The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Kit Casualties - Part 2

This really will be the walk remembered for kit falling apart and wearing out. In addition to the previous list:

1) My Icebreaker 150 s/s t-shirt. A case of wear and tear, rather than a failure. The hole has been sewn up and it should make it through the next two weeks.

2) My Terroc 330s. Brand new when we set out from Inverkeithing, they'd done fewer than 100 miles when some of the stitching came adrift. To be fair, it's possible that I caught it against a rock, or something. The cut of the shoe is such that I was able to get a needle in to sew it back up through the original holes.

3) My backpack. Possibly the most annoying of the casualties. Bought new immediately before this walk I expected it to look almost unblemished at the end of it (not unreasonable, in that Mick's identical pack has 2000 miles on it and isn't in bad shape). I now have three holes in the mesh back (one where stitching has come undone, two where the hip belt has rubbed) and some stitching has come undone on the collar. That will be going back once we're done.

4) A Platypus 2-litre water bladder. It's failed exactly where its predecessor did, where the opening is attached. I didn't get around to sending its predecessor back, but I intend to return this one, because its really not old enough to put it down to wear and tear. With a leaking bladder being rather inconvenient, we'll be buying a replacement before we leave Fort William.

4) Mick's windproof. The saddest loss of the trip and undoubtedly a case of wear and tear. This Montane Featherlite started from Land's End as a bright yellow jacket. By the time we started from Kent it was very faded, but you could still tell that it had once been yellow. By the time we started out from Lowestoft it was faded to nearly white. It was just four days from making it through all the points of the compass (not to mention having had successful trips across England, Wales and Scotland and countless other trips and runs) when Mick went to put it on, only to have an arm become significantly detached from the body. The jacket still made it through to the end, and the sewing kit will again be called into action before we leave Strathcarron in the hope that it can be cobbled back together sufficiently to make it across Scotland.

5) The tent. Pending arrival of Vera's flysheet, in Fort William we invested 99p in a flimsy plastic dust sheet. Up went the inner tent, the dust sheet was flung over the top and then on went the leaky fly. The weather obliged us with showers every few minutes all the way through the afternoon and, judging by the standing water on the campsite yesterday morning I'd guess they continued through the night too. At 8am in the morning there was just a single, small drip of water sitting on that plastic sheet. Curious! As we sat there pondering why it had leaked so badly two nights earlier, the dripping started. By the time we packed away at noon quite a bit of water had made it through the flysheet seam - but thanks to that 99p dust sheet, we were dry inside. It's not a long-term solution by according to Royal Mail the replacement fly is waiting at Glen Nevis for us.

6) Mick's Thermarest NeoAir. It has always had a slow leak, but now some of the air chambers have become detached from the outer, so it has bulges appearing. Interestingly, the detachments started exactly on each of the fold points (where you have to fold it to put it in the supplied stuffsack). That will be returned under the lifetime guarantee when we get home too.

7) My jacket. My Montane Venture jacket had been worn once before we set out in March and, thanks to the stunning weather, has seen very little action on this trip. So, it's disappointing (but not a considerable inconvenience, and easily fixable) that a matching pair of velcro tabs on the main zip cover have come off.

8) Mick's gaiters. I mentioned these on the last casualty list, when some stitching came undone. They've now worn holes in them (and on mine some of the material has delaminated). They're Raidlight Debris Gaiters and from the short life of both of our pairs we have to conclude that they aren't anywhere near worth the money they cost.

Think that's everything for now. Wonder what will break next? (Hope it's not me or Mick!)

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. Sorry to hear that so much expensive gear didn’t make it through.

    Love that sentence. "With a leaking bladder being rather inconvenient”.

  2. Have a good time on the Challenge!

  3. You must be gutted having invested all that money into such great(not)kit,but having to get your sowing gearout every 5 mins Is less than ideal,I can imagine.but having known you for the time I have, which is not that much to be fair,I already know EXACTLY that you will be getting your money back :) maike

  4. Thanks for all that information. From now on, I'll be folding my beloved Neoair less exactly, so that the folds are not in the same places each time. The supplied stuff-sack has enough spare space for the resulting wider bed-roll.
    (I have a short and a regular Neoair, and neither has ever leaked at all, so far.)

    Looking forward for a follow-up post on how you get on with trying to get reparation.

  5. Hi Gayle.
    In the event that you don’t send back the busted Platy can i put my name on it. I want one for some MYOG gear trial. I can’t bring myself to destroy a good one.

  6. At least its only the gear falling apart after all that mileage and not the owners

  7. I suppose you'll be able to organise geardrops by helicopter during the Challenge ?

    Good luck and dry feet !


  8. Seconding the "leaking bladder" commnet. Snerk :D

    Strathcarron! I loved passing through, the missus wont let us stay there ever. Hope you buy some 'stained glass'!