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Because I’ve got to carry seven days food, I started thinking seriously about my gear selection a couple of weeks ago. After a test packing, it became clear that the volume of food would be at the outer limit for the capacity of my new Tramplite pack. Although it fitted, it was a bit of a squeeze, so I felt it was more sensible to go with my Lightwave Ultrahike pack, which has slightly more volume using the Exped Flash external pocket. Incidentally, the Flash pocket has enhanced the utility of the Ultrahike considerably. The flip side of using the Ultrahike is that it weighs considerably more.
With a reversed belt pack (Inov-8 Race Elite 3), needed because the Ultrahike has no hip belt pockets, it weighs nearly half a kilo more. This meant compensating elsewhere, so I decided to take my lightest shelter (Tramplite) rather than the Scarp 1 which I had pencilled in. Just doing this saved me around 0.7kg, more than compensating for a heavier rucksack. I’ve also been more stringent on clothes, where I’ve saved about 0.8kg from my original list.
I’ve also left out my beloved umbrella as the forecast looks pretty good and I think I can manage without it. I toyed with the idea of leaving out my waders and Sony RX100 camera (using my iPhone instead) but there are going to be at least three river crossings and the iPhone is not as good as the RX100 for photos. If I had done so, my base weight would be well under 8kg. As it is, it’s only marginally over 8kg.
Food is 5.4kg (including packing cells and rolltop bag) and fuel is 535g (one 250 cartridge and a half full 125 cartridge as emergency back up). Miscellaneous bits include anti-chafing creme, sun tan lotion, insect repellent, foot care stuff, tissues and some other odds and ends. Consumables come to 6.5kg to make a grand total of 14.5kg, which is not too bad for a seven-day trip. This is well within the scope of the Ultrahike pack which is one of the most comfortable packs I own regardless of load.
Most of the gear is tried and trusted, but I am carrying some new stuff. While packing a waterproof jacket in addition to wearing Paramo is not strictly necessary, it’s something I often do on longer trips to guard against failure. This time I’m taking the Alpkit Gravitas which is incredibly lightweight and can double up as a wind jacket. I may not have an opportunity to use it but I’d like to see how it performs. If I’d left it out, as I had originally intended, I would’ve been below 8kg base weight but I want to test it and I feel more comfortable having a hardshell as well as Paramo.
I’ve also got a Helley Hansen Lifa long sleeve polo shirt which will double as a sleeping shirt, an extra layer and a smart going home shirt. It will be interesting to how smell resistant (or not) Lifa is now. I’ve also been given an Olight Nova H1 head torch to review. This looks like a really nice unit combining the form and most of the functionality of a Zebralight, but is lighter than a Petzl Tikka XP. I will do an in-depth review when I get back, but I’m very impressed with it.