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OSPREY’S VARIANT 37- They accidently made a pack for everything!

Backpacks are our most valuable companion, yet they’re generally the one’s which we abuse the most.

They’re strapped to our sweaty frame for countless hours, while they’re squeezed, scraped, and dragged through everything from rocky canyons to fiery fynbos. 

The Osprey Variant 37 was one of my choices for my recent 6 month expedition to the chilly Andes this year. It would have been easy to find gear just for the mountains; however I wasn’t just in the mountains. I thought it would be a groovy idea to sail to Brazil and once land was made, I hitched rides and travel by smelly buses for over 10,000kms to go climb the magnificent ice which the Andes offers in abundance.

This meant my gear was met with the salty spray of the Atlantic and one hell of a beating on each dodgy bus and truck I jumped on. The many detours I took en route kept the abuse going. Wading through the clammy swamplands of Pantanal, Brazil was replaced by the hustle and bustle of Latin American’s vibrant and smoggy markets.

Before my axe had been plunged into an icy wall, my tough little osprey had been violated by a large number of things including a half cooked Gini pig foot, given to me by a Sharman in Bolivia!  I was impressed with it before, but it was built for big mountains and it didn’t disappoint.  

If the pack was full or carrying the bare minimum for those long summit pushes, Osprey’s simple compression system made sure I didn’t faff around random bits of bag during those precarious situations.  With that, the light and narrow build always stayed centre, leaving me to move freely.

Ultimately, you want the contents of your bag to stay protected and dry. The bomb proof fabric kept the elements off my down jacket and woolly socks no matter if I got caught out in the warm tropical rains of Brazil or, while on Yannapacha, Peru (5520m), when my 2 climbing partners and I were held down in a white out in my little 2 man tent for 14hours. Our bags were left out in the arctic winds and heavy snow. Other than a thick crust over all of our gear the only issue I had was an iced up flask of tea, everything in my pack stayed dry.    

Even with puffy mitts you won’t worry about getting into the various compartments. With that, the large top-loading area makes life easy and efficient even on steep inclines and low visibility. The loading and storage system is also awesome for just travelling. The hood’s large and secure compartments are great for anything you want quick access to, like your passport, energy bars, cameras and Gini-pig feet. 

Osprey’s Variant 37 may have been designed for ice-axes and bulky ropes; however they unknowingly made a bag for everything. It’s comfy, simple and will be taking vast amounts of abuse for many years to come. I’m pretty damn glad it joined me on my adventure and I’d seriously recommend it for anyone who’s hitting the road or the crags regularly.

So, that’s my two cents worth and if you’re keen, go and give it a fit. Plus, with Ospreys “ALL MIGHTY GARENTEE”, you really can’t lose. 




The Osprey Xenith 88... BOMB PROOF!

1 blown buckle and a bit of tore mesh...thats it. After all of those months of being lugged and bashed around on boats, buses, canyons, and snowy peaks with 40 kgs of very precious cargo, this pack delt with it all.

If you need a reliable companion go with ‪#‎Osprey‬ packs. I couldn't reccomend them more. Oh yes, their "any reason garentee" is no joke. Here it is, good as new. If you're looking for some good gear advice go to ‪#‎packs‬‪#‎gear‬ ‪#‎k2a14‬ ‪#‎adventureincza‬ ‪#‎ospreypacksZA‬ 


Gear Review | CAPESTORM Merino Base Layer

Capestorm adventurer, Kai Fitchen, recently went out to the Cederberg for a climbing adventure and he took his brand new Merino base layers with him. These are his thoughts about how the new Merino base layers held up:

"The glory of being out and about in our great natural world is being able to justify that “rugged-dirty- look”- it just makes life fun!

However, when you haven’t had a shower in over two weeks; you've got a bunch of bloody sores which haven’t fully healed and you’re wiping your dripping nose constantly on your sleeve while enduring a sweaty yet chilling slog- it can be a bit overwhelming. Having that smelly combination of events within your clothing (which is rather common) is always a great test of friendship in a snug tent!

I've always struggled to find something which feels good, keeps me warm and dry and after I've worn it for days at a time. Over the past couple of days, some friends and I went to have some fun, Trad climbing in the icy-old Cederberg. Wolfberg is a magical place of rich orange rock faces with some of the most classic lines in South Africa. Climbing it in Winter also makes life a bit more trying. It gets barely any sun which always makes for some excitement while precariously moving up the rock with numb toes!

The Merinos were fantastic. The snug fit allowed me to move freely without it snagging on neither gear nor pointy rocks, while we desperately dragged ourselves through some interesting gullies. The warmth from that little bit of performance Merino fabric was just remarkable, it kept me smiling during those long belays even though we were being hit by some nasty winds from high above. 
I’m so psyched to have these in my pack for my 8 month expedition next year! 

Plus, for the first time on a climbing mission, I smelt minty fresh (Well, as minty fresh as I smelt when I put the Merinos on!)"


The Illusions: I don’t think they were designed for this!

Lugging around a pack weighing just about the same as a small chubby child is never fun for ones knees or spirit, especially when it’s over half a year! That pretty sums up KAPE 2 ATACAMA, my most recent mission to see the world from a very different perspective.

I crossed the Atlantic with the power of wind and then, by just bus and hitching rides, I managed to climb some of the most inspiring icy peaks the Andes has to offer. It was an experience which showed me the real importance of light and reliable equipment.

In this case footwear was a real pain in the neck to sort out prior to setting sail. I say this because, not only did my toes have to stay protected in precarious canyons, chilly mountains, clammy swamps and slippery boats. There was also my biggest fear, bustling rugged cities. Not the best combination.

Hi-Tec’s Illusions were never my first choice as an everyday shoe. They have a sliver of rubber and then not much else. But, the fact that they are so minimalistic made them particularly resilient when travelling. Basically, there are no fancy bits and bobs waiting to be ripped off and that made them such a super companion.

I was there, ultimately, to climb, however there was a large amount of time between leaving Cape Town and arriving in the hills. Again, I asked even more from these little pair of kicks and they bombed along on training runs through asphalt and light trail.   

I’m pretty sure the Illusions weren’t design to deal with what I put them through, but they did it. They’re not a shoe for everyone with little support and little protection. However, if you’re like me, wanting something light and simple which keeps you separate from the elements, this is a great shoe. 

 I’m back from my adventures for a bit, but no matter if I’m going for a jog, heading to the crag or getting my fitness up to a respectable level, the Illusions are my choice.

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