If you have read the account of my TGOC21 here, you will know I suffered an unfortunate injury and had to retire from this year's event. It is not the first time this has happened to me, but I must remain positive and decided to make a few changes to try to ensure I can cross successfully next time.
The injury itself was caused by slipping as I tried to climb a boggy bank beside the Allt Innis na Larach. There is little that I could do to avoid that in itself, I did nothing wrong, it was just unfortunate. I did wonder though if my pack was lighter or less bulky if it would not have swung. And carrying a lighter pack is always preferable anyway, so I started to look through my spreadsheet of kit and examine it more closely.
I know the quickest way to save weight in a pack is to consider the biggest items first. I have already got a new down sleeping bag, it is super warm, doesn't leave my tent looking like I've been plucking chickens in the night and weighs less than a kg, so I am happy with that. I have an Exped Sunmat UL7, there is no need to replace that. I have a new tent, having replaced my Terra Nova Competition with a Tarptent Notch. I could have gone further and bought a Li version, but didn't like the idea of it being see through. I have changed my light Exos pack for a heavier Ariel 55 AG pack, I need the padding on the hipbelt and harness and will not be changing it. The next item to consider would be my Jetboil Flash.
I adore my Flash, I have carried it on all my Challenges so far bar one, when I borrowed David's Flash Lite. It has never let me down, I only boil water for rehydrating meals and making hot drinks and usually manage to cross using just the one 100g gas canister. However it isn't a particularly lightweight system, at 426g, as I have to carry a mug to drink from so that adds bulk and at least another 116g, so altogether about 737g. I could improve on that.
After some investigation and asking for recommendations, I decided an MSR Pocket Rocket was ideal, David persuaded me the Deluxe version was even better, so that is what I went for, at 83g. The Snowpeak pots I have would do the job, but the lid is a frying pan which I don't need and doesn't sit tight on the pot, so would probably be loose in my pack and annoying. I wanted a pot that was big enough to boil all the water I needed in one go, if necessary, and be used as my mug, to save taking a pot and a mug. After much thought and internet browsing, I suddenly remembered Alpkit and found they had the MytiPot 900 that fitted the bill, similar to the MSR Titan Kettle, but much cheaper.
Altogether, that would be a saving of 339g, if I took the same size gas. I would obviously need to be able to replace that as I crossed, so if I took a larger canister there would still be a saving of nearly 200g. I can make that decision nearer the time, depending on what the supply of gas is like next May.
The one thing that I worried about this year was my tent pegs. I didn't really consider these until the week of the Challenge, when it was too late to do anything. I realised that the MSR Mini Groundhog pegs that I love were perhaps not long enough to cope with the different forces on my new tent. There was nothing I could do, but I coped with the pegs I had , double pegging the main points and using the longest peg in my possession for the end into the wind. I don't know the origin or the composition of this peg, but I used it and survived. Mainly because there were no high winds. I can replace these pegs, I will take four MSR Groundhogs, four MSR Mini Groundhogs and six Terra Nova skewers to help pin the ends out and the inner. None of this will affect the weight I am carrying much.
I need to consider my washbag, there may be more in there than I really need to take.
If I can get nearer to the 11kg mark, or less, including food, I'll be happy.
And in the meantime. I am already back to running to maintain and improve my fitness and I will start back on the yoga and strength training as soon as I am completely happy with my shoulder.