Equipment choices

The gear one takes makes a big difference to comfort and safety and general happiness, and striking a balance between utility and weight is tricky. Earlier walks in the Pyrenees and Corsica have been really helpful in finding out what works well and how much to bring along. I'm no gear nut, but I do like stuff that's simple, light and effective.

This won't be a wilderness walk, though the weather will be very variable, from -10 to +35C, and I'm choosing things based on my strengths and weaknesses. For example, I'm pretty good at keeping going, and quite quick, but also not very strong and rather frail. I keep warm while moving, but get cold afterwards. I'm comfortable with technology but likely to play it safe with key items.

As this is a walk in aid of a charity, and with sponsors, information has to get back to the UK regularly. Also I need to collect notes and photos for handbooks after the walk.


Hopefully in the early months, melt water and water from streams can be found, however my stove will have to melt snow sometimes. It's ok if this takes a while, but this does burn a lot of fuel, and I might run with a gas cartridge stove for the first month. My preference is for an alcohol based cooking system (stand, stove, windshield) because there is nothing to go wrong, and I will be trialling both in snow before going.

In Summer I'll use an alcohol stove, as 3 days fuel weighs only 90g. A complete cooking system adds 100g. Pans are fairly easily cleaned with grass. Frying deposits come off without scouring if you boil afterwards in the same pan. Strangely, you can grow to like hot chocolate with floating cheese!