Tuesday, August 14

Hip Pack Competition - Debacle

Well the best made plans of mice and men ........... or no plans in this instance.

Kicking my heels "on holiday" as it were, and frustrated by the joint whammy of missing the Brecon Bloggers meet and a long period of good weather, a spur of the moment decision was taken to throw stuff into a small sack and leg it out for a night's wildcamp.

The pack ambitously claimed 45 litre capacity, but looked more like 30 litres. But even that was difficult to fill up. For once I could just chuck stuff in and let it find its own place to settle. Adding 3 litre of water sort of helped, but still a sensible size.

Total pack weight, san H2O - 4kg, including the pack itself, a not excessively ultralight Tesco bargain. And not likely to aggravate the back problem (in fact it actually seemed to help it. Perverse)

Allright you at the back. I know. I can hear you sniggering. Not a very light pack. But the intent was a quick dash to prove it could be done, rather than get over serious on this attempt. I'm sure the total weight can be brought rapidly down with a bit of thought.



Dusk was threatening as I finally found a place to ditch the car, wary of the low-lifes that frequent the New Forest tourist hot spots this time of year, looking for quick pickings from cars.

So off to the site. NE facing for the comet display. Quiet and out of the way. And under the comp rules gear all laid out and ready to use.


1 Alpkit bivvi bag; 1 down sleeping bag; 1 Thermarest Prolite 3; 1 bag of food; Cook pot, spork, & gas stove with a 1/4 full 100g canister; 3 litre H2O.

I'd even enabled mobile blogging, although it looks as if only half the posts got through in the end.

So dinner cooked (mash with chives, sardines, ryvita) coffee supped, and aperetifs in hand (Poppets - mint) I settled back to watch the display. All around was quiet. The only other person I saw on my way in, grabbing for her dog (as protection?) as I wandered past her going (I guess from her viewpoint) in the wrong direction earlier.

And then it rained. And the wind got gustier. And then it stopped.

Mildly dampened, but not disheartened I lay back and gazed at the heavens awating the first signs of comets. But hang on a moment. Where was the stars? And why was the whole friggin' sky covered with cumulus cloud? Not a break to be seen. Anywhere.

And then it rained. And the wind got gustier. And then it stopped.

Bivvied up on the edge of a pine woodland, a hill to my back to protect from wind, was a Good Spot. Until that is the pines decided that water was best handled by dripping onto me. Without any tarp/tent protection for my head I was reluctant to shift out from under their protective canopy, despite its drawbacks.

And then it rained. And the wind got gustier. And then it stopped.

A wait and sees policy then ensued.

And then it rained. And the wind got gustier. And then it stopped. Repeat.

And as midnight approached, and the cloud stubbornly declined to shift I decided to put the fun back into this challenge.

Yep. I packed up and went home to a dry warm bed.

Lessons learnt?

  • Prepare better or accept the consequences
  • Heed the bloody weather forecast. It has to be right occasionally
  • Minimal gear is quick to pack, and great to carry
  • Given the right set of conditions the ultra ultra ultra night out is achievable without undue hardship

And next time. Hot weather; Ditch the Thermarest; Perhaps ditch the sleeping bag; Bring more Poppets (mint)

And this morning. Winds to 30 mph, and my earlier dog walk was through deepening puddles as the water runs off the fields. So in hindsight the decision to leave was A Good Move.

Well if you don't try you don't find out do you?

And the next challenger please.

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Comments:
A brave attempt, well done.
But you are right we are going to have to get a LOOOT more serious about this now.
Hope you dry out soon. ;)
 
Hard luck, JH.

Still, you've got a whole year to prepare for next year's lightweight lightshow :-)
 
who needs a year - there's still plenty of time left in '07
 
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