I am intending next year to start backpacking again, so as part of my training for the West Highland Way I decided to walk from Fiskerton Bridge to the Camping and Caravan Club site at Woodhall Spa, overnight there and then return the next day. It would be a good test for the gear and for me.
I am planning to get a new lightweight backpack for next year (something by GoLite) but for this trip I used a Karrimor pack I bought about 25 years ago. When I got it I made some adaptations to the bag, I added patches to take extension pockets, added anchor points to the lid, padded the bottom of the pack and added a 50mm unpadded hip belt. With the extension pocket the volume of the pack was about 36l, a little less than I think I need but it would do.
I carefully packed the gear, choosing only what I needed, but was detirmined to be as comfortable as possible so when people look at my packing I am sure they will say “why”.
One thing my old pack does not have compared to modern packs is fittings for a water bladder, so I simply had to slide my CamelBak between the bag and the tent, and then feed the tube out under the lid. I used a velcro cable tidy to secure the drinking tube to the shoulder strap.
I secured my sleep mat to the top of the pack using minature bungee cords I got from B&Q. I had a LowePro water bottle holder fitted to the belt. As you can see for the photo the bag was well stuffed and I ended up fitting a camera lens bag to the back of the pack, which has been adapted to hold my small brew kit, including stove, fuel and trail snacks – this was something I would need at lunchtime – however I did add extra security to this by securing it with cord to the pack.
Lunch time stop and brew up
To save weight and to ruduce the size of this small brew kit I have cut down an aluminium wind shield I bought – at the moment it has five plates but I am considering removing one when using it with the mug. The windshield was essential as on the riverside it was reasonably windy and the meths burner without it would have been useless. (The copper stand – see earlier post – worked well.)
I had made up two bags of food for the trip one for the evening and the second for breakfast the next day primarily consisiting of commercial dehydrated food and snacks, but it did include a can tuna – I will post a menu list later. One of the reasons for menu packs was to carefully see how filling the food was and to measure the amount of fuel I will need on future trips.
Evening meal outside my tent
I used solid fuel to make my tea at lunchtime – this was a mistake as it makes both the stove and mug dirty, which means before repacking them they needed cleaning, on the second day I used meths, much cleaner so packing up was easier. I’d still carry a couple of tablets as spare/standby fuel.
The small hardboard board under the cooker is essential to protect the grass which was dry and to give the cooker and mug some more stability, although after this trip I have cut another piece the same size as the panels on the windshield to make it easier to pack. A sheet of black heavy duty plastic doulbes as somewhere to cook, saving puting utensils on the ground and as a sitmat during day on wet rocks and benches. The roll up bottle means less trips to the water tap when in camp and adds little weight or bulk to the pack.
I added KFC BBQ sauce to the tuna – but I should have packed a pepper and salt sachet as it could have done with some seasoning as well.
to be continued…