The call of the Wild (camp)
So it's that time of year again, the nights are drawing in, the weather is getting colder and harsher which means that it's time to dust off the waterproofs and tent and start planning my next wild camping trips.
For this winter season (2013/14) it's looking like I'll be heading out alone for most of my hiking and wild camping trips as we're expecting our first baby in April 2014, not something that I've ever really done before but I'm actually looking forward to the challenge as much as Donna is looking forward to the peace and quiet!
Going solo will throw up some new challenges for me, not least the packing of all required equipment and gear without the ability to "spread the load" with another person. I'm actually looking forward to the task of selecting, packing and then refining the kit I take with me over the next few trips; hopefully by early 2014 I will have this down to somewhere near a fine art!
My initial thoughts (that will, I'm sure, change with trial and error) on kit are;
Tent - Marmot Grid; whilst this is snug for two people its combination of weight and stability make it perfect for solo trips. The other option is my Alpkit bivvy bag which I've yet to really use in anger but would require fairly nice weather!
Pack - the Deuter Guide 45+ is pretty much a dead cert here, just need to sort out the annoying niggle with the shoulder strap loosening...
Coat - it would be stupid of me not to give my OMM Cypher smock a proper test wouldn't it?! Lightweight, 3-layer eVent and very bright - just in case!
Water proof trousers - Rab gore-tex trousers are coming with me as the Paramo Aspira are fantastic but really shine in the winter due to weight and durability - they're far too heavy to be wearing or carrying on a solo trip
Bag - if I can get away with it my Rab Infinity sleeping bag and skilk liner will be coming with me as together they take up less space than a football and weigh much less!
Camera - this time I will be taking more pictures so hopefully the Canon 5dMk2 will be coming with me along with the 17-40mm L lens
Before my first trip I'll put a full kit list together (with weights) and then report back on how it (and I) faired and any changes I'll be making for trip number two.
Location, location, location....
Where to go then - that's the question as I don't want to travel too far away as the trip needs to be accomplished within a weekend ideally and don't really want to just re-visit the areas I've been to before. This is a great chance to explore new places and, hopefully, take some great pictures.
Shortlist so far includes;
- Peak District - I've only ever walked here once, to Kinder Scout, and I'm sure there is lots more on offer for a wild camping trip
- Brecon Beacons - despite many, many trips here aside from Pen-y-Fan my walking here has been limited
- Black Mountain - our last walk here was great and there were lots of other route options that I'm keen to explore with the aid of a tent to extend the trip
- Dartmoor - we've had a couple of wild camping trips here but the area is huge so plenty more to explore
So the final question is; do I take him with me?!