Friday, 12 November 2010

Walking gear

I'm thinking long and hard about the stuff that I'll take with me on the walk. I did think originally about staying at hostels and bed and breakfasts all the way but when I added up how much it would cost I decided against it. It's the single supplement that adds up and the fact that you are absolutely tied to staying at A, B and C means that there's no flexibility in your day. So some nights I'll YHA it and some nights I'll B&B it. Some nights I'll camp, either at proper campsites or wild camp in the hills. It makes sense because I've already got all of the gear except for a tent which is big enough for me and my gear but light enough for me to carry. We've got several tents: a massive one that we use when we go car camping, a middle sized one that we found on the beach at Culbin sands (long story...) and a lightweight one that we use when we go hiking and wild camping. The lightest one is a fabulous tent from a great company called Lightwave and we love it because it has a huge vestibule which is great for storing your gear and cooking in if the weather is crap. We took it when we walked the John Muir trail in the Sierra Nevada a couple of years ago and it didn't let us down. This is it pitched on the then unfinished campsite opposite the Fuaran Bar at Altandhu in August this year.

The campsite at Altandhu will be great when it's finished, the only problem with it is the midges. When we were there in August it was absolutely miserable. I can't begin to describe the abject misery of trying to pitch a tent and then cook a meal when there are literally millions of midges trying to get in your eyes, your ears, your nose, every exposed nook and cranny of your body. I can't understand what on earth we were thinking - camping on the west coast in August???? Doh!

Anyway, this tent is great if it's divided between two people carrying it but it is also quite awkward getting in and out of it because it's quite low. That meant that I had to look for a new one that wasn't going to cost the earth. I looked around and found the Vango Apex 200. It's marketed as a 2 man tent and it weighs 1500grams. I like it particularly because of the shape and the fact that it has a big opening door that would be easy to get in and out of when the muscles are aching. A lot of the lightweight tents that I looked at were long and low and I discounted them because I get a bit claustrophobic and didn't fancy having the tent fabric so close to my face. I like to be able to sit up at least and am willing to carrying some extra weight so that I can be comfortable.

Vango Apex 200

I found a practically new one on Ebay and won it. It has a wee vestibule at the front but I have to say that it would be very snug inside for 2 people. For me on my own with my boots, stove etc etc, it's perfect. I haven't had the chance to spend the night in it yet so we'll wait and see but I hope it will be just the job.

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