This is my current walking gear list, I make no endorsements, these are my preferences based on experience.
- GoLite Jam 50 litre Backpack – nicely made, comfortable fit with a hip belt. Can be used for day trips and extended backpacking trips, perhaps the only backpack I really need. 840g. No longer made, but copied.
- Feathered Friends Flickr Sleeping Bag/Quilt combination – when I had a chance to visit Seattle to see relatives, Feathered Friends was right next door to REI, the outdoor sweetie shop from heaven. 690g.
- Terra-Nova Bivouac and/or Tarp or Tent (depending on the weather and midge forecast) c. 800g depending on configuration. I use a Terra Nova Photon 1 mostly.
That’s the big three heavy items, weighing less than 3kg, the following also see good service.
- Trail Designs Caldera Ti-Tri Cone – wood, meths or fuel block that weighs nothing, recent purchase to replace the irreplaceable Mini Trangia. < 200g with pot, or
- Alpkit Koro butane/propane gas stove – incredibly powerful and clean and very light
- Meindl Burma Pro walking boots. Now replaced with Bhutan. Just brilliant boots that fit me well and really provide comfort in poor conditions. Getting expensive.
- I am starting to use Walking Shoes / Trail Running Shoes with some success, but my feet get bruised and they do not last that long. Boots weigh 1,980g, a pair of shoe 830g. I am experimenting with Brooks Cascadia 13s at the moment.
- Leki Carbon lightweight walking poles – also function as tarp poles, cattle prods, fruit pickers, bushwhackers, nettle swipers and psychotic dog defence weapons.
- Platypus water packs various – genius, light, but are they durable?
- Mountain Equipment Shell Jacket. 550g – seems to spend the most time in the pack as it has to be tipping it down for me to wear it. Works well. Also using an Alpkit Balance Jacket from my cycling kit, ideal for lighter conditions.
- Merino Wool anything – if you can find it at a sensible price – socks are great
- Rohan Bags trousers/shorts – still in fashion with that short length?
- Lots of other bits and pieces like any other gear list, but important items for me are…
- Hypofix Tape for blister prevention – I hate Compeed
- Google Pixel Smartphone, notebook & pen
- Exped Drybags, keep stuff dry, in different colours so I can find stuff quickly
The most import things are to learn from your experience and the expected conditions as to what you must take and what you leave out. I always empty my pack when I get home and take a critical look at everything I have carried, to try and avoid taking the unnecessary weight in the future.
This is how my gear list has evolved:
1980’s – Heavy, fluorescent and cheap
Whatever I could find, big aluminium bright orange frame pack with a huge sleeping bag and cotton pup tent. Highly dangerous brass Primus stove, which polished up nicely. Army issue boots from the local surplus store probably had seen action. May have been seen wearing flared jeans, but apologies for no photographic evidence.
1990’s – Trying to emulate a Royal Marine Commando
Let’s buy the largest 90 litre Berghan rucksack I can find and fill it up with everything I could possibly need, mostly gear we used for car camping. Large Trangia stove and a litre of meths. Early Outward Bound experience introduces the fleece instead of woolly jumpers. Buy my first pair of Scarpa’s, very unforgiving leather that just seems to get tougher through use. Pack weight 20kg+.
2000’s – Heavy and indestructible
Pack now down to 70 litres and a nod towards lightweight camping. Wonderful MacPac Micro Lite Tent, which has seen plenty of use cycle touring and solo backpacking. Mini Trangia and some effort towards lightening the load gets me down to 10kg base weight. Meindl Burma Pro boots a revelation, durable and waterproof.
2010’s – a Lightweight epiphany
What on earth have I been carrying for the past 30 years? Vow to replace my gear with lightweight gear and get my pack down to 5kg base weight. Problem is, my old gear is indestructible. So I have slowly acquired my current gear list, which I hope will see me through the last trails and beyond.