Sunday 12 February 2012

Generic gear list

I'm regularly asked what gear I carry when out hiking. I tell them that every trip is different and that I rarely carry the same gear list twice. The list here is my generic starting point when choosing gear for my 2012 hikes. It's a good basic list that allows me to cope with most conditions in the UK and around the world. From this I will mix and match depending on the location, time of year, and my knowledge of that area.

What I ALWAYS try and do is keep my baseweight below 4kg for any long hikes. If its over, even by 1g, then I consider that a failure! Occasionally, certain sections of a hike might need specialised equipment such as crampons, ice axe or even an umbrella for the desert, so it's ok to go over the limit for that brief period. To some 4 kg will seem quite high and if you're hiking in a familiar location or over a shorter period then it's easy to go lower. On shorter hikes my baseweight would be nearer 2kg. when thru-hiking it's much harder, you will need kit that can cope with more varied weather and often hikes will be in unfamiliar environments. Comfort is also much more important and a good nights sleep should not be underestimated! Add to that extras like chargers, spare batteries, shaving kit, guide books etc and the weight really starts to add up.

Also note what I include in my baseweight. I include everything expect the basic clothing I will be wearing and my hiking poles. Some of my items others would not include in their baseweight such as cameras, watches, phones, gps etc because they might be worn or carried in pockets.

You might find my self imposed 4kg limit stupid but I think its important to have a goal and stick with it. That's the key to traveling consistently lightweight, it's so easy to let the weight creep up and having a limit keeps me in check. Find your own goal though. Some will need more or less comfort. Some rate the camping experience more important than I do, others will take a DSLR camera. It matters not what your goal is, it's having the goal that's important.