31 Jul 2012

UL Gear for Tour Du Mont Blanc

As promised on Twitter I visited my friend and ofcourse had a chat about the gear he bought for his trip to the Mont Blanc.

I've known Jonas some years now and he was the first one to bring up UL hiking, it is because of him that I know who Andrew Skurka and "den Dzjow" is and ever since we both admire their spirit and adventures. We've been on some trips together and he brings something new every time, I consider him a proper gearhead because of the frequency he updates his kit.
Jonas has also done some solo trips not far from home and the Tour du Mont Blanc was  his first big trip alone. But it's a good preparation because in september he's going to study in Rovaniemi until december, and when in Finland one has to go hiking. I'm trying to convince him to get a Twitter and/or a blog but he's just not that interested in being social online, which he compensates more than enough in real life (ask any bouncer in Ghent :D ).

"Enough with the intro, we're here for the gear!" I hear you, dear reader, and because you've managed to rhyme three times in one sentence I'll carry on to the gear part.

I do apologize for the picture quality, I only had my cell phone with me, the camera is on a trip to Austria for the moment :/ . When I get better pics they'll be up here, you can count on it.

The Tent: MLD Solomid

MLD Solomid, in is backyard
This is the same tent Skurka uses and I can see why. The weight is very low, build quality and detailing like waterproof zippers, excellent bug perimeter (also in the notch) and very nice stakes.
Jonas said the tent kept him dry and sheltered even in some storms with high winds in the mountains. He was a bit wary to lie against the aluminium poles when it started thundering.
All in all, I definitely like the cocooning effect of the tent and I think he's made a great choice here.

Another view
Solomid closed up

 The Shoes: Adidas Riot 4

The color is already a bit faded
You don't get a lot of choice when you head out to buy trailrunners some 2 days before your plane takes off. The locals and fellow hikers all had their eyes on the brightly colored footwear as he passed, not to mention at the airport. But he's very pleased with how the shoes performed, he says they were grippy and comfortable, they of course do not feature the GTX membrane.
They went over the late ice fields in the mountains and supported his feet while he ran (!) during long descents. No blisters, no scuffing, although that probably also has much to do with his Smartwool socks.

Backpack: ULA Catalyst

He already owned the ULA Catalyst and had some trips with it and is still very pleased with it. Within the first months of purchase, every time we spoke about backpacks he told me about the fit of his ULA, it was absolutely fantastic, as if it was glued to his back. And I can't say he's lying, we are about the same length and when I fitted it, it sat bomb tight. I would not even mind running in it, it just does not move around. At all. I hope I also find a pack so good (but I'm on to one).
He's very pleased with the back panel and also the service of ULA, who emailed him multiple times for his measurements to get that perfect fit.
Stuffed ULA

Hiking Poles: Lidl brand

Now this was a wise choice IMO, he sought after cheap, sturdy and light poles to hike with and to put up his shelter. Luckily that week they sold poles in the Lidl in our neighborhood and we went to have a look. Altough quality-wise one could be a bit worried but it seemed they held up rather good. They gave him that extra jump with every step on the TMB and did not malfunction once. As for the weight I can't say exactly (I'll update after weighing) but they are not much above my Leki Makalu's, I'd guess around 270-300 gram for 1 pole.
Notice he cut off the straps, which are not needed anyway if you read the Gear Guide.
Lidl Brand poles
Again, I apologize for the picture quality, I know I shouldn't post something that awful but I guess I just wanted this post up, I had it planned for 2 weeks ago.
I hope you liked it and I will try to convince him to write a guest post about his trip.


  1. I read your post. It’s very simple and informatics. Thank you for sharing..............

    Tour de Mont Blanc

    1. Thanks for reading, Willow! Have any adventures planned yet :)?