The joy of socks – and other packing conundrums

Packing. Something that everyone who walks has to do, whether they are packing a day sack for a short walk near where they are based or packing for a week away somewhere. It’s also something which seems – at least for me – to be difficult to get the right balance, and also where I’m prone to mishaps. Packing for a camping trip – particularly a wild camp – seems to involve a whole new level of balance finding (or not) because you are carrying everything and therefore that extra weight matters quite a lot more. Winter is the same because ice axes and crampons weigh a lot but the last thing you want to do is find yourself somewhere you need them – but haven’t got them.

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What not to wear (on the hill)

A natural follow on from my last post on the stages of gear shopping seemed to be to do something about actually trying to look halfway decent on the hill. Apologies to the blokes reading this but I’m not sure that this is something that necessarily bothers them. For guys there seem to be two main considerations – firstly does it fit and secondly does it have any holes in it. Assuming those two hurdles can be successfully overcome the fact that a lurid orange base layer might not go with a red waterproof is not really on the radar.

If you are a girl there are rather more considerations – at least if you are me: some women are perfectly happy to take the guy approach and not worry about it. Unfortunately I’m not one of them. Well there’s that summit selfie to think of isn’t there? Continue reading

Fifty shades of gear shopping

Gear. It’s something you obviously need if you are a keen walker. It’s also something that, if you are me, you seem to end up with far too much of. As part of a general attempt to de-clutter (with partial success) I’ve jettisoned a load of old gear that either doesn’t fit or has reached the end of what accountants refer to as its ‘useful economic life’ – i.e. it is falling to bits to the extent of not being fit for purpose. Unfortunately in my case gear doesn’t always last long – for instance as a result of trousers being ripped at the bum due to the use of ‘five points of contact’ when scrambling, or the rucksack that was in a shed and got eaten by mice as I had forgotten I’d left some muesli bars in it. I still seem to have far too much though – why have I still got the walking boots that give me blisters when I have 2 other pairs of 3 season boots that are perfectly ok? And I still have my first ever pair of walking boots which did me for the first 15 or so Munros but were a Hi-Tec cheapie pair and the tread has now worn pretty thin. The logic for hanging onto these is for long flat walks down here and they are as comfortable as a pair of old slippers.. I guess that makes some sense!

I think people go through stages with gear: Continue reading