Packing for the Cleveland Way (June 2020)

I recently uploaded a video to YouTube where I share the look and contents of my rucksack, as if I was to have been walking the Cleveland Way this month as originally planned.

I’ll go over some of that again in this post. In my next, I’ll share some of the changes I’ve already made to get the grams down further.

Link to my YouTube video

Through Facebook, I’ve discovered the website LighterPack.com, where you can input your kit and the weight of each pack or item. Compare, chop and change. You can find my kit list and base weight (at the time of filming the video) using the link below.

Link to my LighterPack page with all the weights

Hopefully I’ll be allowed to have a go at the Cleveland Way in September. I’m sure you can all relate to the disruption to our plans this year.

The Rucksack

Again, I’ll be taking the Montane Yupik 50. It was large enough to serve me well along the South Downs Way last year. It’s comfortable enough and I feel no need to change it. One alteration I’d like to make is to carry less weight from Day One… Last year, I was pushing it at more than 18kg! That probably equates to a base weight of 12-13kg, as I was carrying all of my food and some water.

Ideally, I’d love to get my base weight (no food or water) down to 10kg, if not less than that. But, we’ll see.

Shelter

Again, I’ll be relying upon the Luxe Hex Peak V4A. It hasn’t let me down along two trails (first was The Ridgeway in 2018) and I see no need to go through the expense and effort of trying to buy something a bit later.

I like to pack the inner and outer skins separately, along with the bag of pegs, so that I can erect the outer quickly in the event of an unfortunate shower and it’s worth mentioning that one walking pole is required to support the centre.

I currently have the option of choosing between two inner tents… The single-person V4A inner weighs in at 676g and I know how to set it up. But I’ve since purchased a “two person winter” option from AliExpress. I’ve yet to try it out but it looks as if it should fit the Hex Peak form. It weighs on 600g, by comparison and costs half the price of the Luxe option.

Sleeping

My “sleeping bag” of choice is now the Alpkit Cloudcover, which I bought days before heading off on the South Downs Way. I did find that it can let draughts through and so I’ll also be packing my Sea to Summit Reactor liner – which is mistakenly left behind last year, in order to save 260g!

A few holes have sprung up in my quilt and I should probably first look at getting this repaired. Otherwise, it lives in its dry bag to keep the down from getting wet.

I have a cheap Naturehike pillow that’s quite comfortable, a ‘Benuo’ branded mat that’s identical to Alpkit’s Cloudbase and a piece of non-slip matting from Ikea to prevent sliding.

As this inflatable mat offers nothing in the way of ground insulation (I was cold in the early hours of those late May mornings, last year), I’ll be packing my Thermarest Z-Lite folding mat. This is excellent and made of a closed cell foam. At 20mm thick, I don’t find it comfortable enough to lie on alone.

In order to save a few grams and make it more packable, I’ve cut the length down to around 1.2m/4ft; essentially reducing it to a 3/4 length mat. It not fits in to a side pocket of my rucksack and can be used as a sit-mat. The offcut will stay behind, for now.

Clothing

Essentially, I have a 12 litre dry bag with my spare clothes for each day and a 6 litre bag with my nightwear (neither bag is packed full; these are just what I bought in 2017).

In the day bag, I’ll have two spare T-shirts, two pairs of underwear, one pair of walking socks, one pair of liner socks and a long-sleeved T-shirt for the evenings. I’m sure it’s not ultralight and some would advice me to reduce it more. I’m prepared to swap my socks each day; maybe I could swap more!

For the nighttime I’ll have a long-sleeved baselayer top and bottoms (both polyester) and a thin pair of socks that I’ll only wear in the tent. My Buff (packed elsewhere) can be used as an eyemask.

I feel it would be a mistake never to pack full waterproofs. I took a lightweight Vaude jacket with me last year and got soaked through to the skin on my penultimate day on the SDW. I’m prepared to take my Mountain Equipment Rupal jacket this time… But it weighs over 500g and doesn’t pack down small, as much as it is reliable (watch this space).

My Berghaus trousers are lightweight and continue to be reliable. A couple of small holes have formed near the ankles but I’m sticking with them.

I have a choice between two pairs of waterproof gloves. Both are reliable and there’s only a 5g difference between them… I’m going with the Mountain Equipment mitts because they’re so easy to slip on or off in a hurry.

My Sealskinz beanie is waterproof and warm enough. As already mentioned, my Buff is very versatile. I have one pair of liner gloves and another pair with the fingers cut off (…Not to save 10g but because even a pair of £20 gloves may have shoddy stitching!).

Hydration

I plan to carry no more than 1 litre of water at any time on my future backpacking walks. My Osprey 1.5 LT reservoir is a good 100g lighter than the 2.0 bladder I’d otherwise use. I will use the Aquapure Traveller to collect water on the go and also to act as a filter for refilling my bladder (should I find myself in need between campsites).

I always carry electrolyte tablets for the flavour and energy. These would only go in to my hydration bladder (no the filter bottle).

Cooking

I’ve covered the contents of my lightweight cook kit in a previous post. It’s not ‘ultralight’ but weighs less than 400g before the gas is added.

Food-wise, I intend to carry enough porridge sachets for five mornings of a six-day hike. Tea bags. Possibly my evenings meals. But I would like to try and limit the number of snacks I carry to three-days’ worth at one time. Maybe less, depending on how close I may pass to civilization. For me, that’s an easy way to reduce some of the too-much-weight I had behind me last year.

Hygiene

This currently weighs around half a kilogram and needs some attention. Even factoring in the likes of sun cream and insect repellent, I feel I could improve upon this.

First Aid

Despite the fact that I am not First Aid trained, it is quite ridiculous that I seem to have “two” First Aid kits that I carry with me on day walks!

In the red bag, your average First Aid kit along with some tick removal tools and paracetamol. This tends to live in the bottom of my rucksack (a bad habit) and never gets looked at. For this reason, I’ve created an ‘easy access’ plastic compartment that lives near the top of my pack and basically contains duplicates of the tablets and tape found in the red bag!

I’ll be working on this before I’ve ready to head to Yorkshire!

Electronics

If I’m going to be taking photos and filming along the way, it’s important that I’ll have not only the tools to do the job but also spares (batteries, memory cards, powerbank) to keep it all going.

That’s more than a kilogram with both cameras. On another note, I feel I either need to look at buying a larger capacity powerbank or, a second spare battery for my DJI Osmo Action camera. Knowing me, I’ll probably buy both!!

ICE Card

My ‘In Case of Emergency’ card lives in a plastic wallet in the hood or lid of my rucksack. Never leave home without one. Other essential items include a compass, my wallet (the weight of which does vary) and a midge-proof head net (probably).

I almost forgot about the map!

I’ll be carrying a Harveys map for the fact that they’re waterproof and weigh next to nothing. I doubt I’ll take the Cicerone guide book with me (but I would like something to read – this is an option I’d not considered) and in the waterproof wallet will eventually be my itinerary and plans for each day with contact details and pricings for each camp site. Only one side of A4 but… My itinerary has been a “work in progress” now since March!!


 

That’s about all for now! It currently weighs in at 11.2kg. I was expecting it to be more and, even without food and water, I’m not disappointed to see that. Taking that down towards 10kg shouldn’t be too difficult, even if I have to spend a few pennies in one or two areas.

As I said, I’ll share some of the changes I’ve already made and have been making in a future post.

Thanks for reading.

Author: Olly Parry-Jones

I live in Weston-super-Mare, close to the Mendip Hills and I enjoy spending time outdoors. This inclues long day walks, camping trips and backpacking trails. I have two blogs: Olly Writes (woodworking, DIY, baking) Olly Outdoors (walking, camping and kit) You can also find me on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. My second YouTube channel is titled 'Walks with Olly'.

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