Saturday, 17 August 2013

Lets talk weight..........

Having made my mind up to join friends in the 2014 Fjallraven Classic. it was decided amongst the three UK walkers that we needed to start training early. So we hatched a plan to have a walking weekend in the Brecon Beacons, Wales. You can see a write up by Gary Wale here on his blog Brecon Beacons . On a personal front it had been a long while since I had contemplated reducing the weight in my rucksack, we had sort of agreed to try and get as light as possible for the training weekend as trial run. Its amazing how when you start to weigh items on the scales how things soon begin to add up, so in an attempt to lower the weight I invested in certain new items of gear after watching Jorgan Johansson the rule of three. Jorgan recommends that the pack not weigh any more than 10kgs the Brecon trip both Gary and myself came in at just over12kgs and Steve quite a bit lighter at around 8kgs.

The first item I changed was too a lighter pack.

Lightwave Ultra Hike 60

In hindsight I believe that I cold have gone even lighter by reducing the volume of the pack, that said its fine and comfortable. Next on the list was the sleeping mat having many at home to choose from Closed cell, Thermarest etc all good in there own way but either heavy, or bulky. I did some research and found the this:
Klymit Static Inflatable V
The price was right it was light and packed away small it also had some good reviews. I have now had the chance to use the Static and I must say I really do like it, giving me a really comfortable nights sleep. The only downside for me was the deflating of the mat which seemed to take an age, however with practise I'm sure this will improve. Both the Pack and Klymit mat I purchased from Ultralightoutdoorgear there delivery was always quick and there website informative.

I tried where possible to use existing equipment to try and reduce weight and cost. Having bought a new Gelert Solo (£29) sometime ago and only used it a couple of times I decided to ditch the lead weights (metal pegs) and purchase new Ti pegs, also I cut out any unwanted labels, got rid of the plastic bags for poles and pegs and got the tent down to a reasonable size and weight about 1.2kgs. Gary and Steve brought along a Hubba and Tarptent Moment. The proof is always in the practical use of equipment, I always knew that the interior was small but there is just no sit up or admin room where as Gary & Steve could enjoy the luxury of admin space. The weather on our night out was horizontal heavy rain all night with heavy winds and I have to say that the Gelert held its own with the other two tents not letting in any water and no condensation, my review from 2010 can be found here Gelert Solo Tent Pt 1 Garden Review But, my mind was made up that I cold not go to Sweden for 5+ nights sleeping in a Gelert Solo, so I have invested in a Tarptent Moment DW from the USA. The Tarptent is now waiting to be collected from the Post Office further reviews to follow along with a seam sealing blog. I have to say that Tarptent was dispatched quickly via International express delivery it arrived in the UK after only 3 days...of course its been stuck in the UK for 5days currently!!!

Tarptent Moment DW

I ditched my old aluminium large pans and went to a single Ti pot but kept my Ti gas single burner head. I have to say that this combination worked very well and no changes to the cooking outfit are required.

The choice of footwear came down to two pairs of boots the Hagloff or Merrill, I chose the Merrill's (very light) for the weekend a good choice however, they did succumb to the wet on the last day with water coming over the top of the ankle. Having seen videos from this years walk in Sweden I'm not so sure on the choice of boot ! time to do some heavy walking in the Hagloff Jaunts they have a stiffer sole and one of the major complaints was sore feet from this years competitors. We will have to see.

Merell Moab

Hagloff Jaunt GT
The picture below shows other articles carried in the pack including a 3litre (1 litre water = 1kg) Camelback bladder inside the pack. From left to right in picture below: Plastic bag containing First Aid Kit, Tissues,Cylume,Handkerchief, Head torch. Clothing, fleece, socks and pants. Sleeping bag. Water Purification bottle. Cooking kit. Glasses. Woolly hat, Sun hat. Roll mat. Gelert Solo. Lightweight Poncho. Towel. Washing kit. Apologies for the pictures.

The challenge of reducing weight in the pack continues with a Marmot Helium Membrain Down bag on the way Marmot Products I have missed Jorgans 3kg target by 340gms but I'm happy with the equipment and small extra weight. Just the field testing to come, wait out for the reviews.

Gary and myself carried wet food, Steve used dried, wet is the heavier but in most cases tastier. We will be carrying and using dried food next year.

What is not shown in the photos or talked about are waterproofs, I have a Berghaus Goretex jacket and trousers which will probably be used next year, but on the Brecon walk I used an old DPM Gortex jacket actually, it held its own in the foul weather but like most waterproofs failed towards the end of the trip.

Well that just about ends this entry, when the tent arrives I will do a small garden review along with a report on how to seam seal the Tarptent Moment DW.

Thanks for reading.