OK, I confess! I kept getting newsletters from Icebreaker with their new collection and that dress and wrap combo just looks sooo good – not just for Camino use, you understand, but for travel in general. Sadly the set costs a small fortune (it would cover my albergue + food and drinks expenses for a week) so obviously this wasn’t going to happen. However … I liked the idea of that dress. A lot. No stranger to ordering online and then returning stuff rather than spending days in shops, I ordered it – just to find out and get it out of my system, you understand. But … I got it, tried it, fell in love, weighed it (166 g!) tore the tag off before I could say ‘Shop Stop’ and did a little dance. Slap me on the wrist if you like but it is perfect and will be used for walks, travels and also at home so I don’t really feel bad about it. In fact I am quite pleased with finally finding such a great and versatile dress!
I have also decided it is time to stop being sentimental about the Scouse Spouse’s honeymoon Talon which is a little bit too short in the back for him. This means the weight pulls on his shoulder, which has never quite recovered from breaking the collar bone (ouch!). He is difficult to buy packs for because he is so tall and needs the back system to lift the straps off the shoulder as much as possible. I decided to try a new and extra large/long back Lowe Alpine Eclipse 35, which has now got an adjustable back system. I was hoping the three extra inches of back length would lift the shoulder straps off his bad shoulder and make it more comfortable to carry a 6-7 kg pack plus water. It has many of the same features as the Talon, with stretch side and front pockets and a large main compartment, but it is a clamshell opening one with a zip going almost all around the pack to make it easy to find stuff.
And he loves it! Success! We’ll be going for a test walk with it soon with minimal Camino kit, about 5 kgs, and make adjustments along the way if needed but I feel confident that he will be happy with it.
Note to reader: I know I write about kit and gear and technicalities a lot and it might seem that I only care about the superficial things – but the whole point of kit research and trial (and error) is to find the things that fit and function well and will eliminate unnecessary discomfort while walking. Knowing that he isn’t hurting and putting a brave face on will make us both enjoy our time on the trails more. Which is what it’s all about, surely?