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]

Thursday 8 April 2010

Kit Changes

It was always intended that we would swap Wendy for Susie (assuming that all readers are now familiar with who Wendy and Susie are). Wendy may appeal with her low weight (which is how she made it into the bag for the first fortnight), and may have a huge floor area, but Susie now feels palatial in comparison with her head-room and arm-waving space.

With the luxury of choice whilst we were home, I also made a few other kit substitutions:

My Thermarest NeoAir Short was ousted in favour of my Prolite 3 (girls model). I was getting used to the short length of my NeoAir, but really couldn't be doing with the tacky surface which meant that to turn over in the night I had to wake up and bounce around to get my bag to come with me. After a night on my Prolite I can say that what it loses in squishy comfort it makes up for in delightful slipperiness. It won't have added too much weight to my pack either, as the Prolite has taken the place of the backpanel in my OMM pack.

Primus windshield substituted for silver foil windshield. The Primus windshield may look sexier, but using it with our Coleman F1 stove left a gap between the windshield and pan, and although it wasn't a big gap, use in breezy conditions suggested that a bit of tin foil would do the job better. It also allows me to put the gas canister inside of my pot, which wasn't possible with the windshield.

Thermawrap sitmat swapped for closed cell sitmat - a minor (and intended) change and one adding a little weight but lots of comfort for those rest stops (the main problem with the Thermawrap being its slidiness).

As for Mick, the only change he's made is his shoes (Salomon XA Pro changed for Fastpackers).
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  1. I agree on the NeoAir. My solution is to use a silk cover (wt 93g). I'm trying it at the weekend but I'm sure it will work. If you can't be bothered with adjusting a silk sleeping bag liner, just use the whole thing and tuck the surplus under the mat. Another thing to get from!

  2. How strange! I love the fact that the NeoAir grips the sleeping bag as my pillow (bought from - you guessed it - then stays in the right place. I simply turn over inside my sleeping bag.
    Do you end up with your pillow over your head then?

  3. I'm glad you mentioned that the Primus windshield doesnt work well with the F1 Lite. Saves me finding out the hard way :)

  4. Robin - I did consider a silk liner, but it didn't seem sensible to be spending more money and adding more weight when I could just revert to my old Prolite. I originally dithered about buying a NeoAir because I sleep perfectly well on my Prolite, so switching to the NeoAir was a bit of a case of fixing a problem that didn't exist in the first place. So, for the moment I'm happy to be back on my old mat (reserving the right to change my mind as my bones start creaking later in the trip, mind!).

    Alan - I don't usually use a pillow (not at home, nor when backpacking). However, I do usually have my hood up around my head (except in the height of summer), and on this trip so far it's been so cold at night that the hood of my sleeping bag has been fastened tight around my face. So, I really do need my bag to move with me, otherwise I end up lost inside my bag, not knowing where that tiny hole of an exit is (which, experience tells me can induce quite a panic in the middle of the night, for which Mick will mock me for the entire day following!)

    Baz - folded bit of thick foil is working really well as a windshield. Time will tell how durable it is...