Two and a half years ago I got myself an Alpkit Pipedream 600 in the last ‘garage sale’ they held. £90 it cost me. Only one slight problem. It’s rated to minus 10. This is great in the middle of winter, but not so in summer. As a consiquence I have sweated my way through most backpacking trips scince.

Why would I buy such a bag in the first place, you ask? Well, it was £90. To a 16 year old with little money, a down bag weighing 950g (my previous bag was 1400g) this is a no brainer. As for the warmth, I had no experience in just how warm it would be. It’s almost always unzipped, and I tend to sleep with it ‘upside down’ so most of the down is underneath me.

I also bought it as an investment. My plans were always to progress into winter backpacking, and I felt this was a too good an oppertunity to pass up on a bag so warm.

As a result I’ve never felt I can give it a proper review, because I’m mainly using it in conditions it’s not meant to be used in.

To cut to the point in hand, I’ve saved up enough student loan to finally get myself a sleeping bag designed for use in summer (and some time either side). So, at some point in the next month or so a PHD Minimus down bag will be arriving at my door. I’ve ordered it with a full length zip; I like being able to ventalate. History has told me it’s a good option to have.

I’m already overly excited.


I’ve been reading over quite a few kit lists these past few days, mainly as the likes of James Boulter and Martin Rye go on the TGO challenge. Before now I’ve never weighed out all my kit, I knew my base weight was roughly 6.5kg, but actually weighing it out put things in an interesting light, some things are lighter than I’d have guessed, yet others heavier. As follows is my kit for a trip that could last, theoretically, for ever. Some things are vaugely named, often because I don’t know the ‘technical’ name for them.


Osprey Exos 46- 980g

Exped Dry Bag- 60g

Camelback (2L)- 100g

1/2  Vaude Taurus UL- 700g


Rab Momentum Jacket- 370g

Berghaus Waterproof Trousers- 255g

Outdoor Designs Rucksack Rain Cover- 140g


Alpkit Pipedream 600- 950g

Roll Mat- 245g


Coleman F1 Spirit– 125g

Primus Windshield- 65g

Blacks Pans- 315g

Sea to Summit Spork- 10g

Lighter- 15g


Berghaus wicking t-shirt- 165g

Mountain Life 3/4 length trousers- 230g

Second Layer (no idea what it’s properly called)– 225g

Boxers- 80g

Spare socks- 100g

Hat- 90g

Gloves- 25g

Buff- 40g

Personal/Odds and ends

First Aid Kit- 140g

Compass- 35g

Whistle- 10g

Pen Knife- 25g

Vaseline- 20g

Sunglasses- 25g

Head Torch- 95g

Sun Cream- 25g

Toothbrush etc- 50g

Comb- 35g

Phone- 65g

Camera- 285g

Wallet- 140g

Keys- 45g

Maps and case- 100g

This comes out at a grand total of 6350g. There will be variation in weight, for example on really long trips I’d take an extra pair of socks, and longer trips require more maps. Equally, if I’m only out for a night, I don’t take spare clothes, so my base weight drops. Also my scales are only accurate to the nearest 5g, giving a total accuracy of +/- 92.5g.  But as a nice general figure 6350g will have to do. And I’m happy with that at the moment.

Following my walk over Eyam Moor the other week, I noticed one of my walking boots had developed a cut in the leather. Luckily we were in Outside at the time and one of the guys there had a look at it. He concluded it was because the rubber toe cap on the boot was cutting into the leather as I walked (obvious from the picture below). I was pretty (very) pissed off. I’ve not had them 2 years yet and they were a fine pair of boots. Anyway emails were exchanged and they were duly sent off to Scarpa. They quickly replied with a phone call, saying they concluded it was a fitting error ( I don’t fully believe them as they were definitely creasing in the right place) but that they would give me 50% off if I bought a new pair of Scarpas. I’m now the owner of a pair of SL’s. I’ve been wearing them round the house, and they are certainly comfortable. And very, very rigid. Walking at the weekend should let me get a better feeling for them.

Today a couple of new pieces of kit arrived. Firstly, my new Alpkit down jacket. I’ve been after one of these for a while now. I was sure it wouldn’t be coming out until next winter, given the warming temperatures recently; however with snow forecast for the weekend, it may yet be making an appearance. I review shall be in order should conditions allow me to wear it.

My second piece of gear to arrive was a set of Exped dry bags. I’m properly chuffed with them too. I managed to get my sleeping bag directly into the 8 litre one, and it fits perfectly at the bottom of my rucksack. Parts of my tent should fit nicely in the 5 litre bag, and my bits and bobs into the 3 litre one. All that’s left to do is figure out if I have a use for the 13 litre bag! They’re much easier than putting everything in plastic bags (stuff stays where it’s meant to), and not much heavier either. Oh, and they were free.