Aussie Brand Sea to Summit have become a leading force in the UK wild camping scene in the last few years. Their gear is expensive, there’s no doubt about that, but their products are absolutely top-notch quality as well as very well thought out in terms of usability. It shouldn’t matter, but Sea to Summit equipment is just plain cool, so if it matters to you that your rucksack contains only the coolest gear then check out their website here.
The Sea to Summit Alpha pan is a lightweight (230g for this size) aluminium pan. This version holds 1.9L and there are two other sizes – 1.2L and a generous 2.7L version. The pan is coated with a nonstick substance which, thus far, I’ve not managed to weld some food to which is a first for me so the coating must be good! The handle hinges so that it can be swung around horizontally and clipped neatly to the pan’s silicone lid handle. This also closes the lid onto the pan. This closure system is very neat and works very well – there’s obviously been a lot of thoughtful, non-gimmicky design processes here which is great to see.
I’ve found this pan to be the perfect size (1,9L) for solo catering while wild camping but I’ve easily cooked for three, me plus my two bottomless-stomached children, with ease using this pan. Having said this the 1.9L size is still small enough to be nice and compact. The pan is very light but also strong and I’ve not yet managed to mark or dent the pan after several wild camping trips. Can a pan look cool? I’m going to stick my neck out and say yes. I’ve never thought of any cookware in my life as “cool,” but I can’t help but regard this pan as an object of technical beauty! It should matter but to me it does.
I picked this up for Just £28 including postage from outdooraction.co.uk Retail price is £45.
The Scarpa Delta GTX Activ from the legendary, high quality mountain footwear manufacturer has been around for a few years now. For me, this is one of Scarpa’s most pleasing traits; they make a product that works (and sells) and then they stick with it. Many makers of fine gear change their products on an annual basis – planned obsolescence if you will, so that the customer is always left feeling their version of the product is out of date, leaving them wondering if they need to shell out and get the latest version. Not so with Scarpa who have the confidence, built over decades success, to stick with their impeccably stitched guns.
Take a one look at a pair Scarpa Delta GTX Activ and they just shout “classic mountain boot.” No fancy colours or space aged graphene technology. They are black and brown leather boots. I personally think they look great and will never go out of fashion.
The build quality is obvious from the first sniff of those calf leather uppers. A one-piece wrap around upper with only one stitched seam on the instep where water might think about getting in. Even if water tried, it’s got a layer of Goretex to get through before it reaches your feet – which isn’t happening. Scarpa’s “Speed-lace” steel lacing pulleys are super sturdy, no danger of you kicking them off the boot on a rock. For the tongue and ankle, Scrapa have used a luxurious soft nubuck style leather, possible offcuts from the Rolls Royce upholstery shop, for extra comfort where it’s needed the most. These boots don’t have a full rand, just a toe rand, which may preclude these boots from being purchased by more hardcore, or less nimble mountain walkers though. The soles, Vibram naturally, are big and aggressive and I personally like how the rubber is quite firm. A tougher rubber won’t grip as well on rock where softer rubber would, but I’ve had boots with soft rubber that have ended up looking like Swiss cheese after long walks on the UK’s more rocky summits (think Tryfan or the Scafells), but in the UK’s mostly muddy and grassy hill terrain the harder rubber will keep you from falling on your backside by biting into the mulch. It really depends upon where you envisage using these boots and if you are looking to venture onto mostly rocky terrain you may want to look at Scarpa’s more mountain orientated range such as the Ribelle Lite.
So what are they like to wear? Here’s where these boots may divide opinion. If you are looking for a light, nimble boot for dancing over the trails of the UK’s hills, these aren’t for you. A traditional boot, the The Scarpa Delta GTX Activ is more suited to traditional hillwalking. By that I mean hill walking trails, grass, bog and wet conditions. These are a heavy boot which means they will be bombproof and last many years, but they aren’t for fast and light use or scrambling. For that, you’d need to take a look at Scarpa’s Ribelle range once again. These boots are also stiff, really stiff, but that will suit our perpetually damp hills here in the UK. If you are looking for a long lasting, high quality, stylish boot for a supportive and confidence inspiring hill walking day out – these boots can’t really go wrong. Scarpa’s retail price is £270 but I picked a pair up for £225 from Go Outdoors (August 2023).