Monday, 12 April 2010

A Weighty Matter


It is not as though I haven't done this before as I have walked across Scotland on the TGO Challenge some fifteen times.

There are now just 32 days before Lord Elpus and I set out from Lochailort on the West coast of Scotland to walk in an easterly direction for two weeks, when we have to stop or drown in the North Sea. Ordinarily, at this point in each year, I am wondering how on earth I am going to manage. I will not have done anywhere near enough training to get fit for the walk, I will have absolutely no idea where all my gear is; it will be somewhere in the house, but will be scattered to the four corners and be in various states of unwashedness and disrepairedness.

I probably won't know what kit I will be taking with me or even if it will fit into the smaller and smaller rucksack that I seem to carry each year.

However, for a change, things seem to be going unusually smoothly!

Training walks have been planned and the plans have mostly been kept to. Little things that required to be ordered from outdoor emporia have indeed been ordered and have either been delivered or are in transit.

Bits of worn-out kit have been replaced with more modern, lighter versions and old favourite bits of kit refurbished and made as good as new. One such favourite bit of kit is Wanda, my Stephensons Warmlite 2C tent.

As mentioned previously, Wanda has had a bit of a spruce-up.  She has had a good wash behind her ears, her seams have been straightened and sealed with magnificent, clear & gloopy seam sealer. She was then given a really good all-over shampoo with some Nikwax tent re-proofer. Her groundsheet (quite slippery sil-nylon) has been daubed liberally with seam sealer in little regular spots to give grip to my NeoAir mattress for the slopier campspots. She has a brand new MSR Blizzard 10" tent stake for her rear pegging point that I know she will simply adore.

But in a similar fashion to her keeper, Wanda's improvements have brought about a problem. She too seems to be growing a problem belly. With all these super-dooper improvements Wanda has put on a little bit of weight. She now tips the scales at a surprisingly corpulent 1404 grams. Okay, that is with all her stuff sacks, big fat new pegs and new improved resplendent water-tightness and grippiness.

But the new shirt (80 grams less than the old shirt), the new-found deodorant (78 grams saving over the old type) more than make up for Wanda's portly poundage. And of course, the new menu plan should save kilos of weight.

With a sigh of relief I can confidently predict that Wanda and I will continue to enjoy each other's company into our more padded years of backpacking.


  1. Still lighter than an Akto, or Scarp 1. Still there is the issue of a porch, or lack of one compared to the other mentioned tents. But saying that the 2C is rather tasty in a storm. No condensation being bashed all over you when the shelter gets a good thrashing from the wind. Pitch up and go to sleep ignoring all that the weather is throwing at you. 1.4kg well worth carrying.

    On big pegs. Agree 100%. Tooth picks bend on the rocks, hold nothing in place and the weight saving of 50g or something like that you burn of in body weight on the first Munro. So take some solid v pegs and the like and sleep tight is the way to go.

    32 days can be 5 mies a day in the evening after work. That with a full pack is a 160 miles of training. Then there is the stairs at home for a hour a night with a full pack. That or stay in the glens for the first three days till your legs remember what it all about and you'll be fine.

  2. Martin: "there is the issue of a porch, or lack of one" You see, the thing is, like...
    Wanda is so massive: She is Tardis-like and so there is oodles of room inside so there is absolutely no need whatsoever for a porch!

    Porches are damp places that make condensation in your tent flysheet inevitable when pitching on wet ground. Wanda has none of these issues as the ground is completely covered by her ground sheet. She is FIVE FEET WIDE at her front pole with virtually the full width at over a metre of headroom, so there is masses of room to cook and store wet sloppy gear with gay abandon.

    I am really surprised there are not more Warmlites on the TGO Challenge as they are superior in every possible way to the Akto and vastly superior to the Laser Comp. The Scarp looks interesting but is heavier than the Warmlite and has the problem (as I see it) of the condensation-causing damp porch.

  3. Have you ever measured the weightdifference between a spray and roll-on ? I think you will be surprised to find out the roll-on is actually lighter.


  4. Ah, Theo: There cannot be many deodorants that beat this little beauty: "Lynx Instinct Bullet" - "with the smell of rare leathers" (!)

    She weighs in at......

    12 grams! Enough, if used sparingly for about three or four goes! Perfect for the Chally.

  5. The basic weight of the Scarp 1 is 1390g

    so they are quite comparable. Even without the crossing poles, it is very stable. I suspect by its design Wanda is still better in a blow. To my delight in the Carneddau, I found that the Scarp suffered much less from condensation than either the Akto or Comp, which I suspect is because of the roof vents. Although not as spacious as Wanda, it's still very roomy and I can sit up without touching the roof. I like to have a porch (or two) for cooking and wet gear. All down to personal preference of course.

  6. Deodorants! Where are we going? Geez.
    Does wanda insist?

  7. Standards, Alan. Standards! There is always the dancing in Braemar and at the Cheese and Wine parties too. One must be at one's best for one's dancing partners. It's only polite...

  8. I love that Tent Alan, and yours is the only one I have seen in the flesh - I daren't look at the catalogue, as I find it all too, well errrr: exciting ;-)

    I would have a Wanda of my own if it weren't for a stinky wet dog which I prefer to sleep in a porch.

  9. Shamus: If you follow the link to Stephenson's Warmlite on the RHS of my blog you will find that Stephensons have updated their website to a bright shiny new one! Not many of the fleshier instances remain, sadly...

  10. Wanda does have a certain glow after your deep and exhaustive hand-sealant seeing-to.

    Sloppy gear with gay abandon? We welcome all persuasions and are, frankly, exhilirated by your warm embrace.

    Still snow up here on the Cheviots. Wolves are dogging you as we speak.

    Word = submelt

  11. Attempted to erect the Comp yesterday, had to read instructions.
    Took 20 mins, hope its not raining, or snowing, first night!
    Stoats bars: from internet there appears to be a stockist at Cafe Diem, Cambridge Leisure Park. And the weight = 85gm. Cannot recommend the Chocolate covered ones however.


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