Walking kit – big changes made to what I carry, in the space of a few short years

I’m sitting around having brekky, reading my way steadily through Alan Sloman’s wonderful LeJog Blog and thinking about kit. Reading about a poor accommodation guide that Alan enountered reminded me of my own experience of the appalling Pennine Way accommodation guide, and I nipped over to my PW pages to re-read about it. There I noticed a link to a page setting out the kit I carried on the walk, including a photo I took of all of it at the YH in Keld. See here for the grizzly details…

When I set off on the PW in August 2004 I’d never previously carried a tent along a long walk. I’d done the Coast to Coast walk a couple of times, but I’d used B&B. I spent about 3 weeks asking frenzied questions on uk.rec.walking first, and then I set off. I was so disorganised that I only learned that my rucksack wouldn’t hold what I needed to take at 4am of the morning I was supposed to start, and so I had to go back to bed, buy a new rucksack later in the day and start a day later instead *g* Happy days!

Anyway, looking at that picture reminds me of the very significant changes I’ve made since then, and the extent to which they’ve made my backpacking life very much easier. In fact, and looking at it again, I think the only things I took then that I’m still carrying are (i) my Primus Micron stove, (ii) my MSR titanium kettly thing, (iii) my Silva compass, (iv) my Garmink Geko 201 GPS and (v) my Ortlieb mapcase.

The most significant changes involved:

  • a newer, smaller, lighter sleeping bag;
  • a lighter and more comfortable rucksack;
  • revising my washkit to fit in the smallest Exped stuffsack;
  • MP3 players have got smaller;
  • I don’t now carry 4 books at a time;
  • I’d probably take Anquet print-outs rather than maps;
  • I don’t currently carry a flask (though sometimes I miss it, and in winter I still might);
  • I don’t carry sandals now (thought I do keep thinking about it);
  • smaller, lighter and infinitely more comfortable sleeping mat, and
  • a different range of clothing.

I plan to write a new kit page for my website soon — the existing one needs to be revised. There are few things more fun than thinking about backpacking kit 🙂

Heh… a quick dash across to I can Has Cheezburger? produced this.

I Duz Yoga Ta Relax


2 Responses to Walking kit – big changes made to what I carry, in the space of a few short years

  1. Baz says:

    You’ve been reading Aktoman’s blog, haven’t you?! I was trying to avoid one of those ‘no brain’ looking postings on OM when people ask about kit by calmly mentioning it in a comment to Aktoman, and he came back with some very generous feedback. His YouTube postings are great, too.
    You know, as a kid in Manchester and walking in the Peaks I used to dream that one day I would do the PW. The stories from old timers about the PW were great, with giant lard cooked breakfasts in YHs obligatory. I grew up and temporarily phased out walking [I’m ok now] and came to the conclusion that the PW was a bit of a sod of a walk to do as one’s first LDW.
    I’m sort of training to do the WHW this September I can see the appeal of PW again now you come to mention it…. I could make it my first wild camping LDW or something.
    [i]btw, noted your response to my comment yesterday: I’ll leave it to someone else to pick up the discussion, and perhaps me to watch the DVD.[/i]

  2. peewiglet says:

    Hi Baz,

    I’ve not seen Aktoman’s posting yet, but I’ll go over and take a look this evening 🙂

    I’d vaguely intended to have a go at the PW for about 15 years, but I’d never done anything about it until I actually walked it. There’s no doubt that it’s a long one for a first LDW, particularly if a person plans to take a tent etc. Many of the fearesome stories I heard about it over the 15 year period related to the relentless mud, but that’s not so bad now that the worst parts have been paved. On the other hand, the long stretches of paved path can be very hard on one’s feet. I think I’d rather have those than the mud, though 🙂

    The WHW is a v. nice walk, and (I think) a good choice for a first one. I also think the C2C is excellent, but that takes 2 weeks whereas the WHW is about a week. Another good one that last a week (or less) is the Dales Way. I stupidly did it last Christmas over a period of about 4 days, and with the days being so short I spent about half of my time walking in the dark. Doh… really stupid!

    So much to choose from! I’ve been meaning to do Offa’s Dyke since I first completed the C2C in 2000, as it was highly recommended by some peeps I walked with and it lasts a fortnight. I’d like to do the PW again, but it seems a waste of holiday time to do the same walk again when I could get out and do something new.

    Very best of luck with the WHW in September! Have you decided what kit you’re taking? If you ever want to talk kit, please feel free. I love walking kit… *g*

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