28.8.13

Just pondering

Kit dilemma, yes yet again a kit dilemma is nagging at my thoughts and haunting my day dreams ..............the question is should I go lightweight modernist? Stick with my usual gear or mix and match both??

What and why am I bothering about this??

Well, generally for bushcraft I like to pack along my gear in a LK35 or for longer term trips and winter the LK70 and for Hiking I usually use my old Karrimor bobcat 65 or a slightly smaller 55. The kit I carry isn't that different when hiking or bushy - especially as some of my hiking is bushcraft themed too in places like Sweden.

Now here's the problem - next year I am doing the Fjellraven Classic - our team is a angloswedish mix with 3 Brits, me, wiggy and Tomo and 2 Swede's, Roger and Richard - and like any mix of folks our idea's and reasons for doing the hike differ. There is talk of speed, there is talk of enjoying the hike. But one thing that seems to be common among my hiking partners is almost desperate need to cut down on the weight of their gear.

I can understand this, after all if your unfit lightening your load seems to be a simple way of easing your burden, Even if your fit as a fiddle lightening your load allows you to enjoy your walk but is there a limit?

I know the theory around the big three and bringing their weight down etc etc etc - but is this or does this become a trade off between weight and what I think of a robustness??

For example I can fit my entire hiking outfit in a karrimor xlite 45 - minus food and water this all weighs in at less than 10kg and yet when I look at my sack I cringe and a little voice in my head whispers - that sack wont last the course ..........or I can pack along a titanium pot, my snow peak 750 with my gas stove but essentially I am then packing along a cup! Wouldn't I be better to pack my stainless steel billy with a mug sized stainless steel cup??

You see my problem?? I like the idea of going lightweight - but my heart tells me that its better to have gear that is robust and can go the distance............. added to this is the problem that if I go with my common sense and pack for robust longevity will I then either slow down the team or at the very least simply making my life harder??

thus is my dilemma to which I am yet to find a answer ...........

10 comments:

Jay Mondo said...

Hi Gary
Really enjoy your blog, keep it going!I had never heard of the fjallraven Classic until now but it looks very manly, I wouldn't mind having a crack at it myself. Recently did the Ghurkha challenge (100km non stop in 24 hours)so I appreciate your dilemma. In terms of weight I would base the gear on the event itself. I don't think durability is an issue as the time scales for the event are not very long ( 3 or 5 day options). I would say weight is the key to a safe and enjoyable trip. With less weight, you'll walk further and more comfortably over rough ground.It looks as though its all about walking rather than bushcrafting enroute, so no need for the heavy tools. I would go ultralight; lightest down bag, using clothes to sleep in if more warmth is needed, bivy bag, 3x3 tarp pitched as a pyramid tent using a trekking pole( light and roomy could be shared with one other to reduce weight)spare socks and t-shirt but no other spares. Cup for a pot and small gas stove is enough, tiny first aid, hygiene, fire kit, especially as there are checkpoints and support along the way. Really pare it back. Look at ray Jardine, Andrew Skurka for this type of approach. Or the Crane cousins (80's book journey to the centre of the earth) They did a bicycle tour in the Himalayas of 6k with (by most anyones standards) virtually no gear. No tent, no cookware,no bivy, and were camping out,pretty remarkable. Anyhoo just my tuppence worth and all the planning and pondering ( over a pint of course)is part of the buzz of this kind of trip. I wish you well and I'm quite jealous!

Mike said...

Stick to what you have got. You are happy with it otherwise wouldnt have it. Light kit is not always the best so just a commercial con like everything else. Best tip is to practice - that is do loads of hillwaking to get fitter, ready for the challenge.

Survivall said...

Interesting comments there guys - one for one against - just like my dilemma lol .........

Mike said...

Look at it like this i like centre zip sleeping bags and the crrusader mug. So sacrifice the weight because I like to use them and like a good nights sleep. Best to choose you kit perhaps in a similar way. What will you enjoy using to make the trip enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

Would it be possible to reduce the number of items in your traditional kit to reduce weight? This way, you'd have rugged gear, but not overly heavy gear. This is the route I try to go, since I like neither fragile lightweight gear, nor excessive amounts of rugged gear.

weekendwoodsman

Johan said...

I had a discussion about this earlier this year and like someone said, Lightweight is for weak people!
I prefer stuff that will last a long time and it´s weight is not that heavy. Look at a bag like Berghaus Vulcan, removing the sidepockets and some other small modifications and you have a 80 liter rucksack that weighs less then 2 kg and it will take a lot of beating.
Training and prepairing for a hike and pack what you like and need and more based on personal experience is the best way to go. Bushcrafting or hiking, I make no difference and use the same kit for any outdoor activities.

Biggest problem hikers have is that their feet give up, foot maintence is forgotten but so important

Survivall said...

Yep my thoughts exactly - my actual hiking kit and my bushy kit at present share many items anyway .......... I think I will work on the theory that the items I carry should be as suitable for a week long hike as for the month canoeing expedition I will be making down the Yukon in the near future ..........thanks for the feed back I think you've re-focused my mind guys!!!

Waldgeistman said...


"Lightweight is for weak people"

What a silly comment! That is a comment from someone who has never carried any substantial weight for any length of time.

You ask any serving soldier if he wanted to reduce the weight on his back...I think you know the answer!

moose said...

seriously....you need help with this? :)

Survivall said...

LOL Clive it's all about the sharing .............a problem shared etc .......... hope you guys are well mate