Over the last few months, I have been trying out gear combinations, selling and buying gear to try and find the ideal setup for me whilst on the TGO 2019.
As some of you will have realized now, I am a bit of a gear nut. I enjoy using new gear and seeing how it works for me which means I am either walking or working to pay for the gear 😛
There were a few bits of kit or rather categories of kit that I really could not decide on, I have broken them down below.
I have a pretty healthy selection of shelters, all IMO are superb in their own way with one or two that I personally rate as fantastic in all conditions and/or scenarios.
Out of the setups I have available, there were two main contenders, Duomid or Trailstar. Thinking back to when I first learned of the TGO, I had always promised myself I would us my Trailstar if I ever got a place. I’ve had my Trailstar since 2015 and it is probably my favorite shelter out of any I own or have owned.
For the TGO, I ordered a new Trailstar. I have wanted an Orange one for quite a while and after seeing many a fantastic picture from Peter Dixon I saved up and ordered one. I ordered the Trailstar along with a few other items on the 13th December 2018 and I picked it up from the post office on the 25th of January. MLD’s lead times when I ordered it were 6-8 weeks and it was shipped in under 5 weeks, taking longer to make its way from London to me in the South West than it did to cross the Atlantic…
This left me with another question… Do I use an inner, bivi or simply use a ground sheet or bathtub. This is still something I am undecided on. Weight wise a simple bathtub or groundsheet would be the lightest available option but if there is a risk of midgies hatching early or reports of active ticks, I will end up taking an inner to be on the safe side.
For a little over a year, I have been using an MLD Prophet pack and I can honestly say it is by far the most comfortable pack I have ever owned.
Ron and everyone over at MLD are well known for making quality packs and mine is no exception. The fit, padding, construction simply work for me.
For a while now I have been slowly moving away from down gear and swapping to more synthetic clothing. Synthetics are ideal for longer trips such as the TGO, they retain heat even when wet and dry quicker than down.
The biggest downside to synthetics is packability/bulk. Although over the last five to ten years, synthetic materials/fillings and fabrics have become thinner, stronger, lighter and less bulky, they still do not match the heat to weight ration of high quality down or the packability of down products.
I plan on using a MYOG synthetic quilt, possibly booties for chilly nights and synthetic clothing for the challenge and I do not like to overcompress it. Although my Prophet is more than big enough, I like a little extra room.
Due to this, I have ordered a new MLD Exodus in the new grey DCF. The new Exodus is the same internal dimensions as my prophet, simply taller. This will give me the extra room I want and I can simply roll the top down when I don’t need the additional volume.
As I said above, I intend to use one of my MYOG quilts for the challenge. Over the last few months, I have been taking my Apex 133 quilt with me as long as the forecast temperatures have been above freezing.
I have found the quilt more than comfortable making it an easy decision. It’s only a few grams heavier than my Cumulus Quilt 350, will dry quicker
For a sleeping pad, I am currently torn between two choices. The Xlite regular length and Nemo ZOR 20S self-inflating mat. Weight wise there is hardly anything in it, around 80g in total, comfort wise, well this depends on the expected temperatures and how my old body feels before the challenger ;P I will probably choose the week before.
Cook systems are something I have collected and developed over time. I have a lot of homemade stoves, cone setups, a few gas setups
I was swaying towards taking a gas stove for the challenger but I have decided I will stick with my trusty 600ml Evernew with Trail Designs Sidewinder cone which will give me plenty of fuel options. This has been my goto setup for well over twelve months now and I cannot fault it. light, economical, sturdy and very wind resistant.
A number of our planned camps are near woodland areas. This will allow me to use deadfall or fuel if needed, utilizing the baseplate to ensure no trace is left behind. This would be a last resort but a good backup option to have.
I will probably carry a mix of Hexi and Alcohol fuel and most likely carry the entire 14 days worth.
I will put up a complete gear list in a short while once I have got everything sorted out.