Catching The Dragon's Tail: Southeast Asia Adventure
Published on 07/18/2012
By Peter Reese
Epic trips, particularly three-country pushes in fewer than two weeks, test a traveller’s resolve, fitness and gear. Bouncing from business to trekking and cruising in a matter of days turned a recent trip to China, Vietnam and Hong Kong into a one-pack challenge that only a quality kit could withstand.
Gramicci High Trail Jacket
First in the fray was the Gramicci HIGH TRAIL JACKET, a combination of safari styling and military-issue functionality. Constructed of lightweight 6 oz. cotton twill, the jacket took 14-hour plane rides, shuttles and business meetings in stride. Plenty of zippered and buttoned pockets handled in-transit essentials while the HIGH TRAIL’s cut offered comfort even in cramped conditions.
Gramicci Endurance Tee
Underneath as both base and outside layer was Gramicci’s unparalled NPT (Natural Performance Technology) ENDURANCE TEE in anytime Jet Black. The 55% hemp and 45% certified organic cotton blend acted like a wicking synthetic while keeping odor and wrinkles to an absolute minimum. An Active Junky perennial pick, ENDURANCE transitioned from commerce in Shenzhen, China to trekking in northern Vietnam’s Sapa region with a quick in-sink wash.
Dakine Cyclone Roll Top Bag
Carrying the weight of the journey, Dakine’s CYCLONE ROLL TOP BAG proved priceless in dodging rain, rivers and salt water as it maintained a low profile in high theft areas. The 20” x 12” x 11” main compartment requires intelligent packing but rewards the traveller with easy shoulder-strap carrying and superior strength to resist abuse – and discourage intruders. The single exterior pocket put snacks, maps and sunscreen close during long, bumpy bus rides.
Craghoppers Nosilife Convertible Trousers
Hailing from England and with connection to the intrepid Bear Grylls, CRAGHOPPERS proved to be a stellar choice with the NOSILIFE CONVERTIBLE TROUSERS. Smart enough to command respect at the conference table but agile on the trail between Hmong villages, the pants come with a cadre of highly secure pockets. Permanently insect repellent and constructed for active endeavors, the NLIFE avoided the conspicuous baggy look of most travel pants.
Craghoppers Nosilife Longsleeve Shirt
In parallel fashion, the NOSILIFE LONG SLEEVE SHIRT had the presence of mind to look neat, tailored and prepared for blazing sun and brisk winds. Craghoppers, while not a dominant name in U.S. outdoor circles yet, is more than competitive with common brands on a feature and performance basis. For easy care and athletic cut, Craghoppers jumped to the front of the line on this three-country whirlwind tour.
The LIZARD KROSS proved to be a mind-expanding footwear choice for travel and lighter-duty excursions. The Kyodo sole construction of this elastic-laced shoe surprised with all-day cushion and in-flight comfort. More than one conversation was propelled by the unique appearance of the Kross including the startled expression of a steward on an all-night train to Vietnam’s border with China. More practical than sandals for dirty, gritty conditions, Kross maintained its composure when wet thanks to quick-drying construction.
FITS Light Hiker Crew Socks
Underneath the Kross and Mammut’s REDBURN multi-function approach shoe were FITS LIGHT HIKER CREW SOCKS. Spun from 65% wool and 27% nylon plus poly and Spandex for shape, FITS handled nearly continuous use with minimal care. While Active Junky testing had previously revealed their merits, the company’s 100% Guarantee provided an extra measure of confidence while wheeling around Hanoi on the back of one of 4 million motor scooters swarming the streets of this city of 7 million.
With more gear recommendations to come in a second installment, Active Junky will put in-transit and on-trail testing in Southeast Asia on the line. When it comes to taking advantage of adventure opportunities, there’s no reason to let poor gear get in the way of epic memories.