Ahem! This is what you have all been waiting for: My (now) annual TGO Challenge Kit List!
WILLEM FOX’S PICTURE OF PHIL, ME & ANDY LIFTING HEAVY THINGS UP A HILL - CLICK TO ENLARGE
I still blame Louise for this spreadsheet madness.
Years ago, a few moments before the taxi arrived to take me to the Railway Station, I would weigh myself on the bathroom scales with, and without, the rucksack on. Subtracting one from the other gave me the awful truth.
When I started all this Challenge nonsense, some twenty years ago, it used to come in at between 41 and 42 lbs. But then I was young and fit and the weight was not too burdensome. However, it did feel like my spine was bleeding every time I picked it up.
Over the years good quality kit has gradually got lighter and, more importantly, I have got used to taking less stuff. As I’ve aged (I’m now 58) this has become a necessity so that I can enjoy my two weeks walking across some of the finest backpacking landscapes in the world.
I don’t do ultralight; I doubt if I even fit into the lightweight category either. I take enough stuff so that I am comfortable, whilst keeping an eye on the overall bulk and weight. I don’t like being cold as I’m not a big flabby bloke; I don’t have much natural fatty insulation. You’ll see that there’s a (quite hefty) fleece, a Primaloft gilet, a waterproof jacket and a down jacket. I use the lot on most Challenges.
My boots are pretty heavy, (I’m on my second pair of them) but I like them and have never had a blister in over three thousand miles of backpacking in them. My rucksack is getting on a bit, but I like Tilly Talon, as she’s a commodious girl at a notional 44 litres and we get along just fine.
You’ll see that I’ve joined the shelter brigade this year - I borrowed Martin Rye’s Solomid last year and was quite taken with it – but in effect I have turned Trinnie Trailstar into a tent by adding an inner tent from Oookworks. Configured like this, Trailstars have a massive porch, and I’ve made my own porch ground sheet to avoid muddy knees getting in and out. However, this combined package is still quite a bit lighter than my old Akto and comparable to Wanda Warmlite in her later years. I’m taking substantial pegs, as I see no point in taking a storm-proof shelter if it blows away in the night!
I take an Ultra Bivi to protect my sleeping bag in dirty bothies and occasionally I use it for extra warmth on cold nights. I take an astonishingly heavy (to many light-weighters) wonderfully squidgy pillow, because I want to and I’m happy carrying it.
But there it is. Take a look, if you are into this sort of thing. If not, move along and I promise I won’t be upset.
CLICK TO ENLARGE, TO BE DROOLINGLY READABLE, RATHER THAN BLURRED & IRRITATING!
All up starting weight for this year’s Challenge, with food for four days and a full flask of whisky is 12.527 kg. (Those 27 grams are important, really!) Then you have to multiply that number by 2.2046 and do some fiddling again to get to the ounces, to get the proper weight of 27 lb.10 oz..
I think I can cope with that, and I know it will get lighter after every meal and glug of whisky.