Monday 16 January 2012

the north face tent mule III down slippers

I tend to run cold, and my feet are a major point of sufferance at this time of year, which is why I was disproportionately ecstatic to be sent a pair of North Face down slippers to test this winter.

I’ve had a set of cheap down booties for a while that I bought in Aviemore one particularly cold winter climbing season when I was staying up in one of the SMC mountain club huts – the kitchen was so cold at times we found that opening the fridge actually started to warm the place! Hence I’m well aware that down footware is utterly fabulous.

The biggest disadvantage that my old booties had, was that due to the cheap quality of the down and the fabric construction, walking around used to leave a light trail of feathers everywhere, and occasionally you’d end up poked in the foot by the sharp end of a small feather or two. Quite irritating I must say.

The North Face Women’s NSE Tent Mule II Down Slippers (what a mouthful!) are incredibly well constructed though, and in a good couple of months of wearing them pretty much everyday in the incredibly poorly heated ‘shed’ we call home in deepest, darkest, rural mid-Wales, I’ve not had one tiny bit of down escapage, not seen any holes start to appear (that’s even despite multiple small kitten attacks!) and still love wearing them when I want nice comfy feet!

tentmulekitten Claire was inspecting the Tent Mules – think she was relieved to be let off the hook for my ‘kittens for slippers’ campaign…

Ok, here’s what Webtogs say about these little foot-shaped bundles of joy:

The North Face Women's NSE Tent Mule III is a women's specific down slipper designed to keep your feet warm, comfortable and dry after a hard or easy day, these Tent Mule's are like sliding your feet into two clouds - that's the only valid comparison that I can think of to do them justice.
However on the other hand the North Face Women's NSE Tent Mule III slippers are pretty hard core with a toughened upper to prevent any damage if you do have to go scrambling around your log shed or skidding across the ice to grab the post. The tent mule's are water resistant and highly durable with a grippy sole to stop you slipping on any polished surfaces and tent floors.

  • Durable, water resistant, element shedding 100% recycled PET upper
  • 450 fill power down and feather insulation
  • Die-cut EVA sock line
  • Highly durable nylon mesh base with rubber fine mould traction lugs
  • Weight: 96g (I would assume this is per slipper)

Blue! Shiny, shiny lovely blueness! They do come in a range of other lovely colours, and men’s varieties too.

I’d just like to say, having spent a deal of time with my head, feet, and indeed my entire body up in the clouds at all manner of angles and speeds (remember of course I’m an aerobatic pilot as well as a mountaineer), that putting these slippers on is in fact nothing like ‘sliding your feet into two clouds’ – it is in fact a far warmer, drier and altogether more pleasurable experience!

Size-wise, I wear a UK size 4 in most shoes, and the XS slippers are perfect for me – so I’d suggest that the size guide is about right on the Webtogs site (3 – 4.5 go XS. 5 – 6.5 go S, 7 – 8 go M).

I can confirm that the bottoms of these do have some surprisingly grippy little lug things that have not as yet seen me face or butt first onto the slippery kitchen floor or icy patio, nor have the bottoms ripped or sustained any damage more than now being a touch mucky, despite me being less than careful running around outside up and down the muddy lane outside on occasion. I’m sure the postman thinks I’m a lunatic by now – this mad woman running up and down the lane wearing a big baggy jumper and bright blue down slippers! Still, appearances can be deceptive eh?

So what do I really think of these? Well of course, I love them. They’re light enough and squish down small enough to constitute a justifiable camp or hut luxury in the colder weather, are well-built and hard wearing enough to take extended and constant abuse, come in a funky selection of colours, look cool and above all keep your feet comfy warm! I would advise wearing socks inside them whenever you can though – otherwise you will end up with a bit of skanky, sweaty feet syndrome, so avoid the pong by lining your feet with some snuggly socks.

They could be considered a touch on the expensive side for general purpose slipper use (currently £26.90 from webtogs), but when you consider that these are in fact really nicely made pieces of tough, down-filled outdoors worthy kit, I wouldn’t begrudge the price one little bit. Honest.



My blue slippers:

Lots more down foot-shaped goodness:

Sunday 8 January 2012

a life of adventure

I’ve been extremely busy of late, working hard over on the Aerobatic Project website and Facebook page – it’s all going fantastically well, and I’d love to just link you guys all into two of the most exciting developments.

Firstly, I’m in the local newspaper talking about avalanches, mountain rescue and a little bit of flying:


And secondly, a rather wonderful blogger, Karlene Petitt, has just published a blog article on me and my project. It’s honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve read about what I’m trying to do – far better than anything I’ve written myself. Please head over and have a read, here.