Seeing as though I’m sitting at home this weekend rather than being in the mountains I thought I’d share some thoughts and fears from my recent wildcamp weekend. Thoughts on kit etc. and fears because it was my first solo trip and I have to admit there was some trepidation as I set-off.
My car – one of the first concerns was my car! Where to park, will it be safe, will it be there when I get back, etc. I hadn’t helped myself by reading other reports of cars being torched in S.Wales. I still had the odd worrying thought on the Saturday and then again as I approached the car-park at Capel Curig on Sunday. The car was fine but unfortunately it is a serious consideration you have to make when leaving your car overnight.
Route choice – how much planning should I have done, should I know my route and stick to it, will I find a suitable camp-spot? I’d set off without a concrete plan, but I knew my options and in the end kind of went with the flow and felt a little more relaxed as a result. Although there is a tendency that you don’t push yourself as much as a result – its a bit easy to take the easier route unless you have a set objective/goal in mind. I guess there’ll be trips where both approaches have merits. Interpreting the map, reading the landscape is half the fun.
Going solo – will I get bored of my own conversation, will I look like billy-no-mates, will I be scared!? I’ll admit it was a strange sensation setting off from the car-park knowing I wouldn’t be back that night and not knowing where I was really heading. Watching the last walkers descend the path past Llyn Idwal at dusk I was conscious I was alone, but not lonely. Go at your own pace, stop when you want – I never felt alone, more at peace with the surroundings, it was easier to absorb the wilderness when solo..and I don’t mind my own company.
OMM Villain rucksack – as I mentioned in my earlier post it never felt totally secure with almost 13kg, the weight not really transferring satisfactorily to my hips. Lowering the weight would of course help, I’ll also experiment with shaping the Fformat back-pad and how its packed for the next trip.
Sleeping Bag – I’m awaiting delivery of a PHD Minim 300 to replace my Marmot Sawtooth and save me almost 1kg in the process.
Tent – I knew my TNF Tadpole23 was heavy (2.3kg) for one but I had little choice. Of course the TN Laser Comp is the defacto lightweight solo tent (sorry Akto owners!). The dilemma is whether to plump for the Laser Comp for those solo trips and bear with the Tadpole for when there’s two of us; or go for the slighly bigger TN Laser which is a little heavier but could (at a push) be used for two people as well.
Water – I took a new Aquagear filter bottle which was fine if not a little slow and hard work to fill a Camelbak. Finding clear water was no problem so I’m thinking a Steripen would have been an easier option – though few fellow bloggers seem to mention them?
Cooking – I took an Optimus Crux stove and Optimus Terra Weekender pot/pan set. Both worked well – the Crux stove boiling water quickly without a wind-shield, though I’ll pack one next time. The Reiter dehydrated meal wasn’t up to much – must do some more research. Also learnt that pitta-bread sarnies disintegrate too easily – wraps next time.
Jacket – I’d bought the Montane Atomic DT jacket in Pinnacle stores just before I set-off. It was light, small (you wouldn’t believe it would fit in its stuff-sac) but since the weather was dry and blustery its chief role was cutting the wind, but as ever lack of breathability was evident. I’m still hunting for a lightweight softshell/fleece that fits me and perhaps a Montane windproof top. With most brands my shoulders are too big for medium but the large drowns me – anyone any suggestions?
So that’s my thought and fears – my first solo trip and definitely not my last. I’d rather be in the hills this weekend than sipping Lemsips, but hey, that’s life – I just need to get the diary out!