Preparation

Well December has been and gone   and I am filled with anticipation and a little doubt
I am still shooting for late March early April,  that’s if I can go at all ,as I am still waiting for some personal stuff to be sorted.

My Pack sits in the spare room, its packed and ready to go,
It weighs in around 25lb I have never been a light hiker, but I am a warm and happy hiker. I always need to hike for a week to see how my gear behaves before giving my pack a shake down and bouncing gear ahead

Replacement gear

To be honest nothing is wrong with the gear that I hiked the PCT with, except my clothes as I dumped them all in Canada
But if I can get some shinny gear at a good price I will,
So, I wrote and pestered several gear suppliers and have been pleased with my haul so far , 40% off a camera, solar panel and new tent. I  now have a new Fly creek HV UL 3
I loved  the UL 3   when i hiked the PCT  so  i  am  excited  about  the HV

I have also swapped my faithful Exped Sim mat for a down mat , again there was nothing wrong with my Sim mat, except when I first went hiking I was a bit green and did not really know what I wanted, so it’s a little large. It’s a great mat, it  has never let me down on the Pct, but it’s just a little too bulky.
I think I drove the people mad at Exped as I wanted to try out all the current mats before I brought a new one . The problem is Exped seem quite picky who they sell too, and so I couldn’t find any local shops that stocked their products., the nearest being in Cambridge yes, its  a bit far from Oxford so I arranged to visit a relative, “killing 2 birds with 1 stone so to say “

The shop was called “Open Air”.  And wow, what a great shop, they hold a good range of hiking and outdoors gear and they knew their stuff   and so they  are not just

“Box shifters”

So, I would certainly recommend  a visit      https://www.openair.co.uk

Open Air  11, 12 & 15 Green Street, Cambridge, CB2 3JU

I like  how they left me to play with all the Mats at my leisure,until I  needed help . I was really interested in the SynMat UL7   or maybe the SynMat HL matt but instead just loved the Exped DownMat UL Winter, it’s may be over kill for my hike, but it ticks all my boxes,

Exped

 

 

Its Light   
It packs small  
Its smaller that my current pad 
easy to inflate 
Easy to pack 

The UL 7 came a close 2nd but it was still a tad noisy.(for me)

What I also like about Exped is there inflation system the “Snozzel Bag”
It comes with this pad and when not being used doubles as a lightweight stuff sack, another tick

So, a fruitful journey to Cambridge, this pad wasn’t cheap, but I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for,

Snozzel Bag

Once home I inflated it several times with the “snozzel Bag” as there is a knack and I like to think I have mastered it and now can inflate my pad with about two puffs with the snozzel.
I like this method as 1, no moisture enters you pad, 2, Easy & quick to inflate (great when you arrive hot sweaty and exhausted   at camp, Bonus!

Pocket Rocket,

Pocket Rocket2
again nothing wrong with my pocket rocket, but the Pocket Rocket all packs down even smaller and will now fit into my pot.

 

Solar Panel

Solar expedition

Sadly, I lent my last one to  my Son and it was never seen again. So, I have gone for the Solar Monkey Expedition, Unlike the adventure it does not have an internal battery.  It  charges your devices live.  I’m keen to  try  this  out

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