Like many others, I am a sucker for gear. Over the decades I have frequently been intrigued by items of clothing, cook sets, gadgetry etc that may make my hikes easier, more interesting, more efficient, lighter, blah blah blah…
Some items have been good, some excellent, some not quite right for me, in truth, very few have been truly awful. I do research, I make impulse buys, just like most others I suspect.
In various pages and blogs on this site I will look at my history of experimentation of ‘stuff’. Hopefully it may be of interest to some, it may even evoke a wry smile of recollection or a woeful shake of the head- ‘you damn fool’
The manufacturers are very good at what they do, that is, convincing us that we need to buy the latest, greatest incarnation. I am very aware that a decent product can come out, simple in design and perfectly functional. Then, rather than refining it, or leaving it as it is, all sorts of extra buckles, straps, pockets, bi-functional panels, go-faster stripes et al get added in response to both customer feedback and the marketing teams. The result being that the simple little item of gear I once had, that was perfectly good at what it did, quite rightly eventually wears out and I have to go on the search for the nearest equivalent because what I had and was happy with, is no longer available. Footwear is a prime example. I spend far to many hours every year looking for what fits my feet and works, simply because what I had been using for the past few hundred miles has been replaced by what the marketing team think I now want.
Certainly I am getting better at it; refining my gear choice and buying less. I think more before I buy. As many are doing, I look to replace good with better, light with lighter, only very infrequently is it shiny being replaced by shinier!
Three Points of the Compass has looked at many items of kit carried on my back over the years, below are some links to both retrospective musings (always lessons to be learnt), current set-up and systems plus a little forward thinking.
- My Gear Lists: Lighterpack lists for just some of my walks in recent years, these include both starting and finishing lists for my 2018 2000+ mile walk across the UK
- The Big Three: this is more of a retrospective, how my shelter, sleeping and pack systems have and continue to evolve.Links below are recent used shelters and ancillaries.
- Shelter: a look at some of the tents used by Three Points of the Compass in previous years, there aren’t that many.
- Trekking poles:
- Light: another look back at how Three Points of the Compass has handled the hours of darkness
- Alcohol/Meths stoves-
- Gas stoves-
- Gas lighters
- Liquid fuel lighters
- Lightweight ferrocerium rods
- The perfect spoon
- Knives on trail: decide exactly what you want from a small knife or multi-tool and have a glance at this list, there may be exactly what you are after.
- Hygiene on trail: ‘Embrace the funk’ or make some sort of effort at a periodic clean up? Your choice, this is what I do. Plus-don’t cut the handle off, here are some lightweight toothbrush options.
- Small Stuff: Beside the Big Three, clothing and kitchen etc. there are always the small items that sneak their way into a pack, this is how Three Points of the Compass defines and cope with them.
- Tick removers
- Tin Openers
- Pouches on trail:
- Day Bag
- Ditty Bag (and 2020 updated version)
- First Aid– an in-depth look at possibles
- First Aid– my current FAK carried on trail
- A lightweight art kit
- Recording the trail- journals (plus my journal preference) and lightweight pens and another look at even lighter pen options
- Making an expedition sewing kit– probably overkill for a lightweight hike, but gives a closer look at exactly what sewing materials are best for backpacking. But a great kit for round-the-world motorcyclists…
- Watch– my needs are simple, this is what I use
- Whistles– includes sound files
- Map, compass and pacer beads
- Music: Three Points of the Compass has been hiking enough years that the pack used to include tape, CD or MiniDisc players. Then MP3 turned up and changed everything. Dip in to this backwards glance, sigh and be thankful.
- Cameras on trail: Recording a walk is one of our great future joys; looking back at the visual account. Three Points of the Compass is an indifferent photographer who has enjoyed a range of cameras in the past. A look at some good and some very, very poor pieces of equipment.
- An Every Day Carry– how much can YOU fit into a Vanquest EDC Slim Maximizer? This is what I carry. Not for backpacking though!
- What gear wears out on a long hike?– experience from a five-month hike