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Sunday, 20 April 2014

TGO Challenge 2014: Kit List

Ahem! This is what you have all been waiting for: My (now) annual TGO Challenge Kit List!

Willem's Picture

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!

TGO CHALLENGE 2014 KIT LIST

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.

42 comments:

  1. You'll need to do that again sir, the picture is fuzzy.
    And that weight reduction is a bugger in DAY 4 when we restock + Add Wine and Cheese for Challybeate Springs.
    Can we NOT get Alistair and Val and Dave to carry all that stuff in for us.
    I mean, it worked last year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't do "reading" do you?
      Quote:
      "CLICK TO ENLARGE, TO BE DROOLINGLY READABLE, RATHER THAN BLURRED & IRRITATING!"

      Delete
    2. Indeed not sir.
      I expect perfection immediately...
      Do better next time and don't expect me to keep moving between windows.

      Delete
  2. Do ya know what? It's Not My Fault. Nothing ever is. I've had the t-shirt since birth. I'm quite put out.
    But I quite like your list, (except it's size. Even clicked it's unpleasantly unweildly on my mobile. If it doesn't crash...) it's not dissimilar in some ways to mine. I too feel the cold. I carry disposable handwarmers to use as hot water bottles. They are ace.
    Not long now...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought so too.
      Experienced Challengers will mostly agree on this stuff. Two weeks is just a tad too long to go all ultralight and ultra-uncomfortable.
      It's so much nicer to be warm and slightly heavier, than lightweight and cold & miserable.
      :-)

      Delete
  3. Hmmm.Bloody good list sir. However, you seem to be taking more items than me and they appear to be heavier than mine yet the total weight you are carrying is 2.2046 lighter. As I have SKOD (some kind of disorder) I am going to have to do a forensic side by side kit list comparison to see where I am going wrong. I regard this as a charitable act as it will give others the chance to sneer and pour scorn on me for being a gear obsessed, spreadsheet weirdo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have now done the forensic analysis and have lightened my load by over 1kg without throwing anything out. I have just moved stuff from the carried to the worn list. Seemples!

      Delete
    2. The soothing powers of the Internet.
      S'easy, innit?
      You will now walk with a far jauntier step, having just lost the equivalent of a bag of sugar of flab from your belly.
      Happiness.
      I was thinking of moving my Primaloft gilet over to "worn" as well as there's not a single picture of me on the Challenge last year not wearing it.
      :-)

      Delete
    3. So I could wear everything and have a pack weight of only 18lb..
      Brilliant.
      Gonna be a bugger if it's hot tho

      Delete
    4. There's a chap who has invented a coat that carries his entire holiday essentials for a week, so he can wear it on board RyanAir,so he doesn't get charged for baggage.
      Sounds like a plan!
      :-)

      Delete
  4. Dave, It's that blue paint on your tent pegs which is adding the weight ;). Well Al good sir. A fine kit list, and it ticks the comfort side of the Challenge. Spare shoes seems civilised and all...but not very UL pal. But damn comfy in the bar hey. Not a lot wrong with that list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honed to (my) perfection over the years, Sir - with your help on the Trailstar.
      :-)
      A chap should look his best in the bar. It's the done thing.
      Anyone can look like a hobo.

      Delete
    2. UntilI wear my YELLOW Zuuc's in the bar and let the side down!!

      Just warning you now sir!

      Delete
  5. alan you really must take more whiskey or vodka or gin or brandy or a four pack just to make the weight up and then swap your rucksack with andrews as he is much younger than your good self. come to think of it why not take all of the above and you,ll be more popular than ever .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahem...
      "...then swap your rucksack with Andrew's as he is much younger than your good self."
      I'm afraid I have a few years to catch Andrew. I'm the baby of our trio.
      :-)

      Delete
  6. ooops . well make him carry the booze then i,m sure he won,t mind

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, Andy does have a miracle rucksack. He produces whisky, port, sloe gin and beers from it at amazingly regular intervals.
      :-)

      Delete
  7. Very nice list - what I'd like to know is how all that stuff fits so neatly into a 44 litre rucksack!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Missy!
      :-)
      Home again?
      It does all go in quite nicely, but you do have to pack methodically and very carefully. For weekend summer backpacks I take my Talon 33; it's the food that takes up all the room.

      Delete
  8. "three thousand miles of backpacking" - that is very impressive.

    The last major hike I did in Scotland before leaving for foreign parts was two weeks from about Glenfinnan to Achnasheen and my pack weighed 65 lb. This was at Easter so had a tweed jacket + oilskin jacket ... my Dad's army boots ... no trekking poles in these days.

    You can see I was pretty much an amateur.

    Best wishes to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Adam
      :-)
      "You can see I was pretty much an amateur."
      I think carrying that weight has you down as hard-core professional, Sir!
      I've nothing but respect for anyone who can carry a monster load like that all that way!

      Delete
    2. It seems another big difference from years gone by is the number of people roaming the hills. In these two weeks, and covering a lot of country, we saw no other person. Not a soul. Reading blogs, it seems a lot of folk are taking to the hills these days. Which is good!

      Delete
    3. Even with 300 or so Challengers let loose in May, Scotland seems to just swallow them up, Adam. A day or so into the hills and you are out on your own.
      What a magnificent place.

      Delete
  9. Also tip my hat to you for being able to jam all that gear into a 44L pack! I tend to use a bigger pack so my down items don't get so compressed, I might be hallucinating but I think they have been warmer since I started doing that.

    Curiously, the weight of your Trailstar is heavier than mine. My TS in the bag runs 600g. MLD stake kit with an added blizzard stake in bag = 134g. That's 200g difference. I seam sealed it inside and out, didn't think there'd be a heavier one about. My Oook is 359g in the bag but it has cuben walls.

    Good luck on the Challenge!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mike
      :-)
      I've wondered about my Trailstar weight too, when comparing it to others' lists. Could it be that MLD are now using 'ProSilnylon' rather than 'Silnylon'? I was very careful when seam-sealing Trinnie, so there's not gallons of sealer to be taken into account.
      But, what's 60g, when you're looking at an absolutely storm-proof shelter?
      :-)
      As for the pegs - well, that's a personal thing. I've camped on loose peaty soils with my old girl, Wanda Warmlite, where I've used a full length trekking pole buried almost to the handle as a guy in the past. Trinnie Trailstar has a potentially bigger wind profile than Wanda, and that's why I take the 6 MSR Blizzard stakes - it means I can set-up virtually anywhere that takes my fancy - again, for very little weight penalty in the overall scheme of things. I'm not a "weightist" backpacker!
      :-)

      Delete
    2. Agree the differences are not much in the whole scheme of things. I had a quick google and Pro Silnylon seems to have been used since well before I bought my TS, so I suspect that is not it. I cut my guys to Colin's suggestion, perhaps yours are longer? (I might add that Colin's TS is 528g seam sealed, so maybe he got the 'Pro' 'Pro' version) lol.

      Delete
    3. Interesting.
      Yes - I used Mr Ibbotson's guy-line guide as well!
      Who knows.
      Perhaps it's silicon coating thickness on the material - I've heard it said that it can vary quite a bit, and MLD say that now test every single roll so it's up-to-spec.
      Either way - I still love Trinnie.
      :-)

      Delete
    4. My Trailstar is 652g sealed and in its bag. It's the new version as well.

      Delete
  10. Chessington today - Scotland tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Les Belles are soon to be reunited, then.
      This pub crawl of yours - how many pints is it in each pub?
      :-)

      Delete
  11. I have refined my KIT now, and the final, final, final list (most likely) stands now at 26.6lb.

    Viewable HERE ON ME BLOG INIT

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe, with the addition of your waterproof, you're actually at 12.561 kg, Sir = 27lb 11 oz
      Almost identical to mine, Sir!
      :-)

      Delete
  12. Cheers Al. Always good to read. We are never to old to learn. Why the old English weights i can’t work them out any more, just stick with grams its easier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm of the generation where I still used pounds and ounces, feet and inches and poles and chains. I've only just recovered from the awful shock of decimalisation.

      I'm Six Feet tall, Fighting Weight is 11-11 and I live 28 miles from Hyde Park Corner.

      I'm an old dog, and all these European measuring things are a new trick.

      Delete
  13. After I finally decided (after much internal debating) to wear inov8's this year, I see you have gone back to your trusty boots!
    You have dented my confidence Sir.
    I hear the piteous crying of boots from the cupboard.
    What is a poor boy to do?
    Ear plugs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Good Sir!
      :-)
      I wore trail shoes for three years of Challenges, but on the last of the three I picked up a horrid blister under the ball of my foot! I realise, now, that this was caused by my socks being completely inundated with silty water (having waded for about a couple of miles in a river) and then, rather stupidly, not washing them out when I stopped for the day. But, it was my first blister for fourteen years and I was not happy!
      My last two Challenges have been back in my trusty old Scarpa Nepals and there's been no hint of any problems. Even wading rivers and bogs they just don't fill up with silt.
      It's up to you, Sir - The plimmies do give wonderful freedom and fleetness of foot - I would never knock them - but I've gone back to something I can trust 100%

      Delete
    2. I still have shoes Roger.
      Ecco Biom Ultra GTX or Roclites. Still to decide.
      I don't use mine to wade streams, so they don't silt up.
      I also use x socks not big fluffy ones that trap silt.
      So despite wearing Boots recently in the Monadhliath, I am back in shoes for the Chally.

      Delete
  14. Ahh, a man after my own heart. At 55 I'm coming to terms with kit, weights and distances and I like the way you're thinking Alan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's my survival list, Ian.
      Without this damn thing the pack weight would creep up and up.
      :-)

      Delete

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