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  • Writer's pictureJenny

Packing Light

It feels like I've been researching and buying stuff for months. And it actually has been. But when it all gets laid out, it doesn't look like much.

A quick run down on what I've decided to go with:

Pack - this was the first purchase. Lets be honest I grabbed it because I loved the colour! But it was at the low end of the weight scale at ~ 1.2kg. Also it is only 48 litre, my theory being the smaller pack, the less I'm able to carry. It also helped knowing Gerard was eyeing up a 68 litre. It seemed to fit ok in the shop even when they loaded it up. But a few minutes wandering around the shop doesn't really compare to hours on end on the trail.

Sleeping bag and mat - Both are sea to summit brand. Again lightest weight, and smallest packed up size, were my main considerations. I decided to go for the long length option. At 170cm tall I am right on the cusp of regular and long. Pleased to have the longer one though as it's still a pretty snug fit. I also have a silk liner for the sleeping bag.

Tent - We've got the Big Agnes Copper Spur 2 person. I'm carrying the poles (in grey bag) and pegs (in orange bag), together ~600gm, and Gerard is carrying the tent, fly and groundsheet ~1.1kg.

After first trying it out with a few nights inside, we have now braved two nights outside. It even rained one of those nights, and we stayed dry, so happy with that. It's a pretty tight fit, and not the best of sleeps, but I think we'll get by. I'm guessing we'll be so tired after walking all of every day sleep won't be a problem.

Poles - Leki. Never having used any before, just went with recommendations from others. I love using them though, especially over steep, muddy and uneven terrain. And they can even double duty as poles to hold our tent awnings open.

Cooking and water - I've got the cooker (in clear case) and Gerard will have the gas cannisters. I've got a 2 litre hydrapak bladder and a 1 litre collapsible bottle.

Gerard will carry the water filter which is a grayl. Most of our water supplies will be coming from streams and rivers we pass, so we'll be filtering it all. We've each got our own pot (to double as eating bowl) and collapsible silicone mug.

Clothing - I'll set out with what I've got in the photo, but like most things could be subject to change along the way. Including what I'll be wearing at any given time, I'm taking:

  • puffer jacket

  • raincoat

  • 2x long sleeve merino tops (one light, one thicker)

  • short sleeve merino top

  • merino dress (for at camp and sleeping)

  • walking shorts/pants (bottom half zips off)

  • merino leggings

  • 2x merino underwear

  • 2x merino socks

  • bra

  • merino buff

  • cap & sunglasses.

The puffer packed into the buff will also double as my pillow. Hopefully there won't be any freezing nights where I'd want to be wearing the puffer to sleep.

To all my friends concerned about our smelliness with lack of clothing options - yes, no doubt we will be smelly at times. But I'm really counting on the merino to keep some of that at bay. Also to those friends hoping to meet up with us along the way and go out for dinner with us - you will definitely need to be bringing some going out clothes, shoes, and hair straighteners for me. Or perhaps it might be better just to come direct to us with the dinner, then you don't have to dress up either!

Shoes - My main walking shoes are Hoka trail runners. Lightweight, one size up and wider than what I'd normally wear. I've broken these in, but have been doing most of our training walking in another pair. I'll likely need two more pairs before the end, but I'll get these sent to me along the way when I need them. The sandals are Teva from Katmandu, and for river crossings, perhaps a little of the beach walking, and at camp.

Electronics - Phone, apple watch and airpods, and their associated chargers. Gerard will just have his phone. Also to keep all these functional between reaching civilisation is a 20,000 mAh powerbank (that I'm carrying at ~500gm). I've got no idea how this is going to last us, but we'll just have to ration it out if necessary. The main thing to keep going is one phone (mine) and it's camera.

Also in this category is a head lamp, and a garmin in-reach mini personal locator beacon. Gerard also has his own PLB. I'm really hoping these will be our most unused items.

Toiletries - basics of deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, insect repellent, shampoo, conditioner, soap and toilet paper (last four, forgot to include in photo), microfibre towel & facecloth. First aid items I've got is antiflam, and antiseptic creams, and tape. Gerard will carry the medication (for pain, diarrhoea), and plasters/bandages. We will also have 1 or 2 small poo shovels (yet to purchase). This seems to be another area of fascination for everyone. Yes we will at times need to dig holes for number twos.

Total weight - my base pack weight comes in at around 6.5kg with all the above excluding what I’ll be wearing and the poles. Food and water will be on top of this and is likely to be another 3-6kg depending on days between shops. We've tried to go as lightweight as possible, but time will tell if this is too light at the expense of some comforts, or indeed too heavy, and we can shed some non-essentials on the way.

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