Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team
‘Testing’ the Argonaut
By Hati Whiteley
17, Oct, 2017
Rob puts the Argonaut through its paces on a typical Lake District weekend
We never know what to pack for a weekend in the lakes.
Even if the weatherman had predicted a heatwave, we wouldn't trust it. The Lake District is just too synonymous with water; lake water, river water, and water that falls from the sky. We wouldn't change it for the world though, all that water sculpts the glorious landscapes that keep us coming back.
To add to our woes, you can pack so much into a Lake District weekend that you end up trying to pack the same amount of stuff into your bag to cater for each activity. You could be biking in the morning, kayaking in the afternoon, and seeing off the day with a torchlit run over the fells before retiring to your tent. The next day, you get a brew on and start it all over again.
With all that in mind, we could barely hide our excitement when we were handed some brand new 'multiactivity' waterproofs to take with us on our Lake District weekend. One shell for everything? It packs down that small? And it weighs how much? It's a Lake District dream come true!
The Argonaut isn't what we're used to when it comes to waterproofs. When we're at home with all our creature comforts, we've come to rely our specialists: a shell for this and a shell for that, sometimes we end up overspecialising. There's no doubting that the Argonaut is technical, but it's no specialist, and therein lies its strength.
Rather than packing a shell for every possible occasion, we just took one: The Argonaut. It's scary to feel like you've under packed for a weekend in the Lakes but a quick inspection of the 2.5 layer fabric left us feeling at ease, and boy did it perform! In fact, from the moment we arrived until the moment we left, I don’t think Alana, Leigh-Ann and I took our Argonaut jackets off!
The usual October Lake District weather prevailed, with the promised sun surrendering to the usual showers, then cloud, then back to sun again; but we got out and about all the same to revisit some of the more familiar fells around Ambleside. No matter what we did, the Argonaut's 10k/10k waterproofing and breathability was enough to keep us comfy and dry in the changeable conditions.
The best thing about the Argonaut was that it simply did what it was supposed to. The relaxed fit meant that we could throw a few mid layers underneath when we got high on Fairfield or strolled in the valley around Rydal Water. Late in the day it gave us space to vent as we ran over Loughrigg. When we borrowed a few Sonder bikes from the Ambleside shop (something we always manage to make time for), the Argonaut struck a perfect balance, giving us room to move so that we wouldn't overheat without flapping about too much in the wind.
It's always a treat to test new gear, especially when it's gear that you really really like. I was almost reluctant to take the Arognaut off and hang it up to dry in the Rattle Gill Café - we'd worn them for everything else, why not here too? I was even more reluctant to part with it after our weekend of testing was over, but we had managed to sneak them out for a few adventures closer to home beforehand which softened the blow a bit.
A waterproof that keeps your comfy and dry, even in mixed conditions; what more could you ask for?