Henry and Petes verry long walk

LEJOG kit report  May 8 to Oct 18 2011

Most from co-sponsor Cotswold Outdoors

 

1/  RAB down sleeping bag  1.2kg    (old)

I could have bought a newer, slightly-lighter bag. But I’d had this one for 20 years and it had worked fine in deserts and mountains.  And so it proved from land’s End to John o’Groats. It just wasn’t quite big enough to let Henry in at 4am. But that didn’t stop him!

 2/ Rab micro pull-on fleece 0.250kg.

Worked very well.  Worn most days. Easy on-off.

 2a/    Craghopper ‘Arctic’ pull-on fleece 0.4kg

A one-off at TK Maxx.Worked well. Carried only after Edinburgh (worn sometimes in mountains with Rab micro fleece).

3/   Boots.  Saloman Ortholite.

Excellent Ramblers boot. I am confident this boot is the main reason I did not have a SINGLE (yes, SINGLE!)  blister over the entire 1,237 miles. It is lightweight, flexible, sturdy, good looking, with excellent support for both ankles and the ortholite bit did well for my pronated, collapsed right foot arch.  It has a great couple of catches that hold the laces firmly in place over the foot even when they come undone and loose at the ankle.

HOWEVER, I got through two pairs of them (now on my third) because they were unable to take a steady soaking day after day. In spite of Saloman’s guarantee that they are fully waterproof  I found water had seeped onto my socks at the top of both feet in daily heavy rain and wet grass on the Pennine Way(not at the ankle), and got replacements in Skipton, Yorkshire, 673 miles into my walk. The same thing happened again in the soaking rain a further 600 miles north, into John o’Groats. Salomon’s again honoured their guarantee and replaced them. I’d still go for them, if only for the comfort and lack of blisters. 

3a/ 2 prs Bridgedale Trekker socks and 2prs of Coolmax wicking socks inside them.

These provided padding, sweat removal and rubbed against each other instead of my feet, thus contributing greatly to my lack of blisters. 

3/ Waterproof trousers  Berghaus goretex  0.255kg. 

Very expensive at £80-£100. But very worth it when the rain is lashing down.

4/ Berghaus waterproof jacket   0.350kg .

Ditto, though of course they are subject to the hydrostatic pressure results of foliage pinpricks, giving the impression they are far from waterproof.

5/  Camelbak water system  0.15kg. 

1.5litre bag , with tube, fitted inside my backpack was vital for a walk of this kind through a warm summer.

6/ Osprey aether 70 backpack    2.25kg.

  Excellent, especially its moulded and padded hip support and shaped shoulder straps. Accessibility excellent, though the concept of reaching behind one’s head to unzip things like rain gear did not work so well. And the shoulder padding could be wider and thicker, as the straps chafed as I became skinnier over the months.  Thumping great thigh muscles, but no upper body workouts (I improvised with extra padding). Convenient locations for walking poles holders.  Biggest let-down was unavailability of specific water resistant backpack cover, which meant total dependence on drybags and drying rooms.

8/ Hydra map case  and compass  0.24 kg 

Big and useful for stuffing all kinds of things in besides maps. Waterproof. I used it as a sort of handbag. Unsurprisingly,  the strap tore through its plastic gromit and I had to get another one. But that was my fault.

9/ Dog drink bowl and container 0.11kg. 

This is an all-in-one thing that hangs from any part of your backpack. German-made, it allows you to get water to your dog quickly and easily without taking anything off. £4 from most pet shops. Cheap, and tends to leak if held wrong, but does the job.

9a/ Dog harness and lead.

I used a Euro Canix Short (online from Canix) to run Henry’s lead from the middle of his back (not his neck) 8 feet back to a bungee cord fed through the waist belt of my backpack. This allowed me hands-free, non-shock control.  

10/    Cram-alert emergency ID (wrist and kit)

 I paid £45 to get this as an emergency/insurance thing, in the event that I’m found injured and unable to provide details of home contacts or medical needs. This is from Olympic runner Steve Cram, whose brother was found dead on a hillside after he had fallen on a walk and carried no identity.  Steve set up this company to provide instant 24-7 information. It also covered major equipment ID, should it be lost or stolen. Fortunately, it was never needed, but my family was happier.

11/  Emergency bivi bag  0.25kg.

 Essential for emergency cover outside your tent.

12/  Mountain whistle. 

For when you’re lost and/or injured. Never needed it, fortunately.

13/ Tent.  Robens Mythos duo 1.88kg. 

Very expensive at some £300(RRP), but that’s what real lightness costs. It was robust, rainproof and bugproof (Just don’t breathe out when the midges are about – they’ll be waiting for you.) This is a deceptively big two-person tent, because it has two storage/entrance areas on opposite sides of the sleeping compartment. I put my backpack and other external equipment on one side and the cooking/shoes/water stuff on the other, which allowed cooking in the rain. I tied Henry to the backpack, with his lead and him in the main compartment, enabling him to look out the front when I’ve popped out but pretty much blocked from going anywhere by the positioning of the tent. The manufacturers of the tent poles, however (who are not Robens) are another story. They wanted a ridiculous price for a spare section of broken pole.  Cotswold’s Kingston-on-Thames store worked closely with us (not Henry) to locate and send out an alternative set of generic replacement poles – which required some work to fix ourselves, but saved an awful lot.

   
12 Air mattress Thermarest Neo Air  0.375kg.

Best bed rest I’ve ever had. Henry was SO jealous. At nearly £100 it ought to be good for a blow-up mattress, but this one has a layer in the middle that keeps your body warmth from going down and the cold from coming up. Combined with a warm sleeping bag I was never cold.  And it scrunches down small and light, too.

    
13/ Barmah Aussie bush hat. 0.3kg.

Canvas. Foldable. Comes in a bag. Not brilliantly waterproof, but great for sun and cooling.  Looks bonza too.

13a/  Woolly hat and gloves. More for northern and high areas.

15/ Magfire Spark lighter.

Its as primitive as it looks, but works when matches don’t. Camping knife, fork and spoon.

16/ First aid kit  0.3kg.

 I got two. The second and bigger vet one was for Henry. This was a condition of the missus letting him come with me. Fair ’nuff.

 17/Harvey map  Pennine Bridleway.

The southern section is so new this was the only way to get details of it.  Not OS, but good enough.

18/  Trowel GSI outdoors.

Never needed to use it (for burying unmentionables).

20/ Book: 

The Well-fed backpacker by June Fleming.  Never used it.

21/ Cotswold Explorer UL walking poles 0.25kg.

Considering the budget price they were perfectly adequate. I called them Gercha sticks (after the Chas and Dave song) , vital for defending against aggressive cows.

22/  Silver Ridge Cargo pants.

Lightweight quick drying. One of two pairs of trousers I walked in.  Good stuff.

23/ Horizon Falls convertible straight/shorts pants  0.30kg.

The second pair.  Useful zips around the knees to become shorts.

 24/ GT SS Velocity zip  Merino T-shirt.

Lightweight and expensive, but very worth it. A wicking undershirt that keeps you both cool and warm

25/ Helly Hansen long-sleeved zipped t-shirt.

Long sleeved version of the same thing. Mine was in red and looked cool.

26/ Gairngorm Gore-Tex  gaiters  0.32kg.

Bought them, but never needed them, so sent them home.

27/  2 MSR Titanium pans w/lid/handle  0.30kg .

Compact, lightweight, but not sure if they are worth the very high price. Aluminium seems to be as good, though less resistant to being bent out of shape.

28/  Express spider stove 0.230kg. 

Neat little stove. Comes in a bag.  Love it.

29/ 2 x Primus PR230 460ml   gas cartridges     0.230kg x 2.

I didn’t cook enough to justify carrying the second cartridge. Replacements fairly easy to find.    

30/   OMM Trio chest  pouch.

This is the chest part of a New Zealand-designed backpacker system to balance your load. It didn’t work for me. The pouch was too small, didn’t attach to my chest easily, and anyway blocked me from seeing where I’m putting my feet, a fairly basic requirement of tough mountain walking. So I tied it to my hip and used it as a lunch bag.

32/  Compeed blister plasters. 

Ha, ha.  What blisters?!

33/ Countrymun  dog reflective raincoat  0.1kg. 

This was brilliant.  Henry wore it to keep him cool when he was hot, and warm and dry when it was cold and wet.  Its silvery sheen was reflective to car headlights too.

34/ Several colour coded dry bags

Different sizes. When the backpack  is subject to pouring rain you definitely need dry bags inside.

35/  Lumix Pocket camera   0.25kg.  

This was the latest and best. High definition, lightweight, small, telephoto lens, GPS for labeling pix (though I wasn’t happy about the advertising on many labels ). And HD video,  so good for YouTube.  Heavy on the battery, though. And expensive.


36/  Mobile phone and charger 0.25kg. 

I got an Android DesireG smartphone and switched from O2 to Orange/T-Mobile. I got a good-priced promo contract with high data transfer (for photos and web browsing etc) and was persuaded that by linking Orange and T-mobile together I’d have better mobile connections in more remote areas of the country.  Not necessarily so. The only real way of checking mobile coverage is time-consuming study of coverage provided by competing companies. You can check online, which we did in the Pennines in order for my host to find out exactly where I was for a pick-up at specific times.

 37/  Solar gorilla battery charger from PowerTraveller. 0.3 kg.

Too little sun to be of any use, but the battery charger, plugged into the mains overnight, gives enough power to keep a mobile going for a day. Same cable used for charging my netbook.

37/  Netbook, charger and case.  4lbs or 1.76kg.

  Latest model, with wi-fi. Brilliant for daily blogging, sending photos, emailing etc. Smaller and lighter than a laptop, but still far too heavy., You also need an external hard-disk drive to handle your photos. The charger, plugs and cables weigh as much as the netbook.  Not much use in a tent on a moor. I had to send it all home when I reached Torbay. Loss of service to supporters (but you can use libraries and friends’ computers) but you can walk faster and easier without it.

38/ 2.5 litres of water     2.5kg 

39/  Dog food. 4 days, decreasing, 1kg.  Henry could have worn panier bags and carried his own food, but he chose to have fun instead. His sponsor, Burns Dog food, sent high energy replacement dried food in small bags (4 or 5 bags per box) with some treats and poo bags to addresses we designated every few days along the route.

40/  Pocket binoculars   0.25kg.

  A luxury. Not necessary.

41/ Deydrated packaged food 0.75kg.

Expensive, mostly German-made, but good quality. I lugged it around with me because stores along the way didn’t tend to carry it. 

42/  4or 5 Explorer 1:25,000 OS maps at a time 0.62 kg.

I got 82 maps covering the whole route from the Ramblers Assn, one of our sponsors, and arranged swaps every so often, posting them off  four or five at a time when I’d done with them, and picking up the next four or five sent by my wife (and manager) at addresses along the way.  

43/  Strong sandals.

Vital to have alternative footwear. My sandals were heavy at   0.82kg , but I walked some distance in them, mostly in down-time.

44/  Headlight.

LED light for hands-free hunting around for things in your tent at night (and to persuade your dog that cows are not waiting outside).

45/ EARPLUGS. 

For whenever you really want to sleep.

46/  Anti-midge/bug deterrents: 

Avon skin-so-soft is probably the best to spray on your skin. Basically, midges drown when they land on you. DEET spray for keeping them at a bit of a distance. A mosquito net to cover your face and neck completes the trio. Best of luck.

47/ Moleskin , for burns and blisters.

48/ Anti fungal cream (for athlete’s foot)

49/Toilet paper

50/Knee/ankle supports

51/Sleeping mat repair kit/duct tape

51a/ Small dishwashing/laundry liquid, washing-up cloth, clothes line (strong, to hold dog, if needed)

52/ Sponge bag and toiletries, including small toothbrush. toothpaste, shampoo, soap and soapdish, and plastic mirror (not glass).

 53/  Lifeventure soft fibre towel 0.2kg  

Absorbed moisture well. Dried quickly. Lightweight, small.   

54/ Small scissors or Swiss-type army knife

54/Chlorine tablets and taste removal tablets

55/Kendal mint cake, chocolate, fruit.

56/ Sunglasses.

56/ Dog biscuits.

Sponsors Goodrich Burns Real Food for Pets Cotswold Ramblers