Ultralight backpacking along the south west Coast Path
When I recently walked the first 260 miles of England’s south west coast path I learnt a lot about the equipment you should take, what you shouldn’t take, and what I really wished I’d brought along. The equipment list below is what I ended up with at the end of the walk. When I tallied everything up I was stunned to discover that I’d slimmed my pack weight down to 8kg. Believe me, when it’s howling with rain and you’re cold and tired, every gramme (or ounce, if you prefer) counts far more than you’d imagine.
The stuff on the list below is what I’ll be taking along with me as I progressively walk the remaining 370 miles of the path. It’ll also serve as the basis for any long trek you might wish to undertake but you’ll obviously have to allow for the weather conditions you’ll likely encounter along your route. England may be wet but at least it’s consistently so and it never really gets too hot or cold in the summer months.
Below the list is a series of links to more detailed reviews and analysis of the equipment.
If you take everything on this list your pack should weight in at around 8kg (that’s around 17.5 lbs in old money).
Bouldering trousers – cotton, made by Moon
Woolen hiking Socks
Brasher Trekmaster GTX boots
Merino undies (Icebreaker)
Merino T-Shirt 150 weight (Icebreaker)
Jirishanca made by OMM (Original Mountain Marathon) 35litre rucksack (weighs 1040g).
1 pair hiking socks
1 pair merino undies (Icebreaker)
1 merino baselayer 260 weight (Icebreaker)
1 pair shorts (could have been lighter!)
All washed as went along
Waterproof trousers (Rab Drillium)
Paramo lightweight waterproof belay-style jacket
Solar panel (Powerfilm lightweight AA battery charger)
Walking pole (used only once)
Garmin Oregon 650 GPS – lovely piece of kit.
Leki walking pole – only used once.
Swiss army knife with scissors and tin can opener
Sunscreen plus lip sunscreen
Glasses and a lightweight case
Spare contact lenses
Collins Gem guide to flowers and plants (didn’t use!)
Petzl head torch
Oakley sunglasses in lightweight case
Sony Reader PRS505 (eBook reader) – saved kilos by not having to carry books.
iGo AA charger for charging iPhone and Sony Reader
First aid kit (plasters, 1 bandage, paracetamol and hayfever tabs.)
Vaude Powerlizard ultralight tent (1kg)
Thermarest NeoAir mattress (400g)
Yeti Passion One Sleeping Bag (265g). For winter walking I used the Vaude Featherlight 3 season sleeping bag (750g)
Snow Peak titanium cookset (950mls pan)
Gas canister (200g)
MSR Mugmate coffee filter
1 packet of noodles
Miso for noodle soup etc
Tea (tiny pot)
Coffee (1/4 bag)
Salt/pepper/chili in a “Light My Fire” container – only salt used
Muesli or porridge (or ‘healthy’ cereal bars washed down with tea).
Honey and desiccated coconut/ground almonds for porridge
Hand soap in a box
Lifeventure lightweight towel
Toothbrush and paste (1/2 empty tube to save weight!)
Floss (not used)
Razor and shaving cream (can easily do without)
Contact lens solutions (decanted into smaller containers)
Shampoo and conditioner (in small plastic pots).
Didn’t take a toilet bag as too heavy at 260g