Gear List Rondane: Part 1.5 Balls Up!

Oops. Running over my pack list yesterday I discovered my calcs were out by 800g. What's worse, the error was not in my favour! It was a dumb mistake and one that could have been avoided by doing some mental arithmetic to double check the numbers the spread sheet spat out. In my professional life a lot of data processing is called for. I design steel for cars. Worried? You should be!

Whilst there may well be a psychological advantage to thinking your pack is lighter than it actualy is I'm pretty certain that reducing the load on your back is a better strategy. After stumbling across the mistake I layed out the contents of my pack and ruthlessly stripped out any redundant items (stuffsacks in stuffsacks that sort of thing) and systematically replaced anything for which I had a lighter alternative (out with the snapwire spoon in with the light my fire spork etc). At the end of the process I'd stripped out 300g and so made a sizable dent in the unwelcome extra. A corrected gear list can be found here.

Comparing the new gear list with last years shows that I'll be starting with a kilo and a half more on my back than I did in Switzerland last summer (12 rather than 10.5kg). At first glance that seams disppointing given the effort I've made to reduce weight in the intervening period. However, when you take into account the fact that I'm going to pack in a kilo of camera gear that I didn't previously carry (yes the DSLR is going to Norway), that I need to pack in an extra days food and that I'm packing more clothes to deal with sub-zero nights it looks much better. The load was just right in Switzerland. Given the choice I'd sooner be back down at 10.5kg but that's not going to happen. Still, the weight will be down where I want it at the back end of the trip when we're hopefuly traversing some of those ridges we've got lined up.


  1. I have been checking kit on my new scales and kit often weighs more than the manufactures claim. Your attention to detail matters considering where you are going is wild and remote. Glad you are taking a good camera. The results will be eagerly anticipated.

  2. Agree with what Martin said re Manufacturers weight, it's great though when something comes in lighter than expected. Read about the POD Event dry bags on your other post so I ordered one, couldn't get the 10L so got the 7L, they are good. Mine was 1g lighter than expected too ;-)

    Must check out your 'new' list

  3. Martin: Yes, I realise it might seem to some that I'm getting all het up about a few grams but the devils in the detail. You can make a big, several kilos, difference by focussing on the big three but once that's done it gets harder to find the savings. I'm not one for using weights to define labels (UL, SUL etc. I just know, from hard won experience, where I need to be to move freely and realy enjoy a trip unencumbered. For me thats aroud the 10-11kg mark. What this last excercise has taught me is that, even though I'd already considered carefuly what to take and what to leave, there was still a few hundred grams of redundant kit in my bag. It's easy to fall into the trap of saying "it's only X grams so it doesn't make a difference" but 10x X invariably adds up to a number that does make a difference. The thing about claimed and real weights bothers me too. It seems to me that mainstream producers have caught on that there's money in marketing gear as UL. They do it even though its not. I'm sure some even cook the books.

    Mac E: I like the pod's. They weigh more than simple stuff sacks but I think you get something in return: peace of mind that whatever you put in them will stay dry (at least thats the theory- I guess I'll find out soon enough). I liked the exped roll-tops for the same reason but they bring a few grams extra. The only thing I don't like is, now I'm using the Jam 2, the shape of my 'sack and it's carry comfort will be determined by what I put in it. The main compartent of the jam being the shape it is, I could do with oval (flat and wide) dry bags rather than round ones. I think all bags of appreciable size are round?

  4. I think the Sea to Summit Event Roll Tops are oval.

    With the event base it could you not compress it down too much until its in the rucksack, once it's in would it be possible to press it into shape?

    One thing I noticed about some stuffsacks/dry bags is that as the capacity goes down the dia/length ratio changes so you end up with a short fat bag. The Alpkit stuffsacks are nice in that respect as they're sized A3/A4/A5 etc, obviously they're not Dry Bags.

  5. I’ve read your blog, the gear lists and your preparation efforts to keep the weight to a practical minimum. I can sure imagine how you felt when the weight turned out to be more than expected.
    One thing about the DSLR. Besides the weight and the technical advantages is the fact that you take pictures in another way with a DSLR than with a compact. It’s more of a mind thing resulting in more searching the right angles etc. This is a often an underestimated factor resulting in better pictures. Be sure to take a UV and polarizing filter though.

    I’ve read your 1st gearlist. And now you’ve found out, you’ve skipped some of the things I have noticed too, like the spoon and seat. (My Spork weighs 10grams )But there are some things still you might want to look at.
    If you have the Spork, do you still need the Spatula?
    A Ziploc bag for personal care 20,5 x 18 cm (Albert Hein) weighs 7,2 grams saves 8,8 grams.
    I see that you’ve chosen the PHD down jacket, a good thing, but your Haglofs Oz might come out of your pack as well as a shell over your down jacket. This will easy give you a 5 to 8 extra degrees of warmth. And makes the Gillet and a pullover maybe too much.
    A msr Litelifter weighs 28 gram and is strong enough for a 4 liter pot. But it’s not cheap.
    And then there is the rainpant, If you are expecting the Oz to be more in your pack than out, the rain pant will do that even more. Maybe a funny idea, we certainly wanna see super clear pictures of this:D, but if you’re not climbing a lot, you just might want to wrap your tarp as a long skirt around you when the rains get heavy. It would save you a whopping 200 grams.

  6. Mac E: One of my companions will be using sea to summit roll tops, I'll take a good look at them.

    Luc: Welcome! Yes I think you're right about the SLR. Not holding the camera at arms length is also a big advantage in terms of stability. A UV filter sits permanantly on my lens and ciruclar poloriser is always in the bag. It's going to be hard to leave the ND Grads at home :-)

    As for you'r gear suggestions, you've clearly given the list some thought! Useful comments, thanks. Some responses:

    Spoon: I'd caried the snaplock over from a previus list. unlike the spork they fit in a Ti mug so they're a better choice in combination with a small pan. You're right, the spork is a better choice here.

    Seat: Was realy there for a little insulaton under my lower legs. The silny groundsheet of my bivvy bag picks up a lot condensation and I need to isolate the bag. I'm now doung the sensible thing and my rucksack will go under my legs whilst a bin bag will be used for storing boots and other kit at night.

    Silny sack/Ziplock: Good point. I've done this for other things (mobile phone, pasport etc sit in a ziplock rather than in XS drybag) good discipline to carry the practice through.

    Insulation: I don't like to use the down jacket when I'm moving. It's too warm. I'm inclined to take a microfleece which I can combine with a windshirt. I find this a comfortable combination for most situations on the move. Two fleece layers may be over the top since the forecast shows daytime temperatures of 15 degrees plus. I think the pullover may stay at home since the gillet sits better under the Oz which is not roomy. I wonder if you are right about the extra warmth from the Oz. I'd normaly agree but the Oz is a bit tight over the down layer so I think it may not be so effective. I'll let you know when I've given it a try.

    Rain Pants; There's nothing I'd like better than to leave these at home. I've never been a fan and they're normally the first thing to get ditched. Last summer in the Maderanertal however they proved invaluable. Especialy moving around camp and sitting around (I don't use a ground sheet). I'll be keeping a close eye on the forecast and I may yet ditch them. I'll see what I can do about te tarp skirt pictures ;-)



You should be aware that if you click on the adsense links in the sidebar of this blog then I will receive a small payment. Any income I make will go towards the cost of web hosting for this blog and the associated photographic sites. Thankyou!