Tag Archives: Ultrahike 60

Test packing for Scotland

Next Sunday evening I will be heading to Scotland to walk from Fort William to Aviemore. As you are probably aware, I couldn’t do the Challenge this year, so this is some compensation. Along the way I will be walking for three days with some of the guys from the Lakes Daunder.

I will be walking for seven days without re-supply, so I’m going to be carrying about 5kg of food. This is the first time I’ve had to carry more than five days of food. In the past I’ve not always taken a particularly organised approach to trail food, but this has forced me to be a little more disciplined.

As much as the weight, the big issue is the volume. It’s surprising how bulky food is. In the light of this, I decided to do a test pack to see whether it would all fit in (there’s still a couple of things I need to buy).

Totting up the weights on a spreadsheet I decided to be rather more aggressive on weight saving, especially on clothes where I reduced carried clothes by just over 1kg to 1.7kg. I did a test pack of my Tramplite pack. While everything fitted in, it was a bit of a squeeze.

I dug out my Lightwave Ultrahike 60 pack and tried that. The slightly higher volume meant that it coped better with the volume. My spreadsheet says a total load (no water but everything else) is 14.2kg, while my luggage scale says 14.8kg. Food, fuel and other consumables comes to just over 6kg.

The Ultrahike is about 400g heavier than the Tramplite pack, so I negated some of the weight savings from clothes. However, the Ultrahike is a more comfortable pack with heavier loads thanks to the unique hipbelt, so I think it’s likely that I will go with the Ultrahike.

Originally, I was going to take my Scarp, but the weight of the food has pushed me to go for my lightest shelter, the Tramplite, which is about half the weight of the Scarp. I liked using my Paramo 3rd Element jacket so much on the Daunder, that I’m going to take it to Scotland. Normally, I take a lightweight hard shell jacket too, but I’m going to chance it and only take the 3rd Element.

I’ll do separate posts on route, gear and food before I go.

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Old Friends: Scarp 1 and Lightwave Ultrahike 60

For my little bimble to Wiley Gill I reacquainted myself with a couple of old friends, the Scarp 1 and the Lightwave Ultrahike 60. What a pleasure! It’s about two years since I’ve used the Scarp and longer since I’ve used the Ultrahike.

I love the Scarp. It’s just the right size. Large enough to spread out all your gear, yet still quite compact. It’s so easy to pitch too. After using mids for the past two years, the extra headroom both lying down and sitting up was luxurious. I love having two porches as well. It would be nice if it was a bit lighter but it’s difficult to see how this can be achieved economically or without compromising the design. It’s certainly one of the best tents ever made.

The Lightwave Ultrahike 60 is also a great design. In particular, the split hipbelt makes for possibly one of the best carries of any rucksack. Ok, it’s a bit heavier than something like the GG Mariposa, but it is a joy to strap on your back. It’s nice to have a lid pocket too. The only drawback is a lack of hipbelt pockets. To compensate I used a lightweight Inov-8 belt pack (reversed) for bits and pieces I needed to access quickly.

Both the Scarp and Ultrahike have stood the test of time and are still in production, albeit the Scarp has been slightly modified. Where weight is not the ultimate criteria, it’s difficult to better either.

Deepdale and back: gear chat

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I guess the item that most of you will want to know about is the Tramplite shelter. As I mentioned before, I had some of the worst weather I’ve camped in. The Tramplite performed superbly. It was very solid with no leaks. Cuben is a bit noisier than silnylon, but it doesn’t stretch so the pitch stayed taut throughout the ten hours of rain and wind I endured on Saturday morning.

I think the MYOG A frame is excellent. It makes the Tramplite really solid and access is so much easier than a central pole. The valances were also good. The wind was swirling and the valances prevented the rain from driving under the beak. I’m sure it would have been ok without them, but they were definitely useful.

In terms of pitching, it’s possibly the easiest shelter I’ve had. Peg the rear corners, insert the pole then pull out the front guy. Peg the front corners then the rear. Tighten the front and back, then the corners and the fly is done. It’s really easy to get a nice taut pitch. The inner is simple to attach and easy to get reasonably taut.

It takes a little bit of time to get used to the more restricted headroom compared with the Scarp or Duomid, but it’s not cramped. Lying down, there’s enough length not to have the material in your face and a decent amount of room for gear. The rear storage space was useful for my rucksack and other bits and pieces. This meant I didn’t put as much in the front porch as I might with other shelters.

The workmanship is first class. There are no wrinkles. It’s better than the cuben Duomid. There’s obviously been a lot of thought gone into the design as well. Considering it cost the same as a Hillberg Enan, I think it’s a bit of a bargain.

My rucksack was the Lightwave Ultrahike. This was the first time in three years that I’ve not used my GG Mariposa. Arguably, it was overkill for a two-day trip. However, it reminded me of what a great pack it is. The hip belt makes it incredibly comfortable to carry. It’s a great pack for higher volume and heavier loads.

I’ve bought a number of bit and pieces from Paul at Tread Lite Gear recently. The cuben LED camping lantern was brilliant for providing some light in the evening. The first aid kit pouch forced me to downsize my first aid kit and was just the right size. I also used the polypaq 45L rucksack liner. It didn’t get tested by rain, but is a great alternative to a cuben or silnylon rucksack liner. It’s much cheaper and very light. It’s quite tough as well. In future I think I’ll use these instead of an Exped liner.

In terms of clothing, I took my Arcteryx Squamish windproof and Arcteryx Delta zip fleece. The Squamish is my favourite windproof. It’s very comfortable with good breathability, yet windproof and decently shower resistant. The Delta fleece has a grid pattern, which I think works better than flat fleeces. It’s a nice fit and just the right thickness.

I also used a Berghaus VapourLight zip T base layer. I’m really impressed with its wicking and smell resistance. Of my synthetic base layers, I think the VapourLight ones are the best.

Lastly, I must mention the As Tucas Sestrals insulated trousers. These are so good to put on at the end of the day. Nice and warm when you’re lying around in camp but not too hot. They also give some flexibility for your sleep system if it gets cold. I didn’t need them inside my sleeping bag (my modded Rab Neutrino SL 200 ) as it was quite mild, but great insurance in case it’s cold.

Nothing failed, although my Salomon X Ultra Mids are going to be relegated to dog walking boots as they are getting quite battered and the foam under the forefoot is loosing its resilience. I bought another pair in a sale recently to replace them. They’re great boots.