gets very very cold. It’s something that will always be in the boot of my car ready to use. I also got a Dryrobe drybag with my order (bought separately) which I would recommend as the robe does take up a bit of space if it’s not in a bag.

I’ve had a lot of questions over price, this robe is £110. It is a pricey purchase and something to consider. For me, it came down to safety and how the product would perform keeping me warm and dry in challenging situations. It works – and therefore it is worth it in my opinion!

www.dryrobe.com

Thanks for reading

Keep up with adventures @ronamcmillan

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