After reading lots of different gear lists for those people who are currently embarking on the TGO Challenge, I figured I would produce a comparable list for my trip along the West Highland Way.
I’ll be walking the 97 mile route over 7 days, and carrying almost everything I need, including food, for the whole journey.
The reason for this is simple. I’m poor. I find I’ve a lot less money than I had originally anticipated by this point. My original plan was to carry food to cover me until Tyndrum, then stock up there, but to predominantly eat at restaurants along the route. As it now stands, I’ll be eating at restaurants twice, and eating my own food the rest of the time.
So, here’s a list of what I’m carrying, and, as is normal for these things these days, how much it weighs.
My plan is to have a meal at the end of day two, at Rowardennan, breakfast on day 3 at Rowardennan and meal on day 5 at Kingshouse Hotel. All other breakfasts and meals will be carried. Snacks to eat during the day will be purchased as I go (with the exception of the first two days, which I’ve packed)
I have 5 x Oatso Simple Big Bowl porridge, coupled with 5 x Tesco Cereal Toppers for breakfasts.
For main meals, I have 1 Adventure Food Pasta & Ham, which I had in the cupboard, 1 home made tuna & sweetcorn pasta and 2 x super noodles (with added dehydrated vegetables and 2 cut up pepperami minis each)
For dessert, I have 2 x banana & custard (which is simply dehydrated banana, custard powder, sugar and powdered milk) and 2 x dehydrated cake (a new thing for me… Apparently, with hot water added, it tastes just like fresh, warm cake)
I’ve also 4 sachets of hot chocolate for the cold evenings (which seem likely as the forecast is showing!)
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve got lunch and snacks for the first two days included, in the form of 6 x snacking cheese from Tesco, a pack of cheese oatcakes, a Double Decker, a mint Kit Kat chunky and a Nature Valley peanut bar. That should easily see me through to the village store in Balmaha, when I’ll pick up snacks for the following day.
The total weight for it all, once placed in an 8l Alpkit Airloc bag – 1.955Kg
Cooking & Eating Equipment
With all that food, I’m gonna need to cook it and eat it somehow!
I have the following with me for that purpose:
1 Alpkit MyTiPot
1 Steel Clikstand with Titanium windshield
1 MSR Pot gripper
1 Alpkit Titanium folding spork
1 Trangia burner (pre-filled with fuel)
1 Gerber Powerframe knife
1 Light My Fire Fire steel
1 refillable lighter
1 Light My Fire spice box, with salt, pepper & cinnamon
1 steel mug.
All of the components, with the exception of the mug, fit inside the MyTiPot. I plan on replacing the mug with a titanium equivalent in the near future.
The total weight comes in at 819g, of which 155g is the mug… A titanium one will shave at least 100g off that!
I’m trying not to overdo the clothing, but I know I’ve got a little more than I need to get by. Unlike those on the TGO challenge, with the exception of 2 nights, I’ll have access to showers and the like, so a certain element of fresh clothing isn’t going to go amiss.
2 x Finisterre Zephyr Boxer shorts
1 x Bridgedale Endurance Trekker socks
4 x Bridgedale Coolmax Liner Socks
1 x Rab MeCo 120 short sleeved top (wishful thinking that it’ll be warm enough to wear it!)
1 x Berghaus X-Static top, for evening/sleep wear
1 x Gore Mythos SO running tights, for sleeping in, and slight insulation on cold nights.
Total weight, in a 4l Alpkit Airloc bag is 1.097kg
I suspect it’ll get cold while I’m out there, and if it drops below zero, I’m definitely going to need extra warmth in my sleeping bag. For this, I’ve got the following:
1 x Rab Microlight Down Jacket
1 x pair Smartwool training gloves (much warmer than they look!)
1 x Buff Hood (the jacket doesn’t come with it’s own hood, and the buff hood really works at blocking wind and providing warmth!)
Total weight, in a Sea to Summit eVent compression sack (size xs), 674g
Pretty much the standard waterproofs here, and judging by the forecast, they’ll probably be on my back more than in the pack!
1 x Mountain Equipment Supercell Jacket
1 x Berghaus Paclite Pants
Combined weight of 624g (not bad for an XXL jacket and XL trousers!)
This one is quite simple… Just a sleeping bag and an air mat.
I have the following:
1 x Mammut Sphere Spring sleeping bag (650g, rated to 0°c)
1 x Hyalite/POE Peak Elite Air May (397g)
That’ll be the Scarp 1, then. It’s always going to be my choice of tent for every solo trip. It is without a doubt, the best tent out there for tall folks.
I’m going to take the crossing poles with me, too, as at least one forecast has suggested snowfall when I’m in Tyndrum or at Kingshouse.
Total weight: 1.875kg (including spare pegs)
Gadgets and miscellaneous
No trip is the same these days without lines of communication and some form of entertainment to while away the hours in the tent.
Kindle Paper white, in Aquapac case – 269g
Alpkit Glowy torch/lantern (a genius piece of kit, more in another blog post!) – 121g
Samsung NX1000 Camera, with 20mm pancake lens in Case logic case – 537g
MSR fuel bottle, with fuel (as I’d forgotten to put it in other categories!) – 658g
Samsung Galaxy S3, in OtterBox Defender case & Aquapac case, with 2 spare batteries – 300g
Let’s not forget…
First Aid Kit/Toiletries
As I’ll have access to showering facilities most days, I’ll be making use of them! As such, I’ve got more toiletries with me than I’d take for an overnighter or a wild camping trip.
1 pack Co-codamol (prescribed to me… Much better than paracetamol!)
1 pack Ibuprofen
1 pack Immodium Instants
1 pack Compeed blister plasters
1 pack waterproof plasters
2 sterile dressings
2 small bandages
1 tube Gehwol Extra foot cream
2 tick removal tools (different sizes)
1 styptic pencil
1 SPF15 sun lotion (I know, I know, I could safely leave it behind!)
1 Lifeventure Trek Towel, large
1 Colgate travel toothbrush
1 Colgate travel toothpaste
1 Dove deodorant spray
1 Dove Shower Gel
All fitting quite nicely into a 2l Alpkit Airloc, weight: 578g
I’ll be taking the Lowe Alpine Nanon 50:60 pack with me, weighing in at 1.4kg.
So, the total weight on my back adds up to…. 10.555kg.
Take off the food and fuel, and you get a base weight of 7.942kg. I’m actually quite happy with that… Particularly as it includes extras I wouldn’t take when properly wild camping (shower gel, deodorant, towel, so many extra socks, etc)
I’ve not weighed my worn items, but here they are, anyway:
Finisterre Zephyr Boxer Shorts
Bridgedale Coolmax Liner Socks
Bridgedale Endurance Trekker socks
Haglöfs Mid Flex Pant
Rab MeCo 120 Long-sleeved top
Montane Litespeed Jacket
Mammut Brecon GTX boots
Outdoor Research swift cap
Swiss Eye Slide Sunglasses (plus lenses… Both orange and smoke coming with)
Black Diamond Contour Elliptic Shock trekking poles
So, there you have it. For all those who thought the gear porn had ended when everyone set off on the TGO Challenge this morning, here’s a wee bit more for you!
I think this is the first time I’ve actually gone to the effort of breaking down my weights since in first attempted the West Highland Way 2 years ago. At that time, my pack weighed in at over 18kg, and in terms of the number of items carried, it wasn’t much different from what is above. The real difference comes in the weight of the items. My sleeping bag, for example, is 1kg lighter than the one I used then, my rucksack is more than 1kg lighter. The tent is about 1kg lighter, and so on. In contrast, though, all of my new items (with the exception of the rucksack, actually), were significantly more expensive than their originals.
I certainly wouldn’t recommend people spend the money required for the gear above on their first outing (I’m conscious that people will find this post when hunting for gear and weight info for the west highland way) on any major walk. There are much cheaper options out there!