I’ve not posted my Alpine walking kit list since we did the Haute Route in August 2007 and it’s changed a little of course. A recent comment has prompted me to run through it and note what’s changed.
But for the written record, here are the changes I’ve made since the Haute Route kit posting:
Spare torch -> Photon Freedom Microlight. Sooo small and light it’s madness not to take one.
Granite Gear Vapor Trail rucksack -> GoLite Pinnacle pack. More comfortable, sheds rain better, side pocket takes a Canon EOS 550D (on a leash – in fact, see the next post!).
Silnylon rucksack rain cover -> Nothing – don’t use it anymore.
Montane Lite Speed wind proof -> Nothing – don’t use it in the Alps (more useful for more changeable weather in the UK).
Silk gloves -> Extremities Power Dry Gloves (not to be confused with the thicker, warmer Power Stretch). They stay warmer when wet and are harder wearing. One of my all time favourite bits of kit.
Emergency shelter -> A Superlite Bothy 2 rather than the standard 4 person version (half the weight).
Silk boxer shorts X3 -> Icebreaker X2. I like the fit better, and two pairs worked very well for the whole of the GR5 (washing one pair almost every night).
Integral Designs Shortie eVENT gaiters -> Only waterproof socks inside the inov8 Flyrocs in the Alps.
Sealskinz socks -> Rocky GoreTex Socks – far superior in both comfort and particularly durability (as long as you read the instructions and pull them off by pinching under the heel – else they can get torn).
Montrail Hurricane Ridge approach shoes -> Too heavy – inov8 Terrocs or Flyrocs but most of the time; Vibram Five Fingers!
Swiss Army knife -> Opinel Number 7 – very light, very sharp. Perfect for cheese and saucisson, and carving rough bark of a branch if you need a stick in a hurry… I sadly lost mine on the TJR that I’d had since I was twelve (so that’s twenty nine years, if you’re wondering).
3 packs travel tissues (in 6″X9″ Aloksak) -> Toilet roll, two sheets at a time, stacked in the Aloksak. A vital bit of kit for us westerners in remote huts where they can run out. Replenished, literally only a couple of sheets here and there only from hotels or other non-remote places that we stayed (so few that I’m quite sure they wouldn’t have minded). You can be remarkably economical with it if you try. This saw us through the whole of the GR20 (where there rarely is any in the huts!).
Re-used Indian Tonic Water bottles -> Platypus Hoser 2L. I don’t like the level of plasticisers that I’m probably ingesting, but the dehydration wasn’t good at all, as I discovered on the Haute Route.
Ortlieb Aquazoom waterproof camera case -> Sea To Summit Ultrasil 4L waterproof stuffsack… I think… that’s the next post in fact!