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.


My unlined Marmot Precip jacket has been durable and pretty good. It's also light, small and great value. However it's a little too easy to swamp it when working hard (though you dry quickly with the core vents and armpit zips). My ideal would be a jacket with the Marmot vent design and e-vent fabric. The closest I can find is a Montane Quickfire e-vent jacket.

Waterproof trousers work for me, and may mean that I needn't take any warm trousers in the Winter, as they are also windproof. I've been very happy with Marmot Precip waterproof trousers (220g) and will take them, or something a little lighter with fuller zips (I usually only wear waterproofs in cold rain or sleet).

Ankle gaiters are effective and durable enough. Hopefully it will be possible to ride on top of most Spring snow with snowshoes, rather than 'post-holing', so knee length gaiters will be unnecessary.