For those of you who may be interested, here is a run down of some of the kit I take with me. I don’t always take everything as it’s dependant on weather conditions.
Tent: Vango Helium 200. A two person backpacking tent. Lightweight at 1.3 kg and just about big enough for my 6′ 3″ frame. Although advertised as a two person tent I wouldn’t want to share it but it’s a good size for me and my kit.
Clothing: Boots: Mammut swiss mountain boots, Goretex lined with Vibram cleated soles.
Gaiters: Black crystal gaiters, Goretex material.
Socks: Berghaus Merino wool.
Walking trousers: Montane walking trousers. Depending on the weather I often wear a thermal base layer with moisture wicking and anti bacterial properties.
Waterproofs: Berghaus Rosgill 3 in 1 jacket incorporating a fleece inner. The outer layer being waterproof/windproof and breathable. Berghaus Goretex waterproof trousers.
Other items: A Mammut Liskaam softy jacket which packs into its own pocket and takes up very little space in my rucksack, it is very lightweight and extremely warm, essential if the weather turns cold. Waterproof gloves, thermal hat, a wide-brimmed hat for the summer which is also waterproof and keeps the rain off my glasses. Spare socks, Norwegian army shirt and balaclava.
Rucksack: Mountaintop 60+10. (70 litre capacity in total) I’ve used several different ones over the years but this has proven to be the best by far. It’s quite lightweight at just over 1.2 kg, and made of ripstop material, and a waterproof rucksack liner.
Sleeping bag: I’ve got a few but my favourite has to be the Tetton sports +20 F. I’ve found it comfortable at temperatures of just below 0 degrees and in the summer I just don’t bother zipping it up. I also have an inflatable pillow as I can’t get a nights sleep without one.
Sleeping mat: I’m currently using the Exped UL 7 sleeping mattress. It’s an excellent mat which inflates with the aid of a bag which acts as a sort of bellows. It inflates to four and a half inches in thickness and is extremely comfortable. I’ve used many sleeping mats over the years but this is by far the best yet.
Cooking gear: I’ve been using the same Trangia meths burner for over 25 years now and have never had an issue with it. Instead of methylated spirits I now use Bio Ethanol fuel, firstly because it’s cheaper and secondly it smells a lot less and burns cleaner. As for food, I tend to put my own snacks and bits together from many supermarkets, however after many years of using army ration packs I’m now purchasing freeze-dried/rehydrate in the bag foods. These tend to weigh a hell of a lot less and have lots more calorie content.
Water purification system: After years of using sterilisation tablets which made your water taste like something from a swimming pool I made the decision to spend a small fortune on a Katadyn Mini filter. This system involved pumping water through a ceramic filter which constantly required cleansing due to blockages. It was also a very time-consuming and laborious task. I’ve now recently started using the Sawyer mini filter squeeze system, I can not recommend it enough. Easy to use, clean and maintain. Extremely lightweight and very efficient.
Walking poles: Until about a year ago I refused to use such ridiculous things. That has all now changed thanks to my mate, who suffered lots of ridicule from me for his use of these “Pointless and ridiculous sticks” as I naively used to call them. My change of mind came about back in February of 2016. We walked out to Bleak house in Dartmoor in blizzard conditions, I was slipping all over the place in the frost and snow and upon crossing a couple of streams I had to give in and borrow his poles to save myself a dunking. I have now purchased my second pair as my original Leki £60 ones fell to pieces after about 50 miles. I’ve now got some Enkeeo carbon fibre ones which cost about £30 and in all fairness are as good as the more expensive ones.
Other essential gear: Emergency whistle. OS map and compass. Emergency blanket and emergency survival bag. First aid kit. Mobile phone with ViewRanger App installed. Powerbank battery for charging Phone. Camera. Washkit with folding toothbrush, small tube of toothpaste and microfibre towel. Sanitising handgel/toilet tissue/wet wipes. Lighter and magnesium strike a light. 2 x Quecha rechargeable headtorches. I also like to take a few tealights for a bit of comfort and luxury during the dark hours. Mosquito head net. Insect repellent. Sun block. Small bottle of single malt Scottish whisky and good book!
I think this list is a pretty exhaustive description of what I consider essential items. If you have any suggestions or questions then please contact me. I’m more than happy to offer any advice to anyone who is looking to take this up as a hobby.
I shall not forget however how I started out with basic cheap kit which I picked up from stores like Lidl and Argos. I’d suggest that if you want to give wild camping a go, get some cheap basics first. It really wouldn’t be worth the cost to buy all of this and discover that it’s just not for you. I spent years upgrading my kit gradually until I found what worked best for me..