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Current equipment - main items

Here are some of the main items of backpacking gear we currently use.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla 40

Gossamer Gear Gorilla 40

Gossamer Gear specs (medium pack):-

The 40l capacity includes the large stretch mesh back pocket, side pockets and hip-belt pockets, giving the impression that the main body must be as small as a daypack, but it is illusory. All I can say is that some 40ls are bigger than others!. This very light pack seems cavernous and is ideal for all solo trips outside winter and short joint trips too.

Provided the weight is kept down to around the 10kg to 11kg mark as recommended, the metal stay system works well and the close-fitting pack is highly stable and comfortable.

The Gorilla passes my two crucial pack tests: 1) Whilst walking I can stash and retrieve a water bottle very easily from the side pocket and 2) The hip-belt pockets are roomy enough to take my Sony RX100-Mk3 compact camera without pressure.

Gregory Paragon 48

Gregory Paragon 48

Gregory specs (medium pack):-

This pack has a more solid back system for heavier loads on multi-day solo trips and many joint trips.

The side pocket required a bit of cutting and sewing to make access easier to pass the water bottle test. The hip-belt pockets held the camera easily.

I also have the lighter 1150g Gregory Optic 58l pack that is an excellent performer, unfortunately the bones at the base of my spine stick out and catch the quite hard bottom edge of the pack causing pain after a few miles.

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 and HV-UL2

Big Agnes Specs for UL1 (2014 model) as supplied:-

The UL1 is my solo tent and the HV-UL2 is for joint trips. These superb tents are incredibly simple to pitch, the only aspect that bothered us was the extremely thin HH1200 20D groundsheets. Remembering some of our very rough pitches over the years, we replaced them with tougher HH5000 groundsheets that gave complete confidence but kept the weight low. The weights of the modded versions including tent bags but excluding pegs are:-

Lightwave Firelight 650 Lightwave Firelight 350

Lightwave sleeping bags

Lightwave Specs for Firelight 350 / 650

These bags are superb and ooze quality, packing a great deal of 900 fill-power warmth into a low weight. The lightweight zips run along the top edge of the bag and are very easy and smooth to open and close, the best we've ever seen.

Exped AirMat UL-Lite Regular

Sleeping Mats

Exped Specs for Airmat UL-Lite M Regular

NeoAir XTherm

Thermarest Specs for NeoAir Xtherm Regular

Old articles

The following articles are very dated now but the general observations may be of value.


OMM Trio Chest Pouch → OMM web Site


Hilleberg Akto → Hilleberg web Site
Terra Nova Laser Competition → Terra Nova web Site


Petzl Tikka Plus → Petzl web Site
Coleman Alpine Stove → Coleman web Site
Coleman F1 Lite Stove → Coleman web Site