In the last blog I detailed my route. The other two key areas for my attention between now and May are gear and fitness
As soon as the decision to enter the TGOC is made your mind starts to focus on your gear, kit, equipment whatever you call it.What have I got that will be fine on the trip, what will need replacing and what else do I need? Any comments from your OH relating to the fact that you are not sure of a place are deemed irrelevant as if you do not get in this year the organisers pretty much guarantee you a place the following year in this statement “We try to ensure that no-one is unlucky two years running.” So bearing that in mind and factoring in that well known equation Want = Need a complete gear review needs to be undertaken. So lets start with the key items first.
I have an Exped Lightening 60L which suits me fine. It may not be the very best on the market but I think I need to save my £s for other items.
As i mentioned in the previous post we have a Scarp 2 which is spacious for two and a ballroom for one. I have used it on a solo overnight backpack but at 1.8kg its a bit heavy to carry across Scotland.
So the search was on for a new shelter. I was looking for something light, easy to set up, good in the wind, roomy with plenty of porch space. The roomy porch space was something I was particularly keen on so that I would have room to cook and store stuff in the rain. After a lot of research and talking to people on twitter, and watching videos I decided to go for an MLD Cuben Fibre Duomid. Its 8ft 8in long and 5ft wide, so plenty of space and weighs in at just over 350g before you add the guys.
Next decision is what inner to go for. MLD do a inner net but I decided to go for an Oookworks nest instead. There are two reasons I did. Firstly I prefer a ripstop fabric inner compare to a net, and secondly it has a T zip construction instead of the J zip on the MDL inner. It took quite a while to get my Oookworks inner but worth the wait in the end. All in all the inner, shelter, guylines and pegs come in just over a kilo. There is an excellent video of a Duomid being set up with an Oookworks inner here.
Last year I changed my Thermarest Prolite for an Exped Synmat UL7 The main reason for the change is that I like to sleep on my side and with the thermarest I found my hip touching the ground but this does not happen with the 7cm thick Exped.
Other bits and pieces.
The following will also be making the crossing, Sawyer Mini Filter, Pacer Poles and MSR Micro Rocket (just ordered) plus I have it on good authority that Santa will be bringing an MSR Titan Kettle. Before anyone asks all of these products have been paid for with my own money or obtained as presents from the family.Thats not to say that I will not accept any gear items for testing!
There are several, expensive, items of gear that I need to get or replace. One word connects them all down. Firstly I need a down sleeping bag. Preferably with a comfort rating of zero degrees and obviously not too heavy. Then I need a down jacket and some down trousers. PHD stuff all looks good but not cheap. Any recommendations welcome.
I’ve now ordered a sleeping bag. Thanks for all the advice here and on twitter and especially Gordon, @aktovate1, for pointing out the Minim 300 in the PHD sale. I went for the short zip option as well.
So just the down jacket and trousers to go so if you see a bargain please give me a shout.
If I remain healthy and reasonably injury free then this should be the easy bit. I’m retired and live in the Lake District so I average three days a week on the fells. As long as in the New Year I make sure I do some longer walks and of course some backpacks I should be OK. My experience of multi day walks suggests that as long as you start with a good fitness base you will get fitter as the days pass. As I said if I remain healthy and relatively injury fee.
However is one are I do need to improve. I’m doing everything I can to get my pack weight down now I need to get my weight down. I recently got weighed and decided one and a half stone needs to go. So far four pounds has gone. Watch this space I will keep you informed.