Thursday, 19 October 2006


Go on - admit it. You love buying new gear -and I will never have a better excuse to re-equip than going for a walk like this. All my old gear is now over ten years old and so now is the time to get shiny new stuff. The old is all worn out. Honestly...

So - in the last few days I have started to get the new stuff on order.


My old stove was a Primus Titanium job, bought eleven years ago at huge expense. It lasted well, but lately the pan supports have become so worn out that they collapsed in on each other, resulting in a pan of boiling water cascading into the tent.

It had to go - and above you can see the new Peak Ignition Titanium stove, bought from Bob Cartwright's excellent emporium ( It weighs in on the scales at 116g in its little case.

Sleeping Bag:

The old bag had done me proud - Again - at the time it was state of the art stuff - a Rab Premier 500. But time has marched on (twelve years of Great Outdoors Challenges), and a little like me, it has lost a bit of its bounce. This has meant that it barely copes with summer now, let alone the freezing cold March nights I am expecting.

So - It was off to PHD's site ( where I discovered the 'Design Your Own Sleeping Bag' service. Being a skinny old git, (okay with a pot belly) I always find that I sleep colder than manufacturers ratings and so I went with PHD Minim bag but with the following modifications:

  • Outer fabric in Black Drishell: Its a long walk and I want it to stay as dry as possible - the black to get it aired as quickly as possible in the sunshine.
  • Inner fabric uprated from Quantum (very light indeed) to M1 (still very light) to get a tougher lining in a nice berry red to look all snugly and warm.
  • I increased the fill weight from 400g to 450g (800+ fill power) to get the bag rating increased from a notional -5C to -8C
  • A full zip with single draft tube to give me more temperature control in warmer nights and a quicker egress when I wake up in the night desperately needing a pee!
  • I went with the optional side baffles to stop the down migrating down as I will be on my Exped Downmat 7 short anyway.
  • I opted for a down collar to keep me more snugly.
All this for a very good weight in stuff sac of 967g - Not the lightest bag, but I need a reliable robust and warm bag!
So - all there is to sort out in terms of gear now is the new tent and new rucksack... so - watch this space!


  1. Good kit this. I used both a Peak stove and a PHD bag on this year's Challenge.

    I'm very impressed by thePeak Stove. The legs make the stove quite stable and the self ignition system is very reliable. It can fail though when things are damp and I take a Sweedish Fire Tool with me that never fails. Once lit the damp ignition system will soon dry out and then it will work again without any problems.

    I've used my PHD Minimus throughout much of this year and have found it a great bag - perhaps not suited for too cold weather but you're extra fill should mean that you are never cold. Even if you sleep cold this bag should have you mroe than toasty most nights.

  2. All the best with the walk, and thanks for bringing the PHD bags to my attention - their site is amazing!

  3. Andy & Ian

    Thanks for your comments - I am now the proud owner of the Fire Steel - thanks for that, Andy.

    I am looking forward to all the stuff that I have ordered arriving - It will be like Christmas!



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