Friday, October 5

Hip-pack Competition 2007 - Grand Awards

Plans to hire a major London venue for the grand prize winning were thrown into disarray by some 70s band (anyone remember Led Zep?) booking the venue. And thanks for asking but NO I didn't manage to get a ticket. Guess Knebworth '79 will have to be my last memory of them in full on rampage - sigh)

But to the task in hand. The final awards.

Despite flaky interest during the sunny and hot sultry nights of the year it seems all entrants decided that waiting for long dark and colder nights make more sense for ultra ultra lightweight camping.

Right. What a logical lot you are. Or does this blog attract would be masochists? LoL

And its interesting that the main contenders were all "newbies" to the outdoor blog scene. (What's up you oldies - all scaredy cats? Or been there done that already?)

Only one person managed to follow all the instructions to the letter. Well nearly. As the special e-mail hot line was only buzzing with activity when spammers spotted its existence (cheap viagra anyone - saves on tent poles apparently?)

But that aside - the spirit of the competition was observed to the full, and seems to have had its desired result in getting those involved to try something a little different on the outdoors theme. And have a bit of fun. Which was always the intention. And hopefully any discomfort that may have been experienced meant a few things were learnt for future occasions.

And so to the final results:

Mark over at lost-in-a-forest spent a relatively uneventful night at Cann Wood near Plymouth

A breakdown of his gear can be seen on his blog here; Mark's report on the outing can be found here and here. And this was the night's venue:

Total weight 1.454 kg (I just love that accuracy to 3 decimal places Mark!)

The jury particularly commended his creation of a new rucksack specifically for the challenge. And whilst applauding the innovative use of bin liners as waterproofs commented on the possibility of using them to double up as a groundsheet. And from the report provided he even managed most of a night's sleep.

And it was a night's sleep that seemed slightly more elusive for Gayle from M&G Go For A Walk dealing with the various wildlife to be found wandering past her night's pitch out on Cannock Chase.

A breakdown of Gayle's gear can be seen on here blog here and here with a report on the outing to be found here.

In this instance the jury commented on the tidiness of the gear on site, and the entrant's fortitude in sticking it out despite the rampant wildlife, and the tempting knowledge of a nice warm tent (and a nice warm partner?) in the vicinity.

Total weight 4.4 kg

There were other entries (well not a huge amount) but they were either abortive efforts or just a chance to give the bivvy approach a go without worrying about minimalist weight and a bit sneaky about the overnight accommodation

As to the general level of entry.

It was interesting that both the finalists were accompanied on their attempts by Podcast Bob's mp3 offerings. Highly suitable as he kindly provided the main prize a Nalgene Folding Canteen for this earlier in the year (and I happen to know he has the last few of these in stock - so grab them whilst they're still available)

And whilst the number of attempts reported to JH Towers was low (but highly select naturally) it was a noticeable increase on last year's entry (i.e. Nil) and has encouraged me to think about repeating this little game next year.

So any thoughts/feedback on how to improve it would be good. TGO challenge it will never be. But that's not the point here really. Is it now.

What's that? Who won? Oops nearly forgot. What a tease.

And the winner? Well you all were really. But in the end the Nalgene will be going to Mark, essentially for the lightest load.

But a special commendation prize will also be winging its way to Gayle - a copy of Ronald Turnbull's "The Book of The Bivvy"

Both prizes to be posted once this postal strike sorts itself out which will probably be after I return from next week's trip away in the wilds of Avon.

Bivvying? What in this weather? You must be kidding

Well done all - and thanks for your involvement in making this so much fun both for those involved, and those sat at home reading about it.

Nice one.


Oooh - a prize! Exciting! Thank you.

Whilst I can't see that I'll ever achieve a pack weight that could complete with a serious ultra-light contender like Mark, I'm already having worrying thoughts about how I can shave a couple of kilos off for any future repeat of the competition...

But next time I spend a night in a bivvy it will be on a warm summer night and not in a forest!
Great fun, John, and congratulations to the winner and runner-up. Women, eh... they always pack too much... (Ducks)
Funny really the two best weekends for doing this were the two bloggers meets!!
But next year hopefully there will be more chances to get out.
So look forward to you running it then as well.
Well done to the two brave souls that competed properly.
"I must thank the competition organisers who worked so hard behind the scenes to make it all happen; my sponsors; my friends without whom I would never have had the power to believe; my mum and of course god!"
...seriously though. Thanks to both John and Gayle for making the whole thing so much fun. And yes, I am thinking about next years comp, drilled out spork handle. check! Obsessed, *me*, no!
well seemings as I;ve just walked in to another bit of "free" gear courtesy of our usual enkightened sponsor I guess there's no other option but to do it again in 2008!
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