The Yorkshire Three Peaks – an almost perfect one-day hike

A few weeks ago, while on holiday in Cumbria, I was after a bit of a challenge and a fun day hike so we decided to hike the Yorkshire Three Peaks. Taking in the Pennine peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, it’s a roughly 24-mile route with some spectacular views and some glorious landscapes. Alongside the national Three Peaks Challenge, the Yorkshire Three Peaks is one of the UK’s best known hiking challenges, but it’s also probably as close as I’ve found to a ‘perfect’ one-day hike in the UK.

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Q&A: Should you wear GORE-TEX boots for hiking?

Between us, James and I have owned and worn a lot of different hiking footwear over the years. Classic leather boots. Chunky, rigid, water-proof boots issued by the army. Light-weight trail shoes. And of course modern, high-tech, waterproof boots. I recently bought a new pair for some winter hiking in the UK, and ended up pondering a question that I can see has occupied a lot of people online; are GORE-TEX boots a good choice for hiking?

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Coros Apex Review: 46mm Of Serious Multisport Watch

Introduction

COROS are a relatively new contender in the sports watch arena and they’re definitely worth considering if you’re in the market for a serious upgrade. Admitedly, the Apex is aimed squarely at triathletes with a claim of being, “The best watch a triathlete could ever own.” But don’t let that put you off – this COROS Apex review is going to dig into the features that make this a great option for hiking and hillwalking (especially if you feel like a lake swim halfway through your journey).

The obvious question for most people is: which sports watch should I buy? Many rivals exist, including the Garmin Fenix 6 (which Jake recently reviewed), one of the many Fitbit devices, Casio, etc. To be honest, the list is long, but many of those products barely meet the definition of being a true sports watch.

Now, before we move on, I have to admit to being a little unfair. If you’re fairly new to the hiking, triathlon, running, etc do not be tempted to splurge on a massively expensive watch. Your activities might be short-lived, or you may find that basic smart watch functionality is more than enough to meet the demands of your training sessions. In which case, take a look at less financially taxing watches such as the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ (it’s effective, but a fraction of the price of the Apex and Garmin’s more feature-rich devices).

So let’s get into this review. I’ve tried to test the Apex in as many scenarios as possible. The one notable failure on my part is the swimming feature. I can swim a long distance, at a push, but I’m no rocket. In fact, watch me in the pool and you’ll see toddlers lapping me!

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Hiking Boot Alternative: The Altra Lone Peak 4 Review

This post was last updated on September 28th, 2020 at 06:37 pm

Treksumo was created with hiking and trekking in mind, but from time to time we step off the well-beaten hiking routes in order to explore and review gear we think should have a place in your packing list. A good example of this is the hiking boot alternative category as today we’re going to be walking through a quick Altra Lone Peak 4 review.

Altra Lone Peak 4: a great hiking boot alternative
Altra Lone Peak 4: a great hiking boot alternative (toggles are my cusomtisation for fast and secure fitting.

We originally looked at this topic when we answered the question should I use hiking boots or trail runners for my hikes? Check out that post for thoughts and advice we’ve collected over the years.

You’ve probably already guessed that Altra are a company that make footwear for road and cross country running. So why are we reviewing running shoes? Because I’ve found they make an near-perfect alternative to hiking shoes and boots as you’ll see.

Preamble over. Time to review the Lone Peak 4 trainers.

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Rab Cirrus Flex Hoody Review: Lightweight, Synthetically-insulated Jacket

The last few times I’ve bought insulated jackets I’ve tended to go for real down. It’s warm, compressible, and it just felt like the ‘superior’ option versus artificial insulation. Fleeces aside, my only synthetically insulated jacket prior to buying the Rab Cirrus Flex was the very lightweight Arc’teryx Atom LT. However, on a trip to the Cairngorms a couple of years ago, down jackets were strongly discouraged and I ended up borrowing a synthetic jacket. The reason, simply, is that even the very best hydrophobic down just does not perform well when wet. And it’s almost always wet in Scotland. Wet down clumps together and loses its loft, and suddenly what you thought was bombproof insulation is about as effective as wrapping yourself in damp newspaper. You can read more about what makes a down jacket warm here. So perhaps it’s no wonder that, for a lot of hikers and climbers in the UK – where it pretty much rains all the time – synthetic insulation is seen as a better choice. In other parts of the world, where cold but very dry conditions can be guaranteed for weeks at a time, real goose down is of course an excellent choice.

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Garmin Fenix 6 Review

Introduction

The Garmin Fenix 6 is, essentially, Garmin’s top-of-the-range activity watch (with the debatable exception of the almost-identical Tactix). It has ended up at the top of the food chain in almost every category: not only is it their most fully-featured hiking and navigation wearable but also one of their only watches with true multisport functionality for triathletes, their premium lifestyle and smart watch, and a running watch that is at least as good as anything in the Forerunner series. Almost every feature that exists anywhere in the Garmin wearables range is available in the Fenix, especially the Fenix Pro.

In a way, that makes it an obvious choice – if you can afford it (and that’s a big if), why not buy it, and be confident that you’re unlikely to be missing out on anything? On the other hand, given that it’s comfortably twice the price of some of the excellent watches in the Forerunner range, or the superb Garmin Instinct – is it really worth the sizeable investment? Read this mega-review to find out my thoughts after a month of extensive testing in as many conditions as I could manage.

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PreTents Ridgeline Review: a serious 2-person expedition tent

This post was last updated on August 31st, 2020 at 02:02 pm

Introduction

PreTents is a new arrival on the tent scene, but with some serious pedigree behind it. Though information is currently fairly sparse online, the brand is a new venture between Hong Kong-based cottage outdoor gear designed Tara Poky and well-established Chinese tent manufacturer The Free Spirits. In the UK, PreTents can be purchased from Valley and Peak, who kindly loaned us the PreTents Ridgeline for testing and review purposes (it was returned afterwards, and neither PreTents nor Valley and Peak had any input into the content of this article).

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What Is Rucking?: Awesome Cardio for Running Haters

This post was last updated on August 31st, 2020 at 08:52 am

Here’s a revelation: one of the two authors of TrekSumo hates running. He sees it as the very embodiment of Hell, but he pounds the pavements and trails because running is one of the best ways to prepare for long days hiking over hill and vale. But there is another way to create a powerful pair of heart and lungs – rucking. But what is rucking?

Let’s explore this very simple form of exercise.

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Garmin InReach Explorer+ Review: A Deep Dive

garmin inreach explorer+ review

This post was last updated on August 3rd, 2020 at 04:21 pm

I’ve already carried out some side by side comparisons of satellite communicators and navigator devices, but finally decided to get a Garmin InReach Explorer+ review out there for our readers.

Jake, the co-author of TrekSumo, and I have a huge amount of experience using GPS and navigation devices. I’m ex-military, with 10 years service in the British Army, and Jake is seasoned hiker and explorer. Over the course of respective tours, we’ve encountered the good, the bad and the ugly of satellite navigation devices (trust me: the military is great at buying and dumping heavy, U-G-L-Y equipment on the troops).

Anyway, time to quit the meander down memory lane. Let’s get this InReach review on the road.

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Osprey Atmos 65 Review

This post was last updated on July 20th, 2020 at 10:12 am

Introducing the Osprey Atmos 65

My Atmos 65 was both a very last-minute and, as it turned out, a very fortunate purchase. 

Back in 2018 when I went to Seattle to spend a few days hiking Section J of the Pacific Crest Trail, the rucksack I had taken with me was a Vango Contour 60+10; a decent but by no means top-end piece of kit that had served me fairly well on a rainy three days wild camping in Scotland but which I was becoming increasingly nervous about using. I could ignore most of its (myriad) flaws but the one thing I couldn’t ignore was that what must have been a one-off construction fault meant that the shoulder adjustment strap on one side would always end up digging into my neck, no matter how much I tried to move it. 

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