Trail, November ’08

“Lighter Luxuries” my column’s called this month, and it’s simple stuff. Lightweight hiking and backpacking should be fun,  it’s not a competition to leave the most stuff in the house and that’s what I’m saying in there. My pack always has room for daft extras like the squeaky Ajungilak pillow and a Danish Pastry. Or two.
I was trying to address the notion that all lightweight folk are po-faced scales-obsessed geeks who want to grit their teeth through a cold night in a tent. In 300 words that’s a tall task though given some of the evidence.

Elsewhere the Five Sisters of Kintail piece brought back memories, must be 15 years or something since I did that route. I remeber purple being worn anayway. It’s a great part of the world that, it’s just all great hills everywhere you look.

Aw man, I’m pining for the fjords so bad right now.

24 thoughts on “Trail, November ’08”

  1. I recall saying we where on the same line not long back. Again it is in agreement..” it is about getting out there not chasing numbers and getting caught up in seeing who has the lowest pack weight”.. A message that matters. If it is no fun, why go? To heavy and it is no fun. To light and end up cold with no sleep – still no fun. Getting that sweet spot of comfort vs weight. That is the place to be. Having a light pack and comfort on the trip is possible with little effort and the right kit selection.

  2. You still feeling under the weather? That must be some flu you’ve had :o(

    I’ve only been out once since we were in Tiso’s for lunch with Blondy the other month there. There have been a few big changes around here so not been able to get much time for going out to lay.

    My last trip out(the other week there)wa eventfull to say the least but I’ll tell you about that later.

  3. Aye there shoud always be room for cookies, hot chocolate, a book, a wee dram etc. We go out to play in the hills because its fun not because your sargeant is screaming at you.

  4. Well I’ve recently carried the whole “lightening the load” thing into another aspect of my life…..

    Last week on the hills, well MRT were involved(almost) but I’d rather keep it off of the forums etc. I cannae be bothered with all the armchair walkers passing comment or judgment.

  5. I’ll be free tomorrow after my job interview and all day fri aswell.

    I dont care what the weathers doing next week or what interviews I’m asked to go to, I think I’m gonna break in that Villain. Its sitting in the corner upset with me as its only been worn around the house.

  6. I always take my diddy sony mp3 player (27g and it has an oled screen)

    my jetboil coffee plunger and of course my Ajungilak pillow

    one thing i always take thats not exaclty light weight is a good bottle of real ale, although some of the stuff like hobgoblin and fursty ferret that you can get in tins makes it a bit lighter ;o)

  7. The weight of my pack? Quite a bit lighter than it used to be and more comfortable for it. Beyond that, no idea.

    However, I’m never without a small Roberts radio, and usually enjoy a nice bottle of wine (shared between two), decanted into a plastic bottle, of course.

  8. Ooh, I want one of those round flasks :o)

    You know, it’s kind of heartening that we’ve all into the joy of it rather than the challenge of making it as light as possible.
    I’m not saying that the weight weanies and obsessives are wahoos, because pushing the envelope gives us new ideas and kit that makes it easier for us all to go lighter and enjoy the hills.

    Christ, was I just empathetic or understanding there? I’ll need to watch that.

  9. “I’m not saying that the weight weanies and obsessives are wahoos, because pushing the envelope gives us new ideas and kit that makes it easier for us all to go lighter and enjoy the hills”

    Of course, I’ve dispensed with an envelope altogether. I’ve saved calories (pushing envelopes uses up vital energy) and cut my base load by 30g, bringing it under 2kg. I never go walking, of course, I just like banging on about how light my gear is.

  10. It’s true what you say, licking the envelope adds another dimension as well. How much sugar in that?! :o)

    When I look at pictures from not too many years ago my winter daypack was bigger than my current overnight pack. It’s easy to forget now just how much of a difference all the changes to my gear have made to my time out there.
    There’s times I’m annoyed at myself for not clicking sooner. I still remember pulling on that winter pack with an “Uuumph” and taking off the boots when I got back with an “Aaahhh…”.

    I wish I did have some before and after weights. The closest I have is an overnight pack I weighed around two years ago which was 13kg and this year I’m carrying around 8kg. The odd thing is I’m not totally sure where I’ve lost the weight. My kitlist hasn’t changed that drastically in that time. Must be different sleeping bag, mat, less “stuff”?
    Whatever, it’s bloody marvelous!

  11. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with

    Must be different sleeping bag, mat, less “stuff”?

    I might be a wee bit behind you (c. 14kg now to c. 25kg a few years back – including water, 3 or 4 days of food etc.), but a Lightwave tent, a PHD bag (in the sale, thanks for the tip off!), a Wee Airic and much, much less spare/emergency gear has seen me far happier and probably safer. The lack of “stuff” means I can still use my trusty 1kg waterproof and the like, but be far happier.

    By the way, am I the only person that thinks the Lightwave t0 trek tent is far better than an Akto due to the fact that I can actually sit up in it, it can take a snow load better and doesn’t cost the earth?

    Before you ask I did consider a small hooped bivi as used by yourself but I general go out for longer trips and wanted some more space and comfort especially in the snow.

  12. Lightweight luxuries… yellow farty pillow, tiny LED lantern, good chocolate, just need something better than a 0.5l platy to keep the single malt in… titanium hip flask how far is Xmas off?

    More-On no point is using a tent you cant sit up in – there’s no comfort or luxury in that no matter how many grams you save.

  13. I like to sit up in a tent. I sit cross legged, whether this makes a difference to the height I’m not sure…
    It’s a different mindset using the bivy, I’m quite happy even in the rain, for not for too many days in a row.

    I’ll need to start doing kitlists after trips so I know where the hell I am with this weight stuff. I might have a surprise in there or learn something useful!

  14. This is a good posting, it’s got me hooked on a few things.

    First of all Ptc, you’re lucky you have been laid low with the Lurgi in October. It must rank as the best month of the year not to go in the hills. How’s about a poll of the worst month of the year for the hills in Scotland? I reckon October will win by a landslide. Wait, it’s probably no PC to use that word with all the rain we get now.
    You are so right about taking some nice stuff in the sack. Most of us go into the hills for enjoyment, not to win a weigh-in competition. Its about striking that balance.
    That said though, I reckon all of my sack weight reduction is down to materials and money.
    My old stuff was the best at that time and most things have improved — but some haven’t. Examples?
    Tiso sack (full length bivi extension, superior HD canvas) weighed a ton, modern sack barely 700 grammes.
    My 40 year old Salewas however are just slightly heavier than my brand spanking new steel Kathoolas.
    On the whole though, modern materials are making our game so much more enjoyable. The money comes into it if you can afford to buy all this lovely stuff.
    But the real secret to staying light (and reasonably) luxurious, is not to be tempted too much by the evils of luxury. There’s a nice bit about that in The Book of the Bivvy.

    At least it will be better weather this weekend.

  15. There was a couple of nice frosty mornings and that was it, it has been minging recently.
    Bit of blue sky outthere now though.

    Packing for an overnighter is going to be interesting next time. I’ve had a wee break from being out and the weather is definitely colder. I’ve lost a feel for the conditions that I usually keep up with a bit. I’ll be cold or overladen or something.

  16. Just been catching up on the last few days comments etc and it suddenly struck me …

    By Jove, Peter – I think they’ve got it!

    Your work here is done, mate – take the rest of the day off.

  17. I think it’s more likely we all got the right answer at the same time and it’s just that I’m at the back of the class jumping up and down in my seat with my hand in the air, shouting “Miss, Miss! Ask me, ask me!… Miss, Miss! I know, I know!”.

  18. Just strolled down to the shop to get Trail at lunchtime.

    On a different note – ‘Kick start’ suggest a fairly ‘hefty’ route to bag 6 Munros (the 5 Sisters + Saileag et al). Had as quick scan but can’t see any distance / ascent figures.

    Predictably, all 5 ‘Big Munro days’ are west of the A9, including some very hard days indeed, whereas a bimble east and south of Glenshiel could get you 6 with much less pain (I know someone who managed 10 in a day there recently), and the Lochnaggar circuit ofers a rather elegant and – relatively – effortless 5.

    That’s the problem with Trail – their knowledge of Scotland is patchy at times and they tend to have their west coast goggles on.

  19. I remember talking to Claire about this ages back and my suggestions for the trip were the South Glen Shiel Ridge and the Cairngorms.
    For all the numbers of Munros and distance on the Five Sisters route they did, it’s still very accessible for folk to get to. That’s probably a big part of it?
    They have Scottish based routes contributors, so they do have access to the info.
    It would be nice to see some less obvious Scottish hills in features, local knowledge stuff rather than guidebook planning. But, I think they’ve been in Scotland more in the last 18 months than have in many years so I’m not complaining.

  20. I’m going to blog this myself at some point but since it came up:

    Beware the weight stated on the Snow Peak Titanium flasks. They’re more like 65 grams – whereas for 22 grams you can get a 500ml Platybottle.

    Also beware the fact that there are two flasks, that appear to be exactly the same weight but one is flat (the 014) and one is round (the 015) and holds quite a lot more.

    I got mine from a US based ebay shop: Camp Buddy which knocked the price down considerably…

    So I don’t tend to take it on long walks but for overnights – and bonfire parties – it’s great. :)

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