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]

Friday, 5 August 2016

Pyrenean Kit List 2016

When we were walking Offa's Dyke Path in April this year, and I was struggling to get comfortable on my NeoAir Short, I wondered why that sleep mat was proving less comfortable than it had been on the Southern Upland Way (SUW) last spring and the GR10 last summer. Then I started to wonder whether I'd used it on the SUW; maybe the low temperature was causing the problem? My blog frequently provides me with answers to questions I have about my own life, but its been years since I last posted a kit list, so it was of no use to me on this question. 

So, for my own future reference, listed below is all the stuff I carried in the Pyrenees this summer. To make some of it potentially of interest to others, I've provided comments on some items. 

I haven't weighed the individual items, but housed in my Osprey Exos 46 (and without gas, food or water) it came in at under 6.5kg (Edit to add: the stated weight excludes one complete outfit of clothes - i.e. what I expected to be wearing)

Items marked with a single asterisk were new for this trip, but direct replacements for retired items. Items marked with two asterisks were new for this trip and of a different make/model/design to what I had fulfilling the same purpose before. Items marked with three asterisks were extra items, not before carried.


Top section of homemade synthetic double quilt, in homemade stuffsack
Lightweight version. Was okay at 1 degree but if it got much cooler I'd be donning my fleece
Thermarest NeoAir Short in silk bag
I get on fine with the short length in warm weather. Prefer medium length if it's cooler.
Jagbags Silk sleeping bag liner (cut down)

Tent Poles and Pegs (Tarptent Double Rainbow) in homemade bag
Mick carries the flysheet.
Polycro Groundsheet in plastic bag
Accidentally took one cut to the shape and size of the Voyager. As it happens we only felt the need to use it twice.

Cooking and Eating

MSR Superfly Stove, in original MSR carry bag
I hate how big and bulky this stove is compared to the Coleman F1 Lite, but love the genius that allows it to be used on both screw-thread canisters and click-lock Campingaz canisters. The latter are much cheaper and more readily available than the former.
MSR Titan Kettle cookpot

Two plastic teaspoons
Can't believe the original two teaspoons, given away as disposable with M&S lunches in 2008, are still going strong.
One plastic spork
Lives in backpack lid for use at lunchtimes. Another M&S 'disposable' piece of cutlery from 2008. Sensibly, M&S soon switched back to more flimsy one-shot cutlery.
Homemade pot cosy
The sides and lid are made of metalicised bubblewrap, the base is closed-cell foam (although only because I ran out of metalicised bubblewrap when I was making it)
Homemade foil windshield
Made out of a disposable baking tray
cigarette lighter
Bought five for a pound at Poundland.
can opener
Weighs 8g and takes up almost no room, but as it's been used twice in eight years, I do question why I still carry it.
Half a washing-up sponge

Homemade stuffsack for cooking kit

Plastic mug
Bought in first week of LEJOG in 2008 (and washed at least a dozen times since then!). Quite delaminated on the outside now but still perfectly functional.
Sawyer Squeeze Mini water filter
Used extensively. It's so quick and easy to use that all water, except when got out of a tap in a hotel/bar or bought in a bottle, was put through the filter. It's not as comprehensive as my Drinksafe Systems filter in what it removes, but perfectly adequate for the (probably perfectly good even without filtering) water sources in the Pyrenees.
Sawyer Squeeze 0.5 litre water bladder
1-litre capacity would be more convenient, but this is what came with the filter.
Sawyer Squeeze backflushing syringe
All water was such good quality that there was no clogging of the filter at all, but past experience has shown that just one dodgy water source can clog a filter enough to make a backflush necessary.
2-litre Platypus water bladder

32 fl Oz Gatorade bottle
Main drinking bottle.
Asda bag for life (AKA food bag)*

Daily Clothes

Craghoppers convertible trousers
I didn't notice last year that these are too long on me; it was so hot that the legs didn't see much action. This year the legs were used extensively and were quite annoying when they kept getting stuck under my heels. Must turn them up!
Mountain Equipment Fleece

Short-sleeved merino top

Short-sleeved synthetic top

Homemade arm warmers/sleeves***
Not used, but I'd still take them again as they're so small and light.
Two pairs Kalenji (Decathlon) pants

Phenomenally expensive Odlo sports bra

X-Socks One ankle socks (x2)
One more pair of socks than I would usually take. Intended to wear the old, stretched pair for the first week then bin them, but they survived the whole trip.
Injinji toe socks**

Smartwool ankle socks (bedsocks)
I compromised on bedsocks, taking a smaller, thinner pair than usual. Good call, as I didn’t need them beyond the first few cool days.
Mock-croc camp shoes
Sadly binned in Bolquere.
Tilley Hat

Dirtygirl gaiters
Love 'em! Keeps grit out of the shoes without any foot sweatiness.

Cold & Wet Clothing

Homemade insulated vest** in silk bag

Montane Atomic Waterproof Jacket
It may be waterproof but it's seriously lacking in breathability. Worst jacket ever owned, but it was cheap and is light.
Berghaus Paclite Waterproof Trousers

Disposable Poncho***
It may be a glorified oversized bin liner with a  hood, but it weighs 50g and is remarkably effective!
Extremities Powerstretch Beanie

Berghaus Powerstretch gloves


Extremities lightweight waterproof overmitts*
Not used, but if it'd been a bit colder on the rainy days they might have been
Montane Featherlite windshirt

Waterproof 3L stuffsack to hold hats & gloves*

If something goes wrong

First Aid Kit
Three types of painkiller, anti sickness, anti squits, antihistamine, hydrocortisone cream, plasters, zinc oxide tape, bandage.
Sewing Kit
Needle and various pretty colours of thread.
3g tube of superglue

length of dyneema cord

Tenacious tape
Mick carries the gaffa tape
McMurdo Fastfind Personal Locator Beacon
A 'one-shot' PLB - only to be used in dire emergency!

Safety pins (2)


Toiletries kit in mesh bag
Toothpaste, toothbrushes, mirror, shampoo, soap, moisturiser
Small bag of soapflakes
Would have been used if I hadn't lost them within my bag for the first 18 days of the trip! Bags  sent in resupply parcels were used.
Toilet paper in small plastic bag
Mick carries the 'shit kit' including the toilet paper, hand gel, cigarette lighter and poo shovel. I carry the 'squit kit' (i.e. extra, emergency toilet paper)
Sanitising Hand Gel

Lipsyl (Factor 15)

Suncream (Factor 30; 50ml tube)
Mick's delicate skin takes Factor 50+. The 50ml tube wasn't quite new for this trip and lasted for its duration. I didn't burn.
Pee-rag and pee-rag holder
The holder is a little half-mesh bag with a strap which holds it accessible on my belt.
Handkerchiefs (2)

half of a super-absorbent Vileda cloth.

Where are we?



Ortlieb Map case


Printout of planned itinerarararary
Should have also printed the copy with accommodation info on it. Was difficult and battery consuming to get info off phone.

European Health Insurance Cards

Plastic Ziplok bags (3)
to hold First Aid Kit, Repair Kit and Electrical stuff.
Spare plastic bags
varying sizes and types. The collection grows as we eat our dehydrated meals, and reduces as those bags are re-used for breakfast cereal and rubbish.
Homemade sitmat
Two layers of the insulating foil stuff that goes behind radiators (not the bubblewrap type), taped and sewn together. Not ideal for sitting on a slope (hessian bag on a helter-skelter…) but very small and light.
50% DEET in aerosol form. Thankfully only called into action on 2 occasions this year.
Sunwise Windrush Sunglasses and bag

Two clothes pegs
Never carried any until I 'acquired' these two pegs on a campsite in France last year. How did I ever manage without them before?!
Exped Fold Drybag rucksack liner*

j-cloths (2)
One for mopping the tent, one for use as a pan-lift.
Tough plastic bag 'wallet', for bank cards, money and spare SIM

Large Aloksak to store paperwork & maps
Really on its last legs now after 8 years of use. Need to find somewhere to buy another one this size.


Samsung Galaxy S5 mini mobile phone
Guidebooks and other written materials also held on phone. All walk-related materials on my phone are duplicated on Mick's. This also acted as GPS and camera. I didn't take a separate camera, and thus didn't need to carry a spare camera battery either. SIM was on 3 network, to take advantage of the cheapness of their 'Feel at Home' deal.

Petzl e+lite headtorch
Only adequate for night walking if Mick is in front of me with a decent headtorch!
Spare batteries for headtorch
If we'd needed to do any night walking, I would have needed to use the new batteries. As it was, I managed with the nearly-dead batteries already in the torch.
Three spare phone batteries
The curse of blogging on the go. I have never yet got beyond using the third of four on any stretch between electricity supplies.
Two mini-USB cables

One Fitbit Surge Cable
For Mick's Fitbit. I switched to my Zip for the trip, which has a battery which lasts 3 to 4 months.
Fitbit Zip

Two European USB plug
In the UK I always carry one double and one single. Would have been handy to have had the same arrangement in France as we kept getting rooms with only one plug socket.
Aquapac waterproof phone case


  1. Not massively different from what I carry on a Challenge, but my base weight is higher...I need to look at that, closely!

    1. I'd certainly be carrying more weight in Scotland in May, even if not more items. By way of example, I'd be wanting arms on my insulating layer, a long-sleeved baselayer and a full length sleep-mat.

  2. At my age I still seem to work in lbs. So, I have a target limit of 20lbs (approx. 9.1kgs) including a 500cl. bottle of water and any food, but I have kicked out cooking equipment, and I of course carry the whole tent. Your overall weight leaves a good margin for water and food to keep within my parameters. You seem to have more items of clothing than me.

    Wearing on the walk.

    I pair long socks.
    1 pair underpants
    1 pair shorts
    1 Rowan shirt (with chest pockets, and map pocket which houses my iPhone Plus with mapping)
    1 hat (The Hat)


    Spare clothing stuff sack.

    1 shirt
    1 lightweight base-layer
    1 pair short socks
    1 pair running shorts (double as underpants whilst others are drying)
    legs for zip-off trousers (worn in evening if eating out “dressing for dinner”)


    Separate stuff bag

    lighweight Hollowfill jacket


    Mountain Warehiuse wateproof (I have kicked out overtrousers - shorts get wet but dry so quickly)


    On my SWCP it was so hot I often carried much more liquid (up to 3 x 500cl. bottles).

    1. I will add a note to my original post to clarify that the list includes the clothes I wore, but that the weight stated excludes the clothes I wore. The clothes list may look like a lot, but my non-walking friends are generally horrified to learn that I can spent weeks, or even months, wearing a single set of clothese (although I've never gone for more than 14 days and nights in the same t-shirt without washing it...).

  3. I hope Montane's Air Jacket in Pertex Shield AP is better than your Atomic because I've just bought one!

    1. I also hope that proves to be the case! I was aware when I bought the Atomic that it wouldn't be massively breathable, but I didn't think it would be as bad as it is.

  4. Amazing that all thats weighs under 7kl. Well done.

    1. Erring on the side of caution, I said that it weighed under 6.5kg, because I couldn't remember the exact number (I weighed before we left; didn't think to weigh again before writing out the list), but I think it was actually nearer to 6kg.

      Unfortunately, with 4-5 days of food added, plus water and gas it became uncomfortably heavy*, but at least I could focus on the knowledge that the base weight was low and thus I just had to eat through the food and drink through the water to get it back to a more comfortable carry.

      (*Yet there have been trips when I've carried 7 days of food and up to 5 litres of water. I must be becoming a girly wuss!)