Thursday 17 July 2008


"Can things get any better than this" I'm asking myself - and I'm not even being sarcastic!

Bob and Rose from BPL sent out my Litespeed and it arrived yesterday. No sooner was my bike in the door than I was upstairs unwrapping it and packing my gear in. I'll do my own review on it once I've used it but I'm frankly weeing myself at how good it feels. I've got all my kit in it and I effectively test packed it last night to try it for comfort and generally get excited about how much lighter everything is since the Hay-on-Wye trip. Incontinence under control, I pulled it on, made some adjustments and lightweight life is good to say the least.

I'm currently filling it with more bulky items than it will ever hold again since I'm taking my heavy and bulky Vango sleeping bag and the full tent. Surprisingly there is still room for more food, clothes or whatever I like!

The pockets on the hip belt are a stroke of genius as most owners have already found and the little touches make all the difference. Having only one main zipped compartment makes you think a little more about your packing strategy but I already like this pack a lot!

For those who care I weighed every individual item last night and my trail weight all in (for this trip) is 9.8kg. Since this includes the whole tent (when I will normally be sharing it) food, water a 1.85kg sleeping bag - I'm pretty happy with that! As the autumn arrives I'll invest in a warmer, lighter down bag and lose around 850g from sharing the tent weight so things are looking up for the Dude.

After this little episode and all of the positive comments from the post below, I'm feeling pretty good right now. What remains to be seen is if after acquiring large blisters within the first mile of walking I still have this stupid grin on my face....


baz carter said...

9.8kg is pretty good going given the weight of the sleeping bag and tent. What else are you packing?

Marcus said...

Hi Baz,

Yes it is pretty good and I'm a little shocked to be honest. I'll see if I can format the table from excel and post the full kit list at some point this weekend. I've pretty much cut out a lot of crap from my gear list this time so I'm only taking the essentials.

Although I've got all the essential kit weighed out, I am yet to add my 25g sit mat and an alcoholic beverage of some description, but the weight should still come in at 10kg or under.

I'm not including the weight of my boots however - not sure if this is standard practice? I'd be interested to hear what sort of weight you are carrying?

Anonymous said...

Hi Baz
Your bringing it all back. I remember receiving My Golite Gust and wearing it around the house to catch a view of how it sat inthe mirror - pathetic.
Plenty of scope for weight saving on the bag tho. I bought a Vango Venom this spring after much research - primitively built but weight less than 500gms, made of down and costs less than £50!
BTW the Gust is too big for my multi day trips now - I shall either cut it down a bit or go for the Speedlite.. cheers John Ridd

Anonymous said...

or litespeed even....john

baz carter said...

Did a double take this morning. The figure I had in mind was 11kg so was wondering how you managed to get yourr kit in under 10kg. Then I remembered my figure included 1.5kg of water and six days food and fuel! Take those out of the equation and my base kit weight is 6.5kg. Phew I thought that I was overloading my rucksack - again!

baz carter said...

I do an overall weight then breakout food, water, pack weight and clothing worn.

Marcus said...

Hi John,

Yeah I have to admit I passed by the mirror a few times admiring the lump on my back - priceless. I have a 3 season Alpkit Pipedream in mind for my sleeping bag, this would be around 900g but means I only ever need one bag in theory.

Baz, my weight includes 1.5 litres of water also but only 2 days of food. I've split mine into categories of equipment, clothing, other - which forms my baseweight and then food and and consumables. I'll need to double check that my spreadsheet is pulling in all of the totals as mine seems remarkably light now despite my sleeping bag.

baz carter said...

I've added up the bits that you've said you're taking and I make your load about 7980g thus far, not including items worn. This would leave 1860g or thereabouts for the kitchen, waterproofs, any spare clothes, maps, compass, ipod, mobile, first aid kit, camera, trekking poles, etc. I could be wrong but are you capturing everything?

Marcus said...

I need to check this on the sheet. As far as I could tell the other night everything was working properly and the only thing that could be wrong is its not pulling in one of the subtotals. I'll have to check and let you know. I've got an old version of the sheet on my memory stick here at work so I can check the formulae are correct etc.

Marcus said...

I've just double checked all of the subtotals and the final total calculations and they are pulling in all the figures.

The version I have here at work has been superceded as I got some actual weights of stuff I had to guess but still this version is coming out at 9764g. This version doesn't include my o2 XDA II pda (phone, GPS and mp3 player), GPS receiver, my sit mat or my hipflask for a wee dram - but does include everything else. My PDA and GPS came in at 235g, my sit mat is 25g and my hipflask will prob be the best part of 350g or so when holding a few shots of the good stuff. With those items added that would bring the total to just over 10.3kg. I should point out that all my food is dried ingredients apart from the Jaffa cakes which helps the weight a lot.

I'll post my full list with weights later on tonight - if beer doesn't find me first!

baz carter said...

Can I borrow your scales some time? ;0)

Marcus said...

Admittedly I can't vouch for their accuracy since they are just cheap kitchen scales! Imagine how annopying it would be if I weighed everything at a Royal mail counter and it came back twice the weight!

I suppose the only thing is that the weight is probably irrelevant once you decide that its comfortable and you have all you need. I'd still be interested to see what you think about the list though so I'll find a way to get that on the blog at some point.

Marcus said...

P.S. tell you what shocked me most about the weighing exercise - my Waterproof shell. Just over 450g! Is that normal?

Anonymous said...

I love this, this is exactly the same as me last week, with a memory stick with my kit-list on at work, at home and on a laptop, all slightly different!
I know people knock keeping it on a spreadsheet, but for me it made packing so much easier, as I had my list from last time with notes on what I should and shouldn't have taken. Admittedly, last time the thing I didn't take but wanted was my Rab Photon jacket, which I took but didn't use this time!
When I got back, I weighed it all without any food or water in, saves unpacking stuff before you set off!

baz carter said...

I own a set of postal scales (how sad!) Kitchen scales can be woefully inaccurate - try testing with a bag of sugar a couple of times and see what happens...

Like shuttleworth I do a list per trip and use it to see what gets used or not and make a note for next time.

What waterproof are you packing?

Marcus said...

Shuttleworth, I know, I've got it real bad. It was a good exercise for me though as I was able to ridicule myself about all the junk I was trying to pack! Once I saw the weight on paper it made me realise I didn't need a lot of it.

Baz, I was joking about the postal scales - crikey!
My waterproof is a Hydrovent DT North Face and I thought there was nothing to it!

Isn't it funny though how initially its all about cutting down on the biggest areas of weight and then all of a sudden you quickly become obsessed and now even a waterproof needs to lose weight or justify its existence! Now that's sad!

baz carter said...

I replaced my ME Drylite jacket, which at 465g a few years ago was 'lightweight'. now that seems way too heavy. I now use a Marmot Precip which weighs in at 324g.

Titanium tent pegs, sil nylon dry bags, label chopping... I know where this madness leads :)

Anonymous said...

The LiteSpeed is very good isn't it?. It's superbly light for a framed pack and the big mesh pocket holds a lot of stuff. I got one last year and reviewed it in our Gear Tech Equipment section.

I have postal weighing scales too, but not only for gear!. They are very sensitive and great for small items. Electronic scales are not necessarily any more accurate than mechanical ones, sometimes less so. There is an easy way to check:- weigh a couple of items at home, then take them to the post office and use their scales, which are calibrated and accurate, and note the diffrences.

I recently published my Gear Lists for different times of the year in the gear section, it's always interesting to compare our loads.

Anonymous said...

I just realised that we exchanged emails a couple of days ago about the LiteSpeed - I didn't make the connection at first!.
All the best for your trip.

Marcus said...

Morning Geoff,

Yes I do like the Litespeed already - even though I've not actually taken it outside yet! I do think the front pocket is really useful. Like you, I'm putting my tent in there and I've also put my waterproofs and water bottle in there too.

Thanks again for the useful advice and info regarding the Litespeed. Considering what you'd said I went and ordered a few Exped dry bags from Bob and Rose, just for my sleeping bag, clothing and tent.

I went for a bag for the tent because I thought it might serve two purposes: the obvious one being that it keeps the wet tent off the rest of my gear in the front pocket and the other is I guess that it will pack down better in one of these and stay down once the top is sealed. This remains to be tested though!