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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. Below are some retrospective musings (always lessons to be learnt), various gear reviews, current set-up and systems plus a little forward thinking. These links get added to on a frequent basis. 

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 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 too 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year looking for what fits my feet and works, simply because what I had been using for the past few hundred miles has been replaced by what the marketing team think I now want.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. This is all just ‘stuff’ of course. It can be helpful to periodically review what is working and what is not. If it isn’t quite right, or is never used, perhaps it is time to replace with something better or lighter, or remove it entirely. I carry out this mental exercise on every long distance hike. Conversely, some items of kit are stand out performers on trail and I think very carefully before not including them on the next trail.

Five favourite items of gear in 2022: a handful of items of gear that were especially appreciated on longer trails in 2022.

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