Equipment

Whether single day or multi-day trekking, a heavy rucksack will slow you down, be physically too demanding and can quickly drain your morale and energy! 

The trick in multi-day lightweight trekking, in particular, is to carry the minimum and to make sure that what you do carry is light, effective and what you really need!

Lightweight trekking gear can be very expensive and for your Multi-Day Trek we aim to provide quality items for you to use without having to buy them. Moreover, this is a great way to try out gear before you do buy your own and learn how to make your future multi-day trekking experiences less arduous by informed gear choice and use.

What do you need and what do we provide?

Depending on whether you are on a Multi-Day Trek or a Single Day Walk, there are different requirements for the kit you will need. Please see the below to help you prepare for your trek:

MSR tent pitched up high in the Cairngorms at sunset

Multi-Day Treks

We provide all you will need for your Multi-Day Trek except for your clothes, waterproof jackets, trousers, boots and very personal items. 

We change our gear on a regular basis to make sure it is up to date and in excellent condition. Quality Used Gear, including Tents, Sleeping Bags, Sleeping Mats and Backpacks are sold on at very competitive prices and can be found in our online shop.

High quality lightweight four season tents: 

This year we will be using the new lightweight single person MSR Access 1 [1.37 kg] and two person MSR Access 2 [1.64 kg] tents. These are extremely robust, warm and spacious tents compared to others, and are the lightest 4 season tent on the market. These are a revolution in lightweight four season wild camping and include the nearly unbreakable Easton Sylcone pole systems. By using this top of the range four season tent we are able to camp confidently in higher and more isolated and exposed mountain areas. Each tent comes with an additional footprint [groundsheet]. The advantage for couples using the two person version is that each person has their own entrance and vestibule and each person carries less when the load is split. These tents work well with our Thermarest Hyperion -6C 3 Season down sleeping bags and Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite sleeping mats which we will looking to use this season.

Down sleeping bag: 

Our preferred bag for 2019 is the three season Thermarest Hyperion -6C with 900 quality hydrophobic down fill. Light [an incredible 567g Regular size], comfortable and warm. These bags also have a water resistant Hydrophobic outer and inner lining as well as Nixwax Hydrophobic down. This makes them more durable in damp conditions and, with their extra warmth, for camping above 1000 metres and for early Spring and late Autumn wild camping. They also have a ThermACapture lining which reflects body heat back into the inside of the bag, boosting warmth. Their Synergy Link system holds the bag onto your Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite sleeping mat. These bags are great for a comfortable nights sleep whether in a tent, under a tarp or, on those balmy nights, completely under the stars. We also provide silk sleeping bag liners for extra comfort and hygiene.

High quality sleeping mats: 

Our choice is the brand new for 2019 Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite. This is super light [250g for the regular size], has good insulation and is extremely comfortable to sleep on. The nearest thing you will get to your home sleeping comforts. They are also ideal for linking with our Thermarest Hyperion -6C down sleeping bags.

Down Pillow:

An iconic Thermarest product, their down pillow is compact and lightweight [113g] giving luxurious comfort on the go. Updated with 650 Nixwax Hydrophobic Down and a larger cinchable area to stuff unused clothing for enhanced loft.

Lightweight Mountain Trekking rucksack:

We have rigorously tested the Deuter Aircontact Lite sacks [50 + 10 for men (1.73 kg) and the 45 + 10 SL (1.69 kg) versions for women] and they will be the ones we will use again this year, with an updated model. Light, comfortable, easy to adjust to differing back lengths, robust and packed full of features, they are the ideal size for lightweight trekking adventures.

Cooking stoves, pans and gas:

This year we are using the ultimate stoves – The MSR Reactor and the MSR Windburners. Unlike other stoves these work in ALL weather conditions, including very cold temperatures, and use the least amount of gas for boiling a litre of water than any other stoves on the market. This means less gas has to carried.  We will also provide you with a collapsible lightweight eating/drinking bowl and a spork.

Water treatment systems:

All water from rivers, streams and lochs needs treating no matter how clean it looks. It is a myth that mountain water sources in the UK are safe to drink as animals are present in all areas. Each Mountain Trekker will be provided with a water filter bottle system so that water can be treated on the go from source to source, reducing the amount of weight carried. This year we are using Platypus Meta Microfilter water bottles. Additionally, water purification tablets [chlorine] and neutraliser tablets might be provided. Boiling  will also be used so that you have a full understanding of the range of ways to get safe drinking water whilst out in the hills.

Nutrition: 

All food and drink for your Mountain Trek will be provided. Mountain Trekking burns a significant amount of energy – typically up to 4000 calories a day. Accordingly, provided food will be based on lightweight and highly calorific dried foods such as muesli, dried fruit and nuts, commercial Expedition Freeze Dried Meals, pasta, rice, multi grain snacks and hot drinks – chocolate, coffee, tea etc. Dietary requirements will be discussed on an individual basis and we look to cater for all needs. On longer Multiday Mountain Treks there will be restocking points on route so that carried weight is reduced.

Toiletting/Washing: 

Urination and defecation are wholly normal bodily functions but can be the greatest worry and embarrassment for some of our trekkers. We provide small latrine trowels and biogradable toilet paper so that all human waste is dealt with in an environmentally correct way and is buried appropriately. Advice will be given on suitable toileting sites. Mountain streams and lakes [lochs] are a great, if somewhat invigorating, way of keeping clean but ordinary soap cannot be used in these situations. Accordingly, each Mountain Trekking  group carries a collapsible bowl for washing in with supplies of biodegradable soap. We also provide wet wipes for your convenience. These are non biodegradable and will need carrying out with your other rubbish.

Other items we provide are:

Waterproof ruck sack cover, midge head cover, head torch with whistle, trekking towel, dry bags for gear storage, mini toothbrush and toothpaste, compass and maps if requested.

Our Multi-Day Mountain Treks provide all of your essential wild-camping equipment and food, but you will need to provide your personal items including the items listed below. This is to ensure your trek is comfortable but most importantly, safe.

Full set of water proofs: 

These should include a mountain jacket with a storm hood and water proof trousers that can preferably be put on without taking your boots off. It is crucial that your waterproofs are waterproof and windproof! Test them by standing under the shower!

Three season walking boots: 

Importantly these should be waterproof, support your ankle, and have a vibram sole with good grip on both rock and vegetation. Make sure your boots fit correctly and are well worn in prior to your trek.

Hat and gloves: 

Mountain weather is notoriously fickle. Potentially one moment like a hot summer’s day, the next like midwinter. Make sure you pack hat and gloves that are warm, windproof and, if possible, waterproof. A light weight sun hat, which will stay on in the wind, is also a good idea.

Base layer: 

Short sleeve wicking T shirt – Merino wool or synthetic material. Not cotton.

Mid layer: 

Long sleeve wicking T shirt – Merino wool or synthetic material. Not cotton.

Additional warm layer: 

Fleece and/or a lightweight duvet jacket…down or synthetic

Walking trousers: 

High wicking and not cotton. Some people prefer shorts over leggings.

Walking socks: 

Carry a spare pair. Also consider a waterproof pair of socks such as SealSkins.

Underwear: 

Pack a spare set for longer treks.

Sleep Wear:

An additional long sleeve thermal top and leggings. Merino is excellent and usually very light. These items can double up as additional layers when walking on cold days.

Personal first aid kit: 

This is for your personal medication only. We will carry the rest – plasters, blister treatment, painkillers etc.

Optional Items

Light weight trekking sandals or Crocs: 

Extremely useful for river crossings and giving your feet a rest from your boots at bivouac sites.

Trekking poles: 

Guaranteed to take weight off your knees, give additional purchase and power going up hills, and provide balance on tricky descents.

Camera: 

Unless you are an avid photographer who needs a multitude of lenses, a lightweight compact would be the best choice. Remember… whatever you bring you have to carry!

Reading material: 

Book or tablet. Some tablets double up as cameras, are lightweight and hold a charge for a long period, as well as providing a range of reading material and facility to keep a diary/blog of your adventure. The best option is to put all your reading material on Kindle and have this as an App on your Smart phone.

Mobile phone: 

Only if you are desperate to maintain connection with the outside world. However, be aware that many areas we trek in have no mobile signal coverage. On the plus side many mobiles can also double up as a camera and can hold your reading material. You might want to consider an additional power pack.

Single Day Walks

We provide hot drinks and water filtration systems on all of our Single Day Walks, but you will need to provide your personal clothing and gear including the items listed below. This is to ensure your trek is comfortable but most importantly, safe.

We can also provide a packed lunch at an additional cost of £10 per person. Otherwise you will need to bring enough food to ensure you maintain a steady energy supply throughout your trek. We recommend plenty of sandwiches and high energy snacks. 

Nutrition:

Packed lunch and snacks to keep you going through the day. We suggest a number of sandwiches, high energy snacks including slow release energy bars, chocolate bars and crisps. A trail mix of nuts and dried fruit is also worth considering. We will provide hot drinks, collapsible cups and the use of a Water-to-Go filtration bottle so you can drink directly and safely from mountain streams and lochs.

A light weight day trek sack: 

This should be a minimum capacity of 35 litres. Any reputable outdoor shop will be able to advise you on this. Crucially, it must have two shoulder straps, a waist belt and should be fitted to your back size. Ideally it should also have a rain cover.

Full set of water proofs: 

These should include a mountain jacket with a storm hood and water proof trousers that can preferably be put on without taking your boots off. It is crucial that your waterproofs are waterproof and windproof! Try them out in the shower to make sure!

Three season walking boots: 

Importantly these should be waterproof, support your ankle, and have a vibram sole with good grip on both rock and vegetation.Your boots should fit you correctly and be well worn in.

Hat and gloves: 

Mountain weather is notoriously fickle. Potentially one moment like a hot summer’s day, the next like midwinter. Make sure you pack hat and gloves that are warm, windproof and, if possible, waterproof. A light weight sun hat is also a good idea.

Base layer: 

Short sleeve wicking T shirt – Merino wool or synthetic material. Not cotton.

Mid layer: 

Long sleeve wicking T shirt – Merino wool or synthetic material. Not cotton.

Additional warm layer: 

Fleece or  lightweight duvet jacket.

Walking trousers: 

Preferably not cotton and definitely not jeans.

Walking socks: 

Carry a spare pair. Also consider a waterproof pair of SealSkins

Personal first aid kit: 

This is for your personal medication only. We will carry the rest – plasters, blister treatment, painkillers etc.

Optional Items

Personal Water Bottle or Hydration System:

At least one litre capacity, leak proof and durable. We will provide systems for treating water on the go if you prefer not to carry water.

Trekking poles: 

Guaranteed to take weight off your knees, give additional purchase and power going up hills, and provide balance on tricky descents.

Camera: 

Unless you are an avid photographer who needs a multitude of lenses, a lightweight compact would be the best choice. Remember…whatever you bring you have to carry!

Mobile phone: 

Only if you are desperate to maintain connection with the outside world.  However, be aware that many areas we trek in have no mobile signal coverage. On the plus side many mobiles can also double up as a camera.

Where can you buy the gear you need?

If you need to purchase gear before a trek, we can help advise and guide dependent on your requirements. We highly recommend Ultralight Outdoor Gear as an online ‘one-stop-shop’ for all equipment needs. If you are already in Aviemore or Braemar, we can recommend Cairngorm/Braemar Mountain Sports where the staff will help to ensure you are appropriately clothed for the conditions of the Cairngorms.