I have still been pondering rucksacks. I took the advice offered about trying out a rucksack with all my gear on board, but felt weak at the idea of doing this in the shop. I still have confidence issues and I knew I would feel too self-conscious. However, I came up with a plan.
I like to use websites that offer free P&P including returns. On this occasion, the best site I could find offered free P & P excluding returns but at a good price for both the Exos 46 and 58 in Ember (I don’t like the green). After a quick perusal of the Post Office site, it was still cheaper to pay for a return than to travel to my closest dealer (Aviemore or Inverness) and pay parking (ok, so I can find free parking in Aviemore). So that’s the option I took.
Ordered Sunday afternoon and delivered this morning, not too bad for the north of Scotland. I felt a little nervous at first and put off loading them up by doing some housework (must have been absolutely desperate!)
I tried the 46 first, but perhaps was a little too gentle and couldn’t quite fit it all in, so on to the 58. Everything fitted in neatly and logically, but I had a little room to spare. Bum!
Back to the 46, this time using a pack liner (another dilemma, liner or cover?). It still didn’t all fit, although I was more brutal (tricky when being careful) but I’m still not convinced I could, even with a bit more squeeze.
There’s nothing included that I didn’t take on this year’s Challenge, although there have been one or two swaps. I’ve packed my tent into a smaller bag and it is now quite a bit smaller. The only two bits of kit that would warrant change are my Prolite mattress and my tent. Despite the bulk, I love my Prolite, it’s comfy and robust. I would be paranoid using a Neoair or the like, especially at the cost. My tent. I’m not planning to replace Bill (my Coleman Kraz) anytime soon. He has his faults, but they are all minor and easily dealt with. He’s comfy, cosy, watertight and suits me. I don’t intend to buy another tent until David and I can Challenge together when Maisie will be replaced (I’m not hoofing even half of Maisie across Scotland, she’s no lightweight!) That could be another eight years hence. (By which time, I might need a new, smaller rucksack!)
So, a decision must be made.
It all fits in the 58 although there is unnecessary extra space. I can’t see me happily squeezing everything into the 46 to save 90g and I’m not likely to pack in extra items just because I have extra space. I have a list and I stick to it. (I have a thing about lists…)
I’m going to sleep on it (the thought, not the rucksack) and make my decision in the morning.
I hate decisions.