Thursday 10 April 2014

TGO Challenge...My Gear List!

One month from now I'll be underway on my first TGO Challenge, and it would seem almost traditional to publish a gearlist so..... Although it's my first Challenge, I've backpacked for over 35 years. My gear choices have been arrived at via hard won experience, something no amount of money can buy. A few items are new, but most have stood the test of time. Lists and tables can be somewhat boring so rather than that, here's a series of images with captions. The total weight I plan on carrying is 6.15 kilos plus food and fuel, which shouldn't ever be more than 2.5 kilos. Therefore a total sac weight of under 9 kilos , that should ensure a comfortable carry.

This is the Osprey Exos 46, very comfortable for me and having features which I find useful, such as large hipbelt pockets, a good sized exterior zipped pocket and a floating lid with a large pocket.
If packed correctly there is no need to open the pack during the day, even to access the tent outer in poor weather.
Of course like most packs it isn't remotely waterproof, so I shall use a 35 lit Sea to Summit sac liner and a 4 lit Sea to Summit dry-bag for the lid pocket.
The total weight for these items is 1168g.

These are the items which will be worn almost all the time certainly when walking.
Underwear  is Rohan XStatic Briefs and Berghaus XStatic Polartec zip polo long sleeve shirt.
Trousers are Troll Omni's, amazingly light, windproof , big pockets, good cut and most important to me...easy to roll up to the knees. Out of the way of the wet and mud....lets your calf muscles breathe as well!
Mid-layer is a well used Mountain Hardwear 100 weight fleece with a handy zip pocket.
Footwear this trip will be Inov8 Terrocs, I've used Roclites recently but these are just as comfortable, especially when wet. I shall use Hilly Monoskin socks as I have done for years. Fantastic socks designed for fell-running very comfortable wet or dry, and they dry very quickly.
I'm not a huge fan of poles, but they are very handy for river crossings. I've replaced my 15 year old Leki's with a pair of Fizans, they don't seem much different to be honest.
I'll be wearing a Sunnto Vector, which has been very reliable and is handy for it's altimeter.
Total weight worn  1606g.

Here's my spare clothing, Rohan XStatic briefs, Icebreaker T, Helly long johns.
 2 pairs of Monoskin socks (I pair will be kept dry at all costs).
My warmwear for camp will be a Berghaus Infinity Lite, and my windproof the ubiquitous Montane Lightspeed.
To keep my camp socks dry, when my shoes are wet  Trekmates Goretex socks.
Total weight for this lot 887g.

And so to bed...your probably ready by now anyway!!
Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 800 fill down nice and cosy, with a Neoair Xlite short.
In addition there is a pertex stuff sac and binliner which is a "ghetto Neoair inflator" light to!
Total weight for sleeping 769g.

The shelter I'll be using, is the Nordisk Telemark 1 LW, I won't take the supplied tentbag (in the image).
I always use a Brabantia binliner very durable and waterproof if required. I shall use the supplied pole/peg bag which is quite clever and very light. A polycro groundsheet will be used under the inner.
For some reason I've included a 3mm sitmat in this image, it should be elsewhere...
Total weight for shelter ( inc sitmat) 905g.

Hand and Headwear...2 x Inov8 "Buffs" and an Inov8 cap. Buffalo mitts are the answer to cold wet hands...waterproof gloves/mitts aren't in my experience. These are a new pair, my old ones are probably 20 years old and still going strong, but I thought I'd treat myself.
Weight 179g.

Kitchen items consist of, Caldera Cone in Titan mug/Measuring/Caddy see here . I have decided to use solid fuel rather than meths, therefore the Gramcracker "stove".  Pan is an Evernew 600ml and MYOG pot cosy,a Snowpeak titan spork.
Water for camp a 2.25lit Platy and a Traveltap bottle/filter means no worries in finding drinkable water.
2 x lighters, some tiny pan scrubs (and not shown an Alpkit 8lit drybag for food and a baby tin opener)
Total weight for kitchen 459g.

So called essential accessories, easy for wight to accumulate here, so be ruthless!
Top left - bottom right. Midge net. Black Diamond Ion Headtorch and spare Battery Aloksak, Tickets, Cards, Cash, Key.
Compass and small Ortleib mapcase, (Maps not shown, but 1:50000 cutdown will be carried )
Reading spec's, Lighter, Swiss Army Classic, Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Cuban ditty bag for all this!
Toothbrush/Toothpaste. Small Sponge Cloth (not shown) First Aid Kit, Ibbotson Trowel/Spare peg. Loo Paper and Hand Sanitiser (not shown)
All amounts to 518g.

This is my choice of rainwear, Berghaus Extreme Paclite Smock, plenty breathable for me and a superb hood. This smock is a classic example of less is better. Golite Reed overtrousers, these don't have zips on the legs. But taking shoes on and off isn't a problem, and is far less effort than folk think. Very breathable and very light!
Total weight 380g.

It could be argued that nothing in this image is actually necessary! However I will be on holiday so I shall be taking.....
A Kobo and Aloksak, Samsung Galaxy S2 phone and Aloksak, earphones and spare battery for phone.
My camera a Lumix LX3, its Lowepro case, 2 x spare batteries and a Gorilla Pod.
Also not shown a plug charger which fits phone and Kobo, for a top-up of power.
Weight of all this unnecessary electronics a shocking 839g!

Lastly this little fella, he's been on all my travels and treks over the last 15years.
It wouldn't be the same without him.
I don't care how heavy he is...he's going!!
So there we have it, seems a huge amount of stuff when you have to write it out, but it's not much when it's on my back and that's the important thing. Sadly a lot of this gear is no longer made, but thats the way of the world  Perhaps it'll give some folk some ideas, all comments/criticism welcome. I'm not a Super Ultralight kinda guy, but I do believe you don't need that much kit to enjoy a long walk. You do however need the knowledge and fitness to make a little work for YOU!!


  1. Great stuff. Some very interesting choices. Lots for me to have a think about. Cheers.

    1. Some fine kit choices. I liked the tent when I saw one on the 2013 Challenge. LX3 always delivered good images for me. Sound choice.

      Your sleeping bag is top draw. Warm nights kip is essential. I used Terroc 330 last TGOC, but hated them. Hope yours are good and its a blister free crossing. Not long to go.

    2. Hi Martin, it's gear which has worked for me for many years. With the exception of the tent...which is new! Space is similar/poss slightly larger than Laserlite, I lived in that for best part of 2 weeks on the HRP and is a much better design, so I've no worries there.
      The Terrocs are well broken in no blisters wet or dry, I think they're poss a bit warmer than Roclites? Footwear is very personal tho!
      Shame you're not on the Challenge this year would be good to meet you.

  2. We can all learn something, every trip requires reappraisal of what we used and what we might have done differently/better.