Decisions about kit are always a matter of compromise, and for a trek as long as the HRP over many weeks are largely governed by weight. My goal from the start has been to achieve a base kit weight of under 10kg, assuming that two of us are walking and sharing a tent.
This list of notes accompanies the kit list, which is free for you to download and digest at will, if it is of interest – HRP Kit List (PDF)
I’ll be posting some reviews of how this kit performs.
We opted for the Mountain Hardware Skyledge 2.1, weighing in at 1.5kg. I am a great believer in the transverse design, where two of us have separate entrances and our own porch, and cooking can be done inside whilst sitting comfortably.
For a long time I was looking at ultralite fabric boots, but in the end chose the excellent gore-tex lined leather Tethera from Altberg. The robustness of leather, combined with light weight and an excellent range of width fittings, was the final influence, and I’ve not been disappointed.
For ages I explored the comfort vs. weight trade-off. Whilst it was clear that I could halve the weight again by opting for an ultralite model by OMM or GoLite, I chose the Osprey Exos 58, which weighs only 1150gm and has proved in training to be supremely comfortable and functional.
Ultimately down is the best value material, warmth for weight, but comes at a price. So Alpkit’s superb Pipedream 400 was a no brainer. And Alpkit proved to be a superb company to deal with.
Cooking and Eating
We cooked with an MSR Pocket Rocket, to which I added an Edelrid adapter to allow use of the Camping Gaz CV270 cartidges, which are more widely available in France and Spain than the screw-thread type.
I have two small pans and a pot grip from the Trangia. And as for eating, well I decided that paying huge money for titanium mugs was a waste when I have an indestructable plastic mug (50p from ASDA) and a tupperware bowl I’ve used since 1978. The combined weight of these is just 80gm.
The basic spare clothes set consists of two Montane bionic baselayers, a spare pare of polycotton sports shorts, Ron Hill trackster pants and Helly Hansen Lifa legs baselayer. I walked in shorts most of the time, so the leg wear was a warm bonus, flexible, and lighter combined than a pair of zip-offs. I’ll also carry one trusted Mountain Equipment microfleece jacket that has seen great service.
A hard shell Goretex Paclite jacket and cheap Rainpod trousers by Gelert for wet weather complete the main clothing. I’ve always seen overtrousers as an occasional garment, so would rather buy a new pair every season of good but inexpensive ones.
Socks were two pairs of Coolmax liners and three outer pairs, two Endurance Trekkers and a Bamboo Hiker, all by the always unbeatable Bridgedale. These allow combinations of heavy, light and cool socks with and without liners.
My headgear is strange: an old polyester hat that has been used since 1978, two cotton bandanas and a sun hat of circa 1986 vintage adorned with Corsican Moor’s Head emblem. You’ll get used to it …
I won’t go into detail now about life’s little bits and pieces, but a couple are worth mentioning.
- Water treatment tabs usually come in packs of 75 costing £6 or £7. But instead go to EvaQ8 and buy Oasis chlorine tabs in bulk – 500 for £10.
- Similarly, why buy a branded toilet trowel for £10+ when a plastic gardening one costs about £0.95?
- Many people take music on an MP3 player when trekking, but I’ll use the phone for this purpose, to avoid having yet another gizmo.
As it is one of the prime objectives of the trek, photography kit will be essential and vital to get right. I’ve never been one for heavy gear, and never use a tripod.
The main camera was a Sony Nex-3 with 18-55mm lens. I’ll also have a spare compact that takes AA batteries, and about 60GB in SD memory cards.
The battery charging presents more of a challenge. I will be using a Freeloader Pro charger with camcaddy and blade adapters for the Sony battery, but as this is not entirely reliable, I’m also taking a Sony mains charger that I can use at campsites and refuges. The Freeloader will charge the phone too. Read more – Expedition Electricals
The only other accessories will be a lens cloth, a polarising filter, and a wire tripod that cost me 70 pence.