Tuesday 18 March 2008

Wild Camping in Buttermere - A Summary

The Pitch on Fleetwith Pike
So, I'm back from my first wild camping experience and I thought it would be useful (probably for nobody in particular and most likely just for me!) to do a post about the experience, the lessons learnt and the whole thing in general.

I wanted to be a bit more prolific with the posts whilst in the hills but as predicited a mobile signal was intermittant. Additionally, it takes a bit of discipline to stop what you're doing and fumble about with a tiny phone to write a post. Note to self: Must be more disciplined!

I think for a first trip it was a success, and that includes the fact that I learnt a few serious lessons as regards the equipment. I set out with the mindset that I'd do this on my budget, with whatever gear I could get away with and I achieved this in all respects. However, (and now I have to eat humble pie) after carrying my fully loaded pack for a day and hiking around the hills, I'm seeing that lightening up a little would have it's benefits. I'm not about to try to get my base weight down to that of an anorexic calender girl, but I could shave some weight in terms of lighter gear and being a bit ruthless with the luxuries! On this trip, I took 3litres of water in total (I know, a real idiot) and I think in the winter/ spring months I would need to carry no more that 1 litre at a time and just bring my water filter for peace of mind. I think I had water paranoia at the time! This alone would save me around 2KG. At this point I should prob point out that I didn't bring my DSLR with me in the end. One test haul of my pack decided that for me instantly!

So what else? Well I could also save around 1.5KG on replacing my Berghaus Anteaus rucksack with a specialist lightweight pack like those available from Golite and such like. They're relatively inexpensive at the moment and I could go for a 60 litre Golite Gust pack for around £50. These two changes combined could save me around 3.5KGs!

The other area where I think space and weight is the biggest issue (as well as my tent) is my sleeping bag. Mine currently weighs in at 2KG with the stuff sack. To do something about this I need to spend some serious money, but once again I could be looking at approx a 1.5KG saving if I considered a lightweight down-filled bag. These bags are around £250 and I don't think I'm ready to commit to the lightweight movement this much just yet! Besides, I could have a Terra Nova Voyager for that and save myself over 2KGs!

In summary then on the weight issue, I think I'll go for the lighter pack and less water solution with a little more compromise on the weight of my food for the next trip and see how this pans out.

All things considered, I've got this feeling of wanting to be back out there again - soon! It was a liberating feeling just to be out there, especially knowing that we we're constrained by time in the same way most walkers are. There were no dramatic sunsets or sunrises on this occasion but I guess there is plenty of time for that and its more motivation to get out there again.

All in all an excellent trip and we're already planning our next one as the weather improves. Back to the maps and the researching again for another destination. If you are thinking of doing this, get out there and you won't look back.


John Hee said...

sounds like you've definitely got the right mindset sorted already - congrats

Equipment replacement is a bit-by-bit affair as opportunities, cash, and irritation allow

The s/bag - definitely don't need to spend huge amounts
Here's a starter (750g)http://www.allweathers.co.uk/vango-venom-225-sleeping-bag---2008-model-1481-p.asp
or check out Alpkit's site for their own brand offerings

Keep up the reports - they are being read. And wander over to the UK Outdoor Bloggers Forum if you want to build on the blog, or the w/camping? outdoorbloggers.com

Ron Bloomquist said...

I'm happy to have discovered you via "walkabout in the UK".

You've discovered the most important part:

"Get Out"!!!


Ron Bloomquist said...


Was that it?

Your done now?

I await more adventures!!

Marcus said...

Sorry folks for the lack of updates. Its not at all that I've lost the will, just a combo of work, research into gear and my next trip - oh and some boring stuff that has to be done as part of our lives in this 'matrix'!

Cheers for the advice on gear John - I'm quickly finding that its more about money and experience than actually getting out and buying it.

I can't believe people are actually reading my blog at last - I'd better start writing a little more!
I've got a few over-due posts to submit so watch this space over the next few days Blabberon.


Anonymous said...

Ive also been looking at the vango venom 225, In a Shop in london I handled the Vango venom 300 2007 model, And was horrified at the loft issues and thats a more insulated bag ? hope theyve fixed it. As at a lot of points in the bag you could squeeze it between your 2 fingers and feel no down distributed there just the two fabric surfaces rubbing against each other, I know you need to shake the bags to loft them but that issue alone convinced me to reconsider my bag purchase, Spec wise the vango venom looks great, but manufaturers all talk rubbish about temperature ratings be carefull.