I am reviewing the gear taken on my 312km (194m) Wainwright’s Remote Lakeland walk and wild-camping trip. It was April 2021 and the weather was fantastic, with sunshine, light winds and no rain. During the 10-day walk, the temperatures were -3 to 6C over night and up to 17C during the day.
Granite Gear Blaze 60: I set off with over 18kg in the pack and it was still pretty comfortable. Its got plenty of pockets for storage and I was able to organize my gear well. There was plenty of room for the 12-days food and as it decreased, I was able to pull the compression straps in to reduce the packs volume. I was very pleased with the pack and glad I’d taken it on this trip.
Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX boots: Great boots that were perfect for the walk. Amazing grip, light weight and comfortable. They definitely helped me achieve the walk in such a quick time. If I had been wearing more traditional and heavier walking boots, I really doubt that I could have walked it so fast. I’ve written a detailed review of the Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX boots here.
ToeToe liner socks: This was the first time that I’ve used toe socks and am extremely impressed. I didn’t get any blisters at all, which is something that I usually suffer from. I’m a total convert and will wear them again. ToeToe liner socks – Amazon
DarnTough Hiker socks: Best socks available and I won’t wear anything else. They last much longer than any other socks and don’t bobble uncomfortably. I’m still using a pair that I used on my 1,200 mile LeJog and 1,100 mile Dover to Cape Wrath walks. Full review of the DarnTough Hiker socks here.
PHD Hispar 400 K sleeping bag; I’ve spent hundreds of nights sleeping in this bag, but it wasn’t warm enough on some chillier nights. I think I’m a cold sleeper now, but this is a -9C rated sleeping bag. I think it’s possibly past its best, or perhaps it needs washing again… professionally this time.
Thermarest Neoair Xtherm mat: Comfortable and warm, perfect for the temperatures on this walk.
Icebreaker merino bodysuit: I use this instead of a sleeping bag liner during winter, so if I’m cold I can add clothes over it. The bodysuit then protects my clothes and the sleeping bag from sweat during the night. It’s simple and can be used as an emergency layer during the day if I’m soaked or cold. As it’s merino, it didn’t smell at all at the end of the trip.
EDZ merino liner socks: These are surprisingly warm and being 92% merino, didn’t need washing or smell at any point.
My stove was just used to heat water for dehydrated meals and coffees. I like to keep things simple and easy, especially when I’m exhausted from hiking all day. I use the 30g Vargo Titanium Triad multifuel stove with methylated spirit and find it economical on fuel. The Evernew 600ml titanium pot fits on it perfectly and was the right size for me.
The only problem I had was shortage of fuel, but this was not a fault of the cook system. I’m going to have to take a little blame for that one. I did find that I could save quite a bit of fuel by not heating the water to boiling every time. Why boil the water for coffee and then let it cool down to drink?! My little finger was not a very accurate temperature gauge though; I’m pretty sure my coffees weren’t all at the recommended 85C.
Water filter system
There were plenty of rivers to filter water from on Wainwright’s remote Lakeland walk, so I rarely carried more than 1 litre of water at a time. The only exception was when I was about to camp high, as there wouldn’t be any water.
The rivers were all fairly clear but I still always filtered the water with my MSR Guardian Water Purifier Pump.
My whole cook and water filter system is unchanged in the last few years and worked perfectly as usual.
The clothing I took was perfect for the conditions. I use a lot of merino clothing on long distance treks, because I can wear it a long time without washing it and it still doesn’t smell too bad (as long as it’s aired overnight). I also find merino warmer and more comfortable when wet.
Hat, gloves, head band and neck tube: These were all needed but due to the changeable conditions, I often varied the combination. Early mornings and when I was exposed to the cool breeze, I needed them all together. It was a perfect combination for the conditions.
The Rohan convertible mitts were not warm enough for the cold temperatures encountered on the first few days. So I added the Montane waterproof minimus mitts over them, which was just warm enough. I may have been better taking my EDZ touch screen merino gloves instead, as they would have been warmer inside the waterproof mitts. Thereafter the Rohan mitts were good in the warmer temperatures.
The EDZ merino neck-tube is the best fitting one I’ve ever used and I love it in colder conditions. However, I did have to take it off at times because it was too warm later in the walk.
EDZ merino wool boxers: Great underwear and I wore them every day. They still didn’t smell too bad even after 10 days. They were a bit too warm later in the walk though, so I could have taken my trusty EDZ briefs. Read my full review here.
Inov-8 at/c merino wool short sleeve t-shirt: I find this works really well under the EDZ. It’s fairly thin with a lot of mesh and disperses sweat well, so I never feel wet.
Base / mid-layer
EDZ merino wool long-sleeve top: This was ideal for the trip. I used it on its own on warmer days, or over the Inov-8 top if I needed an extra layer. Being 100% merino, even though I wore it every day, it didn’t smell. This was impressive and it makes life so much easier on trail if I’m not having to wash my gear all the time, or worry that I smell terrible. Read my full review here.
Rohan Superstriders trousers: I took these heavy-duty softshell trousers because I was expecting cold weather. I didn’t take over trousers as I knew these would be warm enough if wet. They were too warm most of the time, though, and I could have taken lighter-weight, more breathable trousers.
Montane Minimus waterproof jacket: I was glad I took such a lightweight jacket as it spent the whole trip in my rucksack.
Marmot Ether Driclime windproof jacket: Perfect over the EDZ baselayer when there was a cool breeze. I like the mesh panels that lets it breathe under my arms.
OMM Raid Insulated Hooded Jacket: This is a lightweight jacket for how warm it is (410g). This is mainly down to its Primoloft Gold insulation and lightweight shell material. This does make the jacket delicate, but I didn’t intend wearing it under my rucksack or doing any bush-wacking in it.
The jacket was taken as an extra-warm layer to put on at stops and wear in camp. I would normally take my lighter-weight 370g PHD Yukon K down jacket to wear in camp. However, I wanted to save weight due to the amount of food I was carrying.
I took a minimum amount of clothes on this trip, so I needed a dual-purpose jacket that would handle damp weather if I needed to wear it during the day. This jacket would still be warm as my emergency layer if I was wet through when I arrived at camp. In reality, I only needed it around camp and at lunch stops if there was a cool breeze.
Odds and Ends
Black Diamond Distance FLZ Trekking Poles: I use adjustable length trekking poles because I use them to support my tent. When I’m walking, I have them at 1200mm long. When setting up camp, I can reduce their length to suit to get the tent height correct. These are great poles, pretty light weight and do both jobs very well.
Thermarest Z-seat: Getting old and flattened now, but still good for keeping dry when sitting on wet grass. It’s also useful for kneeling on when I’m blowing up my air bed and sorting contents in the tent.
Petzl head torch: Not needed much but essential one night when I had to walk until 10pm to find a camp spot.
Ulefone Armor 3W phone: Used for all navigation and photographs during the walk. Great waterproof phone with a large battery ideal for hiking. I didn’t need to charge it and still returned home with 16% charge, so it would have easily done another few days.
Platypus Platy Preserve: I usually carry wine in this, but had partially filled it with Sloe Gin for this trip. I should not have worried about the weight and filled it, as it didn’t even last the first week. Sadly I didn’t pass anywhere to buy wine to refill it. I need to plan the walks better.
First Aid and Repair kits: Not needed but would go again as you never know.
I took enough dehydrated meals for 12 days, and completed the walk in 10 days. I ate in pubs twice and had a take away once. So I came home with 3 days worth of food left.
Not taking this extra could have saved me 2kg. That’s 2kgs I carried all the way around that I didn’t need to, but for me I feel it’s better safe than sorry. I’d rather carry too much than go hungry or worry that I’ve got to get the walk done before I run out and rush.
When long distance walking and eating so many dehydrated meals, it’s best to have as many different types as possible. You can very quickly get bored with repeatedly eating the same meals, to the point you stop liking them.
- Prior planning is important, but luckily the fuel lasted and I could have saved weight by taking less food.
- Don’t spend a fortune saving 200g on a new tent or 10g on a lighter spoon etc, just to save weight. Most weight can be saved without spending any money, by good planning and carrying the minimum food and water.
- When a local offers you a beer, accept it.
- Dispose of rubbish as often as you pass a bin. It’s surprising how heavy the rubbish can get on a long hike and how quickly it can build up.
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