Bet you’ve been wondering how my Shop Stop is working out! Well, here’s a quick summary:
At the weekend I went for a trial walk in the torrential rain with my Camino companion, and found that my Altus Rainlight poncho (an emergency buy from the Peregrinoteca in Sarria some years ago) was too short for me. Inside the house it looks just long enough to keep my knees and legs dry, but out in the real world it rode up over my knees all the time, so I lent it to my camiga, who had a poncho which would be no match for Galician weather. I wore my Helsport one, which is an over-the-head, hump-at-the-back, seams-at-the-side poncho with nice airflow because of the open sleeves. Unfortunately that meant that my lower arms got completely soaked and made me feel cold. The Helsport is also only just long enough to keep my knees dry if there isn’t a lot of wind, which there often is in Galicia.
I remembered looking at the Snugpak Patrol poncho at one point, because it has proper sleeves and is also quite lightweight. I sent Snugpak an email asking them for the actual measurement from the shoulder seam to the hem at the front, and was told it was 144 cms. Looking at the photos of it online this seems almost too good to be true, but with my camiga offering to pay for it in exchange for the Altus, I decided to order it. If the measurements are wrong, I will have reason to return it if it turns out not to be an improvement on the Helsport. Update: The poncho measures approx 107 cms from the shoulder to the front hem, which is too short for me. It is also very wide and will accommodate a huge pack and a sizeable person, and I really like the front pocket and the hand warmer space behind it – it is just too short for me (and I’m 1.80 tall). I have spoken to Snugpak and they will put the correct measurements on their website shortly to make it easier to decide if it will work for you.
For our rainy test walk I also wore my tunic instead of a skirt, and it worked brilliantly! It never rode up under the pack, it stayed in place and felt nice against the skin and comfortable the entire time. The arm holes are a bit large, because it is meant to be worn with a vest or sports bra underneath, but this just made it more comfy. I will be wearing a merino T-shirt over it anyway, unless I sleep in it. So there’s two new outfits for free, since they were already in my kit box.
I also got the Kestrel pack I ordered for my friend and had a fun time unpacking it, then packing it with my new improved kit to take pics to send to her, and wearing it around the house for a while to see how I liked it. I did – but not enough to want one. The Kestrel (and the women’s version Kyte) are basically just sturdier Talon/Tempest type packs, but with a sleeping bag compartment. I did like that. Which reminded me how much I like panel loading packs with zipped compartments … and speaking of which, I also returned the Mira to Cotswolds without buying anything else while I was there, not even replacement S-karabiners, because I found the ones I thought I had lost.
While going through my kit box I have also found things that I no longer want or need and have put them to one side to sell on Ebay to raise money for more travel with less luggage!