Wednesday, 15 April 2009

east devon way/south west coast path gear round up

The Golite Hut2 had it’s first outing of the year and continues to be a roomy, stable and lightweight shelter. Condensation was a problem but the weather conditions meant anyone using a tent would be similarly affected. As a single skin silicon shelter it's easy to flick almost dry and given that condensation forming nights are followed by bright sunny days it’s an easy matter to spread it out to dry in the sun at rest stops or at lunch. I pitched it with the Trail Blaze poles for the first time and although I had some reservations that the poles might not be long enough (I’d bought 110cm ones not 120cm) this wasn’t an issue.

I took along the travel tap but ended up using it just as a sports bottle. On the first day there were a few horse troughs that I could have taken water from but didn’t need to as I’d also packed a platy bladder. I’m not ready to make the bold step away from carrying water and being reliant on finding water along the way. Not in low land areas yet at any rate.

One disappointing piece of kit was the Osprey GrabBag, one of the range of add-ons that they do that I’d spotted the weekend before. On paper it seemed like an ideal solution; somewhere other than the mesh hip belt pockets to place my camera and it being better padded I could leave the Lowepro case behind. There was also room enough in there for other bits and pieces apart from the camera. The bag is attached to the shoulder strap on the right hand side by a loop and friction slider, a strap then goes across and attached to the left hand shoulder strap by a quick release buckle, of which the male bit is a friction slider. At first I thought I’d found a natty solution for having my camera to hand until I noticed that the friction sliders kept popping off the straps. Adjusting them so they wouldn’t pop off put tension on the shoulder straps and made the bag sit awkwardly. And they would manage to pop off regardless. I struggled with this for two days and gave up. At £12 this wasn’t cheap so I’m going to email Osprey for some advice as I don’t want to dump it into the ‘never to be used again’ box. Or start trying to modify it and invalidate any warranty.

The eye opener was the three pile analysis that I did with the kit list spreadsheet. Apart from the stark reminder that if I don’t watch the grams the kilo’s start piling up, it helped me appreciate the difference between what I think I might need and what I actually used. I carried 590g of stuff that I didn’t use therefore didn’t need (apart from the first aid kit which I’d always pack). Then there’s the marginal stuff, the kit that got used once, this was still 10% of the total kit weight with the waterproofs making up half that. Again apart from the waterproofs, I’m sure if I hadn’t packed the other items I wouldn’t have missed them.

I had chosen to carrying the shelter, stove, fuel and three days food for two, sharing some of this would have obviously taken the weight down but that wasn't the issue; I'd been complacent and ended up carrying over a kilo more than I needed to... (Makes mental note to re-read Beyond Backpacking - again!)

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