I can feel it in the air, the days are getting shorter, the nights getting colder and some people are dreading the thought, don’t take away the warmth. However, some like me are itchy with anticipation at what a change of season offers. Long starry, moon filled nights and mountains dusted with fresh fluffy snow and that sense of isolated adventure when so many others take refuge inside missing out on the experience.
Well that’s how I see it anyways.
But on a more serious note I revel in the idea of change that a different season brings almost forcing you to make. Being an outdoor lifestyle photographer I never want to be stuck indoors if the option is to be out somewhere beautiful taking photographs.
Hopefully some ideas on projects will come to fruition over the next few months which will reach out and grab that change by the hand and run with it full speed straight into the cold like last year. November and December I went to Iceland and Canada with the support of Mont Adventure Equipment and some of their well-built winter gear that I could trust to perform. When I am out shooting wild places or athletes pursuing their sport I need good quality gear in not only my cameras but also in what I wear. Mother nature is not always the most cooperative wilderness partner, its ok no point worrying about what you cannot control but I need to be ready regardless of the weather.
I was blessed to have three integral outdoor items in my pack when needed at a moment’s call, the Epoch 4-season tent, Odyssey Jacket and the Brindabella Hydronaute sleeping bag.
The Epoch is the nicest tent I have used in a lifetime of tight spaced, difficult setups and blow me away winds not the case with this tent. The walls are more vertical making the floor space feel more spacious, great when your sleeping partner may not be someone you want to wake up spooning. The simple free-standing 6-pole design combined with the many guy points is quick to setup and provides plenty of support in big winds, something Iceland is not shy on dishing out. The last feature that I really admired but wasn’t able to put to use was the ingenious venting at the top of the tent, something that no doubt would come in handy in a warmer outing in Australia.
The Brindabella Ranges are a beautiful area just west of Canberra and like this area the Brindabella Hydronaute is Mont’s most popular sleeping bag for good reason. The sleeping bag I had was not their warmest model but was suitable for use in Iceland and Australian conditions especially when looking for something easily carried in a pack. Most sleeping bags from my experience make good efforts at reducing drafts but Mont have gone a step further with a dual drawstring enclosure, one closing around the face and a second around the neck. At first I didn’t realize what the extra string was for but appreciated it once I knew how to properly use it. The down is of the current generations that is treated with a DWR repellency to fight off moisture and has the industry standard snag-free double zippers to allow easy entry and opening at the feet only when too hot. The “Bella” is my new favourite warmup spot after a long day shooting in the cold.
Lastly, I have an obsession I need to confess to… Rainwear, in particular rain jackets. I have had and currently have many but the Odyssey Jacket is my favourite. 23 days solid in Iceland I did not take this jacket off once, well ok I had to shower now and then so maybe a few times. Love this jacket as a wind breaker, long length protection when sitting, durable material even from constant camera backpack wear and for low “on my stomach” photography angles to get the shot. Waterproofing, totally waterproof. One day in particular I was with a tour company taking photos as we hiked 2km to an ice-cave. The tour was nearly called off due to winds and poor visibility from bad weather but we pushed on and thankfully so as my favourite image from the 23 days was taken on this day. After almost an hour I entered the cave mouth and watched people peel off wet clothing and stare at me in disbelief asking “are you still dry?”. I was and even hours later walking back to the vans all on my own I still was. My hands were wet and cold but my body was not simply because of this jacket.
So if you too are like me and enjoy a change in scenery, a change in weather and venture further than just the beaten paths and need great gear along the way I highly recommend paying a visit to a truly great Australian business and try out their gear. Mont’s product standards are high and range wide and like so many before me, you will find that they can be trusted in the wild.