Tuesday, 25 March 2014

TGO Challenge 2014 Kit List

UPDATE, July 2014: Many weeks after I did this post it is still getting hits so I simply wanted to say that I cut down on the list below quite a bit, taking about 1.5 kg off the total pack weight. that is shown here.

Well it's the time of year when TGO Challenge Kit Lists appear on many blogs. We like a good list, we do.  I've already seen and poured over  Andy Walker'sGordon has given us his.  And Robin posted his initial thoughts early on.  So here's mine. Yes all you lightweighters, it is heavier than yours.  It will change slightly, and there are a number of items on what follows that will not make it on the trip to Scotland.  I have annotated some of these. But no doubt a few other tiny things may creep in.  I will make a final decison in the few days before I set off, especially on clothing, as this would be influenced by the weather prospects.

Having been inspired by Alan Sloman's star filled, doe eyed new love for Trinnie, I did get my neglected Trail Star and Oook nest out yesterday and put it up in the garden, but I just have to lie in it for 2 or 3 minutes to decide that, for me, the lack of comfort compared to the Scarp 1 is just not worth the few hundred grams weight saved.  As I  have banged on endlessly before, it is all too tight for anyone like me who is seriously over 6 foot tall.  I want to love her but I just can't.

I  may also be saving a few hundered grams on my rucksack.  That will be decided later today when privatised postie arrives.  The ULA Catalyst is the most comfortable sack I have ever used for a large load but I would prefer a lid pocket and something that doesn't fill with water at the mere sight of a cloud in the sky.  However, its potential replacement, that I am informed by text that Courier Kenny has on his van now, will have to be exceptional when I try it out, and the hip belt will need to sit squarely where it is intended to or it will be down to the GPO tomorrow with a return label on its sturdy packaging.  There is no way I will cut corners on a comforable rucksack, not least because I am developing a touch of athritis in one of my shoulders, and long days and heavy rucksacks are not what the doctor has ordered for that.  The new arrival will have taped seams so that, plus the judicous use of lightweight waterproof stuffsacks, will also mean I can ditch the large packliner I use with the Catalyst.

Any views or comments are welcome.  Probably along the lines of "you must be bonkers", but I can take it.




ULA Catalyst

Shelter / Sleeping

Scarp 1 Includes 1 sp peg + sp blizzard 1578
Sleeping Bag Rab Neutrino 400 In waterproof stuff sack 760
Silk liner To take? 120
Exped Pillow This is real luxury 81
Neo Air X Lite large Large is far more comfortable than standard size 485
Duomat sit mat
Tent J Cloth To wipe off the crud when packing 12
Polycro for porch Two sheets @16gr.. Only one needed 32


Stove, feet, windshield Optimus 185
Pan Evernew 0.9l 115
Pot cosy
Mug (Titanium)
Fuel 1*230gr cartridge 380
Long spoon (Titanium)
J cloth
Water container Platypus 2 litre 39

Platypus 1 litre 42 !
Swiss army knife "Classic"
Can opener To take? 10
Purification tablets
Plastic food bags
Tiny sponge scourer
Sawyer Includes medium pouch 110

Health and Hygiene

First Aid Kit First Aid Kit Dry Bag 377

Elasticated knee bandage

Elasticated calf bandage

Tick remover

Safety Pins





Plasters and compeed

Wound Dressings


Micropore tape



Shoulder tablets


Hayfever tablets

Gehwol Foot Cream

Lanacane Anti-Chafing Gel

Midge repellant To take? 91
Midge head net
Lifesystems towel Or take smaller and halve weight 166
Trowel Blizzard stake 30
P Bottle It's an age thing 62
Toilet roll
Hand sanitiser

Wash Kit Soap bag 27

Toothbrush and paste 44

Comb 7

Dr Bronner's 68

Contact lense + case 16

Contact lense fluid 65

Ear plugs 2
Stugereon * 2 For journey to Scotland 0
Deoderant To take? 52

Reading glasses in case


Silva compass
Maps + Ortilieb map case
Ortilieb A4 Case For spare printouts in rucksack 68
Smartphone / GPS Galaxy 3 with Viewranger 156
Spare batteries for phone 2@39gr 78
Phone case Aquapack 60
Phone charger


Repair kit


Duck Tape (on Pacer Poles)

Batteries *3 (watch and headtorch)

Thermarest puncture kit

Shock cord

Theadtorch Petzl E-lite 30
Notebook and pen

Dry Bags Various 195
Camera Lumix DMS F35 + case + sp battery 270
Rail tickets

Spare Clothes (Carried)

Pants Rabs Meco boxers 72

Rab Meco long johns (for sleeping / cold days) 148
Spare socks 2 pairs X socks Exped 123
Spare shirt Paramo Katmai (for civilisation) 250
PhD Minimus Down Jacket + Hood
Fleece beenie
Berghaus Jacket Paclite 530
Berghaus Overtrousers Paclite 250
ME Gloves Sufficient? 53
Waterproof Overmits
Hi Tec Zuuc Shoes??? To take? 380
Seal sknz socks + liners To take? 138
Tracksters? To take? 208
Berghaus synthetic base To take? 250

Total base weight (inc. fuel)

Food and Drink

Dehydrated food (3 days) Three main meals + 3 deserts 900

Total other food (3 days)

Tea bags

Drink choc (1 sachet per day)

Condensed milk (Tube -luxury item!)

Oats So Simple

Cereal bars

Trail mix


Hip Flask Assume 200ml contents 288


Total weight food / water

Clothes etc (Worn)

Pants HH 88
Trousers Montane 357
Merino Shirt Rohan 286
Paramo Fleece Micro fleece 325
Boots / trail shoes Inov8 Terroc 330s 804
Socks X Socks Exped 62
Gaiters Integral Designs E-vent 68
Windshirt Montane Litespeed 204
Pacer poles  Alloy 650
Watch Suunto Core 64

Weight non pack worn items

Total pack base weight (inc fuel) 

Total food and water

Total pack weight

Total worn / non-pack

Total weight


  1. Hi David
    Very interesting, its always good to see what other folk will be taking/carrying on long trips.
    Theres no right or wrong just different, some people like a bit of luxury others are quite happy roughing it (indeed some positively enjoy it!)
    We all adopt different stylesof backpacking, variety is the spice of life.
    Not long now!!

    1. As you can see I am on the luxury end of the spectrum, although some of this stuff will not be in my sack come May. Far less clothing will be necessary and far more sunscreen. I hope.

  2. Hi David, good luck with the rucksack! You know what works, it's still fun to try different stuff. Looking forward to catching up soon. John

    1. ThanksJjohn. The new sack has arrived. I am still pontificating but I think I will keep it and take it. That will save 346gr before I make any other changes.

  3. Nice list - but I could save you 648g straight away, with an optional 211g on top:

    Dump the longjohns (your Tracksters can do that job), Dump the Berghaus synthetic base layer (your merino base layer will be fine between indoor nights when you can wash it, and then just wear your fleece while it dries). Dump the Katmai shirt. Your fleece will be fine.

    Then you could dump the midge repellent - it never works, and besides you're taking a head net.

    I wouldn't take the silk liner either - if your wearing a base layer and Tracksters it's just extra weight and not needed.

    That's 859 grams - almost two pounds!

    1. Thanks Al. The silk liner should never have been on the list. I only use it when I'm in another much lighter sleeping bag or if it's very cold.

      You are absolutely right about all the other stuff - you advised the same this time last year. Being a complete woos I have this aversion to being cold and wet. Hence I always include too much stuff on my initial list. But some of this will be removed. Do you ever bother with any other footwear when you do the Challenge in trail shoes? I didn't last year but every time a bog tries to steal one of my shoes I wonder if this is a mistake. And wearing the same trail shoes at the Park Hotel Dinner might be a bit unfair on immediate dining companions! I note you didn't suggest ditching the hip flask.....

    2. I would still take the Zuuks, even if wearing trailshoes, only for the niceness of wearing them in the evening and in Braemar & Stan&Bill's.
      By the time you get to the dinner in the Park Hotel you'll have washed out your trailshoes so they're sweet & lovely once more, so they'll be fine for the journey home.
      I've worn trailshoes for three Challenges and didn't take spare shoes - but regretted it each time. Daft, eh?

    3. Good advice. I shall stick them in. I believe almost everyone will have a pair this year. Zuucs are the new Crocs, apparently.

      Washing trail shoes? You'll be having your sleeping bag cleaned next. A good fug helps these items work more effectively, although I acknowledge that it is necessary to get the grit out of the trail shoes if one wants to have any flesh left on the soles of the feet for paddling in the North Sea at the end.

      Are Stan and Bill the hosts at Callater Lodge? I have not been there so have no idea what to expect! Will find out soon though!

  4. Thanks for the list, its always good to read. The Lanacane gel had slipped my mind so i went and bought some. Phew.

  5. Hi AlanR

    Lanacane is dead good. I like it because it's non-greasy, unlike Vaseline. I don't fancy greasy stuff round me nether regions :-) Mind you, it's not cheap is it? :-(

  6. Hi David, I learn something new every time I look through somebody's gear list. Can you believe I've been daft enough not to realise that a couple of spare phone batteries must weigh less than a dubious solar charger and power pack. You've probably saved me a bit of weight there. Cheers.

    1. Hi Knapsacking

      I always wondered about why many others prefer power packs. One person told me it was hard to change a battery in rain. May be right. However, touch wood, I have never actually needed one of my spares. With careful use I can make a battery last three days, by which time I'm usually in a B and B and can recharge in comfort.so could easily change a battery in the evening in tent in between if needed. I suppose if you have phone on all the time recording a route then you need far more juice. I switch mine off on multi day trips unless navigation is tricky.

  7. Alan Sloman has some fine points, but. There is always a but. One spare base layer to sleep in, when in camp and a warm top is essential. One day on the Challenge you'll be soaking wet. Then you need that warm top. Just saying.

    Dump silk liner, dump Ron Hill stuff (we left the 1990s). I like the tent and pack. I agree Trailstar is cramped for us tall folk. I sold mine after all. If me I would take one base layer and the Paramo shirt. A fleece and warm top. Simple. Base most days and sleep in Paramo one and use on hot days (Alan will be envious then) and in the bar (again more cool than Alan's :) ) so done. All in all good kit I reckon. I cannot be bothered with lot's of spare this-and-that. Who cares if your sleeping bag gets mucky. Wash it when you get home. So get that pack weight down some more and happy trails.

    PS I won't mention the trail shoe choice. You don't need spare shoes, but having nice spare flip flops can be nice in camp, or that hot day sitting outside sipping a pint. Your call.

    1. Agree with most of your comments, Martin. I have already ditched some stuff, including the silk liner. As you say, warm and dry stuff at night is essential. I make final decision just before the off when likely weather and conditions will be (slightly) more obvious. The shoes are the new version. Have been fine on training walks, until the Daunder when a blister appeared on the final road bash. That is VERY rare for me. Like 2 or 3 in 40 years of walking.

  8. I must admit avoiding blisters is not my strength David. Dodgy feet is my reason. Anyway you'll suss it all in a couple weeks, and that Scarp will be a haven in those storms, and so much room. It's no secret I miss the Scarp and regret selling mine.

  9. Hi David, nice list! I sometimes go bivvying when I take as little as possible and "rough it", but I don't fancy doing that for a fortnight so I think it's worth a bit of extra weight to be comfortable. Spare footwear, eg Crocs, make such a difference to me. And a dry baselayer (and silk pyjama bottoms) makes me much cosier in my sleeping bag. I don't really like sleeping in "outdoor" clothes like Ron Hills and a bulky fleece jacket, although my lightweight fleecy jumper makes a comfy pyjama top. I hope to bump into you somewhere along the way.

    1. Hi Judith - that weight v comfort conundrum is difficult but I am certainly nearer comfort! I also do not do hungry and I do not do cold and wet. I have reduced the weight a bit from the above list now but I am still heavier than most people who have posted lists but hey ho. I notice that just taking the large size of everything (I am 6 foot 3inches) must have added well over half a kilo.

  10. Well as a first timer I am keen to read all I can on kit lists! I notice a few folk are taking midge head net. Is this an essential?

  11. Hi Andy

    I have only done the Challenge once -last year - so am no expert. You may want to note that I have reduced the weight on the above list quite a bit since I wrote this post.

    Midge net? Scottish midges are appalling. I understand that normally they aren't out this time of year but quite a few folk have reported them recently with the mild winter. Personally, I wouldn't take the risk under any circumstances!!! Read my blog post of 24 August 2012 and you will see why :-) I notice most experienced challengers DO take a midge head net.