Hitting The Hills 2011 – Statistics and Kit.

Summer is rapidly approaching, and plans are afoot for another sneaky trip up to Scotland to do a crazy amount of walking (over a much shorter period of time this year!). Before I go into the details of that particular plan I thought I’d post a kit-list and a few of the statistics behind the trip Heley and I did last year.

Looking through the statistics, written down on paper it doesn’t seem anywhere near as impressive an achievement as it actually was, likewise looking back at the photos the sense of scale is somewhat lost. It’s quite strange breaking the trip down into photos and miles done, it’s easy to look at it and go “oh, that’s it?” and harder to think that “that’s it” was a lot of hard work, preparation and step after step of struggle mixed with some beautiful scenery and events that ranged from the melodramatic to the bloody daft.

If you are interested in the statistics of time spent walking, how far we walked each day, etc. you can download a PDF of the trip here.

I’m pretty pleased with the kit that we took with us. In fact I’ll be re-using most of my kit this year and there are only one or two items I’d be tempted to replace.  If you’re interested in looking at the kit-list you can download it here, otherwise here’s a brief run-down.

Shared Kit:

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Tent – this was a godsend. It’s a really light tent, and the material feels a little flimsy, but it stood up to everything we threw at it on the trip. There was enough room for two of us in the tent, and the 2 doors made getting in and out much easier than the one door of The North Face Tadpole that it had replaced.

We also took an MLD Poncho tarp as an emergency waterproof and in the hope we’d find nice weather and a nice spot to camp under a tarp with. At 314g it didn’t weigh much and I’d probably take this again anyway in the hope of using it.

The White Box Stove that we got was perfect for us. Heley knew how much fuel she needed at any given time nailed down to the very last drop (She quickly became the resident chef, which suited me as I’m likely to set fire to everything given half an opportunity).  The choice of meths was a good one, it was easy to stock back up, and having the Esbit tabs and the Evernew Stove gave us another option in an emergency. As a result I’ll be getting rid of my MSR Pocket Rocket and sticking with meths in the future.

Everything on the cooking list was pretty standard, and I think we would have been able to at least make a brew in even the worst of weather and if we lost half our kit. I was pretty happy with the navigation, luxury and hygiene stuff that we took. I’m not sure if we took the red location lamp or not in the end, but the only reason I could see to take it again would be to attach to the back of a rucksack if we ended up walking along the road in the dark.

I think I got used to midge bites more than I got used to the Electrostatic Clicker and I’m not convinced that the Avon Skin So Soft worked all that well. I was quite lucky that Heley seems to be the one person that midges like more than me. But, I was more-or-less used to being bitten by the time we arrived in Fort William.

In our Technology category I think the Echo Pocket Scope was a nice idea, but never really needed in the end. The Anquet maps on waterproof paper were brilliant, and the rest of the tech did their respective jobs well.

My Kit:

I really liked my rucksack, the Osprey Exos 58 Large, although it seemed to cause a bit of panic towards the end of the trip when everything had worn away at the sides near the frame. A couple of e-mails and the shop I bought it from has replaced it so I’ll keep an eye out as to whether that issue was just with that particular rucksack or a more general issue. Heley had no such problems with hers, which was the same model in medium.  So hopefully it was just that one.

The Montbell Spiral Down Hugger  #3 sleeping bag was luxurious, packed down tight and is probably the nicest sleeping bag that I’ve ever seen.  Coupled with my Thermarest NeoAir Mid and a silk liner I was as comfortable as I’ve ever been when camping.

The Petzle E-lite head torch is good enough for sitting around camp with, but if you wanted to navigate at night then something a little brighter would be worth investing in.

I was really happy with all the clothes I took. The stand out clothing had to be the Smart Wool Microweight underwear.  It was almost a pleasure to wear the same underwear for more than one day at a time! Aside from that the Rab Off Limits trousers were fast-drying and never gave me any hassle. In fact, most of my kit was hassle free, just the way I like it. The only clothing that looks like it felt the strain of the trip is my Montane Featherlight Smock. My innov-8 Roclite’s also seem a little worse the wear, but still have a good few miles left in them I think.

So there you have it, I finally got around to finishing my reporting on last year’s trip. I wouldn’t expect my kit-list to change too substantially between now and the next trip, but who knows what new and exciting things will be available to buy.