Autumn Gear List

15 October 2014

The Lake District isn’t the harshest place in the universe (that’s HD189773b, a planet with 4000mph winds that rains glass) but on some days in autumn it can get a little chilly. So I’ve threw my shorts and polyester tees in the bottom of the wardrobe to fester for the winter and dug out my warmer stuff.


I probably said a million times on this site that I don’t like wearing jackets - for that reason my criteria for jacket selection is lightness and cheapness. Nowadays lightweight hardshells are much more durable and comfortable than they ever used to be.
The cheapest one I have is the Marmot Precip (£60 and 371g). I treat it badly. I scrumple it up in my bag and hope that I never have to use it. It’s low-cost, keeps the rain off and the hoods not bad. That’s all you want a jacket to do and that’s what this one does. In case you’re worried about my jacket, it does come out of the bag to enjoy itself quite a lot - it's The Lake District..

The other one I use a lot is the Montane Atomic Jacket (£100 and 321g).

If I had a load of cash lying around I’d definitely go for this one, the Arcteryx Alpha FL Jacket (£270 and 292g) but I haven’t so I won’t.



I have loads of baselayers. I don’t know why. When I put on my baselayer I just feel a little bit more outdoorsy or smelly (so I get kicked out of the house.) Of all the baselayers I’ve tried I have an easy winner, you’re not going to like it because it’s not cheap.
My X-Bionic Energiser is the best and it’s £70 (sorry wallet). It’s close-fitting but once you’ve sausaged you’re way into it, it’s comfy. I would need help from the Large Hadron Collider to explain the science behind this top, so I’m not going to try – look here instead. All I know is, it feels good and it keeps me warm in the winter without getting too sweaty going up the strenuous bits.

The other one’s I use are:

Icebreaker Everyday Crew (£45), this is much simpler to explain, merino wool. It’s ultra-thin fibres are super soft and it can trap warm air while letting moisture out

Helly Hansen Ice Crew £45 a combination of polypropylene and merino wool with hollow fibres to imitate the hairs of a polar bear.

If you want a budget one, you can get a long sleeved crew from Marks and Spencer for £14, they’re not as warm and not as good at moisture management as some of the other ones, but they’re okay and they’re £14.



The best fleece I’ve ever used is the Montane Jaguar fleece. There’s bad news though – it’s £120 and for that it should carry my rucksack for me. It’s a 400g fleece, it never loses its shape (I’ve had mine for 4 years) and it’s fluffy inside.

More details here.
I like fleece better than softshell in the winter because I think wearing a softshell and putting a shell jacket over the top of it is overkill and makes me clammy. Fleece and windshirt or fleece and shell, they’re the options for me.

If £120 is a bit steep then Craghoppers are a good choice. The Craghoppers Kiwi Interactive Fleece is also a 400g fleece, so very warm and only £25. It’ll handle most Lake District weather in combination with baselayers and waterproofs but still nowhere near as good as the Jaguar.


Always MontaneTerra Pants (£55), the black ones not the ‘I’m hiking, look at my different coloured bum’ ones. Only in the deepest recesses of winter will I move to the Rab Vapour Rise Pants (£70). My legs never get too cold and I’d rather be slightly cold than slightly sweaty. But if you get cold legs get the lined ones on quicker.

My thoughts on overtrousers are the same as my thoughts on jackets, I don’t really want to wear them and you can’t make me…
I always leave the ‘should I put my overtrousers on?’ decision until I’m soaked, I need to get better at that. All I need from overtrousers are reasonable waterproofness, lightness, cheapness and ankle zips so I don’t have to take my boots off.

The Dare2b Assemble Overtrousers (£25 and 300g) have all this. They’re not the most gorgeous looking of things but neither am I.

If you’re pushing the boat out then go for the Montane Minimus (£90 and 125g) or the Rab Kinetic Pants (£80 and 190g). They are gorgeous.


I've only ever had one and I only ever will. The Montane Featherlite Smock (£50 and 105g.) Job done. It's basic, it's light and, yes, it keeps the wind off. I’d try others but I don’t want to.

I wouldn’t get a windproof fleece or softshell because then you’re stuck with it if the weather gets warmer. The Featherlite Smock is easy to whip on and off depending on the conditions.
Alternatives are:

Rab Cirrus 150g £60
Paramo Fuera 290g £55
Buffalo Windshirt £60 230g

But why go for them?

Just one other thing I have to mention. I have a Montane Quantum Vest that I’ve had for years and it’s amazingly useful. They stopped making it for a while but now I think it’s back in the form of the Prism Vest (£65). Light, well insulated and worth stuffing in your bag if you think it’s going to get really cold.

A Hat

I have one lug that sticks out a bit more than the other and flaps about in the wind if I'm not careful, so I always carry a Helly Hansen Warm Beanie to keep it under control. Take whatever hat stops your lugs from flapping.


My preference is the Sealskinz Ultragrip gloves (£30). They’re pretty close fitting so you can still open zips and fold your map without looking foolish. If you're feeling epic go for the Rab Latok Glove (£70).

Budget Gear Summary

Waterproof: Marmot Precip (£60)
Baselayer: M&S Long Sleeved Crew (£14)
Fleece: Craghoppers Kiwi Interactive Fleece (£25)
Trousers: MontaneTerra Pants (£55)
Overtrousers: Dare2b Assemble Overtrousers (£25)
Windshirt: Montane Featherlite Smock (£50)
Hat: Whatever you like (£10)
Gloves: Sealskinz Ultragrip Gloves (£30)

Total: £269

Dream Gear Summary

Waterproof: Arcteryx Alpha FL Jacket (£270)
Baselayer: X-Bionic Energiser (£70)
Fleece: Montane Jaguar fleece (£120)
Trousers: MontaneTerra Pants (£55)
Overtrousers: Montane Minimus Pants (£90)
Windshirt: Montane Featherlite Smock (£50)
Hat: Whatever you like (£10)
Gloves: Rab Latok Glove (£70).

Total: £735

Thanks for reading.

Ian Young

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