Thursday, 7 May 2009


This time next week I should be at the Linn of Dee. After the last trip and suffering with a too heavy pack I've been working away at getting it down from 19-20kg to something a bit more manageable. I'm pleased with how it's worked out, weighed my pack this morning at the local Post Office and it's just a shade under 12kg including 4 days food and camera gear. To be honest I'd never have got close to 12kg if I hadn't bought a new pack, sleeping bag and sleeping mat, well thats not strictly true, I could have used my summer weight bag and Alpkit Wee Airic and the weight would be about the same as it is now, the difference is that the bag and mat I'm using should be much warmer. I saved about 2.5kg over the gear from last time through replacing my old pack/bag/mat, the rest of the weight saving came from;

a. cutting down on gear (still got enough to be comfortable though)

b. Getting my camera gear weight down thanks to MSO.

I'd been using a DSLR and we had an old Olympus C5050z that we shared, that has now been replaced with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150 which is strictly speaking my wifes but I get to use it 1st as she doesn't go away until July. I tried to convince her that what she really needed was a Panasonic DMC-LX3 but unfortunately she can read me like a book. The FX150 weighs in at 190g including card & battery, the E-3 with lens/card/battery weighed 1420g, adding spare cards/batteries/pouch etc took that up to 1894g.

Last trip was my 1st time out with the TN Laser, this may be it's last. I was pretty close to taking the old Phreeranger as the lack of grief compared to the Laser is well worth the extra 200g but I need to give the Laser another chance. I still might change my mind though.

This time it's a 1st real run out for the Gregory Z55, PHD Minim 500, POE Ether Thermo 6 and a Montane Venture so I'll see how it goes. Hydration wise I'm using the the new Eliminator which I know will work, my cooking set up is the same as before so no problems there. One other thing that'll be new to me, Trekmates Bamboo Base Layer. I'm always intrigued by alternatives, I've tried synthetic (who hasn't?) and Merino (worked really well) but you have to keep looking at what else is out there.

Wet Gear, 998g

Laser, 1710g

Food Pack, 1 day, 500g approx

Cooking System, 546g. Fuel 350ml 324g

1st Aid and Misc, 270g


  1. You're getting there Mac, you're getting there. Becoming a lightweight hiker is always a (sometimes neverending) journey but you already did the most important steps!
    Enjoy your new gear and the light pack!

  2. Nice one! You've managed to shave a fair amount of weight off your back for your trip. I'm interested in what you make of the Z55.

  3. Thanks Guys, I don't ever see myself going completely lightweight, I'm still taking the woodstove with the meths back-up when I could simply take the meths burner. I'm taking a separate tent light when I could use my headtorch.

    Baz the Z55 is a bit fussy IMO, too many straps/flaps etc but to get a simple style pack it seems you need to accept a simple style back system so a compromise has to be accepted somewhere.

  4. Fussy is spot on, I couldnt get on with the one I owned. It's a comfortable carry though.

  5. Lets just say I'm still looking at rucksacks (and tents) :-)

  6. Hi Mac,

    Good work on the weight. You're bound to find your flow with how low you want to go with it. I can recommend the Big Agnes Seedhouse range. The SL1 is just over a kilo but it pitches perfectly everytime. Have you though about the Golite packs? No as technical as the likes of OMM or as light as ULA or gossamer gear but are comfy load carriers and still fairly light and cheap to boot.

  7. Funny you should mention Big Agnes, I had looked at the Seedhouse range but I think the Copperspur style suits me better. The thing that puts me off is the amount of mesh.

    Regarding packs, you know I've looked at almost every brand out there and there doesn't seem to be anything that ticks all the boxes. I'd like a no frills pack with a decent back system which it seems isn't possible. The 08 Karrimor Alpiniste 45+10 might be worth a look if I can find one locally.

  8. I think you'll struggle to find a no frills rucksack with a decent back system. Have you had a look a the Crux AK47?

  9. I've looked at Crux and also POD but only online, I think they're worth a closer look but with mail order being the only option it isn't so easy.

    The POD Black Ice is the style of pack I'm looking for but I haven't seen what the back looks like.

    Once I get back I'll probably order some sacks with the intention of returning them, it's going to cost the return postage but there isn't any alternative.

  10. One thing I would state about the POD, the Alpiniste, and the Crux bags for that matter, is that they are climbing sac's. Hence the clean lines. IMO the back systems aren't up to carrying a backpacking load.

    The mail order route for some of the non mainstream stuff is the only way to go but it is a pain, coming up with the cash to buy several to try and then the hassle of sending the ones you dont want back.

  11. Thats exactly it, although I think the Alpiniste has a marginally better system then the OMM.

    What I don't get is why people want every conceivable extra added to almost any product? For all the talk about a lightweight revolution I've never seen gear with so many add-ons.

    Looking at some online retailers it's unreal the amount of accessories that it's possible to buy, where do people put it all? I'm surprised we haven't reached 100L as the standard pack size. The cookware side is probably the worst, there's stuff available that I don't have in my kitchen and all this when dehydrated meals have never been so popular. Take a look at the MSR or Primus websites to name but 2, where on earth would you put all the Branded, co-ordinated accessories and when would you actually use them?

  12. I have a OMM Villain that is great for weekend BP trips with the kit that I use. I think the 45l plus 10 bit is over stated. I've got an old Berghaus GR45+10 that I get more in when using the same kit. The Exos 46 large is actually a 49l bag. The Exos has features but only clocks 1100g.

  13. I have a OMM Villain that is great for weekend BP trips with the kit that I use. I think the 45l plus 10 bit is over stated. I've got an old Berghaus GR45+10 that I get more in when using the same kit. The Exos 46 large is actually a 49l bag. The Exos has features but only clocks 1100g.

  14. Have you tried looking at the GG Mariposa.

    Robin has a review of his.

    I have been using a Sixmoondesins Comet for the last 4 years.

    Initially I had some issues with but I find its a good pack for me.

    My Comet

  15. I can confirm that the Mariposa Plus is an excellent sack and carries very comfortably. With the Nightlight torso sleeping pad as padding it weighs about 800g. I've replaced the carbon fibre stays with nylon rods, which makes it much better IMO. With the mesh pockets it hold a surprisng amount. The only criticism is that it makes your back a bit sweaty.

  16. I hadn't see those. To be honest I don't think I'm ready for an ultralightpack, my base weight would be coming to close to the upper limit. I see you had a few problems with yours, I take it everything is sorted out now?

    I'm leaning towards the Alpiniste 45+10 to be honest, I have an older, heavier model (2338g) maybe 04-05 and I'm going to try my gear into it for size. Failing that maybe I'll just buy a checked shirt and use the Annapurna 11 :-)

  17. It was mainly the tri-glide system which allows you to adjust to different back lengths.

    It kept slipping so I had my wife stitch it so it wouldn't move.

    It tougher than the mariposa, I have a homemade version of that, mainly because the high wear areas are made of pack cloth like a traditional pack.

    Video I made a couple of years back with the Comet, G4 (Mariposa),GoLite Trek.

  18. I've got a check shirt you can have :)

  19. He's a Lumberjack etc etc :-)

  20. Red laces and sox to match:)