Black Pudding Gaiters

Hiking, travelling, gear



Review – Arc’teryx Women’s Gamma MX Hoody

The Arc‘teryx Women’s Gamma MX Hoody is without doubt, my favourite go to jacket
It’s comfortable, keeps the worst of the elements out and looks good.

Despite it’s name (to me a hoody is a big jumper with a hood!),  it’s a softshell jacket.
The Gamma is very versatile,  suitable for Spring and Autumn and warmer winter days.

Arc'teryx GAMMA MX HOODY Blue

I admit, it is pricey, but,  if you’re lucky you can pick it up for around £200.
I was very lucky and not only was it available at a good price but I won £100 in the office lottery.

Needless to say, before spending that amount of money I did a lot of research.
The Arx’teryx was consistently getting good reviews.  A number of magazines and websites awarded it ‘best in test’.
I was also drawn to the look of it, it was a lot brighter than the usual outdoors stuff. In fact, I had a surprising number of people commenting on how nice the blue colour was.

I’d had good experience with Arx’teryx products in the past, particularly with the sizing. Being around 1.8m (5 ft 11)  I needed something that was a good fit, especially on the arms.
The Gamma is perfect.
Arcteryx gamma mx
The Gamma is breathable. It’s easy to regulate your temperature and it’s nice and stretchy allowing for ease of movement.
The fleece lining kept me warm.
I remained dry in most conditions, it only struggled in torrential downpours.
The peaked hood offers protection from the wind and rain  and  fits perfectly. There’s several drawcords for getting the fit just right.

I had this jacket for years. We travelled many miles. It was just as good on the streets of San Francisco as it was up a German mountain but sadly,  it had reached its end of life.
Years of heavy usage had taken its toll. The bottom had ripped, there were a few bobbles and  a tear appeared on the sleeve….just before I was due to go o holiday.

Once again, I read the reviews to find a replacement.
Some  jackets appeared good on paper but ‘in the flesh’ just didn’t work for me.
There were a few contenders but one jacket constantly getting good reviews….
…..the Arc’teryx Women’s Gamma MX Hoody.

The colours available had changed, but the design remained the same. I decided on the nickel colour.
I found  it for a good price online paid extra for next day delivery….the delivery van never arrived.  An alternative drop off was scheduled for when I was back in the country and my postage refunded but it meant I would have to patch the coat as best I could for my trip to Slovenia.
Out came the needle and thread. I don’t think I did a bad job!
It should last me the week.

One thing I love about the coat is the pockets.
So many manufactures seem to think women don’t need pockets or we get pointless minuscule things.
The Gamma has two pockets on the sides, perfect for warming your hands, and another pocket at the top which is useful for storing various bits and pieces such as a wallet.
Heading off on my holidays, my pockets contained my passport, boarding pass, English money, Euros and mobile phone.
The jacket got stuffed in my sack on board the aircraft but at the other end it came out looking perfectly un crumbled.

It was pouring down in Slovenia. I’d reproofed the jacket  before I left and I remained dry on the walk to the bus.
The next three days were wet, very wet.
In the past I’d been told not to wear a hardshell/waterproof jacket over a softshell but it caused me no problems. I stuck my Arc’teryx beta waterproof over the softshell.  and remained dry all day with my temperature just right.
Even in it’s last week of life, the jacket performed brilliantly in all conditions.  Even when I surprisingly hit deep snow, I was still nice and snug.

arc'teryx gamma mx hoody Nickel

By the time I got home, my basic stitching had come away and it was looking a little the worst for wear.
I was sad to see the coat go but least the replacement had arrived and it soon became my  ‘go to’ jacket.
It gets worn on my hikes in the hills and on my daily commute to work.
Hopefully it’ll have a life as long as my previous one!


Haglofs Vertigo II Q GT

For years I was very old fashioned in my footwear choice, when you went walking you wore big, brown, leather boots. That was it.
To be fair, there is still a place for the traditional leather boot. I still prefer them on extremely wet or snowy walks and on hills with a lot of scree, however, there is a place for approach shoes. In fact, they would probably be the best choice for most walkers.

I was disapointed with my first pair approach shoes from Merrell, too light, too flimsy.
My second pair by the Swiss brand Raichle were fantastic. Admittedly, it took a little bit of time to break them in but they soon became firm favourites.
Together, we covered many miles. They remained  comfortable and waterproof right until the bitter end.
Raichle footwear has now been re branded as Mummut, it’s parent company and, apparently, apart from the badge, little else has changed. I was tempted to stick with them for my replacements but then I discovered Haglofs.

I didn’t know much about this Swedish brand at the time and, to be honest, despite being the largest supplier of outdoor equipment in Scandinavia, they still aren’t a major player in the UK but their Vertigo shoes were getting great reviews. It’s not difficult to see why!

Haglofs Vertigo IIFor starters, gone are the days of brown boots and shoes.
Haglofs (along with other manufacturers) introduced a whole palette of colours.
I went for the rather girly purple colour. Trust me, I need all the help I can get to obtain even a slightly feminine look on the hills!
Both the men’s and women’s models come in less garish colour schemes.


I’ve had my boots for a good few years and they’ve traveled many, many miles around the British isles and Europe.
Up rocky slopes in Austria and snowy hills in Wales, scrambling across rocky coastal areas of Croatia. They’ve performed just as well on mountain bike rides as they do on long hikes.
Your feet always feel well supported  and never too hot.

Haglofs Approach ShoeThese shoes are a lot lighter than the conventional boot.
An EVA midsole reduces the overall weight of the shoe but still keeps it robust.
Abrasion resistant rubber is used on the toe and heel to provide extra protection and Gore-Tex is used to keep your tootsies dry.
The Haglofs are extremely comfortable and, unlike my previous approach shoes needed no breaking in at all.

In 2013 Trail magazine gave the following review:
“The quality of the all-round performance, coupled with the long-term durability of the design, makes the Haglöfs Vertigo II GT ideal for general use in a wide range of activities. It won the ‘Best in Test’ Award.”

Many retailers stock the Vertigo II and you can find some good deals, for example, take a look on Amazon  who still sell them at decent prices


Blog at

Up ↑