Friday, 30 January 2009

More kit revisions...

Okay so I'm coming around to the idea of paclite would save so much weight, but I'm hoping we don't have too wet a summer as I'm still not completely convinced they will stand up to it.

I think that because I'm out in all weathers doing the horses in a good "substantial" set of waterproofs that do a fab job of keeping everything out, I'm wary of trusting the lighter stuff - especially after a Snowdonia soaking in a new Berghaus paclite jacket a couple of years ago. I've never trusted paclite's since - but I guess I should move on!!

I'm still a bit twitchy about leaving my 2nd fleece behind - especially as I'm starting in Scotland when we're barely out of May. I know I'll be fine when walking - it's when I've stopped that the problems begin (I do feel the cold!). It will probably be a case of put up the tent and jump in my sleeping bag!

I still have to get my head around this backpacking light malarkey - just swapping my current gear for lighter stuff isn't enough...


Alan Sloman said...

Personally I would bin the Paclite jacket - it's thin, weedy and cold in the rain (Rain is only just above freezing point you know!)
What worked for me was a Paramo Velez smock (quite heavy at 650 or so grams) but in the rain it is warm and keeps you dry. It is far far more breatheable than Goretex rubbish and needs only a Merino base laye beneath to keep you warm.
For rest stops on cold days take a minimal down jacket stored in a waterproof bag in an outside pocket of your rucksack.
Then you can bin the fleeces entirley or take a little gilet jacket underneath the Velez in foul weather or for chilly B&B's to smarten yourself up a bit.
Gayle is a 'hard' woman! Take a pair of 'hotel trousers' with you - the lightest, tidiest you can find as your walking trousers will be smothered in mud and peat at times and will need washing.
You can take a light sleeping bag if you take a good mattress and are prepared to wear your down jacket at night in the colder weather.
Only carry water if there is no chance at all of picking any up from clean streams (ie in England) Use empty coke bottles they are lighter than all this Nalgene stuff.
Phew - just a few tips.
Good luck

Gayle said...

That Mr. Sloman - a bit of a saft southerner, you know! ;-)

I know that Alan successfully used his Paramo for his entire walk, but (and this is where we are all so different), if I was to try walking in mine in summer I would overheat almost every day and would end up carrying it - and it isn't light. Nothing against Paramo - I'm almost living in my Velez at the moment.

I would think about a down jacket or vest though - much warmer for the weight than fleece (isn't PHD due its winter sale sometime about now?).

One other item that I would certainly think about is some waterproof overmitts (I don't think they were on your list, were they?). I feel the cold, and after a backpacking trip when I didn't feel my hands for six hours (whilst walking) I wouldn't be without them.

Another thing to consider is that you don't need to get your kit list entirely right at the outset. Take what you're happy with. Leave all the stuff that you think you may need in a pile at home. If a couple of weeks in there's something you find that you need, phone home and ask for it to be sent to somewhere you're going to be three days hence. If there's something you're not using, then you can send it home (well, provided that you can find a Post Office in Scotland that's open at a time when you're in town!)

Alan Sloman said...

You what? I heard that y'know! Dead right about the lightweight waterproof over-mittens.
Don't take too many outer socks - two pairs are fine - just take loads of pairs of Bridgedale Liners for the longer sections between washing places. That way you get the most life out of your outersocks.

Sophie Easterbrook said...

Hi Alan, that was incredibly useful - thank you.

I think I've got kind of stuck in a rut clothing wise, so it's good to hear your suggestions - that really sounds like it could work for me.

A down jacket is something I've often considered vaguely, but have never looked into more than that - I've always just put another fleece on! I think it would be a good idea.

I'm lucky as far as a sleeping bag goes - Patch acts as quite a good hot water bottle! I think with this lighter bag a down jacket or vest would be a good addition though.

Thanks very much - really useful food for thought there.

Sophie Easterbrook said...

Wow - I must be slow at typing!!

Hi Gayle - thanks for that!! I was going to take some lightweight gloves, I hadn't thought of waterproof ones....I'll look into that more...

Another evening on the internet coming up haha!!

Martin Rye said...

Lots thoughts there for you to consider. I reckon you are not far of a 10kg base weight. Here are a few points:

Paclite is ok. I use it and have found it nearly as good as e-vent. Alan rates Paramo. I reckon it is good but looks awful. Anyway I would get a Pro shell jacket and be dry and still have a light jacket.

Your tent is superb but dump the spare ground sheet.

On base layers always have a dry one and warm top for camp in a dry sack in the rucksack. It will be wet at some point and the boost from getting into dry kit to warm up in a wildcamp location is worth it. Gayle is spot on with the down jacket choice. You could take a light synthetic jacket (Rab Generator smock) and light gilet down top which gives you more options for layering and wont be much different in weight as a good down jacket and as warm.

Do get a dry sack for the rucksack instead of bin bags. On kit choice why not talk to Pod caster Bob at Backpacking Light. Great shop and Bob knows his stuff.

On rucksack choices you could save lots weight there. It is about the total weight you expect to carry between re-supply? and the carry comfort needed. You should aim for a pack that is 10% of the total load carried in weight.

Stick with the sleeping bag choice and if it is cold on the odd night use the gilet or top etc. The air pad is fine and the new lighter ones from Thermarest will be out soon and save weight, and have all the comfort plus they offer more warmth.

Do a three day backpack and wildcamp in the Lakes in the rain and any kit choices will be highlighted and it will make you decide what is really needed. You aren’t far from a good set up anyway and Alan and Gayle know their stuff so any advice from them will be useful.

On light gloves I just got a a pair of e-vent mitts that weigh nothing from Ron Bell of Mountain Laurel designs and they are brilliant.

Sophie Easterbrook said...

Hi Martin, that's a great help.

I've just spent ages getting no-where fast on the internet trying to find the best kit as far as weight vs warmth etc - and am getting no-where fast, so that's a huge help and has given me more to look into.

Isn't it frustrating how so few websites give the weight of their products?!

Thanks very much for the advise - it really is much appreciated. When I started this blog I had no idea I would get so much help from the "hiking community" and I can't tell you how much help it has been - and how much I've learned.

Martin Rye said...

Here are a few useful places to visit if you did not know about them already.

Gear shop

Out door warehouse at

Advice and top destination PTC Blog

Peter write for Trail Magazine and is a light weight expert. Ask him and he will give you an honest answer. Find him at

Andy Howell has loads helpful stuff at

Robin at Blogpacking Light is superb at

Philip at Section Hiker is a must visit. It is full of brilliant stuff and he will answer questions I am sure. Find it at

Hope that helps.

Sophie Easterbrook said...

Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou!!

Very much appreciated!