Tag Archives: Lightweight Backpacking

Sea to Summit Travel Day Pack

The Sea to Summit Travel Day Pack has, since last summer, become my walking day pack of choice.

Sea to Summit Travel Day Pack

It packs away into a keyring size package making it excellent as an extra bag for backpacking, holidays and travelling. I started using it as my day pack to simply save weight.

Sea to Summit Travel Day Pack

In use Scotland August 2013

The 20l capacity provides enough space to carry my:

  • Waterproofs
  • Pot, stove and mug
  • Lunch and water
  • Extra warm clothes
  • First Aid Kit
  • Emergency equipment
  • Sit mat (back padding)

Sea to Summit Travel Day Pack

In use Scotland January 2014

The only time this is not my “go to” day pack is when I need to carry a walking pole. For short walks I can slide my lightweight pole in between the small of my back and the pack, letting it ride on the bottom of the straps. For more technical longer walks with a pole I use another bag.

Comfort

With such a light backpack there are some issues with the comfort – but these are not so great to stop me using it.

  • Because the bag has no structure I have to pack the it carefully so the items stay in place and so nothing sticks into my back.
  • To help with the above problems I have cut a section from an old sleeping mat so that when it is fitted into the back of the day pack it helps with giving some shape to the bag and pads my back a little.
  • The shoulder straps are unpadded so from time to time whilst walking I have to flatten them out and reposition them on my shoulders to support the weight.

Mods

I have added a couple of small caribieners to the ends of the very thin shoulder straps. This has stopped the straps being pulled back into the buckles, which happened a lot when walking with the pack with even a moderate load in it. Once the strap was back in the buckle it was then very awkward to adjust the shoulder straps for comfort and there was also a risk of the strap being pulled right out if the buckle.

Sea to Summit Travel Day Pack

I have also added a caribiener to the double zip for security.

Sea to Summit Travel Day Pack
Inside you can see an 8l dry sack – this is essential as the pack does leak in heavy weather

Wear and tear

The Sea to Summit Travel Day Pack is made from rip stop Siliconized Cordura® and the pack itself is very well made, making it extremely tough and strong. However I use the bag (particularly in the winter) well packed and this has led to some abrasion damage. When well packed the material is tight, with no give in it and when it had dragged against rough rocks it has been damaged. At the moment none of the damage is serious but I expect it to happen regularly and to eventually ruin the bag.

Sea to Summit Travel Day Pack

Sea to Summit Travel Day Pack

Sea to Summit Travel Day Pack

The shoulder straps now have permanent heavy creases in them through use.

Sea to Summit Travel Day Pack

A bag for work

A few weeks back I used this pack for an overnight business trip. It easily held the clothes, wash kit, paperwork, iPad, charger, cables, small toolkit and portable hard drive I needed for the job. I added to that a bottle of water and a snack or two for the journey.

With the mat slipped in the back it was comfortable to carry and easy to store on the train as well as being smart enough to turn up with at a client’s office.

Conclusion – Sea to Summit Travel Day Pack

For me the Sea to Summit Travel Day Pack is a great day pack and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a light, strong day pack. But remember it is a simple no fuss design, no extra pockets or straps and if you use a hydration bladder the crinkling tube has to come out through the zipper. Because of it’s packed away size and weight it is especially useful to carry as an extra bag when travelling – if needed I add it to my backpacking equipment to be used as a shopping bag.

The minus points have to be mentioned:

  • The bag has no structure – if I carry my iPad in it I have to take extra care not to damage it due to bad packing.
  • if the bag is packed full and tight it is susceptible to abrasion damage.
  • There are no external fittings for a walking pole.

If (when) I damage this bag I will buy another – or if I see one in the UK I will buy it’s slightly bigger brother pack.

More Weight Saving

I packed some of my lightweight backpacking kit for this trip – to use whilst walking – and to review with the idea of saving some more weight for this year’s backpacking trips.

Wind shield, chopping board and stove board

My current stove wind shield is a commercial aluminium model that I cut on half. It works well with my meths stove but was useless for my MSR Pocket Rocket as it was too short and not quite tall enough for my new Alpkit Kraku stove.

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I decided to replace this wind shield with something taller and ideally something lighter.

I bought two platters, made from heavy duty aluminium foil from a pound shop (2 for a £). Once I had cut off the lip I could flatten one of them out and I cut a 15cm x 30cm panel. To make it a bit more rigid I folded a small lip around the edge. I then folded this into a four panel wind shield.

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Weight saved
Old wind shield 81g
New wind shield 26g

I use a small wooden board under my meths stove. When I originally cut the board I also used it under my Crusader stove, which is larger. It was time to cut the board to the right size.

Weight saved
Old board 38g
New board 23g

I was using a cut down plastic wall tile as a cutting board, I swapped this out for a plastic lid from a pot of fruit. It is about 9cm in diameter and the lip is useful to stop bits rolling off when I use it.

Weight saved
Old cutting board 18g
New cutting board 4g

I am no longer going to carry the case that I used to store all three items in – another 9g saved.

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Total weight saved 93g – every gram counts.

Alpkit Kraku Backpacking Gas Stove

First use of the Alpkit Kraku Backpacking Gas Stove

It was my first opportunity today to use the new Alpkit Kraku gas stove. It is very small and I carried a small gas canister to make it a very portable unit. The small size of the burner unit does mean that some care must be taken when fixing it to the gas canister, it can cross thread very easily and if over tightened the shoulder of the valve can jamb on the lip of the gas canister. Once together and the pot supports are set up it does make a very stable stove. I used my MSR titanium mug with lid on it and it sat very well. Once lit, it only took a couple of minutes for the water to come to a rolling boil – I had the stove set up in a very sheltered spot and I was using a wind shield. In the photos you can see the pot support glowing cherry red.

Alpkit Kraku stove

Alpkit Kraku stove

The actual flame head is also quite small, especially compared with my previous MSR Pocket Rocket, it worked well under my mug and I am sure it will work under my Alpkit MiTiMug but I expect it will struggle with a larger pot. It probably will not deliver enough heat for group cooking. When I go camping later in the year I will try it out with the small frying pan I use when static camping. However I bought this as a personal backpacking stove where weight is everything and it is considerably lighter than the MSR stove and when camping on my own it should still be sufficient.

Overall (so far) I am very pleased with the Alpkit Kraku stove – it is very small and light. Well made and efficient – boiling a mug of water significantly quicker then if I had used my meths stove. Because it is so light I may be changing my backpacking habits and using a gas stove more than the ultralight Vargo titanium meth stove I currently use.

Here are some more detailed photos of the stove – More is less.

Here is the post about the walk where I used this stove.

More is less

In my quest to carry a lighter backpack I have changed another piece of my lightweight backpacking kit.

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Alpkit Kraku stove

This gas stove from Alpkit weighs just 45g plus a few grams for the bag – my previous MSR Pocket Rocket weighed 108g.

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To show how small the stove is, Alpkit has a photo on their website comparing it to a AA cell battery (like above) however when I got the stove I was still surprised how light and small it really is. I will easily be able to pack this stove in the stuff sack that I carry most of my backpacking cooking gear in – the MSR stove was to big to fit.

The next thing to do is get out and test the stove – which I plan to do next Sunday morning.

Christmas Backpacking Gear Update

I got a selection of new outdoor kit for Christmas – which has lightened my backpack even further, taking nearly 500g off the total.

Blacks Camp Pillow

I have hopefully got the solution to my pillow problems. Having used three different types of inflatable pillows over the last couple of years I think I may now have a durable, lightweight solution.

It is not inflatable so it cannot fail like the other pillows, having tried it out at home it is very comfortable.

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Although it looks large it compresses well and rolls back into a fitted pocket. If I then pack this with my spare clothes and sleeping bag in a compression sack it takes up far less room in my backpack than the previous Vango pillow. This pillow is also much lighter then the Vango pillow – something lighter is always a good idea.

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Craghoppers Kiwi Convertible Trousers

I needed a new pair of trousers for outdoor use and having looked at a variety of lightweight outdoor trousers I still went back to my favourites the Craghoppers Kiwi Convertible Trousers. I have several pairs of these, in various states of repair – good ones for work and two battered pairs that I have been using for camping and backpacking for a number of years, one of these I had to repair in the summer where the cloth had frayed through use, hence the new pair.

One improved feature of the latest design is a larger second pocket in the cargo pocket that will now hold my mobile phone.

Unfortunately Blacks offered these trousers in only two colours, as I use dark blue ones for work I bought the tan ones – I would have preferred something a bit darker for outdoors use.


Blacks Turbo Gas Lighter

This item is a bit heavier then the refillable Bic lighter I was using, but this lighter has a very strong flame that does not blow out in windy conditions – that’s why it earns a place in my cooking kit.

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The webbing strap I thought was useful, but it was secured to the lighter with a bit of useless Velcro, so I have stitched the strap onto the lighter.


Gadget Gloves

I had been planning to buy some lightweight gloves this winter to wear under my larger thermal gloves and to use in the summer when the winter gloves are a bit extreme. Diana bought me these, the light coloured finger tips work on the screen of my iPhone so I do not need to take them off to take a photo or check the map.

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Helly Hanson Lifa Dry Thermal Underwear

Diana had bought me a Helly Hanson under shirt for my birthday – and completed the set for Christmas and added a second set (usefully in another colour).

This underwear is state of the art in keeping people warm. Having tried it out, it is very comfortable and warm.

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click on the above image for a larger version

This base layer is significant lighter in weight than the previous set I was using.


Including my new headlamp I have yet again reduced the weight of my walking backpack.

New backpacking kit

It was my birthday last week and I got a couple of new pieces of lightweight backpacking equipment.

Nalgene Travel Kit Small

The first was a selection of Nalgene bottles – I bought a set earlier this year (see here) and they have been great for packaging small amounts of food, including liquids. I am happy to carry a little extra weight for the security of the food being packaged in something stronger than plastic bags. The small jar has been useful for carrying jam or peanut butter in, and there are two similar jars in this kit. Now I can take jam and peanut butter! The small bottle will be useful for taking a little cooking oil on backpacking trips.

The second item was a Helly Hansen Lifa Dry undershirt. This high tech, laminated shirt should keep me warmer than my previous under shirt and it weighs less at about 150g. I tried the shirt out at the weekend and it was very comfortable so I have added the long johns to my Christmas list.

Walking and Camping Photos The Viking Way

It has been an great weekend for the weather, I was sitting by the lake at the campsite until late last night and only needed to use my down sleeping bag as a quilt overnight a big difference from the Peak District trip last weekend.

Photos

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I carried a tin of food rather than a dehydrated meal – the extra weight was worth it – tasty “Lamb Big Soup “

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