5.16.2009

Lighten the Load


Lightweight and Ultralightweight gear is hard to come by in the Netherlands. Strange that in a land without mountains, traditional, full-on mountaineering gear is so dominant in gear shops. You'd imagine that lightweight philosophy would take hold easily in this part of the world: the hill-fit are hard to find, long car/train/plane journeys are required to get to the hills, crossover gear is more suitable for use between trips and when you make just a handful of trips a year durability isn't top priority. Whilst light isn't right for everybody I'm prepared to bet that it's right for most poeple in this part of the world. So why do the gear shops insist on peddling heavy-weight kit? Why do I see people walking through the tulip fields wearing crampon compatible boots every spring?

Most of my majour purchases in the last couple of years have been made overseas. Some of this has been motivated by advantageous exchange rates, first the dollar and later the pound, but the main reason has been to acquire excellent kit developed and manufactured by small, inovative companies that understand the requirement (my requirement) for no-frills functionality in a lightweight package. I'm more frequently asked to pass on details of suppliers. Manufacturers I've used are already listed. I've added some new links to the small, independent retailers who've done so much to make light and ultralight gear avalable in the UK (long may they flourish!). The list isn't exaustive. It simply reflects the companies I've used and that are familiar to me. I'll continue to update both gear and retailers lists as and when I discover new ones.

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