Although I’ve done a few mountain treks in the last few years, it soon became obvious that a lot of my tried and tested kit is not quite up to scratch for the severe cold I’ll be experiencing on the last couple of days on Kili, or just because some of muy kit is old and knackered. So I’ve been forced to upgrade a lot of it – an expensive business, but worth it as the last thing you want is to fail due to kit. I’ve also been desperately reading up on what the most suitable things are. I’m hopeless at making decisions at the best of times, especially shopping decisions, so this has proved a mammoth task for me, and I’ve been trying to get lots of advice about what to take.
Here are the major items I’ll be taking.
4 season sleeping bag – planning to get an Alpkit Pipedream 800, but they’re currently out of stock and don’t know when in the new year they’ll have some in, so this is causing me endless dilemma. My second choice (more expensive, but just as good) is a Rab Ascent 900. Update: I bit the bullet this week and bought the Rab Ascent 900.
I have a brilliant silk liner which I always use inside a sleeping bag – both for extra warmth and so my main sleeping bag doesn’t get dirty.
My amazing Ajungilak air pillow Squishes down to nothing when deflated and it’s by far the most comfortable travel pillow I’ve tried. I’ve never found stuffing clothes in a bag in any way makes a comfortable pillow. It’s got a fleece outer, so it’s nice and warm, and not slimy like most inflatable pillows. And as the review says, “unlike other travel pillows, it won’t fart in the middle of the night”.
Womens ProLite Regular 3 self-inflating mat. Finally replaced my old one I’d had for more than 10 years, as it was starting to leak a little. And the pink one is obviously way better.
Rab Womens Vidda waterproof jacket Brand new, finally replacing my very old but much loved Craghoppers waterproof. Should be able to withstand pretty much anything the heavens will throw at me. Tested it out in the Peaks a few times, and so far so good.
Womens Rab Neutrino Endurance down jacket. First time I’ll have tried this out, but it seems very warm!
My trusty Decathlon winter trousers (they’re actually ski trousers, but I wear them for all winter walking and outdoor activities. Warm, flexible, snowproof and bombproof. Something like these.
My old Decathlon thermal leggings.Cheap and cheerful, but they’re warm.
UnderArmour Womens ColdGear fitted crew thermal top. Bought these for softball, but I wear them all winter for walking. Super warm and they wick sweat really well. Really important when you’re walking in the cold, otherwise you freeze as soon as you stop.I’d wear an Icebreaker thermal top, but I’m allergic to wool.
An amazing BlackYak thermal zip top I bought in a market in a market in South Korea 6 years ago. Never seen these anywhere else. By far the warmest and best thermal top I own, wearable either as a base layer or on top of an existing one. I wish I could find more of these.
Old trusty Mountain Equipment fleece jacket, something like this Qupik one.
Smartwool trekking socks – I’ve recently become a convert to these. I can’t wear merino on my body, but it seems OK on my feet and hands. (unlike normal wool). These are wonderful – warm in winter but cool when it gets hot. In winter I wear Bridgedale liner socks underneath for extra warmth.
My old trusty convertible walking trousers, bought in Germany years ago. Lightweight, quick drying, lots of pockets, and they zip off into shorts. Brilliant. And unlike most of the ones you get in this country, they’re not ridiculously tight around the thighs. Why this is only the case for convertible trousers, but not for normal walking trousers or shorts, I have no idea. But it is fact.
Old trusty Decathlon 32 litre rucsack. Similar to this one. A little heavy, but the back system is brilliant, comfortable and not too sweaty. It has lots of pockets, an integral rain cover, well padded hip belt and shoulder straps, walking pole storage, and very useful pockets on the hip belt.The water bottle holders aren’t great, but I tend to use a hydration system anyway, so no problem.
Brand new Gordini ski mittens. Bright pink so I don’t lose them. With these Smartwool liner gloves underneath.
Fleece balaclava, bought in the US. Tried it out on a ridiculously windy ascent of Mam Tor last week, and it did the job. The wind was strong enough to blow me over, but my face stayed warm. I’ll supplement this with a couple of multi-purpose buffs.
Barts woolly hat.
A couple of sleeveless technical tops for the warm days. I especially like my UnderArmour HeatGear ones.