Tuesday 15 July 2008

Coniston Preparation and Gear Tweaks

Last week Paul and I decided on our next trip in the Lakes, the route taking in some of the Coniston Fells. I've never been to this part of the Lake District so needless to say I'm feeling like a child waiting for the imminent holidays.

As I've posted on A Little Bit About Not A Lot recently, I've learned some harsh lessons that have opened my eyes (and unfortunately my wallet) to the benefits of reducing the weight of my pack for the hills.

Along with the Seedhouse SL2 I now have a lighter 3/4 sleeping mat from Multimat and the hope is that soon my pack will be replaced by a Golite Litespeed - saving 1700g!

Although my pack won't be lightest around but, at the end of it all, I believe that a good estimate of my pack weight by the Coniston trip will be around 9kg - including food and water.

In a personally controversial decision I decided to weigh my Isofly stove, cooking pot, pot cosy, wind shield and a full meths fuel bottle to reassure myself that my stove decision suits both in terms of weight and suitability for the job. I'm not going to go back on my fondness of alcohol stoves (don't panic Tinny!), but I have thought about bringing my Coleman F1 Lite stove - just to see. Having weighed both, the difference is of course in the weight of the gas canister which for a 100g butane/propane mix comes in at 170g. The result is that I am going to bring the F1 lite with gas canister and my 750ml beer-can pot with wind shield to trial performance and gas use etc. I guess the biggest benefit being the speed of boil which for 400ml comes in at around 2.5 minutes depending on the wind and how full the gas canister is.

I'm nervous about my new Raichle boots but I think I'll be using them for this trip in any case. I've not worn them enough but they are going to need breaking in at some point so in what I know to be a foolish decision - I'm going to risk it.

The only other gear change to note is I won't be bringing my 2ltr bladder for water. Instead I'm bringing a 1ltr nalgene bottle and a 500ml drinks bottle. The bladder just leaves a foul plastic taste and I think 1.5 litres of water to start the walk is enough. The drinks bottle is really light and 500ml is a good amount of water to take into the tent at night and use for tea breaks in the day etc...

I'll do a final weigh-on of the kit as I pack and post the official weight of the final load shortly. I'm guessing it will be around 9.5kg and (depending on how much lighter this 'feels' in comparison to previous pack weights of around 12 and 15kg) I may treat myself to a can of cider!


Martin Rye said...

Coniston Fells are great. Plenty places to wildcamp high - I have had many a good time down that part of the Lakes. Don't forget to put plaster's on your heels just in case those boots rub the back of them. Ronald Turnbull wrote....The amount of fun you have depends more than anything else on how many blisters you get and how soon....have fun.

Marcus said...

Cheers Martin.

I must have a majority share ownership in Compeed by now, especially since I made my first walking boot error with the Brashers. I find that putting a compeed plaster on before even starting the walk is more effective than as a healing measure. I think this Turnbull chap has it spot on and I can only hope that I remain as blister free as the first wild camp in Buttermere.

I'm quite possibly the most impatient hiker right now - I need Coniston to come around sooner than a week and half!