RTW trip. How to pack light and compact for all seasons?

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27/01/2012 at 14:58

I'm lucky enough to be going on a long trip around asia in October. I'm thinking of a sort of trekking around the world theme which will include long multi-day treks (eg everest base camp) and trekking in Mongolia/China where by all accounts it can get pretty cold (i will not be there in summer). I would also like to spend some time in very hot india, and it is inevitable i will be somewhere during some sort of monsoon period!!

 To be clear i am not planning on camping anywhere. Mainly staying in basic accomodation (e.g. teahouses en route)

 I have been on a shorter trip before and lugged around a 60 litre rucksack with everything i might need but do not want to do that again. I have only recently got into all this outdoor gear stuff and am completely overwhelmed with all the possibilities!!!

Its kind of nice though because i am starting from pretty much scratch...but do not have endless funds so would like to keep light but don't want to spend lot's more for a few extra grams saved...

Visiting the cold places first and then send stuff home for the warmer climates is not really an option.

So after boring you all to death, the question....

 What is the lightest and most compact way for me to do this? Is that a ridiculous question? Probably...

 Do i take a sleeping bag? A light one and combine it with a down jacket if its cold? (i sleep VERY warm) That would cover me for the cold i guess.Be quite bulky though?Better way to do it?

What sort of shell should i take? Needs to be breathable/waterproof i guess but there are so many different types.

Advice on baselayers/midlayers? Do i take a fleece?

Which backpack? I was looking at OMM villain. Not really sure why anymore!!! Seemed light/gets good reviews/and reasonable size but have nowhere to try the pack on so very hesitant (i live in Holland)

Water purification - steripen? msr miox?

 Arghhhhh i'm not sure. The problem is i have read so much stuff my head is a muddle.

Any suggestions or advice on absolutely any aspect of my quandry out there?

What would you take in my situation?

Dave 

So i'm relatively new to outdoor stuff and looking into how different things

27/01/2012 at 15:15

The good news is that there are a lot of lightweight gear available for sales at the minute - the bad news is that there is so much choice.

So if you want a warm and lightweight down jacket - try the Rab infinity endurance - current £130

http://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/index.cfm/product/infinity-endurance-jacket/fuseaction/products.detail/code/1B110381?cm_mmc=Google-_-GoogleBase-_-GoogleBase-_-1B110381

if you want a light waterproof jacket - try the rab latok trek £120

http://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/index.cfm/product/rab-latok-trek-jacket/fuseaction/products.detail/code/11111044/id_colour/108/group/513/level/2

etc, etc, etc,

Personally I don't like the rab cut - the hood and chin guard don't get on with me, but I can't deny they make good kit and these prices are amazing.

27/01/2012 at 15:34
My experience of travel would be buy the clothes you need locally as you go around bringing ONLY the stuff you can't get or needed for a specific purpose. The local clothes will be specific to the place your at i.e. perfect for the climate also your more likely to fit in i.e. not stand out being the sore thumb "rich westerner in loads of expensive designer steal me gear". Also once you've finished with your clothes you can donate them to the locals.... there very grateful!

Buying clothes here at UK prices then lugging them to a for off land only to have to find a reputable shipping agent then pay a not inconciderable amount of money to put them on the slow boat keeping fingers crossed that you'll actually get them in 6/9th months in my mind is plain crazy.

At a push there are lot of places that will hire more specialised gear if your only intended to use it as a one off.

Anyway those are my thoughts based on my experience.
Edited: 27/01/2012 at 15:37
27/01/2012 at 15:36
base layers? well I guess if you want to save weight then just have a couple for the cold places - but that may pong unless you go for a couple of merino / smart wool base layers and rotate them on the trail - they are supposed to stop smells - and they do, and they are warm, for the hills - also on sale in various places.
27/01/2012 at 15:41
Putting it as sensitively as possible you could have an Olympic gold medal in having the worlds worst B.O and trust me you won't need to waste any money on Lynx when it comes to India.
27/01/2012 at 16:01

Thankyou for both replies.

Great to have some specfic gear to look at and consider. Iwill look into the sales a bit further.

 Thanks for your advice Bedouin. I understand what you are saying. I will however need any gear i decide to get for the full duration of the trip and so sending it home does not come into the equation. I just will not need the colder/waterproof stuff all the time so want it to be light and compact to carry in the times i am not using it. I'm sort of going cold/hot/wet/cold/hot/cold or something. That been said perhaps hiring it is an option i will consider but have to consider carefully.

 I really like the idea of having my own stuff too. I know in Kathmandu for example there a hoards of places that will rent you a down jacket for a dollar a day (or something). I plan on doing 60 days (in total) trekking in Nepal so it would cost me 60 dollars to rent. Then i have the worry of having something i might damage that isn't mine, and i'd still probably be wearing something with North face (or another brand) on it anyway! I'm only covered for nepal and would have to do the same in Ladakh and mongolia etc. If i can get a jacket that will stuff into a 5 litre stuffsack or something for 500 grams and hopefully still own it after the trip that is really my thinking!!!

Or maybe i need a rethink....!!!

27/01/2012 at 16:06

That seems like a good base layer plan. They are all fast drying etc (right?) so wearing one, rinsing one wearing one and so on. Should not take up much space either hopefully!! Would be nice and flexible!

Now i'm getting somewhere!

27/01/2012 at 16:07
So no deodarant required...another space saver!!!
27/01/2012 at 16:18
I getting more than a little twinge that you've set your mind on spending money on kit for this trip.... nothing wrong with that if thats what you choose to do but I think you'd be making a big if not HUGE mistake.

The ME bag your looking at is nearly 2kg and costs £100's it'll spend lots of it's time scrunched up in a compression sack in almost certainly hostile (dirty/damp/humid) conditions. Tea/Guest houses/hostels in my experience are hotbeds of thievery so although renting doesn't seem perfect I can tell you you'd rather be replacing a rented bag than having to replace your own ME bag,

Anyway I'm sure others with this sort of travel experience will be along shortly to add there thoughts.
27/01/2012 at 16:27
For purification, filters aren't generally effective against viruses, which are a major problem in developing countries. Chemical treatments aren't effective against some protozoa, including toxoplasma, which is also a problem. So either you do both, or boil the water, or use steripen -- steripen would be my choice.

When I did Rajasthan and the Himalayas in one trip I took a couple of layers of warm weather clothing and wore everything in the colder conditions with a windshirt on top. I think you'll face colder conditions than I did so I'd add a midweight fleece (cotswold are selling the rab powerstretch zip top cheap, which I think would be ideal) and down jacket. Pandas makes good suggestions imo.
27/01/2012 at 16:39

Not sure which ME bag you mean? Is it the theoretical ME bag? Oh i see.

 I have indeed set my mind on spending money on kit for this trip. It would not be possible for me to make such a trip without buying at least some suitable clothes in the process.

 I was looking more along the lines of alpkit pipedream 400 (150 pounds) or rab neutrino 400 (180 pounds) which are both under a kilo and wearing a down jacket inside my bag on the occasions that that does not stretch far enough.

 Just read your post wee jimmie thanks for info. Just the sort of advice i am looking for.

Any more thoughts welcome. Hopefully i can piece together all the ideas/suggestions to come up with some sort of solution for myself! It might even be doable with all these sales on like panda points out.

27/01/2012 at 16:44
David Morgans wrote (see)

That seems like a good base layer plan. They are all fast drying etc (right?) so wearing one, rinsing one wearing one and so on. Should not take up much space either hopefully!! Would be nice and flexible!

Now i'm getting somewhere!


actually I was just suggesting not wearing it for a day to give it a chance to dry out / re-shape a little - merino, and cocona now, and of course meco (combination of merino and cocona) are supposed to be stink free, so no need to wash them until you get back from each trip, although you might want to wash yourself!

I second wee jimmie's powerstretch fleece top - powerstretch fits snugly and gives great warmth for its weight - wear under a windshirt when its windy.

Edited: 27/01/2012 at 16:47
27/01/2012 at 16:55

Ok gotcha.

If i was to wear layers under a windshirt while in cold and wind, whilst walking etc and possibly a down jacket for hanging around in the evenings. Could i forgoe the waterproof altogether? Is that risky? Its not like i'm gonna encounter that situation much. Its either gonna be warm and wet or cold and dry i guess. When its cold and wet, i would get wet but still be able to stay warm with lots of layers. At least whilst moving, or until reaching a bed for the night. Am i missing something - or am i along the right lines?

27/01/2012 at 17:00

it can still be cold and wet so I'd take a waterproof, if only because you may struggle finding somewhere to dry your base layers / midlayers.

...and we haven't even gotten to trousers yet

27/01/2012 at 17:16

sorry to go on...

So is it worth taking a windshirt and a waterproof then? Is that the solution? For instance that Rab Latok trek jacket you linked to before. That does both, right? So its either an all singing all dancing jacket such as that or a combination of a windshirt and a waterproof? Are waterproofs not windproof? The split allows more flexibility? I must be king of the stupid questions club today...

SD
27/01/2012 at 18:55
I am with Bedouin buy as you go as much as you can, trying to second guess conditions for here is unlikely to be right. Hugging stuff around India for Everest base camp needs serious thought.
27/01/2012 at 19:14
David Morgans wrote (see)

sorry to go on...

So is it worth taking a windshirt and a waterproof then? Is that the solution? For instance that Rab Latok trek jacket you linked to before. That does both, right? So its either an all singing all dancing jacket such as that or a combination of a windshirt and a waterproof? Are waterproofs not windproof? The split allows more flexibility? I must be king of the stupid questions club today...


No such thing as a stupid question!

A waterproof, regardlss of how "breathable" it is, is not as breathable as a softshell (the new neoshell seems to be the exception to this as it takes softshells to a new level of waterproofness), so if you are climbing hard you will sweat - even though eVent is extremely breathably - so its preferably not to wear one.

which is fine if there is no wind, you can just wear a base or mid layer - but if there is wind, it can cut through your fleece / base layer and leave you feeling F cold. A windshirt weighs nothing and can pack dow to the size of an apple, but it cuts the wind so you are not cold, yet it can breathe better than a waterproof so you don't sweat (as much).

A windproof might be okay for a light drizzle but not for a full on rainstorm - hence the waterproof.

Actually, thinking on about your predicament - its a bit like climbing a mountain in the summer - you start off in the sun at the bottom in shorts and a base layer, and you go up through all kinds of weather sun / rain / snow / wind as the weather gets colder you add more layers and as you come down you take them off - how long will you be travelling?

27/01/2012 at 19:21
SD wrote (see)
I am with Bedouin buy as you go as much as you can, trying to second guess conditions for here is unlikely to be right. Hugging stuff around India for Everest base camp needs serious thought.

I'd do it the other way around - work out what conditions I would face and try to get the most suitable kit before I left.  Its not second guessing conditions to get a down jacket for everest base camp, but buying a jacket in kathmandu could mean its a lot heavier and will have to be lugged around when its not being used - and if you wait until its raining to buy a waterproof jacket then its too late, especially if you're halfway up a mountain.... sorry if I'm missing your point
27/01/2012 at 19:41

Ok that all makes good sense. Thanks.

That is my predicament really, i should have kept it simple and just asked that from the start! It might give me a better way to do some more research as that is a much more commonly asked question (i presume) and the answers are related to my situation, if in a slightly different way!

I guess thats really what i need to know. What the good combinations are and how to layer effectively without taking anything i'm not gonna need, using light and packable stuff and giving everything as much use as possible. Easy

I might also look into getting some 2nd hand stuff but with the sales atm it hardly seems worth it.

I will be travelling for around nine months but it depending slightly on how much more i can save and whether i get/decide to do any voluntary work during my trip.

It IS a long time to drag around something i am not using, but i do plan to spend at least half of my time in situations that will warrant some form of colder weather gear. If i am gonna rent then i still have to have space in my pack to carry what i'm renting, or hang it off the end or something and if that ends up being bulkier, heavier and less effective i think i will regret not investing in my own stuff before hand.

27/01/2012 at 19:50

Work at 4am tommorrow for me so gotta get off to bed!

Thanks for your help (so far?!) pandas go bad and everyone else that has contributed.

I've learnt a lot today thats for sure. One day i'll be the one offering advice i'm sure of it.

Any more comments will be read tommorrow with interest!

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