Monday, December 12, 2011

Kit for Nepal

When we got the kit lists for the Everest Marathon trip we were promised that it would be cold.  At least minus 10 C at night, and colder higher up.  This to be balanced by a daytime temperature twenty to thirty degrees higher!  Well, they got the day time temperatures right.  However, we had very mild weather - minus 10 was the extreme, but we got it on the first camping night which worried some of the folk from warmer climes.

So, for everyday wearing:
Icebreaker 150 short sleeve crew (4-5 years old) or Helly Hansen Prowool long sleeve crew (last season) - depending on altitude, the sun may be hot but the air temp drops as you go up
Rab Treklite trousers (4 years ish old).  Windproof, stretchy, hardwearing.  No zips on the bottoms so I could turn them up.  Perfect.
Lowe Alpine Dryflo underwear (at least 5 years old, can't find the same now to replace them)
Smartwool womens light Hiking (3 years old) or Teko womens midweight (from the rep this summer) Hiking socks
Bridgedale coolmax liner socks (couple of years old)
Mizuno Wave Harriers (last season's model bought this summer on sale) - the dust goes through them something shocking, but very comfy.  I wouldn't recommend a goretex lining, it might keep the dust out but I reckon that same dust would wear holes in it pretty quick.
Buffs and cotton hairband  - one or two to cover the neck and use as a hat/parting covering
Julbo Nomad Sunglasses (5 years old) - you really need a Cat 4 lens.

All of these were good.  This is what I wore every day for two and a bit weeks.  Washing of tops, sock and underwear was done in accessible rivers, once for the icebreaker, a couple of times for underwear and socks.  The only things that smelled were the buffs, but I can't remember the last time I washed them before the trip.  The problem with washing was getting stuff dry.  If you timed it right the sun would dry things quickly, a bit late in the day and the sun would disappear behind a mountain and your washing would freeze. Full sun, on average, was roughly from 8.30 to 14.30 with daylight about 6.00 till 18.00.

I carried every day:
OMM Classic 32 - it did well, but I might have been better on the longer days with something more structured.  Quite a few people had gone for the Osprey Stratos/Sirrus, which might have been preferable.  However, the external pockets on the OMM 32 were fantastic for carrying all the bits and bobs such as gloves, buffs, water bottle, windproof jacket, suncreen etc that I wanted on the move.  For once I was not the Faffmeister General of the trip, I felt pretty slick and competent in comparison to a lot of people.
Waterproofs - TNF Heathen jacket (free from a colleague after product training - she said she hated it!!!) and Mountain Hardwear Epic trousers.  We were advised to take waterproofs, but I never used them.  There were, however, a couple of days though when the clag could easily have been just that bit damper.
Montane Lite Speed jacket (5 years old ish).  The wind's cold when the sun drops behind the hills.
Berghaus Extrem smock - pertex outer and microfleece inner.  This is so old I can't remember what it's called.  I think I've probably had it since about 2003.  I took it in preference to a Vapour Rise as it's a larger cut for layering.
Rab Photon jacket - this is my stand out piece of kit from the trip.  I am so glad I bought this, best gear decision in ages.  I wore this everyday.  It's comfy, cosy, sized to layer, has big pockets with fuzzy linings.  My one gripe is that the primaloft doesn't go over the outside of the pockets as well as the inside.
Nike running gloves - thinnies worn on a couple of chilly mornings.
Mountain Hardwear powerstretch gloves - never worn.  Brand new for the trip.
1 litre nalgene - I acquired this when the shop I work in moved premises.  It was laying under the ground floor till, just looking for a new home.
Compass and whistle - Silva compass dates backs to orienteering at school age 14, orange plastic whistle of similar vintage.
Foil bag
Panasonic Lumix waterproof camera - comes with extra silicone bumper that acts as a handy dust guard.  The battery was fully charged when we left home and never needed charged out there.  Did take it to bed to keep it warm though.
Petzl Tikkina - free from Lyon Outdoor training course, given to sherpa/kitchen team at end of trip..
Alcohol gel, loo roll, 1st aid kit, suncream, lipsyl.

This sounds like a lot, but it's pretty much my standard Scottish day bag.  The weather was fairly similar to a crisp clear winter day on the Cairngorm plateau.  You could walk in short sleeves but you could also get cold and sunburned simultaneously.

Between Machhermo and Gokyo at approx 4600m.
Contrast me, and the man who does this for a living.

Each trekking day we arrived at a lodge.  We slept in tents provided by the trekking company Mountain Experience and pitched by the Sherpa teams, but had rooms hired in the lodges to eat in.  The lodge rooms all had a stove and we were catered for by teams of Nepali trekking staff, so fairly luxurious camping really.

Evening kit:
A change of top - I had a second Prowool and the Everest Marathon tshirt ( from All We Do Is)
Rab Powerstretch zip top - lovely, comfy and warm.  Worn every evening.
Paramo Velez Adventure trousers - these were the luxury spare pair.
Teko men's size small midweight socks (from the rep at product training last Feb.)  Because in my head at least larger socks are warmer.
Scarpa ZG boots (5 years old ish).  I found these too hot to walk in every day, but just right for keeping my feet warm in the evenings.  There were a lot of people wearing Salomon Quests.  Overall the big footwear brand in our group was Salomon.
Rab Photon - with it's big pockets full of (R) Chlorine dioxide tabs, alcohol gel and loo roll, (L) Diary, pencil and tikkina, (inside) camera - keeping the battery warm...

At Pheriche, wearing Rab.

Icebreaker 200 leggings - worn on the nights I slept in lodges at Phakding, Namche and Dughla, but not in the tent.  Lodge bedrooms are generally unheated.
Rab down jacket (again so old I don't remember what it's called, probably an ancestor of the Ascent) - I used this as a pillow one night, but never needed to wear it.
Two pairs thinny gloves - always have spare spare gloves
Dix Amor mitts - never used
Pod and Exped dry bags - now loving the lightweight cordura dry bags from Pod
Bloc sunglasses
1litre platypus - used once on a long day.

I hired a sleeping bag from Mountain Experience.  I got a Mountain Equipment Glacier 1000.  Very warm and comfy, but I'm glad the yaks got to carry it.

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