Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Kit - Part 1

I've bought a new sleeping bag. It's a Snugpak TravelPak Lite which, with its compression bag, weighs in at 875 grams on my scales. That's a saving of 525 grams (about 1lb 2oz) on my Snugpak Softie 6 - Kestrel which has a packed weight of 1400 grams. The TravelPak Lite was available at a special show price of £29.00 at The Ordnance Survey Outdoors Show last weekend. Googling the TravelPak Lite now seems to confirm that I got it at a good price. I hope it helps me have a good sleep too when I try it out in the warmer weather.

The Outdoors Show was not quite what I had hoped for. I saw, and was able to drool over, some solo Terra Nova tents but I was hoping to check out other items - sleeping mats and walking boots in particular. I only saw two large Exped mats and there weren't many boots on display. I've only ever used a foam mat but my old bones can't easily rest on those now and I'm informed (by the Snugpak Rep at the Outdoors Show) that I should be thinking "sleeping systems" in this day and age. So I need to stretch out on a Thermarest or an Exped mat, an Exped Down perhaps, to see what they can do for me.

My fairly new Brasher Hillmaster boots are very uncomfortable and hurt my feet. The previous two pairs, now retired, were fine - comfortable from the outset, neither pair needed to be broken-in. The new ones are different; they seem narrower and the rubber sole doesn't give me as good a cushioning effect as before. They feel a long way from being broken-in. I'm not sure if they ever will be. I don't understand why they have padded suede uppers which extend well outside the boot (it looks more like a fashion/style change rather than a practical one). Nor am I certain as to how that part should be cleaned and cared for. So they may have to go. I have always favoured leather boots. It seems to me that they give the best ankle support when needed and I have assumed that they are easier to clean. Perhaps now is the time to get used to non-leather boots though. Perhaps I need to get with it. So I am considering the lightweight, Vibram soled and very attractive looking Scarpa ZG65 XCR.

I need a new tent or shelter too (I'm wearing out - so's my kit). I have a Litchfield Viper 2 tent which I bought about 20 years ago at the YMCA shop in Covent Garden. It's flysheet usually suffices in the Summer but that, plus poles and pegs weighs 1300 grams so I'm looking for a lightweight alternative. That's why I drooled over the Terra Nova at The Outdoor Show and why I daydream about a Hilleberg Akto but the prices aren't lightweight. I'm considering the more basic, but lovely (in evergreen) Golite Shangri-La 1. It's a solo shelter without poles but it's lightweight (600g) and more affordable.

Weight Watch: 24-30 March -1lb. Since 9 March -5lbs.


Alan Sloman said...

Brian - Kit is so subjective - but if you really want to lose weight in the kit division then think about the new NeoAir mattresses from Cascade designs - the makers of Thermarests.

They are about the same thickness as the Exped downmats but at a third of the weight.
Admittedly, not quite as warm but still okay outside the coldest winter weather.

I have an Exped Downmat already, but for Summer / Winter / Spring I shall be using the NeoAir I have on order.

Unknown said...

Thank you Alan - I'm very grateful for your advice. The NeoAir looks and sounds special.

I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed reading your blog especially when I followed, and marvelled at, your progress on your LEJOG. Your blog is also a portal for me into the other rather special blogs highlighted by you. (I picked up and fell in love with the Exos 46 from you too. Take note Osprey!)

Best wishes, Brian