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.

Walking Poles

Walking poles are very useful. They add assurance and balance on tricky ground, help cross boggy sections, streams and rivers, help climb hills, and speed ones descent. They can even be used as tent poles, and can help in case of injury. It takes more energy to use poles, but for me, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. The lightest ones are 120g per pair, but I find these too flimsy and will be using Alpkit carbon poles.