The best gear for you, is the gear you currently have, the gear that lets you get outside.
Currently, the gear I have features things that I have had for ages, things that are brand new and, increasingly, things that I have made or modified myself.
The spreadsheet below lists the equipment and food I am taking an upcoming walk in the Scottish Highlands. Click on the tabs in the bottom of the frame to see the list you’re interested in.
You can read all about it is the gear that you currently have.
The same list, but opened in Google Sheets
A Microadventrue set-up
On an overnight microadventure, my gear set up is pretty much based on the equipment I bought a long time ago when hilltop jaunts were a lot more regular than they are these days. Some of it looks a bit tatty, but it works and has character.
I carry everything in my faithful Karrimor KIMM rucksack, which looks a bit like this one. It is a fantastic bag with a capacity of about 30 litres, which dates back to the mid-1990s. I used it during the legendary “Howling Howgills” Karrimor Mountain Marathon of 1998 an epic little outing if every there was. Nowadays, the bag is looking a bit tatty now, but it’s still going strong.
Inside the back of the rucksack, I first load my sleeping mat, a Thermarest NeoAir xLite, regular size. I recently bought this on eBay, my previous Thermasrest having lasted from the early 1990s until 2013, giving me a comfortable night’s sleep on many occasions. If this mat lasts as long as its predecessor, I will be a very happy pensioner when I retire it.
A Good Night’s Sleep
Next, I line the rucksack with a builder’s rubble sack – strong and lightweight and cheap. Inside this first, I stuff my sleeping system a Mountain Equipment Classic 300 sleeping bag itself stuffed inside an Alpkit Hunka bivi-bag, this little bundle being wrapped up inside a 20-litre roll-top dry-bag which doubles as my pillow.
The sleeping bag is another purchase from the mid-1990s, being very light and packing very small, probably due to the lack of loft on the down these days. Truth be told – it’s not very warm these days, but it has given me many a conformable night’s sleep in this bag and when it’s cold, I simply wear a few layers inside.
I bought the bivi bag two years back for my first microadventure and have been very happy with it. Deliciously simple, it keeps the rain out and does clag up too much with condensation. In bad weather, there is just about enough room to sneak inside and change, but you have to move slowly and carefully to achieve this. With this in mind, when I replace it, I will go for the XL size, but until then, I’m quite happy with what I’ve got
I like to sleep in dry clothes, so inside the sleeping bag, I store a set of merino wool base layers: long johns, a pair of socks and a long sleeved top which are from Craghoppers. Sleeping in these means there is usually something dry to sleep in, even if all my other clothes have been soaked and, of course, these act as an extra layer of clothes in the event of really cold conditions.
The dry bag this little lot comes in serves to keep my sleep system together and is oversize to allow the sleeping bag to fill out the bottom of the rucksack. At night If store my daytime clothing in it, scooping some air inside before sealing it to create a lovely pillow. Bliss.
A Roof Over My Head
When I do use a tent it;’s a Saunders Spacepacker which I bought in 1996 for a trip to Australia to walk the Overland Track.
It looks a bit old now, but works well, sleeping two and standing up well to bad weather. Normally, I try to leave the tent back home, but for our “Dad and Lad” adventure, the lad wanted a tent and in the winter, I want one too. Soon I hope to make a tarp or perhaps a tarptent, but until then the Spacepacker will do.
In the morning, I like to have a coffee and brew this up in another Alpkit item, a Mytipot 900 which sits atop a Fancy Feast stove. This genius little stove is fashioned out of a can of cat food, is tiny and give me a nice bit cup of coffee to get the day going.
To stop the pan falling over and to act as wind shield I use DIY cone shaped stand made out of turkey baking trays. It looks flimsy, but works well although it is nothing like as good as the Caldera Sidewinder stove I covet. A spoon to eat with and a Platypus to carry about 2 litres of water completes the kitchen.
All the Other Stuff
My wash-kit is a tiny travel towel and toothbrush, pre-loaded with toothpaste and wrapped in cling film with a pack of loo roll just in case.
Finally, I always travel with a map, a compass, tiny head torch, whistle and charged mobile phone double bagged in zip-locks, just in case of emergencies. That and a small first aid kit and some duct tape for repairs to my kit. Once again, that’s all stored in zip-lock bags.
For a summer jaunt, my pack weight sits at about 5 kgs excluding food and water, which is a nice weight to carry and way more comfortable than the 20 kg plus that I used to carry in the 1980s.