One of the key aspects to the above is the clothing and if one goes wrong in this, the tenacity and success of the trek itself in addition to Self-Safety is in jeopardy. Just because it is cold does not mean that one cannot go outside and do what we want to do. But it takes planning and careful thought. If you are heading outdoors no matter what the season the easiest way to stay comfortable is to dress properly.
Layering is simply a strategy that emphasis versality and efficiency. Instead of bulking oneself with heavier items it is always better to put together an outfit with lighter items that can be removed or worn depending on the situation
In this article I would be speaking about the outer layer which is of critical importance. This layer is designed to protect the body from the elements of the weather and terrain. Hence it needs to be windproof, water proof as well as tough. This is an important layer and if this permits the wind, rain or snow to seep in, the inner layers too will not be able to function in the way they are designed. These should also be flexible and allow sufficient body movement.
So for quite some time I did not have a proper outer layer which could cater to the weather requirements Most of my treks were not in deep winter hence I could get by with the middle and base layer. However coming to a point when I decided to go for a true blooded winter trek in the Ladakh region in deep winter of January and I knew that I had to be well prepared for the onslaught of temperature and terrain . To satisfy the curious mind, the average temperature in Ladakh region in peak winter hovers around – 35 deg. Thus began my search for an outer layer that would encompass the three attributes mentioned above which are
I must confess that I have been an ardent admirer of products from the RAB line of clothing and no wonder that I was browsing through their catalogue and came across the “Photon Pants “. I immediately after a bit of research ordered these and what a magnificent piece of clothing these were. I used them for my trek into the Ladakh region in peak winter and I must say that these pants performed admirably. I was subjecting them to a lot of wear and tear but they held their own and made my life very comfortable in the entire 12 days that I was in the domain of snow and ice. Not on one occasion did I feel the need to have additional clothing or felt the cold seeping in through the Photon pants.
Let me speak a bit about its attributes:
Firstly, these are definitely in the “Big League “, I mean these are very warm, Primaloft synthetic insulated, designed for greater freedom of movement and as claimed by RAB designed for the polar environment. They have used a combination of Pertex Microlight and Ripstop fabrics to design an extremely durable abuse resistant clothing. I used the pants on the trek with gay abandon and they held themselves admirably. Reinforced knees and seat provide high protection in addition to freedom of movement. Zippers are full length along the trouser and made of YKK of course thus making the pants super easy to take on and off while in inhospitable conditions. The pant is designed for the harshest environment and I can vouch that they deliver on every word spoken.
Some technical details
My views on usage
Well I have used them in extreme conditions and they passed with flying colors on all fronts stated above. However, they are not suitable for use in mild weather conditions or in winters of medium altitude. For that we have to look at something else but in case one is looking at winter/alpine conditions wherein the temperature will be in range of -30 to +10 deg with a wind chill factor to consider, you will thank yourself that you have the Photon Pants from RAB to take care of you .
Primaloft Gold Insulation. Let me first say about PrimaLoft , this brand of microfiber insulation was developed for the US army in the 1980s. In general, this is a synthetic material which keeps its insulation properties even if it gets wet. PrimaLoft Gold insulation is the best material ever produced. This insulation is considered to be among the best synthetic materials. This is due to particularly tiny fibers which trap the air and warmth very effectively. One can easily say that it is the industry benchmark when it comes to insulation.
Ripstop fabric. These are woven fabrics often made of nylon, using a special reinforcing technique that makes them resistant to tearing and ripping. The applications are in parachutes, yacht sails, hot air balloons etc where durability is of prime concern in adverse operating conditions.
YKK zippers. YKK is the largest Zipper manufacturing company in the world. This Japanese company was founded in 1954 and is the leader when it comes to state of the art Zippers.
YKK zippers with Aqua Guard. These are water repellent zippers of the AquaGuard series with a polyurethane lamination tape on the outside surface. This provides enhanced water resistance