Finally! After one cancellation and many timetable changes the 5 day solo walk around Snowdonia is about to take place! Woooot!!!
Once again, the excitement is building up ready for tomorrow.
With regard to kit, we are at an odd time of year where the weather is quite volatile. It seems to be alternating between being quite hot and being quite cold. This makes kit selection rather tricky.
As usual I have erred on the side of caution. After all, you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of the mountains with inadequate kit.
After much deliberation, I have chosen to take the 3 season sleeping bag and also my down jacket as the last few days have been pretty cold. Both of these items will add additional weight and volume to my packed load. But I feel that given the expected conditions these are mandatory items.
Another issue I wanted to address was food.
On my previous two journeys, I found myself getting exhausted after the big mountain climbs. On the first journey I had to replenish myself by popping into a cafe. On the second journey I raided day 4’s food supplies on day 2!
To prevent a repeat performance I have now packed a lot more food. This now also includes a cold lunch for each day – something that I have traditionally never done on a multi-day hike.
Part of me is saying that I’m taking too much food – but alas, only time will tell. I guess this is part of the overall learning experience!
Not only have I included a lunch, but I have also upped the number of bars from 5 a day to 8 a day and increased my daily gorp allowance. Gorp for those that don’t know is trail mix and stands for ‘Good Old Raisins and Peanuts’. Despite the initials, most people customise their own gorp to suit their tastes.
Mine is shown below:
The gorp mix I use has gone through many iterations as I have fine tuned it to my multi-day tastes. My current gorp mixes are very nut heavy and now contain no chocolate. The reason being that I have discovered that on multi-day hikes I start developing an aversion to sweet sugary foods – presumably because the rest of the food contains so much of the stuff!
The lunches that I have planned are very simple affairs and just consist of Oatcakes, Primula Cheese, Chorizo and dried cured ham – all served with a random cup of soup!
With the additional cold weather kit and food, my 5 day load has come in at 20 kilos! Which includes 1.6 ltrs of water and all the fuel I need for 5 days.
This is one of my heavier loads, though the expectation is that it should get considerably lighter as the days go by and the food is eaten.
I’m well aware of the irony of potentially taking too much food. This is because food itself weighs a finite amount. The more food you carry the more weight you carry, so the more energy you expend carrying it! It could be that I am carrying too much and I need to slim back down to more normal levels in the future.
However, I am keen to see where this goes and see whether a lunch stop will have any impact on my daily performance.
I have designed the walking plan so that the first real big hill climbs don’t start until day 2, so in theory I should have shed a day’s worth of food and fuel weight before the serious exercise starts.
My biggest concern with regard to the weight is the Osprey Exos 58 Rucksack. I’m pretty sure it is not designed to carry these kind of weights, though I have to admit it does feel comfortable – in fact it feels more comfortable than my daily training load of a similar weight.
I’m hoping the Exos rucksack will hang on in there, as a rucksack failure could spell an early end of the walk. I will report back how the Exos 58 copes with such a heavy load.
Anyways I’m off to bed ready for 5 days of unadulterated adventure!