Last week we tried out some backpacking gear in preparation for walking the Cotswold Way in September.
We have had a Coleman Cobra 2 tent for a few years, and it will fit the purpose. Total weight: 2127g – we’ll divide it up between us.
The latest additions to the gear list are Mammut Alpine UL 3-Season sleeping bags. Being synthetic, they are heavy by backpacking standards – weighing in at just over 1000g each, but ultimately warmth is important to us. They have a lower comfort temperature rating of 3°C (for women).
We decided to give some basic Multimat camping sleep mats a go. They are super light, super cheap, and made from closed-cell foam which won’t absorb water. Sounds great, but I had forgotten what they are like not having slept on one for almost 20 years. They insulated us from the ground well, but the lack of padding resulted in a bad night’s sleep and we were tired for the next 2 days. We can’t convince ourselves that we’d get used to it, so we’ll be taking our Thermarest Trail Pro’s instead. Once again they are heavy at 950g. So much for our lightweight backpacking plans! We originally bought them for car camping. One day we’ll replace them with something like Thermarest Neoair Xlites, but for now they’ll have to do.
We also experimented with the BushBox Ultralight outdoor pocket stove. I liked the idea that you can use it with different fuels, and even just twigs. We absolutely love this piece of kit, but for backpacking purposes it isn’t completely feasible using twigs. Admittedly the sticks we used were slightly damp, but it took 2 hours to make a couple of cups of coffee, some scrambled eggs and baked beans. With all of the walking we just aren’t going to have time for that, we’ll need to produce hot food or drink fast. We may use the BushBox with Bio-ethanol fuel in a trangia burner, but before making the final decision the next project will be to try out the DIY “Fancy Feast Alcohol Backpacking Stove”