[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his page is about my research of the gear I choose to bring. I am probably a little obsessed with counting the weight of the stuff I bring. In the end my pack will not be very ultra light weight. Some items I don’t want to exchange for lighter items, because I already have and trust these items. General rule I found in my research on finding the lightest gear versus price: If you want to save weight you’ll have to pay about 1 Dollar/Euro per gram that you save. Everything that I need to purchase I will research and try to get the lightest (vs. trustworthy vs. price).
Backpack – Mammut Creon Lite
I use the Mammut Creon Lite. This was the lightest backpack I could find in Europe. I love the brand Mammut, it is good quality. The pack itself fits me nicely, has one spacious hip belt pocket everyone seems to be a fan off, not yet sure what to put in that pocket though. It has three spacious mesh pockets on the outside, two on the side for fuel, drinks, snacks, etc, one on the middle for clothes maps and other items that you want in reach and are not too heavy to unbalance the packing system. The pack is not too big (45 + 5L), the bigger the backpack the more you can and will bring. But… will the bear canister fit that I will have to carry for a section of about 300 miles? Ah I will find out when I get there.
Trekking poles – Leki carbon lite XL
A few years back I went on a trek through the Pyrenees. My friend convinced me to take trekking poles. I did not like the idea of taking trekking poles, it seemed to be just extra ballast and I thought that using them would make me feel like a disabled person. I did walk with one and sometimes with two poles during this trek in the Pyrenees, I had to get used to it a little and I did not yet have two the same trakking poles then. Walking with trekking poles helps!! You do pull yourself forward especially uphill. It will help you find more balance on uneven terrain. And it does help you knees when going downhill. I have purchased the Leki carbon lite XL, the lightest adjustable poles I could find at the time, for the next hiking trip I did after the Pyrenees. I am very happy with them and I hope I will find a tent that I can setup using my trekking poles. One of the trekking poles has a special screw on camera holder which is actually only nice when you can secure your pole against something, even in the sand the pole will not stand very secure.
A few years back I was very happy with the two person tent I had purchased. The Hilleberg Anjan2. A very decent and reliable tent of ‘the tentmaker’ as Hilleberg calls themselves. The tent weights 1.7 kilo (ca. 60 ounces) which I thought back then is very light, I still think it is very light. However, lots of people on the PCT take cuben fiber single walled tents that (even for a two person version of the tent) weights half of my Hilleberg. I have no need for a two person tent so I am looking for a lightweight 1-persontent. This will safe me probably at least 1 kilo. I love the idea of setting up my tent with my trekking-poles. The more purposes for 1 item you carry the less you have to carry. The cuben fiber looks really delicate, thin, fragile, that is worrying me a little. But as mike Clelland has thought me in his book for ultra light backpacking you should try something new on each backpacking trip you make. This tent will be one of those things. I have been reassured by other experienced hikers that cuben fiber is very strong. Cuben fiber will keep me dry. A tent with so much mesh will have minimum condensation issues. I am really excited that I have purchased the cuben fiber tent ZPacks Hexamid™ Solplex Tent. I have read a plenty good reviews about this tent. Please see video below to see my new (soon to arrive) tent.
My Mammut Sphere 3 season sleeping bag is a very good quality sleeping bag. I am tempted to buy a lighter bag, but is it worth to spent 300 dollars to save about 300 grams (10 ounces)? My sleeping bag is very warm which I think is the most important. Also I have always used a silk sleeping bag liner. Adds extra warmth. I think this can give me a feeling of a clean bed when at some point I can do laundry. I think I will appreciate the clean-bed-feeling a lot. But maybe I will get rid of it at some point, who knows.
Sleeping pad – Exped Synmat UL 7 S
I have the Exped Synmat UL 7 S. It is about 1.60 meter (63 inches) long. I use my backpack together with stuffed stuff sacks as a pillow. Because of the length of my sleeping pad my backpack will always fit in the (dry) inner tent. My sleeping pad therefore is a little lighter. I know Therm-a-rest has a pad that is about 100 grams (3.5 ounces) lighter, but the horizontal air-strokes seem less comfortable to me. Maybe if my Exped lets me down I will consider a lighter sleeping pad.
Stove – MSR whisperlight
I have the MSR whisperlight. I have always used it with unleaded petrol or white gas (clean petrol). Cooking goes very fast and is reliable also in cold and stormy weather. It is possible (with small modification tools) to burn it on diesel, alcohol, lampoil, so I am sure I will be able to find fuel for it. My stove is not the lightest, but I trust it. I think it is wise to eat good on the trail and a hot meal is more satisfying to me. And… I love tea, no matter what the outside temperatures are.
I always had a lightmyfire plastic spork, however on my last trip (I spend ages trying to find a yellow spork) I broke the yellow spork! I don’t want this to happen on my trek in the middle of nowhere. From my friends I got a titanium spork on my birthday, and I have high hopes for this spork.
From my parents I got pot and cup/bowl on my birthday. This pot is maybe a little small, but hopefully perfect for 1 person. Hey, I can always cook a second time, or not? I will bring a wooden spatula as well.
I will also bring a small Swiss army pocket knife with a blade, can-opener and tweezers. The one I found also has a bottle opener, corkscrew, and a nail file.
After testing the fire steel I have decided to take it with me on the trail. I can light my stove with it. As a backup I also have a normal cigarette lighter.
My main way to treat water will be by using the sawyer mini waterfilter. Care plus is the dutch (European) seller of this filter, it is actually the same. It is said that you can filter a liter of water in about 2 minutes. Even though chemicals is the lightest and probably the easiest, I don’t like the idea of being able to run out. I have plenty of stuff to plan, I want to be as flexible as possible. However I will take some as a backup.
Another way of treating you water is with UV light. I did not want to take this, because I need electricity for this. Yes I will take a solar panel, so I should be able to charge it. I like the idea of using the ‘mechanics’ of the filter, something I can fix. I want to safe the power I have for my phone, my source of communication, navigation, information and maybe most important my phone is my diary. Other than that I would like to try to keep the electronics to a minimum.
Water storage – platypus 2L
I will take a platypus camel-bag of 2 litres. On the hot waterless stretched I will need to bring more water, here I will use re-used plastic bottles of some sort.
This panel has an internal battery so it will charge my electronics also with cloudier weather with constant power. I have read good reviews. I hope it will not disappoint me.
I bought this flash light about a year ago. I like it because I can charge its battery using USB cable. So I can charge it with my solar panel.