I don’t consider myself or strive to be an ultra-light backpacker but I’ve done my share of reading books, posts, and blogs from those who are. Namely Cesar, from his Cesar and the Woods blog and the book, “Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips” by Mike Clelland. I’ve learned so much about backpacking in general from these two awesome guys. They have certainly helped me along the way.
The idea that every item serves as a multi-functional item is a fine one. For example, I carry a mosquito/bug head net on trips. I have used this net to keep bugs out of my face, as a first step to strain water in preparation to filter it (make sure net is untreated with repellent) , to keep bugs off of food, and to put items in and “sink” them into water to keep them cool. My Mora Bushcraft knife in addition to its normal cutting function and bad-ass protection, is also used to process wood for fires and cooking needs. One cool thing we did on the Iceland trip was to use our neck gaiters to offer warmth during cold days and at night, as sleeping masks to combat the sun which barely set.
Sometimes things get brought along out of necessity for part of a trip but remain unused for other parts. During the road trip part of our 2015 Icelandic-Faroe Island adventure, we brought along a navigation device. This was only to be used for driving which meant for hiking portions of the trip, the navigation unit had to be left somewhere safe, or carried along. A second hand held device was also brought along for hiking parts of the trip. Would it have made sense to have one unit for both purposes? Yes, it would have. But to buy another one for this one specific trip just wasn’t in the cards–or budget. To make matters worse, I forgot to bring the specific charger for the auto-navigation unit, so basically after a days’ use, it was dead weight to be carried. Oops! Learn from mistakes. We got by absolutely ok without it. Next time, it’ll stay home. Less weight to carry.
The following list is what I brought for this specific trip. Some items packed, others worn upon leaving:
260 gr. Merino wool long sleeve shirt (Icebreaker-Tech)
200 gr. Merino wool long johns bottom (Woolpower)
TK-1 wool trekking socks (Falke)
Merino wool neck gaiter non-fleece (Buff)
Knitted hat (made by Miriam’s mom) with Merino headband (Icebreaker Quantam) sown in
Hardshell jacket (Snaefell-66°NORTH)
Hardshell jacket (Snaefell-66°NORTH)
Hanwag Alaska GTX Boots (Hanwag)
On my person I carried– a mini-Bic lighter (in small ziplock bag), clip-on sunglasses and case, a reusable cloth to clean glasses, a reusable toothpick, an Eagle Creek Sport Waist pack (used as wallet containing: passport, driver’s license, Visa card, bank debit card, 20€ cash, and an 1846 U.S. penny for good luck) and a Samsung Galaxy S4 mobile phone.
In my Gregory Baltoro 75 Backpack–
Clothing related items-
1 200 gram Merino Sierra Fleece zipper jacket (Icebreaker)*wasn’t necessary when I bought knitted Icelandic sweater
1 pair 150 gram Merino wool boxers (Icebreaker-Anatomica) *for sleeping
1 pair TK-1 wool trekking socks (Falke)
1 150 gram Merino wool short sleeve t-shirt (Icebreaker-Tech lite) *for sleeping
1 pair polyester shorts with mesh lining (Adidas) *quick drying, for swimming/laundry days
1 ultra-light down vest (Borah Gear)
1 pair gaiters (Berghaus) *for snow/wet condtions, to keep volcanic sand and stone out of shoes
1 pair waterproof socks-high (Sealskinz)
1 pair 200 gr. Merino wool glove liners (Icebreaker-Oasis)
1 pair Pertex Microlight glove (Montane-Prism)
1 pair Pertex Shield hardshell waterproof Mittens (Outdoor Research-Revell)
1 visor cap (Fjäll Räven-Helags)
1 pair lightweight sandals (Vento Star) *for swimming, public showers, river fording, late-night pee runs, etc.
1-Nammatj 2 tent (Hilleberg) *strapped to bottom of backpack
1-Ultra-Light Synmat 7 inflatable down sleeping matt (Exped) *with cover and pump bag/packsack
1-Mysterious Traveller 700 Down Sleeping Bag (Cumulus)
1-Waterproof Compression bag w/vent (Exped) *for sleeping bag (my model has been discontinued, updated model linked.
1-MSR Windboiler Cooking System (MSR) *gas to be bought after flight. (MSR has now changed name to Windburner)
**PLEASE INFORM YOURSELF ABOUT FLYING W/STOVES-Gas containers are FORBIDDEN AND DANGEROUS, make sure your stove devices are free of all and any fumes from use, otherwise you run the great risk of having your stove confiscated)
1-Titanium Spork (Light My Fire)
1-Swiss Army multi-functional knife
1-small utility towel (MSR) *for wiping down utensils, cleaning, etc.)
1-mini water filter (Sawyer Squeeze)
1- 96 ounce Ultralight Canteen (Nalgene)
1-32 ounce Everyday Wide-Mouth bottle (fitted with narrow mouth cap) (Nalgene)
extra guy lines and a couple titanium nail pegs for tent
Food-*I carried half of food supply, Miriam the other
22 packs of assorted dehydrated meals (Travellunch)
Approximately 44 portions of Oatmeal in two 3 liter bags
44 Assorted Clif Bars (Clif Bar)
44 Homemade protein bars *homemade-recipe from the “Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips” book.
Two 3-liter ziploc bags of homemade Trail Mix
One 3-liter ziploc bag of Fritos Corn Chips *great carb source and 100% natural ingredients!
Multi-Purpose Biodegradable soap *for hair, body, and washing dishes and clothes
Small container of SPF 50 sun lotion for face
Travel toothbush *handle partially cut for weight reduction
Small travel-size tube of toothpaste
Pack Towel, Large-Ultralight & Quick Drying (Ortec) *Best ever!
First Aid Kit *not the Swedish band, but all the fixin’s for patching things up!
1 roll toilet paper (crushed flat and packed in 1-liter ziploc bag)
1 pair Ridgehiker Cork Powerlock Trekking poles (Komperdell)
1 ultra-light folding Cargo Bag (Meru) *to protect Backpack as airline checked baggage, also waterproof bag for camping
Assorted maps and ripped out pages from a hiking guide book
1 e-trex 30-handheld gps (Garmin)
4 AA Batteries *for gps device
4 spare phone batteries for my Samsung Galaxy S4 *Fully charged before leaving
1 small notebook with waterproof pages
1 small Spacepen
Two large plastic garbage bags *for emergency use–shelter, repair, waterproofing
small, cheap in-ear headphones
car charger for telephone
I have done my best to include links to manufacturer and specific models. I have acquired my gear through various channels. Since prices change all the time, best is to shop around. All my gear is thoroughly tried out and to my liking. Again, it took a long time to get to this point. A lot of reviews had been read. Gear bought, tried and sent back if it wasn’t sufficient to my needs. Find what works best for you and go with it!
The back pack Miriam carried was an Osprey 36 liter. She carried similar clothing but extra socks and underwear. Mostly same gear minus the tent. We shared the food weight. She brought a few extra toiletries as well. She brought a book to read and the Lonely Planet Iceland book to help guide. Her sleeping bag in extreme waterproof compression sack was attached to the outside, bottom of her bag.
All our itineraries and travel documents were stored electronically on our phones. Vouchers and the like were carried in a waterproof ziploc bag and disposed of shortly after needed.
Read previous-Preparation part 1
Next: Day 1-Munich to Oslo