All the ladies and gentlemen at earthikes use a macpac® and have never been disappointed. The backpacks are excellent and definitely great for heavy duty trekking. We have not tried the Patagonia backpacks yet but they have a great range too, and hope to test and review them soon.
What to look out for? Comfort is key here.Your backpack straps must be adjusted to your body shape, and must feel comfortable. You do not want to reach the trail head and realise that you have sore shoulders and that the weight distribution is totally wrong.
When to buy? At least 1 month before. Buy well ahead of your trek so that you can do practice runs. Try your bag out on a day trek. If it does not feel comfortable, go back to the store when it was purchased with a few items inside the bag for weight, and ask them to adjust the straps for you.
Your tent will be your haven, after a long day trekking. You will need to invest in a good, solid, all weather AND light tent. Remember that you will be setting it up and packing it up every day so you do not want something overly complicated, and since you will be carrying it, the lightness is important.
What to look out for? Make sure it is suitable for the climate you will be trekking in and also remember that a two-men tent is not always sized for two men i.e. it might be a bit of a squeeze in there.
When to buy? We would suggest buying at least a month in advance, again, so that you can try it out. Even if just out in the garden, make sure you know the workings of your tent and practise setting it up and packing it. After a long day on the trek, will definitely not be the moment to fumble around your backpack for the instructions booklet to help you set up your tent.
A cooking stove will probably become your most liked piece of equipment as it will signify FOOD! There is something quite magical and gratifying about lighting up your little stove after a long, hard day of walking and cooking a hearty meal. Your stove will also be your morning saviour to help you cook your hot porridge for breakfast. We own the Trangia® stove, which is perfect in every way. It is extremely practical, made really well, and qualifies as very light, considering that it comes with its pots and pans attached!
What to look out for? Light durable material, compact size, fuel efficient.
When to buy? We would say give yourself at least two weeks to try it out, and you can also try out some of the recipes for the trek.
Whether it is freezing cold at night or quite warm, you will still love the idea of getting into your sleeping bag at the end of a long day. Unrolling your sleeping bag will mean rest time, the moment when you can happily lie those tired legs down and close those heavy eyelids. While down is a fantastic material and feels really cosy and warm (much warmer than a synthetic filled sleeping bag), we do recommend synthetic filled sleeping bags on multi-day treks. We also do prefer to support cruelty-free materials. Brands such as North Face® and Marmot®, now offer eco-friendly options with bags which are made of recycled materials.
What to look out for? Getting the temperature right is crucial as you would rather be too warm than too cold. It is much easier to cool down in your sleeping bag (remove some layers or unzip the bag) than try to get warmer. So, pick a bag which is fit for the climate you are going in, and it is best to stay on the cautious side, and pick a temperature rating lower than the lowest forecast temperature of the trekking region. A sleeping bag with a neck muff and a hood are preferable as they are more comfortable and warmer. We always choose mummy shape as it is the most space efficient.
When to buy? You will not really have to try it, but look out for some great bags in the sales and test the bag out over a camping weekend.
We love our boots. They keep our feet dry, protect our ankles from nasty twists and make us feel invincible (almost) whether the ground is slippery, rocky or generally unstable while we are carrying a 25-30 kg bag on our backs! Invest in high-quality boots, is the advice here. Do not try and save a few cents (unless if in the sales), as you can pretty much say bye-bye to what could have been a great trekking experience by using the wrong boots.
What to look out for? The material itself is a personal choice. Leather is more hardwearing but is also heavier, takes longer to dry and takes longer for your feet to mould to. We prefer synthetic boots as they can withstand being immersed in water better, and also feel more comfortable as they adapt to the foot’s movements and shape better. However, trying out the different materials is the only way to decide which one is best for you. Make sure that you ask for help at the equipment store and the assistant will help you find the best fit for your feet.
When to buy? At least a month before your planned trek. Wear them around the house for the first few days and if you are not sure that they are right for you, take them back. Boots are an investment buy so you want to make sure you get the perfect pair for you. Once you are satisfied that you found the right pair, wear them as often as possible outdoors so that your feet get used to them. Do smaller treks prior to your big adventure and on D-Day you will be very confident that you won’t end up crying after Day 1 of trekking because you bought the wrong boots.
Remember! You should never go on an expedition without having tested your new equipment first, and for old equipment, always double-check that it is still in good working condition and hasn’t fallen to pieces at the back of the shed or been eaten by mice.
Going on a trek soon and need some advice? We would love to hear from you and will be more than happy to help you plan your trip or answer any questions you might have! Just contact us and we will do whatever we can to help!