This year has seen an almost total change in kit. The mileage count is up as is the distance at any one sitting, so this has been a fine balance between known devil and new and improved.
First up. Maxxis Ignitors. There you go.
Second up, Pearl Izumi. The welded seam shorts (err, microsensor 3d pro bibs, i think) are very comfortable indeed right from the first ride. they seem to sit well, with no chafing or wrunkling (despite some visible bunching of the flat seams with movement) and so far have been very durable. Choice number one.
The other Pearl Izumi product that has been very impressive is the Gel Vent glove. Full finger, soft, black (phew!) with a rubbery cross hatched padded area over the 3 pressure points of the palm. Excellent.
Last for today: Wingnut Assault. A pack that is both small and simple, made form sail cloth for light weight, water shedding and toughness, with 2 small zippered pockets left and right and a main entry zip for bladder (not included) stowing and pump-getting. The pack has one feature that sets it apart from the rest. It is designed to sit over the lumbar spine. The first time I used it? The wilderness 101. It would have been a bummer if it didn't work well, and comfortably. It did. Main feature, light weight so less cantilevered weight, and excellent ability to reach snacks from the side pockets. It has an integral whistle at the sternum strap and at 1.5l capacity the fluid volume with 2 big bottles is perfect for me.
One seldom used but very welcome feature is the lack of movement in steep, technical challenging, terrain. Thumping into yer lid here is a bad way for yer pack to behave.