Thursday, 9 July 2009

Sneak Preview

I'm working steadily through my kit list for the trip - some has arrived, some is currently being tested and the wallet won't allow some to be ordered yet...

Recently arrived kit - yet to test:
Having recently parted with my old Buffalo pile/pertex 2-part bag (which could fill a 40litre sack/pannier on its own) I've invested in a down-to-freezing point Alpkit Pipedream 400 down bag with a claimed weight of 750g. It looks the part and packs down to about 1/8th the size of just one of the Buffalo bags. And thanks to the wonders of eBay I almost broke even on the kit refresh!

A number of items have been here for a while and are getting regular use - reviews later when they've all got more mileage on them:

It might seem odd investing in some lightweight hiking shoes but there are reasons for going for a pair of Inov8 Roclite 318 GTX. Firstly I'm thinking about riding in stiff-soled cycling shoes - the type you see racing bike riders wearing waddling into cafes - they make for more comfortable riding but just aren't any good for walking in. A pair of sandals is OK for a quick hop off the bike but no good for any distance. Secondly, I've noticed membrane shoes seem to be frowned upon but I really hate getting wet feet around the campsite. First thing in the morning, socks dried overnight - out of the tent door, shoes immediately soaked through - cold wet feet before even starting the day. Bah. And thirdly I'm planning on getting in plenty of leg work in the run up to the trip and these take a kilo off the load compared to my current leather boots. I'm not gram counting, but 1000 of the little hooters will make a difference to anyone!

The current cookware collection is an Alpkit MyTiPot and MyTiMug - as a set coming in much lighter than the Vango stainless steel cookware they replace. So far the MyTiMug has been getting regular use as a kettle on the stove trials and the pot might even become surplus to requirements! Thanks to Fenlander mentioning it I've picked up a 56g Tibetian mug (from Trek-Lite on eBay) that neatly slides inside the Alpkit one replacing an old 176g stainless steel mug but even better, returning the extra space it took up!
(Edit: Oops - it was MacE who recommended the Tibetan - sorry!)

Thanks to several bloggers mentioning it, not least of whom was Podcast Bob, I picked up a Cosy Kit which has worked a treat (or even too well!) keeping coffee warm whilst it brews. From the same supplier is the Flatworld picnic kit - a set of flat pack mugs, bowls and plates. Ok, I'm sceptical, but insufficiently sceptical to resist being parted from my cash and to be testing this bizarre concept.

On a different front, and another great find from the backpacking crowd is the Travel Tap. This is a normal drinks bottle with a filter - a filter good enough to safely put river water through it! I've never seen anything like this in the cycling world - no more riding on after running out of water when there are reasonably OK looking streams by the roadside - just top up and carry on! And no more worries about 'non drinking water' taps...

In the food department I've invested in a Food Dehydrator. In goes fresh fruit, out comes dried stuff like from the supermarket, but no longer at £1-a-time tiny servings - bargain fruit & veg has been disappearing into this thing since it first arrived with us a couple of weeks ago. My lunchbox has been revolutionised - wish I'd bought one years ago.

There are a few items on order at the moment - a LiPol battery for Satmap so it will charge from a powered USB connector - a solar charger for which I'll be building and fitting into the bike for on-the-go charging - more info later.

I'm waiting for a MiniBullDesigns Uno#1 and auto-filler bottle to arrive. It looks like this should be a slow-but-light-reliable-and-frugal meths burner hopefully to be used as the backup cooker for my trip using the Honey Stove as a windshield/pan support when there isn't fuel for, or it isn't practical to use the Honey Stove.

Well, I think that is all the kit that is sat here waiting to be tested, that is currently in use and that I'm expecting to drop through the letterbox shortly. Any comments appreciated - but remember that the cash only goes so far adding more items to the kit list!



  1. Some good choices there. I've had a Folding dish set for a while now and they are useful but they no longer see the light of day as I cant cook in them :)

  2. Yeah, I'm unsure...
    I think it was one of the MBD videos where Tinny was recommending only using pots to boil water in and to rehydrate and eat out of a tupperware to make washing up easier...
    I guess I need to try it both ways and see which fits. Multi-use feels more 'lightweight' but as I'm looking at up to 45 consecutive nights depending on how many YHAs and friend's floors get included lazyness could win out.
    So far recently the outdoor catering has only been making coffee for two so one pot and one mug works just fine. Hopefully 3 days in the Peak District coming up so maybe more serious kit testing with 'proper' catering at lunchtime stops!