Updated: Feb 2, 2020
Mountain Leader expeds = light is right, but we have to be sensible…
I’ve written about the contents of my pack before, but thought it was worth an update as a lot of my kit has changed slightly over the last couple of years. I think it’s worth mentioning that you can definitely go lighter than I do, but as a fairly skinny (I say athletic but people just laugh!) person I do feel the cold and I do want my kit to be properly functional.
Everyone has their own preferences, but here’s my take… (some items change depending on weather, mood etc – I’ve got too much kit to choose from!)
Patagonia Ascentionist, 35L. My go to mountain pack. 900 grams, comfy, simple and tougher than the material would suggest. Nothing fancy, one big compartment, one zipped lid pocket. Ideal.
Nordisk Telemark 1 person tent 830 grams (plus a few extra pegs). I’ve only used this for one night so far, but I’m impressed. Would I take it out in a storm, no, but as light weight tents go, I rate this one and prefer it to my Terra Nova Laser Comp. Packs very small (smaller than in the photo).
Mountain Equipment Titan down sleeping bag, 650 grams, no longer made. It’s a sleeping bag, it’s down, it works. This is ok for late Spring to early Autumn for me.
Thermarest Neo Air XLite, 350 grams. I love this thing! Comfy and light it does exactly what it should do and seems to be a lot tougher than you’d think judging the thin material it’s made of.
Alpkit 900 titanium pot, striker, MSR Pocket Rocket 200 grams. Simple, effective and big enough to cook super simple stuff, which is all I do! Lighter and smaller than my Jetboil. I use a striker instead of a lighter. Small gas easily lasts an ML assessment.
Patagonia Cloud Ridge Jacket, 390 grams. Made of H2No rather than Gore Tex. Simple jacket that fits well, has a good hood, keeps me dry, and looks good in selfies(!).
Crux Torq over trousers, 375 grams. Event material – not particularly a fan but they do the job.
Patagonia Ultra Light Down Hoody, 300 grams. Super nice, and super warm for the weight! I’ve got other options too such as a Nano Air Hoody or Nano Puff Hoody.
Patagonia Levitation Hoody softshell, 450 grams. A fairly thin soft-shell that is tough, well fitting and simple.
2 Maps, of different scales. Personally a cut up 1:25k and a full Harveys 1:40k
2 Compass’s, got to have a spare. Both Silva.
2 Head torches. My main one is an LED Lenser SEO7 back up is a Black Diamond something, plus one set of spare batteries.
First Aid kit. It’s got what I want in it, rather than a shop bought option.
1L of water. This is pretty standard whatever the weather. I normally work in N Wales, there’s plenty of water for topping up. Less than 1L is not enough for me.
Bag of bits, buff, whistle, string, zip ties, battery pack, midge spray, small bottle of sun screen, that sort of stuff
Hat and gloves, more in winter!
Spare Merino t shirt, boxers and socks.
Suunto Ambit on my wrist, phone in my pocket, Black Diamond Z Poles in my hands.
Food. Not in picture. Keep it light, keep it tasty, make sure it’s got a decent amount of calories.
You’ll probably notice there’s no group shelter in the photo. Being honest, I’m probably not carrying one as there’ll be a decent sized one within the group. My shelter weighs between 250 and 320 grams depending on size, they’re Summit Supalight shelters and pack super small.
So what’s the weight?!
Without food but with water: 7.5kg (weighed on the scales today)
So can you go lighter? Yes absolutely. We’ve all got our levels of acceptable comfort.
There’s things I don’t think we should skimp on such as proper water proofs, proper warm kit, 2 compass’s, 2 maps, 2 head torches (I’ve had one break on me). I also like my waterproofs to be a bit on the burly size – it rains a lot in Wales (but not lately!).
As I said at the top, light is right, carrying less weight means you’ll operate better. However I know plenty of people who carry far more weight the me and don’t care – there’s nothing wrong with that is there! Some people prefer a more spacious tent, and yeah I’ll probably look across at their tent with a little jealousy in my eye!
You might want to carry more water than me, you might want a flask, you might want to cook up a feast and therefore have a bigger stove. Want a luxury item, like a blow up pillow? Awesome! My luxury item is a pair of headphones.
It’s all good, this is just my take on being reasonably light whilst still having the right kit.