The Kit

In this section expect to see details of the bits of kit that I'm going to be using on this expedition, discussions about the effectiveness and weight of individual items, overall pack weight... basically all things kit! Discussions on everything from molle pockets for my Bergen to the most lightweight and hardy walking poles, to whether I should use a bivvi or a tent.

Please feel free to make suggestions as to alternative items that you would recommend or discourage against from your own experience - advice is very much welcome.
The Rucksack
I've opted for an British army issue MTP 45 litre daypack. In my opinion this is a cracking bit of kit. It's modelled on the civilian Predator Patrol 45 litre pack made by Karrimor SF, and my wife, Lorna managed pick one up, brand new, at the absolute bargain price of £45 to give to me for Christmas. The civilian packs retail at around £130-£165 so massive result.
Features include: Palm back system, Quick release belt buckle, S-shaped shoulder harness, Sternum strap, One main compartment, Compatible with side pockets (PLCE), Lid pocket, Stuff pockets, Modular attachment system (MOLLE), Ski guides, Compression straps, Carry handle, Rot-proof thread, Reinforced with bar-tacks, Durable water repellent (DWR), YKK zips.

Weight: 1.95kg.
Big enough to contain a small Redmond!
Translation: Comfortable padding on my back. Good quality padded should straps. It will sit high on my back putting most of the weight on my shoulders and chest. No hip belt but it will sit above the small of my back in any event so quite a bit different from a Bergen. The three most important things that I need to consider in my rucksack selection is weight, mobility and durability. It needs to be strong enough to take some harsh weather, large enough to contain all of my kit but small enough in length to keep me mobile. This pack ticks all those boxes. What is more it has PLCE and MOLLE attachments which means I can adapt the pack to my needs. Two side pockets on this pack and you've got 65-70 litres and you don't compromise how it sits on your back.

Highlands/Moorland water problem solved
What sold me on this pack is that you can attach Camelbaks (water pouches) to either side between the main pack and the side pockets. So I've managed to get my hands on two of these little gems (at an absolute steal) with Big Bite valves. I'll be spending days out in the wilds of the Highlands with no shops or buildings in fact for miles in every direction. Water carrying is a big issue. By attaching a Camelbak to either side of this pack I can carry up to 6 litres within the structure of my pack. The Camelbaks are about 440g each when empty.

The bivi bag or bivi tent

This is what I will be sleeping in every night for a minimum of 50 nights - so it needs to be dry, warm, easy to put up and take down, hardy... and in light of the fact that there is likely to be a fair bit of wild camping - preferably low profile and relatively inconspicuous. Most of all it needs to be light! Tents, stoves and water tend to be the heaviest items - so any savings in overall size and weight are a real god send over 1000+ miles.

With all that in mind... I've chosen to go with the Snugpak Stratosphere.

Bought at less than half the retail price and in brand new condition - it was too good a deal to walk away from.

The Snugpak Stratosphere boasts a full length side zip (perfect for avoiding faffing about), a Rip-Stop fabric outer, highly breathable material (to avoid condensation) with a fabric bottom, ultra-light weight poles and light alloy pegs, waterproof and taped seams, and it has a built in mosquito net (perfect for keeping the Scottish midges at bay!).

Most importantly, it packs up to dimensions of only 31cm x 14cm and weighs 1.13kg including pegs.


  1. Dave I think the Rucksack is poor No hip belt !!its the most important part and why carry water when it weighs so much, just buy a water filter bottle ,good for 200litres and you can top them up out of puddles

  2. I initially thought the same about the lack of hip belt but this pack sits quite high on my back and isn't pressing against the small of my back. If there is an issue after a few long training walks then I always have the option of going for a webbing belt with a thick hip pad attachment but I don't think that will be necessary. Alternatively, I could sell this one and by the civilian version with the hip belt but I have a long torso so the belt probably won't sit particularly well in any event. I have considered picking up a lifesaver bottle and will keep my eye out for one, but I have not got infinite funds so my equipment decisions have to be considered against a limited budget. Empty the camelbacks weigh next to nothing and although they have a 6 litre overall capacity I don't need to actually carry that amount of water at all times.

  3. I Can highly recommend Petzl head torches, they are very bright, not too heavy, some come with a safety whistle, which is always handy. Camelbacks are a great bit of kit, really worth it. Are you going to be cooking your own food? Not sure of your budget, but check out Cotswold Outdoor, it might give you some ideas of the bits you will need, and the price they go for, then you can shop around and grab a bargain.

  4. Hi Rebecca,

    I'll definitely check out those Petzl head torches - that could come in very handy for camp at the end of a long day. I don't intend to do much walking in the dark but when you're in a bivi tent in the middle of nowhere and nature calls... lol! I've picked up a couple of Camelbaks already and I too think they are excellent bits of kit. An anonymous poster quite rightly and validly pointed out the additional weight compared to just using a lifesaver bottle, but I'm pretty strong despite my general flabbiness and I think ease of regular hydration is probably more important to me, personally, than the additional weight. Plus I'm cutting lots of weight out elsewhere. I have had a look at Cotswold and they are top notch, but I'm looking to use my local outdoor shops that have been a bit more helpful to this particular fundraiser if I can. Great for getting some ideas from though!