It’s been interesting looking at the gear lists other bloggers have published for this year’s TGO Challenge. I have provisional clearance from the boss to apply for next year’s Challenge, so I thought I’d have a go a compiling a gear list of what I would take. So here it is:
A base weight of 8.66kg is well above Phil Turner’s total of 5.8kg or Martin Rye’s of 6.7kg. The major contrast is that I like to take some spare clothes, while they appear to be happy with a more Spartan approach. Arguably that accounts for around 2kg. The other area of difference is personal hygiene and first aid, where I have about 4-500g of extra weight. For example, I like to be clean-shaven, so I have a Braun travel shaver, which weighs 129g with batteries (I hate wet shaving!).
This is a fantasy list because the tent doesn’t yet exist! If my experiment with the silnylon Duomid goes well this year, I intend to get a cuben version. I want to get an even lighter inner than the one I’ve already had made by Sean. The target weight is 300g. If this can be achieved, then the fly and inner will weigh around 640g. Add a conservative 160g for pegs and pole extender and I get 800g. I know this is a bit of a cheat, as I’m not including the weight of my trekking poles, but I would be carrying those anyway. According to Chris Townsend’s article in the latest TGO magazine, the Terra Nova Laser Ultra weighs 788g. In effect the cuben Duomid and the Ultra are the same weight. When you consider the size of the Duomid compared with the Ultra, I know which one I prefer!
I’m also tempted by Colin Ibbotson’s Tramplite Skins 2 packs. I’m guessing that the larger silnylon pack will be no more than 400g with a few bells and whistles, so I could knock another 370g off my base weight using one. I could lose another 300g by not taking my Wiggy’s Waders, but I reckon they are a real boon for stream crossings. I really do not like wet feet and it saves getting cold. I could save another 250g by leaving out my Nike Mayfly trainers, but I like to have a change of shoes, especially for a long trip. I would also be loathe not to have some spare clothes so I have something dry to change into, for sleeping and around civilisation. The one area where some weight savings should be achievable is in personal hygiene and first aid. I ought to be able to save 200-300g.
Overall, I might be able to knock the base weight down to under 8kg. With around 3kg of consumables (not including water), that would give a pack weight of 11kg. The trade-off between weight and comfort is rather different for me than true ultra lightweighters, as I do like to have some extra clothes and a bit of comfort. Nevertheless, I think 8kg is not too bad for a two-week walk across Scotland. For walks in England and Wales it could be even lower.