Pack Review for Cross-Scotland Hike - Feedback please

Discussion in 'Kit Lists' started by markgoodlad, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

    Beat me to it @Shewie
  2. markgoodlad

    markgoodlad Backpacker

    Thank you all for the advice.

    I guess key takeaway is to plan properly for highly changeable and inclement conditions - but it could sunshine as well.

    I have updated my lighter pack with a revised set-up
    • More active (high wicking) insulation layers that can be added/removed as needed
    • Better rain protection and gloves
    • Warmer sleep system
    And I will look at the bug nets - I hate the midges/mozzies

    But I have to say that I am not happy! My base weight is over 5kg :)
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  3. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

  4. markgoodlad

    markgoodlad Backpacker

    Thanks for that info - That is super useful. I was going to check the dates of the TGO. I will certainly check out the blogs etc

    I guess my plans / dates will stay in flux until the virus situation calms down and travel is a little easier.
  5. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

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  6. markgoodlad

    markgoodlad Backpacker

    @Mole - at that time of year can the weather (ice/snow) be bad enough for micro-spikes? Or just a good pair of boots?

    (Here due to the icy / steep conditions I usually carry them for safety and then transition into full crampons/ice axe)
  7. OwenM

    OwenM Section Hiker

    That sounds about right to me.
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  8. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Ice Axe/spikes in May - maybe/maybe not ??
    Join the facebook group -
    -and decide nearer the time ?
    markgoodlad likes this.
  9. Robert P

    Robert P Ultralighter

    It will depend a lot on whether you are travelling over the high tops or remain at lower levels / have lower level options, and conditions vary greatly from year to year. In May there will often be large areas of unavoidable hard-packed snow on high ground (typically over 3000'), particularly on N facing slopes. I've had to turn back on a day walk in May (even carrying ice axe and crampons) on an otherwise standard walking route. That is the exception, and if crossing Scotland I'd check snow reports beforehand, and if planning to go over the high tops carry some microspikes for easy snow crossings but be prepared to modify my route as required.
    Mole, markgoodlad and PhilHo like this.
  10. markgoodlad

    markgoodlad Backpacker

    Thanks Robert - as you say, I will need to be very flexible on route (have some lower-level contingency plans and bail-out points). I have joined the facebook group suggested by Cathy, so will get an up to date picture shortly before I head out.
  11. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

  12. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    Like Robert P, there are far more experienced than me on this site re Scotland.

    See what you need nearer the time?

    I have not taken spikes etc when backpacking that time of year (Mid May onwards) and only one day had an "interesting time" negotiating a couple of slopes. Spikes would have helped but weren't essential.

    Maybe snow is not hanging around so late in recent years?

    New snow is less of an issue I think by then. Though last year on the TGO I think the tops had new snow for a few days early on. A friend and his group still did a high route through it without spikes. He said it was fine.

    Unless absolutely set on doing a particular ridge or route, if long distance backpacking, I would rather modify my route to avoid the steeper areas of old hard snow rather than carrying the extra gear.

    Depends on the main aim of your trip I guess?
  13. Gordon

    Gordon Trail Blazer

    Just to add to the comments about the weather on the TGO. This was 2011 - it rained, at some time, on every day.

    2012 started off with stormy Sunday which I spent in a flooded Glenmallie Bothy having waded in. The last few years have been generally less wet and less windy, but, it really is a case of being prepared for four seasons in two weeks.

    I've never come across midges on the TGO and only once camped on tick infested ground - but I use permethrin and, so far, I have been lucky not to get a tick bite.

    I always made sure that I wore as little as I could during the day to avoid, as much as possible, sweating up. I always made sure whatever I slept in was DRY and warm.

    Just dug this out on clothing. Gives a general idea of what I've worn on many TGOs. I've moved more towards Apex clothing and my sleeping bag is much lighter, 0c rated. But, I still use the merino and the Dri-Clime Vest.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  14. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    As a contrast to @Mole ^^^.
    I did a 4 day trip in early May to the Cairngorms a few years ago after a particularly high snow year. I didn't have spikes or axe and really should have. I had to cross some very steep and scary old hard snow slopes - it was very scary.
    If it's a low snow winter there should be no need for 'ironmongery' but we won't know that until March/April.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
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  15. turkeyphant

    turkeyphant Trail Blazer

    On the topic of dealing with several days of rain in a row, is there any way at all to keep shoes dry in these conditions? I find even with GTX trail runners, an hour or two of hard rain means that my shoes are full of puddles from the water wicked in by my socks. And then it takes 12+ hours of sun to get close to drying them out.
  16. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    GTX makes it worse.
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  17. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

    The trouble with GTX shoes is once water gets in it can't get out and you get boil in the bag feet which is not a very nice recipe. I hate wet feet but have come to the conclusion that you just have to embrace them and wear non-GTX shoes. Dry them out in camp by drying your feet, put on dry socks and bread bags or similar poly bags and then your shoes. Do not use Warburtons Toastie bags as the wax soon gives up and the paper turns to mush :roflmao::roflmao::roflmao:. GTX socks might help on really wet routes for a while but most useful to keep feet warm rather than dry IME. See this, these are the ones I have.
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  18. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

    I'm with you on this @Gordon and I don't like stopping after a mile to strip off so always set off a lot colder than is comfortable by dressing for the second mile. I think this comes from Parkrun where anyone who has any experience at all will be shivering on the start line, in winter, knowing full well, at least in my case, that they will be sweating like pigs after the first mile.

    As a general principal when we are out on the hill running or fast hiking, down to about 5 degrees, I'll be in shorts and a T shirt and after the first mile I've taken off my gloves and buff. We often come across groups of hikers trudging away in full hard shell, long gaiters and several insulating layers carrying 30+L sacks, looking red faced and miserable. It is as though they have the expensive gear and are determined to use it.

    I tend to put an extra layer on when it is really cold and I'm going downhill as body heat doesn't build.

    Dress for the second mile!
  19. turkeyphant

    turkeyphant Trail Blazer

    I've been eyeing up the stormsocks too but, apart from issues with the waterproof layer wearing out due to abrasion, I'm concerned the same issue with water coming down my legs, getting on the inside and then just wicking down into my shoes.
  20. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    I've used Dexshell quite a bit (15 mile days) and not had this problem; perhaps it was not raining hard enough....then I don't wear overtrousers preferring a rain skirt (mostly)
  21. Robert P

    Robert P Ultralighter

    Personally I normally wear gaiters (where I seem to end up walking my trousers would be permanently encased in mud / peat otherwise) - but not to everyone's taste. I've never had any issues with water running down into waterproof sock or boots, probably largely for that reason.

    Like others, my experience with standard waterproof socks (Sealskinz) is that they work for a while in trail shoes, but I wouldn't use them day after day. Either way, they get heavy as they get soaked. Unlined Goretex socks or my new favorites, Reed Chillcheaters, don't absorb much water and should dry much more quickly; worth a look if they are comfortable for you.

    If you really want to attempt dry feet for the duration of a cross-Scotland route, I suspect the best strategy would be to pick some light (probably leather without a GoreTex lining) ostensibly waterproof mids and be prepared to swap in to wearing thin waterproof socks when they get saturated. Like GoreTex in leather boots, its asking less of the membrane (it is not fully immersed in water, not exposed to so much grit and abrasion etc) when the outer does most of the work.

    Overheating / sweating feet could be an issue and everyone will be different in that regard. Personally, beyond a certain threshold (which seems quite low temperatures) my feet will sweat regardless of whether they are in unlined trail shoes or GoreTex mids so I've not noticed any more overheating when using waterproof socks in the summer. Like Gordon I adjust my clothing to veer on the side of running cold, which I suspect helps avoid too much sweating from the extremities.
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